Hillsborough County hosted free adoption event for hundreds of pups to find their forever homes

Though the first day of the event didn't start until 10 a.m., by 9:30 a line had formed outside the doors of the Grimes Family Agricultural Center in Plant City. An eager crowd of dog lovers waited to get first cracks at finding life-changing happiness. From the other side of the doors, you could hear excited dogs barking, calling to be taken home.

The enthusiasm on both sides was highly warranted. The regional adoption event was about to kick off for its three-day run. The Mega Adoption Event, hosted at the Florida Strawberry Festival Fairgrounds, welcomed animal lovers from across the Tampa Bay area looking to adopt dogs.

About 500 pups from the Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center and six other municipal and county shelters were available for adoption over the course of the weekend. A total of 459 dogs went home with their new humans by the end of the event on Sunday, May 19.

Bucs, bucks, and barks

Chris Godwin, wide receiver for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and his wife, Mariah Godwin, assisted with the adoption event. The couple founded the Team Godwin Foundation, which aims to provide at-risk animals a second chance through advocacy and financial support.

The Godwins have two dogs of their own, Ghost and Ziggy. Ghost is a Pomeranian-husky mix and Ziggy is a pit bull. Ziggy was adopted from a local shelter in Hillsborough County.

Chris Godwin advocates for would-be dog owners to adopt their furry friends, instead of buying them from a pet store or breeder.

"There's a lot of breeders out there that just don't have great practices and kind of mistreat the dogs, and it's really sad when you look into it. But you know, if you're adopting a dog, then you're giving a dog who obviously is homeless a home and can really change their lives," Godwin said.

Another benefit to adopting an animal from a shelter is that it most likely will cost less money. For instance, all of the dogs at the Mega Adoption event were free to adopt. New dog moms and dads didn't have to pay a cent towards the adoption, and all pups came vaccinated, microchipped, and spayed or neutered.

"There's the financial element of it. If you're going to buy a dog, more times than not, people are going to pay thousands of dollars. Where, if you're adopting ... you save a ton of money," Godwin said.

Plenty of pups for everyone

If you missed the adoption event, there are still many dogs - and cats - available at the Pet Resource Center to adopt or take home on a trial basis known as pawdition. Pet shelters across the nation have been particularly overcrowded in the last couple of years, with more pets coming in than being adopted out. For more information about adopting or pawditioning, contact the Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center at (813) 301-7387 or PetInfo@HCFL.gov.

Image Caption: Chris Godwin, wide receiver for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, poses for a photo with Delly, one of the hundreds of dogs that was available at the Mega Adoption event.
Posted: 5/22/2024, 1:16:59 PM