A8 is a 2-year-old sweetheart who doesn’t have a “real” name.

Lovingly called Ms. November at times, the black-Lab mix arrived at the Copperas Cove Animal Shelter more than four months ago and is the shelter’s longest tenant. That means she’ll be the first to go if the shelter gets full, said Aleea Best, animal control officer.

“When we get full, that’s when we have to make ‘the’ decision,” she said, explaining the process for choosing animals to euthanize.

Luckily, Ms. November and the other animals will benefit from free-adoption week April 21-26 at the shelter. Spearheaded by Best and approved by city officials, Best said she hopes by waiving fees, more people will take the opportunity to adopt the darker, less fluffy animals.

During the week, the shelter will waive the $20 adoption fee and only require prospective pet owners to pay for sterilization, shots and, if needed, microchipping.

“We did a (news) article on Black Dog Syndrome, and that’s how (free adoption week) started. It affects shelters worldwide. For some reason, black animals sit at shelters longer and are looked over even if they have a playful personality, are highly social and are good with kids,” Best said. “When someone comes to adopt, people usually want small, fluffy and cute.”

Best pointed to a small, yellow terrier-like dog known as A1 in a metal pen at the far side of the shelter. The dog hadn’t come up for adoption yet, she said, but he already had a waiting list of potential owners.

Because the animal shelter is a government entity and not a nonprofit organization, hosting free adoption weeks is a more convoluted process requiring permission from city officials, Best said. If the adoption week goes well, the city might allow the shelter to host more free adoption weeks to help get the long-residing tenants homes.

Currently, 13 black dogs and five black cats are up for adoption. Best said she’s definitely taken a shine to Ms. November.

“She’s figured out how to open the gates,” Best said, locking the fence behind her.

Kevin Keller, city spokesman, said adoption week could turn into a block party with bouncy castles or grooming salons in attendance. However, no definite plans had been made as of Wednesday.

“We’ll definitely have black balloons though,” Best said.

Contact Courtney Griffin at cgriffin@kdhnews.com or 254-501-7559

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