Barking up the right tree

The friendly faces of Roxy, Kenmore and Deco call out to the animal lovers at Island Veterinary Services.

This Christmas, your best present might be attached to the tree instead of sitting under it.

The holiday season has inspired the staff at Island Veterinary Services to go the extra mile in the interests of Cayman’s most vulnerable pets. More than 60 dogs are pictured on the Christmas tree at the vet’s office, and all of them are available for adoption at the Cayman Islands Humane Society.

Sixty-six dogs of various ages are featured on the tree, and Island Veterinary Services hopes to find some of them new homes this holiday season.

Jennie Boyers, who works as a nurse for the vet, came up with the idea for the Christmas tree while pondering ways she could help Cayman’s adoptable dogs.

“It just makes me sad around Christmas to know there’s so many dogs at the shelter that need homes,” she said. “We’re seeing so many people leaving island now and leaving their animals behind. The shelters are full and there are so many animals down there. I just thought, ‘I need to do something to try and get a little advertisement for the dogs down there and see if we can get them homes.’”

The cards on the tree are hung like ornaments, and they feature action photos of the adoptable dogs and their names written prominently in block letters. Some are close-up photos of the dog’s faces, but others show them lifting a paw or sitting down in front of an oceanfront background.

Dozens of dogs are sheltered at the Humane Society this holiday season, but some of them are living in foster homes until they can find their permanent adoptive home.

The tree at Island Vets is located in the lobby, and many of the people waiting for appointments wind up checking out the photos.

Some of the customers, said Ms. Boyers, know the dogs from volunteering at the Humane Society. But others are seeing them for the first time and getting a taste of how many animals need a home.

“Everybody loves it,” said Ms. Boyers. “Everybody thinks it’s such a great idea.”

Not everybody can open their homes to a new pet, though, and that is why Island Veterinary Services is also allowing for its customers to leave holiday gifts under the tree for the Humane Society. People can leave a monetary donation, but can also purchase necessary dog implements like collars, leashes, toys, shampoos and flea and tick removal products.

The main goal, beyond finding dogs a new home, is to connect Cayman’s community of animal lovers and widen the network of people likely to adopt in the future. So many potential dog families are looking for puppies, said Ms. Boyers, and they are overlooking the perfectly good pets at the shelter.

“Adult dogs are always left behind, but they’re such a great pet to adopt,” she said of the pets on the tree. “They’re already trained and they adapt so easily to the home. They have house training.”

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