WASHINGTON - Malls weren't the only places offering bargains this Black Friday. Local animal shelters also capitalized on the shopping hype and offered deals on pets.
At the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria, new owners could name their own price on adoption fees. Thirteen animals - five dogs and eight cats - went home on Friday, and their new owners say the price break brought them in the door.
Katie Carson, of Alexandria, Va., says she had been looking for a dog for a while, and the low adoption fees were irresistible. She ended up walking out with 10-year-old Tessa, a one-eyed Pekingese.
Carson says she wasn't put off by the fact that her new dog has just one eye. As an apartment dweller, Carson says she was looking for a small dog with an easygoing temperament. Carson ticked off Tessa's selling points: "She's older, she's small and she's cuddly!"
Tessa's story is exactly the kind of adoption that shelter managers hope for. Puppies and kittens find new homes fast, but older animals often linger in shelters.
Patrick Cole, communications and outreach director for AWLA, says while the Black Friday specials are over, there are other price breaks, including half-off adoption fees through the end of the month for animals 8 years old and older.
Cole says older dogs and cats have a lot to offer. Many have been housebroken and trained, and they're typically more mellow and relaxed.
"They tend to mind their manners - more so than puppies and kittens," Cole says.
Jason Golbitz and Rachel Correa came in looking for an adult cat. Golbitz declared, "No kittens for us." Correa explained they're not "anti-kitten" - they just want a mellow, mature cat.
The two played with several of the 50 cats and kittens. One orange tabby caught their eye, so they tried some one-on-one time. At AWLA, visitors can step into the cat's enclosure and get to know the animal.
Ellen Regan and her 7-year-old son Sean were playing with a group of kittens. Regan says they come to the shelter once a week to spend time with the animals. Sean loves doting on the kittens. "They're so cute, and soft and playful," he says. Sean has also volunteered with the shelter and was the top fundraiser for his age group in a charity walk for AWLA.
Regan says they have an older dog, so the time isn't quite right to bring another animal home, but when they're ready, they'll know just where to go. In the meantime, when she spots an especially appealing animal, she urges friends to take a look for themselves.
Wish you skipped the big box store for a bargain price on a new pet? You still have time to take advantage of AWLA's November discounts on older pets. The shelter also offers "Fall-for-Me Fridays," in which new pet owners can get half prices on adoption fees for "fall-colored cats."
Other animal organizations are also offering specials. The Washington Humane Society's "Hope for the Holidays" drive is giving a break on adoption fees - charging only $22 - through Nov. 26.
Cole, of the AWLA, says anytime you adopt an animal, you are getting a real bang for your buck: You'll be repaid with the life-long unconditional love and companionship of a special best friend.
WTOP's Kate Ryan reports from the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria:
Local animal shelters:
(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)