Aiken, SC (WJBF)- It’s Valentine’s Day weekend and a local animal shelter is encouraging people to ditch their date and adopt a dog.

The Aiken Animal Shelter partnered with Friends of the Animal Shelter–to host a Valentine’s Day dog adoption event. They offered a deal for anyone willing to come out and adopt a new member of their family.

Bob Gordon is an Adoption Assistant at the Aiken Animal Shelter. He said they have a lot of dogs that need new homes, with more coming in all the time.

“We’ve got right now, about 20 animals to adopt and of course we have many more in intake.”

Gordon said Friends of the Animal Shelter and the Aiken Animal Shelter host several adoption events throughout the year. This helps them find the perfect forever homes for animals that have been surrendered or found on the streets.

“We’ve had events for first responders, for teachers during when the COVID crisis was kind of developing. We have other events where we focus maybe on senior dogs, or sometimes we have some extra cats who are coming in during kitten season. We’ll have special events for that,” he explained.

Gordon said this time around they are featuring four handsome little guys–Sammy, Corey, Baxter and Seaver–hoping they can help the pooches find a family to love. He said families that adopt a pet this weekend will get a free grooming from Hair of The Dog in Aiken.

“It’s also to get people to–kinda–promote some of the dogs. We’ve had them dressed up as valentines.”

The pandemic has helped the Animal shelter–

“It’s been positive in that people–it’s given them time because they aren’t working at their places of employment–they’ve been working from home so they have the ability to work with pets and get to know their pets more.”

But it has also made getting animals adopted more difficult.

“Some people are kind of more fearful of coming out, especially people with underlying conditions. And we can’t really bring them into the shelter to look at the dogs and some people really like to try to connect with the animals  and to pick out who they want.”

To help combat that, the shelter has developed a system to help people connect with a potential new fur baby.

“Whereas what we do now is–because of covid–we show them who the dogs are on our website. Or if they don’t go on our website or the FOTAS website, then we can show them on a tablet. Then we bring out the dogs they are interested in.”

Gordon says that today’s event was slower than expected do to the rain–so they will be extending it to next weekend. For more information on this adoption event and others like it just CLICK HERE for Friends of the Animal Shelter-Aiken. OR CLICK HERE for the Aiken Animal Shelter.