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The fourth-annual My Furry Valentine adoption event is just a couple weeks away, and more than 550 animals — including dogs, cats and other furry friends — are in need of a home.

It’s a way for individuals to collectively come together to help mitigate the Tristate’s euthanasia rates by advocating for adoption as the preferred choice when searching for a pet.

For individuals like MFV board member Robin Tackett, the event is a reminder of the love a new addition to the family can provide. She volunteered with MFV for its inaugural event in 2011 and was introduced to Adore-A-Bull Rescue.

“They had the sweetest girl, April, that I fell in love with and started following her story on Facebook,” Tackett says. “By September of that year, I was fostering for AABR.”

According to Tackett, more than 1 million pit bulls die in shelters every year, and only 1-in-600 pit bulls find a home to call one’s own.

“Those statistics are staggering,” Tackett says. “It’s heartbreaking when a rescue goes into a shelter knowing they have three foster homes available and can only pull three dogs. You know the fate of the other 20-30 in the shelter.”

Tackett wants to “see an end to those needless deaths,” she says, so she’s doing her part to help. She’s regularly fostered dogs, and last year she adopted Smith, a pit bull who was four months old when she met him and who weighed only 3.6 pounds.

He, along with the other pups in his litter, was flea- and worm-infested and diagnosed by veterinarians at UCAN with a low body temperature, ocular discharge, enlarged lymph nodes and an upper respiratory infection.

Tackett says she was in tears.

“I had three puppies at my house that we had just pulled from another case, and no one else was open to take these six and I had to convince AABR that we had to take this case, even though it was out of our normal guidelines,” she says. “After many phone calls and getting the pups from UCAN to the hospital, we were able to find three homes to take the three puppies I had, and I took these six home to nurse them back to health.”

MFV was quickly approaching, and the six puppies were all healthy enough to attend. Still, Tackett says, Smith was meant to be hers.

“He was the runt of the litter and so sick that the vets didn’t think he was going to live,” Tackett says. “He had a special place in my heart, and I knew I could not let anyone walk out my door with him in their arms. He is the love of my life.”

Do Good:

•    To honor Smith and encourage others to spay or neuter their pit bulls, the Smith fund at UCAN was established. Call UCAN and mention this flyer for a free spay or neuter procedure for your pit bull.

•    Support My Furry Valentine, and encourage friends to adopt.

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