PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — On Long Island this Christmas Eve, hundreds of people lined up to adopt a pet for the holidays.

As TV 10/55 Long Island Bureau Chief Richard Rose reported Tuesday night, the adoptions at the North Shore Animal League America headquarters in Port Washington were all free.

Dennis and Tammy Mink of Floral Park were the first on line Tuesday to adopt a puppy at the shelter. They quickly settled on a 5-month-old German shepherd.

“We lost our family dog a few months ago,” said Tammy Mink. “It’s a Christmas gift to our kids because they miss the dog.”

Families hoped to make their children happy for the holidays as they packed the animal shelter, which had 350 animals on hand.

“Ideally, I’d like to have them all go home, but we’ve had lines that go all around the building,” said Lindsey Calabrese of North Shore Animal League America.

In every room of the shelter, families got to know their new best friend, while others waited for a chance to choose.

Marc and Nicole Lyons were hoping to pick a peaceful breed to keep their mother, Eugenia, company.

The shelter rescues animals from puppy mills and dog points around the country, so the people who are adopting are truly saving an animal’s life.

“A lot of them are from municipal shelters that escape the risk of euthanasia from coming up here to the North Shore in Port Washington,” Calabrese said.

Mike and Sioehem Skaee had to return to find the puppy they plan to give their daughters as a Christmas gift.

“We’re going to let our girls name her tomorrow morning,” Sioehem Skaee said. “But for now, she’s our princess.”

North Shore Animal League America said while their free adoptions are over for the holiday, there will be more chances for anyone who missed out, since the shelter rescues more than 20,000 animals each year.

For more information, go to http://www.animalleague.org/.

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