Source, The Times Herald, Gary Puleo
You’ve been giving serious thought to adopting a pet, so when you spot the perfect puppy, dog, kitten or cat at Providence Animal Center’s Summer Adoption Event at King of Prussia Mall on Saturday, July 7, it won’t seem like an impulse buy.
You’ve done the research and you know that a pet is a real commitment for the life of the animal.
But that’s not to say it can’t be love at first sight when you initially lay eyes on Bella, Fuzzy, Bambino, Bama or any of the other 40 or so animals the Media-based no kill shelter will be showcasing between noon and 4 p.m., in front of Macy’s, lower level, on the mall side formerly known as The Court.
The Summer Adoption Event is a first for Providence, which typically partners with the mall for only two events each year during the Christmas season and at Valentine’s Day.
“This year we decided to add in a summer event if the mall was willing, which they were, because we’re going through construction and are essentially down half our kennel right now,” noted Justina Calgiano, the shelter’s Director of Advancement and Public Relations.
“The mall is very community minded and has wonderful people that we work with. We’ve been reaching out to our community partners for more off-site adoptions since our kennel space is kind of at a premium now. Some people will be shopping in the mall on Saturday and have been thinking about adopting a dog or cat and will then make the decision right there. And that’s a big reason we go to a place like King of Prussia mall where there’s a lot of visibility.”
Introductions to the other human and animal family members are an important part of adopting any pet, Calgiano said.
“Although the mall isn’t normally a dog-friendly site, they are allowing people to come in with their dogs to meet a new dog to adopt that day,” Calgiano said, adding that Providence, which adopted out more than 4,000 animals last year, has streamlined the adoption process somewhat.
“We try to make it quick and we want to make it not too painstaking. And we understand that some pet rescues might think it’s done too quickly, but this has worked well for us. Some adoption processes can be a long wait and it can turn people off to the idea of adoption. That’s not what we want to do. We want to get people away from buying pets (from breeders, pet stores and puppy mills), and a lot of that has to so with (simplifying) the process. A lot of it is just educating people. Maybe they don’t know that you can get a puppy from a shelter. Maybe even if they’re not ready right then and there to adopt on Saturday they’ll come back and see us or another shelter or rescue in the future.”
References will be checked, of course, Calgiano said.
“And all family members have to meet the pet. There are some things that we believe are the best to do in placing a new pet. In the state of Pennsylvania an adoption must be finalized at a facility that has a kennel license, so we are working with Perfect Pooch in King of Prussia. Adopters will meet the dog at the mall and then make a quick six minute drive to the facility and do the finalization there. Cats can be adopted on the spot since there are no laws about cat adoptions.”
Adoption fees range from $25 for cats to $350 for puppies (10 percent discount will be offered on Saturday); and $200 for dogs (25 percent off on dogs and kittens on Saturday.)
All animals are fully vetted, spayed and neutered, vaccinated and microchipped.
‘We’re a nonprofit so a lot of ways that we can stay open and care for animals is through the adoption fees,” Calgiano noted.
Founded in 1911 as the Delaware County SPCA, Providence Animal Center is now a staff-run, volunteer-supported nonprofit that was transformed to a life-saving shelter in 2012, Calgiano explained.
“We made a decision to become a no-kill facility and we wanted to establish ourselves as our own unique organization rather than a branch of the SPCA,” she said. “The name was originally established because we were doing cruelty prevention in Delaware County, which we still are, but it’s of course not the only thing we do. We do adoptions and offer low cost (prevention-based) veterinary care as well. A number of our patrons are from Delaware County but it’s not a requirement.”
When the much-needed renovation is completed in the fall of 2019, the kennels will have heated floors and there will be a private area where prospective adopters can get to know an animal.
“Right now we don’t have any indoor space if you want a quiet space to meet with a dog. You have to go outside and do that, even if it’s 14 degrees out. So this will be great for that. We’ll have the same number of kennels but the area will be larger,” Calgiano said. “The footprint will be the same but with more functionality.”
Providence has an open but limited admission policy, so surrendered dogs are accepted by appointment only.
“We feel it’s not unreasonable to ask people for a little lead time when taking in an animal,” Calgiano said. “There are extenuating circumstances but it’s heartbreaking to see someone surrendering a pet. It’s so hard on a poor animal to be coming into a shelter when they lived their whole life with a family. We have prevention services in place to reduce the number of pets coming into a shelter but sometimes people are having a baby or moving and they don’t think that’s conducive to having a pet. Of course, some people view it differently but we’re not in a position to be helping them change their lifestyle. It’s a fine line.”
With a strong social media presence — “social media has led to so many adoptions for us; every time we post a photo of a dog on our Facebook page it gets shared,” Calgiano said — Providence is also blessed with an inordinate amount of fosters who will care for animals, including those coming in from out of state high-kill shelters, Calgiano said.
“There may be a mom who is pregnant at another shelter and she needs a safe place to have her babies, so some of these puppies have been birthed in foster homes by moms who were saved from euthanasia. It’s a very multi-faceted process. Usually puppies will go into a foster home for about two weeks, get spayed and neutered and vaccinated and then they come to this event. They’re mixed breeds and we’re not totally sure of their backgrounds, but they’re all wonderful dogs.”
When Providence became a no-kill shelter six years ago, the volunteers multiplied, Calgiano recalled.
“A lot of people want to be associated with a no-kill organization. I think when people see all the good work you’re doing they want to help you do it.”
For more information on the adoption process, visit providenceac.org.