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Date published: 8/13/2012
The Fayetteville Observer
SOUTHERN PINES, N.C.--When Tricia met Minnie, she knew she was The One.
Maybe it was Minnie's big eyes. Or painted toenails.
Or those big ears.
Whatever it was, a connection was sparked. Tricia Greenleaf walked off with Minnie--a laid-back Chihuahua--in her arms, bound for a new life together on Greenleaf's horse farm.
"We said, 'We're not going to go looking for a dog; we're going to let her find us,'" Greenleaf said. "When we turned the corner and saw [Minnie], that was it."
Minnie was one of the first dogs adopted at a "dog speed dating" event this summer at The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines.
Organizers hoped to find homes for dogs from the Animal Center of Moore County in a unique way. In this case, the event borrowed elements from speed dating, where men and women have a short amount of time to get to know each other.
"We say we're doing speed dating for dogs, and people's mouths drop open and they say, 'What?'" said volunteer Barbara Ross. "Then they laugh."
The event was the brainchild of the Pet Placement Project, a Moore County group. Members work with the county Animal Center to find homes for animals that might otherwise be euthanized.
As with any blind date, there was prep work to make the dogs as attractive as possible to prospective owners. First, local families picked out dogs who would be eligible. The foster families kept the dogs in the weeks leading up to the event to help them get acclimated to being in a home.
On the day of their "dates," the dogs were taken to a mobile grooming van to get gussied up.
Driveway Dogs owner Beth Travinski spent hours grooming each dog.
Travinski said she volunteered "for the dogs."
"Honestly, I want them to find homes because we have such a high euthanasia rate," she said.
Al Carter, director of the Animal Center of Moore County, said the shelter has room for 100 dogs and cats, but on busy days, as many as 50 arrive. More than 60 percent are euthanized.
"It's a very heart-wrenching job to have to euthanize, but there's no real alternative unless we get them adopted out," Carter said. "Hopefully, events like the speed dating will help."