After more than a year of hosting virtual events, Saturday marked the return in person of the Kingston Humane Society’s (KHS) annual Big Paws fundraiser.

“Losing those events during the pandemic was really very difficult,” says Gord Hunter, executive director of KHS. “This is like a big introduction party for everyone to be back in person. We are happy to be able to do this and look forward to moving forward with more in-person events because we raised about $ 80,000 from in-person events. “

Those donations make a huge difference to the organization, as 70 percent of KHS funding comes from the public.

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Hunter says he has seen an 85 percent increase in the number of animals in his care. Last year at this time, KHS was caring for 133 animals and as of this week, they have 233 animals in care.

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“Right now we have more animals in care, more animals available for adoption than we have ever had at one time,” says Hunter. “Our goal is to make sure those animals become permanent homes and Kingston has been great and the community has been amazing, not only supporting events, but also supporting us through adoptions.”

While awaiting adoption, many animals enter foster homes.

For some Kingston residents, the pandemic has made parenting a more viable option.

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“I think the pandemic helped our decision because we were at home,” says Julia Hale. Currently, she and her family are raising a dog with KHS.

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“I am a teacher, so I was more at home, my husband started working from home, the children were at home. We were close, so we knew we could provide foster care that we might not have otherwise, ”says Hale.

Savannah Kilpatrick, who dreams of becoming a veterinarian, started fostering dogs three months ago and is now fostering her second dog, Apollo.

“When they are at home, you can see them come out of their shell,” says the 17-year-old. “You see what they like, what they don’t like, how they like their routines. And you can really see who the dog really is. “

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While donations continue to come in, the Kingston Humane Society has already confirmed that at least $ 19,000 was raised at Saturday’s event. That’s at least 32 percent more raised than the last in-person fundraiser in 2019.

For more information on how to donate, host, or adopt, visit

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