GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The holidays are usually a busy time for the Humane Society of South Mississippi. Marketing Director Krystyna Schmitt said she's hoping for the busiest season yet.
She wants to empty out all the kennels at the shelter by Christmas, and she's asking for your help.
Adoptions usually start picking up at HSSM when Christmas time rolls around each year. That's exactly what Schmitt is hoping for this time around.
"We know that during the holiday season, people like to add new pets to their family," said Schmitt.
She knows that people have many options when it comes to pet shopping.
"What we want to impress upon people is the importance of choosing adoption as their first option when adding a pet to their household," said Schmitt.
Some may avoid shelters for fear of a lack of choices. Schmitt has a solution.
"What we encourage people to do is sign up for our Pet Alert program," said Schmitt.
Using that online program, a prospective adopter can enter what animal they're looking for in a pet. If an animal matches that description when brought to the shelter, the adopter gets an email.
Schmitt said no matter what you're looking for, when you find it, you'll be saving an animal's life.
"The gratefulness of a shelter pet is unmatched by anything you'll find anywhere else," said Schmitt.
Since 2005, HSSM has increased its animal save rate from 25 to 75 percent. Schmitt says it's all because of people opening their homes. People like Belinda Wright and her son, Isaiah.
"There's tons of dogs and cats here that just want a family to go home to," said Wright.
She adopted a cat for her son for Christmas. Schmitt says it's not too late to bring your own pet home from the Humane Society for the holidays.
"You may be their only shot at a home this Christmas season," said Schmitt.
To help with the adoption rate, HSSM has started its fa-la-la fee free Wednesdays again this year.
That means for the month of December, adoptions are available by donation every Wednesday. This is the first year for this promotion to land on Christmas Eve, and Schmitt says the shelter will be open that night.