Love Struck

Massive adoption event My Furry Valentine returns to the Sharonville Convention Center

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click to enlarge These little guys got homes. - Photo: Provided
Photo: Provided
These little guys got homes.
Pets express their love in many languages, whether it’s coming home to a dog bouncing out of excitement at your reunion or feeling your finicky cat curl up to you in the middle of the night. Oftentimes, animal lovers fret over how to express that love back. Proclaiming “I love you!” to your pet usually gets blank looks from the animal (and weird stares from people if you’re in public). 

The team behind My Furry Valentine, a pet adoption event that strives to end shelter euthanasia, has found the perfect way to express your love back to animals.

My Furry Valentine, hosted at the Sharonville Convention Center Feb. 11 and 12, is Cincinnati’s largest pet adoption event. There will be 800-1,000 adoptable pets at the event this year over the course of the weekend. 

If that seems like an astronomical and impossible number to you, know that 813 pets were adopted at last year’s My Furry Valentine. 

Each pet adopted from My Furry Valentine goes home with a swag bag, and each animal is fully vaccinated and spayed or neutered, accompanied by up-to-date health and medical records. 

Adoption fees of individual pets vary by shelter. There will be close to 40 Tristate shelters participating, including Animal Friends Humane Society, Adore-A-Bull Rescue, Cincinnati Pit Crew, Ohio Alleycat Resource & Spay/Neuter Clinic, Inc. and Purrfect Friends Cat Rescue. The shelters offer dogs, cats, puppies, kittens and other pets, all up for adoption. 

Some shelters will have an application process for adopting pets, while others allow same-day adoption, letting you walk out of My Furry Valentine with a new friend for your family. And if you’re not sure how your own pet will react to a new pet, you can contact the shelter or rescue of the pet to schedule a meet-and-greet. (Owned pets are not allowed into the My Furry Valentine event.)

Besides the hundreds of adoptable pets, animal advocate groups and veterinary services like Ohio Police K-9 Memorial, National Canine Cancer Foundation, Care Center Animal Blood Bank and Pets In Need of Greater Cincinnati will also be in attendance. 

Close to 45 vendors will let you learn all about animal care groups in Cincinnati, such as Animal Care Centers, Underdog K-9 Academy LLC, Project Blue Collar and Off Leash K-9 Training, as well as different animal food brands and other pet businesses. 

Already excited to go find your perfect pet? My Furry Valentine’s website (myfurryvalentine.com) hosts a frequently updated gallery of homeless pets that will be available at the event, as well as at other satellite events. The photos provide information on the pet and adoption fees.

The gallery also spotlights animals with special needs. One such pet is Clementine, a large bunny up for adoption through Pampered Pets Animal Rescue. Clementine was saved from an owner who did not show up in court to claim her, and is now looking for the right home that will love a big bunny like herself. 

Another pet up for adoption at the event is Paco, a tough dog that has been through hard times. Available through Animal Friends Humane Society, Paco arrived at the shelter in September of 2011 as a 6-month-old puppy and was adopted in October. During the next 5 years, Paco had several owners that passed him around until September 2016, when he was picked up by the Dog Wardens of Butler County due to abandonment and cruelty. 

When Butler County found Paco, his condition was dire: He had fleas, hair loss, ear infections and other serious conditions. Paco’s energy, however was high. According to the shelter, “He was still the loving, spunky dog that had been adopted five years earlier.” Paco’s health has since greatly improved. 

If you find your dream pet on My Furry Valentine’s website before the event, look into submitting an application through the individual shelter beforehand. You can also purchase an Early Bird admission ($25 for one person, $40 for two people), which gets you into My Furry Valentine two hours before general admission on the first day of the event. If you don’t mind waiting the two hours for the event to open up at noon, general admission is just $5 for ages 5 and up. 

Fretting over the fact that you can’t take in another feline or pup? There are other ways to help. My Furry Valentine needs plenty of volunteers to help bring the rescues in, assist guests, collect donations and make sure all of the pets are happy during the event. If helping animals find homes sounds like your idea of a perfect weekend, apply to be a volunteer online.

The mastermind behind the event is Carolyn Evans, a “PhoDOGrapher” who specializes in candid portraits of pets and their owners. She founded My Furry Valentine as a way to help end the euthanasia of animals with plenty of life left to live. Evans remarked that she is “inspired by a desire to help put an end to shelter euthanasia in our community — by far, the number one cause of untimely death of dogs and cats in America.”

Adopting a pet means taking in a new family member. And you never know: While My Furry Valentine offers hundreds of pets that need saving, oftentimes those who adopt pets remark that it is, in fact, the animal that saves them. If you’re looking for a new friend, go to My Furry Valentine and fall in love with one of the hundreds of animals looking for someone just like you.


The sixth-annual MY FURRY VALENTINE event takes place Feb. 11-12 at the Sharonville Convention Center, 11413 Chester Road. More info: myfurryvalentine.com

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