True to form, Los Angeles started a trend 12 years ago that’s been catching on from coast to coast ever since.
Best Friends’ first Pet Super Adoption to find homes for hundreds of dogs and cats was held in L.A. in April of 2000. Salt Lake City was an early adopter — so to speak — and the first event was held there in September of the same year. Both cities were 10 years ahead of New York, where the first Super Adoption took place in 2010. Jacksonville will hold its first event next month.
To date, Best Friends Animal Society has organized more than 60 Pet Super Adoptions in Salt Lake City, Los Angeles and New York, featuring an estimated 50,000 participating pets. At least half of those animals were adopted through the events, with many more taken in by participating rescue groups. It all adds up to a lot of lives saved!
The concept behind the Pet Super Adoptions is to go big, create a serious media buzz, and bring homeless shelter pets to the people in a very visible location with a festival atmosphere. But just as important, it’s also about bringing the rescue and shelter community together to save more lives.
So what does one see at a Super Adoption?
There are as many as 1,000 dogs, 400 cats, 2,300 feet of chain link dog kennels, a ton of wood shavings, 2,200 pounds of cat litter, 85 tents, a ton of dog food, and 400 pounds of cat food. But wait, that’s not all. There are also 15,000 dog treats, 500 squeaky toys, and 1,000 “Adopt Me” bandanas. And none of these events could take place without the help of 200 volunteers and 50 shelters and rescue groups.
The masterminds behind the Pet Super Adoptions are Francis Battista, Best Friends co-founder, and Nikki Sharp, director of community programs and services. Each of them has been involved with at least 20 Super Adoptions, and they’ve honed the process from managed chaos in the early days, to a virtual science that can be repackaged and offered to new cities like Jacksonville. Each could write a book on everything they’ve learned and all the drama and mishaps they’ve endured — like the time the donated, very expensive sound equipment was ripped off, or the time the security company sent a very frail, retired woman wearing flip-flops and a balloon hat to keep us safe, or the time — well, you get the picture.
After one of the early L.A. Super Adoptions, a driver for one of the city shelters burst into tears. It was the first time in her driving career that she had driven back to the shelter with an empty truck. All of the city animals were either in new homes or were on their way to the vet to be fixed.
Thousands of squeaky toys later, that’s what it’s all about: saving lives and reaching a day when there are No More Homeless Pets.
Here are the details for this weekend’s Super Adoptions:
What: Los Angeles Pet Super Adoption
When: Saturday, April 28 (11 a.m. to 7 p.m.) and Sunday, April 29 (11 a.m. to 5 p.m.)
Where: La Brea Tar Pits, 5801 Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles
The mega event will feature 1,400 fantastic, adoptable dogs, cats, puppies and kittens from 50 local animal organizations, including L.A. Animal Services, L.A. County animal shelters, and dozens of rescue groups.
What: New York Pet Super Adoption
When: Saturday, April 28 (10 a.m. to 7 p.m.) and Sunday, April 29 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
Where: Westchester County Center, 198 Central Avenue in White Plains
The mega event will feature 700 fantastic, adoptable dogs, cats, puppies, kittens and bunnies from more than 30 animal organizations from New York and five other states. The Super Adoption is an easy train ride from New York City. The Metro North White Plains Station is a 10-minute walk to the Westchester County Center. Metro North welcomes leashed or kenneled dogs on the train and cats in carriers.