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Taps and Tails: Norfolk Shelter, Vendors and Brewery Team Up for Pups

Photo by Jordan Christie. George is a 7-month-old pit bull terrier mix who knows lots of tricks and now gets to learn more with his family.
Photo by Jordan Christie. George is a 7-month-old pit bull terrier mix who knows lots of tricks and now gets to learn more with his family.



Friends of Norfolk Animal Care Center and Elation Brewery teamed up to bring some of NACC’s foster dogs together with potential families.

Jennifer Held is the Operations Manager at Norfolk Animal Care Center or, NACC. She said events like this can be helpful for both adopters and adoptees.

“People can be intimidated by the shelter. It's very loud, there's a lot going on. When you’re at these adoption events, you can see them in the real world instead of seeing them in a kennel,” Held said.

The past year for the center has been tough on the animals and on NACC staff. Held said Norfolk and other Hampton Roads shelters have been operating at critical capacity all year.

“This year, we have been constantly full so, every single cage is precious.” Held continued, “There are some mornings that we come in with one or two open kennels and all other shelters are in the same boat. Every single day we're working to get animals out into foster, or into foster-based rescues. That pretty much just means that every single time we get an animal adopted, another animal is moving into that spot.”

The pandemic affected the center like a lot of other businesses. People weren’t coming in to see animals at the level they were before.

Now, NACC is trying to find different ways to bring the shelter to the community.

“Our biggest obstacle has just been finding new ways to display the pets because our center was closed for a while for general walkthroughs and we still only have appointments,” Held says.

“We may keep that because we do see animals decompress quicker in the shelter because there's less kind of hustle and bustle. But we just have to be creative about how to display them because people aren't just coming in.”

She said a great way to support local shelters is to adopt or foster if it's possible. Fostering can seem intimidating, but the center offers many options.

The center offers overnight sleepover programs and field days for people considering a foster or adoption. Field day programs allow people to take a dog out for a few hours and get to know the them more.

“Foster is very easy because we cover all the supplies,” says Held. “It’s really just you showing the animal love and giving us some information about what behaviors you’ve seen. We give you food, toys, beds, crates. We pay for the veterinary vaccines and things like that when they're in foster care. All you need to do is sign up on our website and we will get you on-boarded.”

George and Duece were two of the foster dogs at last weekend's event.

They didn’t waste any time wooing possible adopters. George is a 7-month-old pit bull terrier mix.

His foster, Lauren Martin, said that fostering can make the transition to a forever home easier for everyone.

“It's just guaranteeing that dogs are going to be home ready,” Martin said. “It's nice when you have a foster that can already start the leash training, the basic training, and the general socialization. That just makes it a little bit easier and it definitely reduces the return rate.”

Deuce’s foster, Delaney Rector, said her favorite thing about the gig is being able to give Deuce the one-on-one attention he wasn’t able to get before.

“I've always loved fostering. It's really neat that like, you can supply a home for a dog and it's like a walking advertisement for a dog,” Rector said.

The world changes fast.

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