Saturday was a day for the dogs at the Vernon Community Arts Centre.
The Arts Centre teamed up with Paws it Forward, a non-profit and volunteer-run animal rescue organization, for an event that allowed the public to meet some of the pups that are currently up for adoption.
Paws it Forward brought a litter of seven Golden Retriever puppies to the Arts Centre at the entrance of Polson Park on April 29. Several adult dogs up for adoption were also brought to the event.
The non-profit let members of the public handle the puppies, while giving them information on how to adopt, foster or volunteer.
The event coincides with the Arts Centre’s month-long exhibit and fundraiser, Raining Cats and Dogs. Sheri Kunzli, marketing and events coordinator with the Arts Centre, said the Centre put this month’s theme to local artists, who then created works of art to match the theme.
“We thought we would invite (Paws it Forward) down to give them some recognition, let the public know about their existence, get people out to meet some of the dogs, and to look at adoption as well fostering,” Kunzli told The Morning Star.
Kunzli is a foster for Paws it Forward and has fostered about seven dogs in two years.
She said a lot of people stopping by have shown interest in becoming a foster. Several even signed up to be a foster on Saturday.
“We have had tons of visitors, which is really exciting,” she said. “So there’s a lot of people who have come down to meet specific dogs. There’s others that are coming down just to learn more about fostering, we’ve had lots of people also register to become a foster parent.”
Carmin Harris, adoption coordinator for Paws it Forward, says the organization relies on fosters heavily, as it doesn’t have a brick and mortar building to house animals like the SPCA does.
And the organization is always looking for more volunteers.
For people interested in adopting a dog, the first step is to apply for adoption at Paws it Forward’s website, pawsitforward.org.
Harris says Paws it Forward has seen a significant increase in the number of dogs looking for their forever home since the pandemic.
“A lot of people got dogs during COVID because they were at home and they had the time, and then a lot of people bred dogs as well because the demand was higher, so unfortunately we are seeing a lot of people that are wanting to surrender their dogs now that they are back to work full time,” Harris said.
She said the animal rescue is seeing a lot more pure breeds than usual.
“We’ve got tons of Golden Retrievers for example, and we’ve got pugs and stuff like that that you would never normally see in a rescue.”
Puppies under nine months of age cost $700 to adopt, and that includes their spaying or neutering as well as their vaccinations. Adult dogs cost $500 and senior dogs (eight years and older) cost $300.
The Raining Cats and Dogs exhibit at the Arts Centre is open daily until Tuesday, May 2. Up to that date, the Arts Centre is also collecting donations for Paws it Forward. Donations can be monetary or they can be items like pet food, kennels, blankets and other pet items.
For the exhibit, local artists created everything from pet portraits, mobiles, key chains, sculptures and mugs — all themed after cats and dogs. Some of the works are for sale. The public can view these works of art for free. There is also a viewer’s choice competition in which people can vote on their favourite piece of art. The winning artist will receive a gift certificate from the Arts Centre, and one voter will also be drawn for a gift certificate.