It was dogs’ day out on Saturday, Oct. 1 as the Flagler Humane Society met at 10 a.m. with St. Thomas Episcopal Church on Belle Terre Parkway for their annual pet blessing, despite the recent hurricane.
The Humane Society worked in conjunction with the Rev. Robert Goolsby and others at the church to hold the event, and brought along three dogs up for adoption. Normally, Goolsby said, they invite the K-9 units and have food trucks out, but with the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, they decided to just have the Humane Society out.
Even without them, the overall turnout was good – 40 blessed dogs, and one cat. Goolsby said he and his wife are very passionate about pet rescue, and even recently adopted a doberman from the Flagler Humane Society.
"We have a passion for for pet rescue," Goolsby said. "And it's also it's a community engagement opportunity for us to offer people to come by with their pets and and find some spirituality within their home and concerning their pets."
Animals and owners received certificates of their blessings from volunteers at the church, and had the opportunity to meet the three dogs brought out by the Humane Society. One of the dogs - Marley, an 8-year-old hound mix - was even adopted out by the time the event wrapped up around noon.
Caroline Johnson who volunteers at the humane society and led Saturday’s event for them, has worked with the Humane Society for eight years, and then does her own outreach work as well.
Johnson brought Marley, who had been at the shelter for a month, Kyla, an 8-year-old terrier mix who was surrendered a week ago when her family divorced and Brownie, a year old terrier mix.
Johnson said often times the animals hardest to adopt out are the ones who had been abandoned. She said she spends the most time with those to reacclimate them to humans.
"A lot of dogs that come from situations or are stressed seniors that don't do well with other dogs that need to be an only dog in a home," Johnson said. "So we have a lot of long timers that you know that are seniors who need to be an only dog which it's harder to adopt out in that case."
Dogs like Kyla. Kyla, Johnson said, is a sweet girl who's a little skittish because of life with her previous family. Other dogs like Brownie could use a friend at home; Brownie was returned because she has separation anxiety and likes to chew when stressed. Both terrier mixes were very friendly around everyone at St. Thomas.
Marley was adopted by Betsy Jones, who brought and blessed her dog Max, a 5-year-old hound mix. Jones saw Marley and couldn't leave without him, especially seeing how Max and Marley got along so well.
"I'm gonna cry if I have to go without him," Jones said.
Johnson said the most important part of events like this is getting the dogs out of the shelter to socialize and have some exposure.
"Socializing them is important and getting them out of the kennel where they're all day," she said. "Even ones like Kyla, who are who was very stressed, you know, and very anxiety filled, seeing her get out and trust people is big."