It's a busy day at the Maryland SPCA. The shelter is only open for two hours Christmas Eve, but there's a lot going on. Including a new program called Santa’s Helpers. It’s aimed at making adopting a new pet for the holidays a little easier.
"People could look online and reserve a pet for Christmas,” said MD SPCA Director of Operations, Nichole Miller.
Five families took advantage. Including, mom Marlo McIntosh. She was picking up an 8-week-old black and white kitten named Garland. A Christmas surprise for Marlo's two kids.
"My kids have been dying for a family animal, family pet," Marlo said.
It was love at first sight. But the kids will have to wait until Christmas morning to get their new fur-ball.
"I cannot wait to see them light up, I really, I can't, they are just going to be elated," said Marlo. "This is definitely going to be a great Christmas for them."
Ten animals were adopted while the shelter was open Thursday. And while some were heading home as gifts, lots of people also stopped by to drop off presents for the cats and dogs.
"We don't receive any funding from the ASPCA or government,” Nichole Miller said. “So we really look forward to getting those donations at the end of the year, and we depend on it."
It might just be a bag full, or maybe an arm-full.
For one family, it was two car-loads full. The Lockary’s have been donating to the Maryland SPCA every Christmas for the last 5 years.
It's in honor of their daughter, Erin, who passed away suddenly in 2011. Mom Kathy tells us they started collecting items in October, and friends, family and strangers stepped up to contribute items or money.
"Some folks who don't go out shipping send us a check, and so we have over $1,000 in checks to give to SPCA this year,” Kathy Lochary said. “So that's a record breaker."
It's a bittersweet reality because they know this would make Erin happy, but wish she was still with them.
"I miss her every day, and I know all of us do, so it's hard,” Kathy said. “But I know she would be smiling and be happy that we keep on living, and we don't let our spirits flounder that we keep honoring her."
The shelter is closed Christmas day and will reopen Saturday at 11 a.m.