Ready to take the plunge and adopt a pet? With so many options, it can be hard to know where to begin. Fortunately, the Baltimore Humane Society can help. Jmore recently spoke with Wendy Goldband, the BHS’s marketing and public relations director.

Why adopt a homeless pet rather than acquiring one from a breeder or pet store?

It’s really important that people understand the degree of homelessness among animals. There are millions of homeless pets, and there is nothing wrong with them. All they need is some patience and love.

What makes BHS different from other animal shelters?

First of all, we are a private, independent, no-kill shelter. We don’t receive any of our funding from the government or from national humane societies. We have a small trust, but mostly rely on community donations and events to raise money. Another important difference is our location. We are on 360 acres [in Reisterstown] and part of the site is a wildlife refuge. … BHS isn’t a sad or scary place. It’s truly a place where animals are loved and cared for until we can find them their ‘forever homes.’

What services and programs are available through BHS?

We offer a low-cost spay/neuter and vaccine clinic for anyone in the community who needs it. Our pet cemetery is the only dedicated one in the region. We have a pet food pantry where people who come on rough times can get free pet food; a monthly kids club where children learn about caring for animals. We do educational outreach and offer service learning projects for kids. We provide a free bereavement support group and free pet adoption for first responders.

What should people consider before adopting?

Think about your lifestyle. How often is someone at home? Do you have kids? Are there breed restrictions where you live? Can you handle walking a large dog? Consider the cost of having a pet. It’s not only the adoption fee but food, medical care and everything else that a pet will need over its lifetime.

How can the community contribute to BHS?

We’re desperate for food for our pantry. We also need volunteers who are willing to attend pet adoption events on the weekends. There is a wish-list on the website. We also need financial donations and we raise money through special events, including our major ones — Dog Fest in the fall and the upcoming Black Tie & Tails Gala.

The Gala?

It’s at The Grand Lodge in Hunt Valley on April 29 from 6-10 p.m. All funds raised support the animals at BHS. What makes it unique is that people bring their pets. You’d think it would be bedlam, but the dogs are so well-behaved we don’t even know they’re there! A lot of people dress up their pets in gowns and tuxes. This year, we’re having a pet fashion parade. Jamie Costello from WMAR will be the emcee. There’s a sit-down dinner, open bar, live music, dancing, silent and live auction. Black tie’s optional. A sense of humor is required!

For information about Black Tie & Tails, call BHS at 410-833-8848, ext. 202, or visit

Send videos of your pets to and they might be included on our website.

Photo of Wendy Goldband and friend by Steve Ruark

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