Linda Freeman of Saco has a new love in her life — a little orange kitten she adopted Saturday at the 'Speed Date' event put on over the weekend at PetSmart in Biddeford and sponsored by the store and the Animal Welfare Society of West Kennebunk. TAMMY WELLS/Journal Tribune

Linda Freeman of Saco has a new love in her life — a little orange kitten she adopted Saturday at the ‘Speed Date’ event put on over the weekend at PetSmart in Biddeford and sponsored by the store and the Animal Welfare Society of West Kennebunk. TAMMY WELLS/Journal Tribune

BIDDEFORD — The little orange kitten snuggled into Linda Freeman’s neck and squeezed his eyes, as felines do.

Johawnna Taylor, 10, of Standish pats a puppy at a pet adoption event in Biddeford Saturday, sponsored by the Animal Welfare Society and PetSmart. TAMMY WELLS/Journal Tribune

Johawnna Taylor, 10, of Standish pats a puppy at a pet adoption event in Biddeford Saturday, sponsored by the Animal Welfare Society and PetSmart. TAMMY WELLS/Journal Tribune

Freeman stroked the kitten’s fur and murmured to him quietly between asking questions of the Animal Welfare Society volunteer, Joan Lucas. Questions like whether he likes children, or if he is a nervous cat.

He snuggled some more.

The orange kitten was one of several felines and canines at a ‘speed date’ event on Saturday sponsored by the Animal Welfare Society of West Kennebunk and PetSmart.

The “speed date” meant those who had registered got 15 minutes with the animals to decide if one was right for them. 

Freeman said ‘yes’ to the little orange fellow and went off to finish the paperwork and pay the fee that would allow her to take him  home.

What made her say ‘yes?’

“He is such a hugger,” said Freeman.

PetSmart and AWS teamed up for a ‘Meow Mixer’ on Friday evening, and the ‘Speed Date’ event was scheduled for both Saturday and Sunday, as part of a National Adoption Weekend.

Lauren Trogener of Biddeford chose a little black shorthair kitten.

“It started cuddling,” she said, “He was so cute.”

Others were eyeing an array of dogs — big ones, little ones, older ones and puppies.

Donna Aitkins drove down from Westbrook and saw two dogs that sparked her interest. She had her eye on one in particular, a medium sized, light brown mutt, and was hoping no one else ahead of her in the adoption line-up would take him before she got her chance. Her well-loved 15-year-old dog died two years ago and it’s only lately she’s been able to think about adopting another, she said.

Stan Barwise, of the AWS board of directors and a longtime volunteer, said events like the weekend collaboration help in all sorts of ways. He said the events bring more awareness of shelter animals and AWS to the community, they bring in donations that help defray expenses, the events attract additional volunteers and more animals are adopted.

He enjoys the days he volunteers.

“I get an awfully good feeling,” he said of his two-day per week volunteer gig.

Barwise said that many of the canines come from overcrowded shelters in other parts of the country and AWS makes sure they’re healthy before they’re  cleared for adoption.

Aitkins, meanwhile, had some specifics in the canine she hoped to take home. She was looking for an older dog, one that didn’t require puppy training, a laid back fellow that would appreciate a quiet home with no children — and that light brown, medium sized one seemed to fit those requirements.

“I have beds and blankets and dog dishes and toys ready,” she said.

For more information about animal adoption, visit : animalwelfaresociety.org.

— Senior Staff Writer Tammy Wells can be contacted at 324-4444 (local call in Sanford) or 282-1535, ext. 327 or [email protected]


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