By Amber Coulter
Some Vine Grove residents celebrated Christmas early Sunday by knocking against visitors’ legs and collapsing into their laps.
The 10 dogs, three goats, donkey and estimated 140 cats at the Animal Refuge Center were the guests of honor at the shelter’s annual Christmas party for the animals.
The party has been a tradition for the shelter on Basham Trail since the mid-1990s in an effort to further the mission there and offer a festive occasion for the animals.
The event has gained some fame among community members and tends to draw new people into the shelter, increasing the chance animals there will be adopted, manager Penny Edwards said.
The animals and snacks also draw in people who have existing relationships with the shelter, such as pet sponsors.
A sponsor is a person who pays $10 each month to support a specific animal living at the shelter. The event allows them and others to visit with the animals and give them treats, toys and attention.
Edwards said animals can tell the day is different than most, and they seem to enjoy all the people petting and playing with them.
Van LenGen, of Elizabethtown, and her husband donate to the shelter.
She said caring for animals is important, and she stopped by to spend time with the furry partygoers at the shelter to receive affection from them.
A new holiday tradition beginning at the shelter this year is a program that allows people to take dogs from the shelter home for Christmas.
The trial will allow prospective adopters to take animals home and see whether the situation is good with no agreement to keep the animals if things don’t work out, encouraging well-matched adoptions.
The agreement also will allow some dogs to have homes for Christmas with all the individual attention that comes with that arrangement, Edwards said.
“Every animal deserves its own home because it deserves its own family,” she said.
Amber Coulter can be reached at (270) 505-1746.
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