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Forever Homes - Pet adoption made easy

By Jill Childs

Just in time for the holidays, Pet Smart in Lake City hosted a pet adoption event this past Saturday. Visitors to Pet Smart were greeted by the friendly faces of cats and dogs, some of whom were decked out in adorable holiday attire.

Homeward Bound, an organization that rescues cats and finds them adoptive homes, is present each Saturday at Pet Smart, and the Lake City Humane Society likes to come once or twice each month to find homes for dogs who are fully ready for adoption.

Volunteer Sierra is posing with Katie - an energetic, happy girl hoping for a forever home. -SVT Photo by Jill Childs

Homeward Bound is an organization founded in Las Vegas and when co-founder Lee Filipe retired and moved to Live Oak, she thought she was done with her work rescuing animals. However, she continued to be moved by the large number of stray cats who would follow her home and she said she heard the same from local friends. Thus, she decided her rescue days were far from over and founded a chapter of Homeward Bound in Lake City this past May. Felipe said she is excited about opportunities to find adoptive homes for the cats and greatly enjoys the work she does as the only volunteer for the organization. She is also happy to work with families who have a litter of kittens they cannot keep long term. They encourage these families to foster the kittens and even provide the litter, food, sterilization, and initial vaccines for the cats while they await meeting their forever families.

Since Homeward Bound’s founding in May, they have adopted out 67 cats, an accomplishment Felipe said she is grateful for. Young kittens are $80 to adopt, older kittens are $70, and adult cats are $60, but the organization takes care of vaccinations and spaying/neutering of the cats and kittens.

While the Lake City Humane Society (LCHS) is not a new organization, the services they offer are still new to many people and that is what makes community awareness programs, such as adoption days at Pet Smart, so important to them. According to Director of Operations, Dale Griffin, when LCHS comes to Pet Smart on Saturdays and Sundays, they bring dogs that are not only spayed/neutered and vaccinated, but also have spent plenty of time with volunteers, allowing an adoptive family to have a realistic expectation of their pet-of-choice’s temperament.

This sweet black dog gave Elias Childs (1) lots of smiles. -SVT Photo by Jill Childs

Although there are times when not all animals are adopted through an adoption event, it frequently sparks an interest in people to visit the shelter and potentially choose an animal to take home. Most weekends at Pet Smart, there will be about 10 featured dogs present. This past weekend, there were six dogs from the humane society and five cats with Homeward Bound.

The Lake City Humane Society shelters thousands of animals each year and is committed to “ending the killing of healthy, friendly animals” ( They seek to reach this goal by “sheltering, adoption, sterilization, and community outreach/education.”

Co-founder of Homeward Bound, Lee Filipe, holds one of the young cats available for adoption.  -SVT Photo by Jill Childs

While both organizations explained that Christmas does not guarantee a spike in adoptions, it is still a great time for prospective pet owners to take a look at adopting because pets make such great companions for children and adults alike. Felipe explained that a gift certificate is a great option so that the recipient can come in and choose their perfect cat. However, she added that they will deliver on Christmas Eve to those who are receiving a cat as a gift.

For those interested in more information or in donating to either organization, visit and or find the organizations on Facebook.

Asher (3) and Elias (1) Childs were very excited to see, touch and pet all the furry bundles of love with their daddy, Michael’s help at the Pet Adoption event in Pet Smart in Lake City, Saturday. -SVT Photo by Jill Childs