The "black" in Black Friday often carries with it dreadful imagery of frantic shoppers desperately clawing their way to the front of huge crowds to get that bargain basement toy Timmy wants for Christmas.
But the Animal Rescue League would like "black" to carry a positive connotation - one that refers to the color of new furry friend.
For various reasons, black animals are not adopted as often as lighter-colored cats and dogs.
Byron, a black 3-month-old domestic short hair, is shown here in this photo at the Animal Rescue League. The ARL is hosting a name-your-own price adoption event on Black Friday focused on adopting black-haired pets such as Byron.
"When you walk by [a black] animal in a kennel, you don't notice them," said Heidi Drager, director at the ARL. "They don't take pictures well."
Drager said the shelter has been at capacity, and it needs to adopt some of its cats and dogs. Since Black Friday offered a good angle to raise awareness for adoption, the ARL will offer black dogs and cats at name-your-price event from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Nov. 23.
Adopters must pay a minimum $10 adoption fee, but are able to name the price they would like to pay for the animal they want to adopt. Normal adoption fees for cats range from $25 to $85, and the normal fee for dogs ranges from $125 to $200. All of the roughly 15 animals to be adopted are spayed or neutered, vaccinated and micro-chipped.
The ARL held a similar event in July for Friday the 13th and adopted 16 black animals.
Those interested in adopting animals can fill out an application online at arlmarshalltown.com. Drager said the ARL screens applicants to make sure they are a good fit for the animal they want to adopt, looking for any history of abuse or drug-related charges and home stability. The application takes about five minutes to complete, and filling it out ahead of time helps ARL staff streamline admissions.
Drager said staff will also be doing on-the-spot adoptions, but encouraged everyone to fill out an application in advance.
Lisa Mann, an animal control officer for the ARL, said the new addition to the building has lowered euthanasia rates by giving handlers more space to house potential pets, but that with the ARL at full capacity, it is always looking to continue to adopt animals.
"It's pretty uplifting to see animals go home," she said. "We get attached to them like anybody else. To see them go home - there is tears sometimes."
Mann said the ARL is working on a new training regimen with the animals using positive reinforcement. The program aims to stifle the perception that the ARL only has "problem" animals that cannot be trained to behave well, which in turn increases adoptions. The public can even participate in the training.
The ARL is located at 1921 Taylor Ave.