Pets & Animals

Volunteers gather to give big farewell to very last dog adopted from shelter

Now this is how you celebrate a dog being adopted from a shelter.

The Hawaiian Humane Society in Honolulu sent off a dog named Beauty in style on New Year's Eve when volunteers formed a joyous cheering tunnel as she left with her new owner.

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Dog given sweet farewell as shelter celebrates being empty for 1st time (since 1883!)

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Dog given sweet farewell as shelter celebrates being empty for 1st time (since 1883!)

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The happy scene marked the end of a four-day "Clear the Shelter" initiative encouraging people to adopt all of the shelter's rescue pets before the new year. Adoption fees were waived during the campaign to encourage people to bring home a pet.

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Beauty's adoption — a woman named Jan took her home — marked the first time in the Hawaii shelter's history that all of its animals were cleared out for adoption. The organization was founded in 1883.

"It was an amazing moment,'' Suzy Tam, communications manager for the shelter, told TODAY.

"We were thrilled to find all of our available animals a home for the first time in our over 130-year history. The staff and volunteers could not stop smiling, and we all felt so exhilarated and proud to have all available animals adopted."

The drive for adoptions also stemmed from the organization taking on 270 malnourished dogs that were seized in October from a no-kill shelter in Makaha whose owner was arrested on animal cruelty charges.

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The Hawaiian Humane Society shelter often receives more than 60 pets in a day, so the "Clear the Shelter" drive also helped with resources for new pets entering the shelter.

The organization wanted to commemorate the historic occasion with Beauty's special send-off and say thanks to the community for the effort.

"We wanted celebrate this historic milestone by giving Beauty and Jan a round of applause as they exited our campus,'' Tam said. "The public response has been overwhelmingly positive. We’re very fortunate to have a community that celebrates the human-animal bond and chooses adoption."

Follow TODAY.com writer Scott Stump on Twitter.

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