Home free

LIHUE — Malia Guerra almost didn’t get her dog Monday afternoon.

The night before, she spent 30 minutes at Walmart buying dog bowls, biscuits, toys and food to prepare for her new family member, Charm, a 33-pound, Staffordshire terrier mix from the Kauai Humane Society.

“I was just on the phone begging my landlord to let me keep her,” Guerra said of the two-year-old brown pup who had been at the shelter since mid-October. “She was worried about the neighbors complaining.”

Charm was the 20th adoption during the promotion offering free adoptions Friday through Monday. New owners were responsible for the $12 to $17 pet license, instead of the $25 to $60 fee associated with getting a new pet.

Humane educator Jonny Fisher said Friday may have been the shelter’s biggest adoption day ever, as KHS found homes for two dogs, nine kittens and one cat.

“We get excited when four or five animals get adopted,” he said.

In total, KHS found forever homes for 22 animals — 12 kittens, seven dogs, and three cats — over the four free days. That’s about 25 percent of all the animals at the shelter, Fisher said.

The shelter typically averages about two adoptions per day, Fisher said.

“We feel pretty confident in all the adoptions,” Fisher said. “We don’t feel that we found a bad home for any of them.”

During last year’s Black Friday weekend promotion, which wasn’t free, KHS found homes for 13 animals, Fisher said.

Executive Director Penny Cistaro said another free adoption promotion is something she will consider in the near future given the amount of pets adopted this weekend.

Promotions are seasonal, she said.

”Tomorrow starts Joy to the World, bring joy into your home by adopting a pet,” Cistaro said. “Whether it’s Valentine’s Day, June is Adopt-A-Cat month. It just depends. But we look for opportunities for doing promotions.”

Fisher happily strolled past empty cat cages Monday.

“It’s kind of nice seeing it this empty,” he said.

Back at the front desk, Guerra was eager to see her new dog, comparing it to someone anticipating a baby being delivered.

“I’m a new mom,” Guerra said as she waited for KHS Customer Support Representative Becky O’Hara to hand her the leash to her new best friend. “I hate coming to this place because I want to take them all home.”

One of the customer support representatives holding Mahina, another dog up for adoption, walked up to Guerra. She thanked her and kissed her.

Guerra turned to Charm and smiled.

“We’re going to go home,” Guerra said to Charm. “Good girl. I even have a treat for you in the car already.”

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