Story We Love: Animal Shelter Holds Adopt-a-thon and Runs Out of Animals

For the first time in its 164-year history, the Bangor Humane Society closed early because its kennels and cages were empty.

 |  Apr 10th 2012  |   11 Contributions


There must be something in the air here in Maine, because it's been a very good year for animal rescue groups so far.

The Greater Androscoggin Humane Society in Lewiston won a $20,000 grant from the ASPCA after being a regional winner in last year's $100K challenge, having found homes for thousands of animals from around the state. And even though the challenge is over, people still wait in line for hours -- even in the frigid Maine winter weather -- until the humane society opens for business.

This year, the Bangor Humane Society, located about 100 miles northeast of GAHS, is stepping up for the next at-bat for the Pine Tree State. And on Saturday, March 31, they scored a grand slam.

This little kitten knew he wouldn't have any trouble finding a home. Image from the Bangor Humane Society's Facebook page.

The Bangor Humane Society was a participant in the national Mega Match-a-Thon adoption event sponsored by the ASPCA, which started on Friday, March 30. By the time the shelter opened that morning, more than 90 people were waiting in line to find their next four-legged friend. The shelter had planned to stay open until 8 p.m. on Saturday and then be open for six hours on Sunday, but they had to close their doors early because, well, there were no more animals to adopt!

"Personally, I am overwhelmed. This is the best day in the history of the Bangor Humane Society as far as I’m concerned," said Suzan Bell, BHS's executive director.

All 101 of the adoptable animals -- about 50 dogs, 45 cats and a few small animals like guinea pigs, gerbils and rabbits -- found homes by Saturday afternoon. The last one out the door was an 8-year-old white cat that weighed 22 pounds.

This cat knew someone would want him in their photo albums -- and he was right! Image from the Bangor Humane Society Facebook page

Well, our state motto is "Dirigo," Latin for "I lead." Maybe we can lead the way for other shelters to be so remarkably successful in their efforts to find homes for all the pets in their care.

It must have been strange for the Humane Society's staff to walk through rows of empty kennels and cages as they performed their evening chores and took care of the few remaining animals -- those that had been there less than a week and therefore weren't ready to find their forever homes yet.

And by the end of the day, the halls echoed with silence. Image from the Bangor Humane Society Facebook page

The humane society was able to hold its Mega-Match-A-Thon event because it was one of 55 shelters around the country to receive a $10,000 grant from the ASPCA, which allowed BHS to lower adoption fees and streamline the adoption process so potential adopters could be more quickly matched with pets.

The Bangor Humane Society is participating in the 2012 ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge. After their tremendous showing in the Mega-Match-A-Thon, I couldn't possibly think of a more deserving shelter! Online voting in the qualifying heat is underway through midnight Eastern Time on April 16. The five shelters with the most qualifying heat votes in each division plus 25 "best of the rest" (the next 25 shelters with the most votes nationally) will get to participate in the official challenge. If you want to show them some love, you could throw a vote -- or as many votes as you're allowed -- their way or join their Facebook page to stay up to date on BHS's adoption challenge activities.

The Bangor Humane Society's staff was pretty psyched about the outcome of their adopt-a-thon, so they made this video:


(In a reader? Watch the video here.)

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