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One Week, Seven Amazing Stories

Incredible stories from opening week at our new Lantos Center.

We’ve been open for adoptions at our new Lantos Center for just a week, and have been overwhelmed in the very best way.  For today’s column, I thought I’d share some of the opening week successes. 

On day one, we placed 27 pets into new, loving homes.  This was a single-day record, excluding a few special events at our old digs where we stayed open until midnight. 

Among the pets adopted were a bonded pair of older cats -- Tigger, age 10, and Jazz, 13, by a Pacifica resident. This duo had been passed over for months at our old adoption center. On this same day, Rudy also found his new person. Rudy, a little Chihuahua mix, had been with us for close to two years! That’s not a typo.  Staff and volunteers never gave up on him; in fact, the folks who walked him and played with him daily kept him mentally healthy and ready for his eventual home. 

Charlie was also adopted in week one. A middle-aged man who had spent time down on his luck and battling homelessness and who was forced to surrender his cat to a shelter a few years ago at the height of his tough times, visited our Lantos Center after talking to his doctor and case worker about adopting a pet. They both thought it would be good for him, now that he is employed and in housing. Charlie, the cat who caught his eye and stole his heart, was surrendered to us in July when his former owner lost a home due to financial reasons. The fact that our new friend chose Charlie was just another sign that we had something special going on in our new center. 

Near the end of the week, we celebrated when another bonded pair -- Chihuahuas named Cucho and Tilico -- found their new person at our center. A mother and daughter adopted the somewhat famous brothers, who graduated from our TAILS (Transitioning Animals Into Loving Situations) program, which pairs shelter dogs with inmates in a minimum-security facility for eight weeks. We’ve collaborated with the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office for two years to develop and run TAILS, and had found a new home for every dog except the diminutive brothers.  Now, we’re perfect!

And, up on our second floor, between dogs on level one and cats on level three, we had something remarkable happen.  In the room where we house adoptable pet birds, staff and volunteers noticed that we had a frequent visitor who was actually ripping the window screen where we had two cockatiels up for adoption. Their visitor was another cockatiel, obviously a well-cared for pet who had become stray, found his kind at our Center, and wanted in! All three were adopted by a family from Marin County.

That’s not all. One visitor called our new Lantos Center “better than Disneyworld,” and another, a 10 year-old, said the center felt like an art gallery.  Probably because of the incredible, original photos of PHS and SPCA shelter pets, donated to us by Frolic Photography.

We’ve never seen the amount of interested adopters as we have this past week.  Everyone enters and exits with a smile, even if they don’t find the pet of their dreams! Children literally run or skip from dog dorm to dog dorm, or cat condo to cat condo, and they don’t hold their ears because of the noise and cut their visit short like they did when our adoptable animals were housed at the Coyote Point shelter.  And all visitors, old and young, stare in awe at the Doggie Diner head we’ve displayed.  Those my age or older who’ve lived on the peninsula quickly recognize this piece of Bay Area nostalgia.

Tigger, Jazz, Rudy, Charlie, Cucho, Tilico, a stray cockatiel who broke in to get adopted, tons of little kids running all over the place, lots of giddy adults and one huge Doggie Diner head. This is what we’ve been waiting for – this is what our animals and residents deserve. 

Can’t wait to see what happens this week.

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