Adoption agency capitalizes on holidays


Elizabeth Smith

Kittens prance around in the decorative window displays, seemingly unaffected by the throngs of people, pressing their faces against the glass of the Macy’s windows. The San Francisco SPCA is marking its 26th annual holiday adoption spree at the Macy’s in Union Square, a seasonal display that boosts SPCA adoption rates for cats and dogs.

Last year’s holiday adoption season was the most successful yet, according to media relations associate Krista Maloney. Window displays alone found homes for approximately 320 animals and raised $75,000.

“The windows are designed to catch the attention of people who are passing by,” Maloney said. “It’s a unique display, and the only one of its kind that we’re aware of. The more people know about the event, the more who will come check it out and possibly adopt.”

Aside from being practical for the SPCA, the holiday windows are a seasonal attraction, according to senior Chiara Figari, who adopted a dog and cat from the organization.

“The windows are a big deal,” Figari said. “My cousins came in from Nevada over the holidays a few years ago and we had to go to the windows.”

The mission to find homes for animals extends beyond just the holidays. In a preemptive attempt to address feral population of cats and dogs, San Francisco SPCA made a commitment just this year to end animal abandonment by 2020.

Dogs and cats coming from abused homes are not uncommon at SPCA. Pets are put up for adoption as either healthy, rehabilitatable, manageable and unhealthy, or untreatable, according to SF SPCA 2011 Annual Cat and Dog Statistics and Live Release Rate Including Feral Cats. The majority of the animals up for adoption fall under the former two categories.

“My dog Toby was abused with a fire hose, which made it hard to bathe him,” Figari said, “but that didn’t stop us from working through it. We worked with trainers and it’s been really rewarding. All the animals that I’ve adopted from the SPCA have thrived in their indoor, loving environment.”

Adopting an animal is a lifetime commitment, but one that’s worth it, according to Maloney.

“If you’re adopting a puppy or kitten, that could be upwards of 20 years,” Maloney said. “Make sure you are financially able to provide for an animal and consider what type of animal you’re looking for.”

All animals from SPCA are spayed/neutered, microchipped and receive a health check before they can be adopted. The adoption fees vary, depending on the animal’s age. During holiday windows, adult animals — ones over six months — can be adopted for free directly from the shelter.

Over the past seven years, the organization has placed 2,300 animals in new homes and raised almost $400,000 during the Christmas season.

The holidays are a great time to adopt a puppy or kitten from the SPCA, according to Maloney.

“Adopting not only gives a home to an animal in need, but it also frees up space in the shelter for another homeless animal to come it,” Maloney said. “The holidays are all about generosity and caring, and opening your heart and home to an animal in need is a great way to feel the holiday spirit.”

SF SPCA still needs volunteers at Macy’s in Union Square. Cats and dogs will remain on display up through to New Year’s day. Visit SPCA’s website to sign up.

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