FORT WAYNE — It’s Friday afternoon, and 2-month-old Braveheart’s little body is wrapped up into the cozy arms of a woman, one of the dozens of people who first laid eyes on him that day.
Soon enough, they’re forehead-to-forehead. And then they’re rubbing nose to nose, and Barb Stuck looks straight into the eyes of the puppy and asks, in a high, soft – yet excited – voice, over and over again:
“Are you ready to go home?”
Braveheart, of course, only speaks dog, and he answers with little laps of his tongue upon Stuck’s face and neck.
While thousands flocked to the department and electronic stores looking for deals on shirts or sweaters or gadgets, dozens of people walked through the doors of the Fort Wayne Subaru dealership Friday looking for a furry companion.
Fort Wayne Animal Care & Control conducted a “Black Friday Pet Adoption” event at the Illinois Road dealership, offering batches of dogs and kittens for adoption at a highly discounted price.
The event was sponsored by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Subaru of America.
Braveheart, a border collie mix, drew the most attention early on in the day and quickly found a home as did three other dogs and two cats that were adopted within two hours of the event’s start.
“Oh gosh, everyone is getting adopted,” said Allison Miller, the adoption specialist for Animal Care and Control.
The adoptions went so fast that Animal Care and Control workers had to go back to the shelter and get more dogs and cats to present to the public, Miller said.
Officials even had to abandon the “Black Friday” part of the event – initially, only animals with black fur were going to be put up for adoption, but with adoptions going so quickly that requirement was quickly forgotten.
The event was the first of its kind the shelter has done, according to Miller, and while she was happy with the number of people coming in to look at the pets, it wasn’t surprising.
Miller said the holiday season is when the shelter sees the highest number of adoptions.
And while some of these animals are possibly Christmas gifts, Miller advises everyone looking to adopt that the entire family should meet the dog or cat before completing paperwork to take the pets home.
“We counsel people to bring the family in for a meet-and-greet,” Miller said. “The holidays are a good time to do that. People are off work and the kids are out of school.”
Miller said even some patrons of the Subaru dealer who came in to get a new vehicle left with a new pet. Subaru also donated money to various charities for every car sold.
For Stuck, finding a dog like Braveheart helped make her family’s holiday season.
The family’s previous dog, 11-year-old Katie, died in July. Braveheart – who will probably have another name – will be taken care of by 18-year-old Kendra Stuck, who is studying pre-med at IPFW.
And while Braveheart made their holiday a little more exciting, within minutes of officially belonging to the Stucks he was already giving back to them.
Barb, her husband and two of her sons along with Kendra each passed Braveheart around, ooohing and aaaaahhhhing as they held the dog, who will someday be roughly 50 pounds and able to do a bit of roughhousing with them.
But Friday he softly licked their faces and necks and wagged his tail, happily going home for the holidays.