10 highlights from adoption center’s first year

While Best Friends Animal Society-Utah has been saving animals in Salt Lake City since 1999, this past year marked a new beginning, solidified by mortar and concrete. The Best Friends Pet Adoption Center in Utah, which officially opened July 13, 2013, in Salt Lake City, is an impressive addition to Best Friends’ lifesaving efforts there, bolstering our NKUT (No-Kill Utah) initiative. In addition to being an adoption center, it’s a community resource center, a place where volunteers gather, and a place where pet lovers and animal welfare advocates receive support.

It’s been a busy, memorable first year for the center, full of accomplishments that contribute to Best Friends’ goal of making Utah a no-kill state by 2019. Below are 10 highlights from the center’s first year — each important in reaching the overall goal to Save Them All.

10. Tons of sustenance from the pet food pantry

Assisting community cat caregivers and low-income folks who need help feeding their pets, the Best Friends pet food pantry has distributed more than 15,000 pounds of donated pet food.

Spunky the tuxedo cat in his new home9. Reunited and it feels so good

Spunky, one of the cats who was featured in stunning black and white NKUT initiative posters, was feeling a bit blue. He was adopted but then returned when his college student adopter’s landlord wouldn’t allow the cat. But on May 27, with master’s degree in hand and new digs, the adopter returned and the deal was sealed.

8. A very “Modern Family,” in time for New Year’s Eve

Maggie, a senior beagle originally rescued by Salt Lake County Animal Services, landed a pack of her own. Actor Reid Ewing of the television show “Modern Family” met her, fell in love and adopted Maggie from the adoption center.

7. “Sveneth" heaven

Sven, the adorable first kitten to leave the Best Friends Kitten Nursery and be admitted to the adoption center, was adopted in April. His adopter spied him through the window and couldn’t resist his charms.

6. New and veteran volunteers

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the day Chuck Austin first volunteered with Best Friends in Salt Lake City. On a recent weekly visit to help out at the adoption center, he got a surprise that all of us in animal welfare would love to have every day. On arrival, he noticed there were so many busy volunteers that all the dogs were already being walked.

5. Every dog has his day, or month

To help give every animal a chance to shine, the adoption center in May held its Back in Black adoption promotion (featuring a reduced adoption fee for mostly black animals), which helped a whopping 130 pets find good homes.

Actor Reid Ewing adopts Maggie the dog4. Eight days a week?

In March of this year, the adoption center increased its open hours from five to seven days a week, giving people more opportunity to come in and adopt a pet.

3. Adoption gem

A sweet pit bull terrier mix named Ruby entered Salt Lake County Animal Services with an injured leg. After she received medical attention, she was transferred to the adoption center. While she may have lost a leg, she quickly gained a loving, forever home.

2. Feline pair “retire” from the office

Click and Clack, a pair of community cats, were rescued during a trap/neuter/return project. After learning they were friendly, the caregiver made it possible for them to be brought to Best Friends, where for more than six years they were office cats. But this spring, the brothers had good reason to ditch their 9 to 5 gig — settling into their new, forever home.

1. 1,000th adoption and a banner month

One day shy of the first anniversary of the opening of the Best Friends Pet Adoption Center, two kittens named Byron and Sukie were adopted together, pushing adoptions for the year to the 1,000 mark. June also proved to be a record month for animals finding forever homes — a chart-topping 245 adoptions.

Learn more about the Best Friends Pet Adoption Center in Salt Lake City.

Photos by Best Friends staff and Rebecca Maguire