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Instead of the newest gadget or latest tech, many shelters suggest adding a life-long friend to the household for an extra-special holiday season. With extended hours, special discounts and additional promotion, animal shelters across the U.S. joined the annual consumer frenzy in what some labeled Black "Fur Day."
The Humane Society of Central Texas reduced rates by half during their inaugural Black Friday promotion, attracting lines of people on a typically slow day of the year. Another shelter, operated by the Animal Welfare League in Chicago Ridge, offered a second cat for free in addition to discounts on normal adoption fees. In Montana, Great Falls Animal Shelter provided free adoptions when a donor agreed to cover all of the costs, such as vaccinations and licensing. Similar deals could be found in cities throughout the country, with some shelters reporting record numbers of adoptions for a single day.
But a pet is not a PlayStation, organizers caution. The entire family, including other pets, should participate in the process to ensure everyone gets along, and counselors are available at many locations to aid potential candidates in selecting their new companion.
If the element of surprise is important, some shelters offer gift certificates. "We try to push those so that people can pick out what’s right for them," says Terri Sparks, the marketing and public relations manager at the Chicago Ridge facility. "We want to make sure the pet is a good fit."