ONALASKA, Wis. -

Instead of buying from breeders, more and more people in our community are adopting new furry friends into their homes.

When Bernie Gauweiler met a husky named Deja at the shelter, it was love at first sight.

"Fell in love with her. She was 6 months old and just a big puff of fur. And just cute as a button," said Gauweiler.

But it turned out, Deja had a case of puppy love herself. The object of her affection was another husky named Keanu.

"They were kind of girlfriend and boyfriend when they first came in,” said Gauweiler. “So we just thought it would be really neat for them to kind of be back together again."

So he adopted them both.

There are more and more people like Gauweiler out there this year.

The Coulee Region Humane Society has seen a 13 percent increase in the number of pets adopted since this time last year.

"Certain things definitely help with adoptions. We offer spaying and neutering of animals,” said Coulee Region Humane Society Executive Director Kate Mudge. “Oftentimes, people are more likely to adopt a cat that they don't always have to have that operation done."

It's also a sign that the stigma against shelter animals may be easing up.

“Through no fault of their own, many animals land here -- not with behavioral problems, but simply because a family couldn't afford them. Or maybe some health issues happened in a family and, unfortunately, they had to give them up,” said Mudge.

"People ask me all the time, where did we get our dogs from? Because they think they're from a breeder," said Gauweiler.

When he looks into their bi-color eyes -- both have one brown and one icy blue -- he knows he came to the right place to find the right dogs.

There a still a lot of animals at the shelter who need new families. In particular, black-colored animals, older animals and the shelter’s smaller critters are the hardest to find homes for.

Later this month, the Coulee Region Humane Society is partnering up with Dahl Automotive for the Subaru "Share the Love" event. The humane society is relaxing some of its adoption policies to offer same-day adoptions.

That event is happening on Dec. 13 from 1-7 p.m., Dec. 14 from 1-5 p.m. and Dec. 15 from 1-4 p.m. Families who want to adopt a dog can go to Dahl Subaru at 712 Fourth St. South in La Crosse. Anyone looking to adopt cats and other critters should go to the Coulee Region Humane Society at 911 Critter Court in Onalaska.