As her mother filled out paperwork Saturday to adopt a dog, 5-year-old Gwendolyn Sherman jumped up and down.
“Yay, we adopted Shadow,” she said. She gave a Henderson Animal Care and Control Facility volunteer a high five.
The Sherman family adopted the 5-year-old German Shepherd mix during the “Clear the Shelters” event.
For a third year, the Henderson Animal Care and Control Facility is participating in the nationwide adoption drive. The event kicked off Saturday and continues Sunday.
“It’s the only Sunday the entire year the shelter is open, so take advantage of it,” said Danielle Harney, Henderson’s acting animal control administrator.
The summer months are particularly busy at the animal shelter — mostly because of people surrendering their pets when they move or go on long vacations.
On Saturday, Clear the Shelters began with a small line of people waiting outside the Henderson shelter when doors opened at 7 a.m.
In total, 110 animals were available for adoption. By 11 a.m., 40 — 22 dogs, 16 cats, one rabbit and one turtle — had found homes. And the final tally for Saturday was 74 pets adopted.
During Clear the Shelters, a volunteer is assigned to each potential adopter to get a sense of what they’re looking for in a pet and help them through the adoption process.
Volunteer Terra Barnes talked with two women — one who was looking for a small dog and one who wanted a cat. Barnes, who has volunteered at the shelter every Saturday for five years, led them out to the dog kennels.
The woman seeking a small dog found one she wanted to adopt: a 10-year-old Chihuahua named Snowball, who likes snuggling, only has a couple of teeth and whose tongue was sticking out to one side.
Henderson’s animal shelter is open admissions, which means it doesn’t turn away pets surrendered by Henderson residents. Events such as Clear the Shelters allow for more space to accommodate pets in the future, Harney said.
As she walked into the cat room shortly after 11 a.m. Saturday, Harney pointed out many empty cages.
If people don’t find a pet this weekend, they can check back at the shelter next week, Harney said. Last week alone, 26 pets were surrendered by their owners. But after this weekend’s events, reduced adoption fees will no longer be in effect.
After Clear the Shelters, Harney typically sees more Henderson residents surrender their pets — those who didn’t adopt during the event — because they feel less guilty about doing so, she said.
As for the Sherman family, their longtime golden retriever died at age 14½, and they had kept an eye out for a couple of years for a new dog to bring home.
They came to Clear the Shelters looking for a golden retriever or Labrador retriever, mother Jaclyn Sherman said, but then they saw Shadow. “It was literally love at first sight,” she said.
It was helpful to have a volunteer on hand who could answer questions and knew about the breed, Sherman said.
While the Las Vegas family — including four of Sherman’s six children — was visiting with Shadow, he kept dropping a toy in Gwendolyn’s lap. That’s when Sherman knew he was just the right fit.
The four children took a picture with their new dog. One of them held a sign that read: “I adopted my new best friend today!”
Shadow was on a leash and soon headed out of the shelter with his new family.
If you go
When: 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. Adoptions end at 4:30 p.m.
Where: Henderson Animal Care and Control Facility, 300 E. Galleria Drive in Henderson, and two off-site adoption centers at PetSmart, 286 W. Lake Mead Parkway and 531 N. Stephanie St.
Cats/kittens: $40 for nonresidents and $20 for Henderson residents
Dogs/puppies: $45 for nonresidents and $22.50 for Henderson residents
Rabbits: $17.50 for nonresidents and $8.75 for Henderson residents
Adoption fees include routine vaccines, spay or neuter surgery (if not already done), microchip and registration, and rabies tag or Henderson license (depending on where you live).
If you want to bring your current dog to the shelter to introduce to a potential new adopt, you must provide proof of vaccines and the dog must be spayed or neutered.
More information: 702-267-4970 or cityofhenderson.com/animal-control/events