Local residents and their four-legged friends enjoyed some final holiday shopping for a good cause Saturday during a holiday market benefiting Emancipet in Killeen.
Hosted by AmeriStor Self Storage in Killeen, the “Santa Paws Holiday Market” featured more than 20 vendors, selling gifts for that special person — or animal — in everyone’s life. Everything from jewelry, arts and crafts, baked goods and stylish dog collars could be found at the market.
Emancipet, which opened a permanent clinic in Killeen earlier this year, offers low-cost spay and neuter services for animals in the area.
With six pets of her own, self-professed animal lover Connie Turner of Killeen attended the event to support a cause close to her heart. Turner said she uses Emancipet’s services often with her animals, and came to the market to “support them and maybe find some last-minute Christmas gifts.”
One of the AmeriStor owners, Scott Sterling, said hosting the market “is a way for us to actively get involved in the community.”
“The whole concept of spay and neuter is really the way to curb (stray animals). ... I really believe in the mission of controlling the population in a humane way; that way, you don’t have kill shelters. You have to address it up front,” Sterling said.
In addition to its spay and neutering services, Emancipet also offers microchipping, as well as preventive veterinary care.
Funds raised at the holiday market will help the clinic in its mission to offer these services at a low cost.
“We try to provide that service to the community, believing that everybody in their heart would love to take care of their pet, and we just like to make it low cost; that way, they can. ... If we can make it affordable, we think more people will come and be able to provide for their pets the way that they would want to,” said Emancipet branch manager Madeleine Nunez.
Representatives from the municipal animal shelters in Killeen, Harker Heights and Fort Hood, as well as from local rescue centers, brought several animals to the event in the hope of finding them adoptive families.
“Lots of people love considering pets as a gift for the holidays, and we hope to provide a forever-home opportunity for some of these shelter animals,” said Grazyna Musick, community director of Killeen Emancipet.