World’s largest mobile pet adoption event to stop in Boone

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Gerrit Van Genderen | The Appalachian

Chamian Cruz

For the third time, the Watauga Humane Society will host a stop in the Tour for Life, world’s largest mobile pet adoption, on April 4 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Boone Mall.

WHS was asked to host the North Shore Animal League’s Tour for Life in partnership with Purina, meant to provide pet adoption opportunities, support to animal rescue groups and to reinforce the advantages and importance of shelter pet adoptions.

Gilda Gordon, administrative assistant at WHS, said the North Shore Animal League is a worldwide rescue organization based in New York. Every year, they do three tours, one of them making 23 stops on the entire east coast, which is how WHS is able to participate.

Gerrit Van Genderen | The Appalachian
The Watauga Humane Society will host Tour for Life, the world’s largest mobile pet adoption, on April 4. Approximately 20-25 pets will be available for adoption at the event. Gerrit Van Genderen | The Appalachian

“All of our staff is required to be there,” Gordon said. “We will close the adoption center, so it’s a really big deal for us. All of our staff will be dressed in their Tour for Life shirts and we have a group of volunteers that will be there too.”

Shelters and rescues from across the region will be at the event, such as WHS, Blue Ridge Animal Rescue, Merit Pit Bull Rescue, Happy Tails Rescue of West Jefferson, Second Chance Dogs of Ashe County and five others. Dogs, cats, rabbits and other small pets will be available for adoption.

The event is free to the public and will also include live entertainment by Mike Preslar, the Lost Jewel’s of Ghawazee Belly Dancing Troupe, The Joyful Noise Gospel Singers and more.

Pet supplies and services, donation opportunities, dog training demos, education from animal care providers and more will also be available. The standard adoption fee for WHS is $25 for dogs and $10 for cats.

“It’s a lot of fun for the kids, it is a family thing, it’s free, the music gets better every year and just to see our staff out there having a good time and sharing and seeing the kids and other people playing with the animals and then seeing some get a home forever,” Gordon said. “It’s a lot of fun for everyone.”

Gordon said there are a total of 20-25 pets that will be available for adoption at the event from WHS. Cats and elderly dogs are the most desperate for adoption.

Since WHS has been involved with the event, nine out of 20-25 pets have been adopted at most, Gordon said.

“Even if we get three [pets] out of the 20 adopted, that is a success for us, because it virtually doesn’t cost us anything to put this on.,” Gordon said. “We have people in the community that sponsor us to help us put an ad in the newspaper, do other advertising and to buy anything necessary to help us do the event. It’s very successful for us.”

Jessica Rogers, director of Unicoi County Animal Shelter, who is also participating, said any type of community recognition is worth the cost, because it’s really beneficial for all the animals in the community.

“It’s really nice to see them inviting so many different groups of people together because we are all working for the same cause,” Rogers said. “We’re really happy that we’re able to be included in that.”

As part of adopting a pet, Happy Tails Rescue of West Jefferson owner B.J. Pim said owners should make a commitment to have the pet indoors and to make it a part of the household.

“It’s a life long decision, it’s not something you do today and then get rid of next week or six months from now, or if you have a child, you don’t throw out your dog,” Pim said.

Before adopting a pet, people should consider their lifestyle, how active they are, how suited a breed is for the person or family’s lifestyle and the commitment an animal requires.

Gordon said animals require financial, time and emotional commitment.

“If you’ve ever thought about [adopting], now is a good time,” Gordon said. “There will be a lot of people with a lot of knowledge who can do a lot of sharing to help you make that decision if you’ve ever thought about it at all.”

STORY: Chamian Cruz, News Reporter
PHOTO: Gerrit Van Genderen, Managing Editor