A 1-year-old kelpie mix is the 10,000th pet adopted this year

By Kate Hogan
December 30, 2009 10:16 PM

Workers at the Oregon Humane Society in Portland watched patiently as the ticker on their Web site slowly climbed throughout the year. Starting at 1 in January, the ticker hit a record-breaking 10,000 yesterday – signifying that 10,000 of the organization’s pets were adopted into happy homes in 2009.

“We had balloons everywhere, we had champagne and cider, we had cake, we were whooping it up,” public affairs manager David Lytle tells PEOPLEPets.com. “It was quite a party.” And rightfully so.

In 2008, the rescue organization set out to adopt 10,000 pets in a year. They fell just short, placing 9,229 dogs, cats and small animals, but vowed to make it happen in 2009. And on Tuesday afternoon, a 1-year-old kelpie mix named Bella was the 10,000th pet adopted for the year, going home with a local family – and a goodie basket filled with T-shirts, treats and pet food. At press time, Oregon Humane had placed 10,039 pets in 2009.

According to Lytle, the Linger family had no idea they were number 10,000. Grandmother Patty Linger regularly visited the organization’s Web site looking for animals to adopt, and with a new fence installed in her family’s back yard, decided the time was right to rescue a dog. She came in with a list of five pups in mind, and brought her daughter Katie and 4-year-old granddaughter McKenna along to help. But all plans went out the window when the little girl fell instantly in love with a certain canine. “Once we got into the play area, Bella spent all her time playing with McKenna,” Patty says. “I knew we’d found a dog we love.” And as it happened, Bella was one of the shelter’s “Great Eight” – one of eight dogs who’d been living there longest – making the adoption that much more special.

Founded in 1848, OHS is the largest and oldest humane society in the Pacific Northwest. Funded entirely by private donations, the shelter keeps pets until they find a happy home, using their facility, veterinary offices and foster homes. The organization rescues and places dogs, cats, rabbits and guinea pigs, and last year, saved 96 percent of the animals admitted to the shelter.

So are 11,000 pets on the horizon for 2010? Not so fast, says Lytle. “I think we’re aiming for 10,000 again,” he says. “But you never know what’s possible.”

Meet more adoptable animals on PEOPLEPets.com:
Adopt Us! Orphan Cats Jethro and Ellie May Are Big Flirts
Adopt Me! Roxy the Dog Promises to Keep Your Feet Warm at Night

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