TAMPA — A pit bull, a poodle, a beagle, a boxer. All yip and sniff and bark and beg.
There are pedigree pooches and pound puppies, some big, others small, curly haired or near hairless. About 150 canines were on display at the second annual 24-hour dog Adoptathon on Friday were all at the Quorum Tampa Hotel, 700 N West Shore Blvd., to find loving owners.
One potential candidate was Tampa resident Kevin O'Brien.
"We wanted to get one that needed a home," he said.
He and his 7-year-old daughter, Caitlin, gravitated toward a group of 9-week-old cur/hound mixes. Caitlin favored a shy, ruddy pup with chocolate-colored ears and equally dark eyes.
"He's like, happy sometimes and stuff, and he's like, not so scared and he looks kind of friendly," she said.
Dad was more skeptical. He said Caitlin wanted a dog she could hold in her tiny arms.
"She doesn't realize that the puppies get big really quick."
Eighteen area dog-welfare organizations are participating in the event, which wraps up at 6 p.m. today.
Art Fyvolent, the Adoptathon organizer, expects around 1,000 attendees. Participating groups hope the drive will raise awareness about strays, spaying and neutering. Hillsborough County Animal Services euthanized over 22,000 dogs and cats last year.
The cost of adopting a dog ranges from $75 to $250, depending upon the organization involved, Fyvolent said.
His goal is to find homes for 100 dogs, he said. And Fyvolent believes this can happen, considering the event's growth.
"We went from a very small venue, a VFW hall, to the Quorum Ballroom," he said. "Where do we go next year?"
What also isn't clear is where some Adoptathon dogs are going now. Some are skittish, but sweet, abuse cases. Others, like a beagle named CJ who scoots around in a dog wheelchair of sorts, have long-term medical needs, making adoption tricky.
Others, though, are going to a stray dog's version of paradise — a permanent home.
Gulfport residents Lisa and Mike Tricomi gave June, a sandy, young female mixed breed, just that — a new home.
The Tricomis' elderly poodle, Bad Monkey, was lonely after the death of his sister. So they found Bad Monkey a playmate.
"I love her," Lisa said, speaking of June while still cradling the gray-coated Bad Monkey in her arms.
"He wagged his tail when he first saw her," he said. "He's pretty fussy about who he likes, who he doesn't."