If your New York apartment is missing the pitter-patter of a four-legged fur baby, or you’re someone who tries to make eye contact with every dog you see on the street in hopes you can pet it, you’re going to want to go to Adoptapalooza in Union Square Park on Sunday.
The annual “mega pet-adoption event” is presented by the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals and partner Petco Foundation.
It will feature more than 300 adoptable — and spayed, neutered and vaccinated — dogs, cats and rabbits as well as educational and training programs, microchipping and licensing services, kid-friendly happenings and more.
“We decided to show what an exciting event or experience it could be to adopt an animal, to bring in a new four-footed family member, and we want whole families to come and maybe bring their current dog to visit to see how they get along,” Jane Hoffman, president of the Mayor’s Alliance for Animals, said during an interview at Animal Haven in Manhattan, one of the dozens of local shelters and rescue groups that will have available pets on Sunday. The Alliance has no formal association with the mayor, but was named as such when it was created under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg for "how close we'd be working with the city agencies to reduce euthanasia at Animal Care Centers, which is the city animal shelter," Hoffman explained.
Events such as Adoptapalooza are “hugely important,” Animal Haven Executive Director Tiffany Lacey said. “It goes beyond getting animals home that day — it’s about the groups getting out there and showcasing the work we’re doing. We wouldn’t be able to do it on our own.”
Late last year, Animal Haven moved to a new, state-of-the-art facility at 200 Centre St. It houses between 30 to 40 dogs and 45 to 50 cats, some of which can be seen frolicking in the street-level windows. The shelter places around 800 animals each year, a number Lacey hopes to see rise with its new location.
Metro met cats like the playful Gucci and Dior and the diva named Elli, as well as dogs who were owner surrenders or were saved from the Asian dog meat trade, and Amanda, a friendly pit bull who was severely abused before being taken to a Florida shelter, “but you wouldn’t know it because she is the sweetest and loves people,” Lacey said.
In addition to seeing an uptick in adoptions after each Adoptapalooza, Animal Haven also sees an increased interest in those who want to volunteer, something the shelter always needs.
If you have an image of what a New York shelter might be like, you might be surprised because not only does Animal Haven have technology that isolates odors, noise and diseases, it also provides important training and behavior enrichment programs for both pets and owners.
“We want to make sure that [animals] don’t deteriorate while they’re here, that their time at Animal Haven is preparing them to go to a new home,” Lacey said. Pet ownership “adds so much to your life, but you do need to prepare for it because it is a commitment, but the added love and companionship you get is totally worth it."
Adoptapalooza will take place Sunday, May 21, from noon to 5 p.m. on the North Plaza of Union Square Park. For more information, visit AnimalAllianceNYC.org.
And if you can’t make it out this weekend, the Alliance will host a Brooklyn Adoptapalooza in Prospect Park on Aug. 5 and another one in Union Square on Sept. 17. Of course, you can always visit one of the Alliance’s many participating organizations between these and other events coming up.