If you were to take an informal poll of your friends and family, odds are a good number of them welcomed a new furry friend into their homes this past year. Humane Society of Tampa Bay CEO Sherry Silk says, due both to people spending more time at home and the society having more available animals in their new, larger shelter space, adoptions jumped from roughly 130 per week to more than 200 in 2020. This past year, her team brought in 11,303 animals, up from 9,000-plus in 2019. “It’s been a double-edged sword,” Silk says. “It’s sad to see people turn their animals in because of a job loss or the poor economy, but on the other side, we’re doing a ton of adoptions.”
Considering adopting a pet? Silk says there are two main questions to ask. First, can I afford it? You don’t have to spend a fortune on spoiling your pet, she explains, but even the basics can add up. “That’s mostly the proper food and the vet care and the boarding when we’re able to travel again,” Silk says. Second, do I have the time? Your current work-from-home situation might allow for plenty of time for long walks, housetraining and keeping a close eye on any trouble a rambunctious puppy could get into. But later this year, if your work arrangements change, you’ll need to plan for being away from your pet more frequently.
If you’re ready to bring some more love into your life, meet some of the Humane Society of Tampa Bay’s adoptable dogs we photographed for our cover. Please contact the shelter to find out if these dogs are still available.
4 years old | 87 lbs.
This pitbull mix came bounding up to our senior photographer, Gabriel Burgos, like she was a tenth of her size. For dogs that are larger or older, the Humane Society offers “test drives,” allowing families to bring the pet home for as long as a few weeks to make sure it’s a good fit. “Sometimes people just aren’t sure how they’re going to mesh with the family,” Silk explains. “Over 90% of people will keep the animal.”
3 years old | 51 lbs.
The Humane Society describes this pitbull mix as an “absolute sweetheart ready to give you all the love in the world.” Silk has similar sentiments toward Tampa Bay-area residents. “I’ve just been so thrilled with the people that live in the Tampa Bay area — how supportive they’ve been, how loving they’ve been to the homeless animals,” she says. “I just think the world of Tampa Bay pet owners.”
4 years old | 87 lbs.
A smoocher, this pitbull mix was ready to make new friends. She’s still young at 4 years old, but Silk says a surprising — and happy — trend they’ve seen this year was a big jump in adoptions of older dogs. “[People are] giving animals a chance. As of late, we’ve even had hospice cases — smaller dogs that are maybe going to last six months to a year,” she explains. “People will actually come in, especially senior citizens, and let that animal live its life out in a home. I’m just really encouraged by that. We’ve never seen that before.”
04. KOZMO (pictured above)
1 year old | 28 lbs.
According to the Humane Society, this Australian Shepard mix is a very good listener — and the proof is in the photos. Kozmo was, unsurprisingly, adopted less than 24 hours after our visit (though sadly not by our senior art director, Brandon Alexander, who tried to take him home). “The more desirable animals — puppies and smaller dogs — we can’t keep them in our shelters,” Silk says. “As soon as we get them in, sterilize them and vaccinate them, they go out the door.”