Jerald and friend on Thanksgiving Day. Jerald is looking for a forever home.

Photo from the Pima Animal Care Center

Here's an antidote to Black Friday consumerism: the unconditional love of a shelter animal.

The Pima Animal Care Center is open from 10 a.m to 1 p.m. today  and new pet parents will be allowed to name their own adoption fee.

The shelter is located at 4000 N. Silverbell Road near Sweetwater.

Nearly 200 people showed up Thanksgiving morning to walk pooches and cuddle kitties. I walked a handsome light brown Husky mix named Prince who was so excited to run with me that he had no interest in the biscuits I offered. Each time I bent down to put a bowl of food or another biscuit in front of him, he just licked my face.

Jerald, a little female chihuahua puppy, just wanted to be held and was popular with younger walkers who volunteered to take the dogs out around Silverbell Lake, which is behind the shelter.

Some of us went beyond the lake and took our dogs on The Loop path along the Santa Cruz River. It was a beautiful day and even though they walked in a group none of our dogs fought or even growled at each other. They were just thrilled to be outside and more importantly, to get attention and affection.

Pima Animal Care accepts all animals, regardless of their condition, and they take in a staggering 25,000 animals a year.

For comparison's sake imagine every seat filled at McKale Center at the University of Arizona — its capacity is just under 15,000.

It's enough to make one despair of the human race here in Tucson. People breed dogs in their backyards and dump the ones they can't sell at the shelter, time after time. They do the same with kittens. Other people simply can't be bothered to spay and neuter their pets and further aggravate our problem with homeless animals.

But seeing so many people show up Thursday certainly balanced out the bad human behavior with good. After the walk, 17 lucky dogs and cats left the shelter and went to new homes.

Shelter workers and volunteers are hoping for another successful adoption today. If you can't make it out, remember to spay and neuter your pets. And spread the word: Adopt, Don't Shop!