Shep is set to be the 5,000th dog that Denison Animal Welfare Group will transport to a partner shelter in Minnesota on Friday.

DAWG President Stephanie Phillips said Shep is the 5,000th dog sent in the six years the organization has been in operation.

“Shep was a stray that came into the pound a few weeks ago,” Phillips said. “(He) was never claimed and is very sweet and friendly. After no one adopted him, he was submitted and accepted for transport to a partner shelter in Minnesota.”

Phillips said the shelter’s animals come from all over Texas not just her own shelter.

DAWG is still at capacity after a slow month in December. Phillips said things picked up the week after Christmas ending the month with 95 dogs who were shipped out or found homes and 52 cats. She said that was a 5 percent increase over the previous year.

The winter is a slower time for the shelter. The week after Christmas is a time when people are out looking for a companion once they have completed their holiday shopping and families have left, Phillips said.

Things pick up in the warmer months when animals are mating.

“We always try to match the pet with the home and make sure if they are planning on keeping the animal outside to understand the importance of having adequate housing,” Phillips said. “We never recommend short coated dogs go to a home that wants to keep them outside. There are some dogs that can acclimate to colder temperatures outside as long as they have a dog house. We prefer every pet to be inside but we understand that is not everybody’s position.”

She said DAWG will try to provide a dog house if they have the ability but she works to educate people on how to properly care for the animal. She also said most people coming to a shelter are looking for a companion to be inside the home.

As much as she wants to see the animals find homes she doesn’t recommend giving live animals as gifts for a variety of reasons. She said the shelter does offer gift certificates for those who know someone that might be interested in getting a pet for a gift.

“People can come into the shelter and our adoption counselors will find them a pet that will fit their lifestyle,” Phillips said. “We have so many animals that need homes, we want to find them all homes, we would prefer to provide them with a good match for the people’s lifestyle.”

She said Shep will ship out at 3 p.m. along with a total of 40 dogs for transport.

“We’re completely full. We stay full almost every day of the year,” Phillips said. “We need fosters. We have our 5,000 dog transporting along with 40 dogs on the transport. That really illustrates the need. We have so many unwanted pets in Texas. We are having to send them to other states that don’t have the same over population problem.”