Arizona, Come on down! To the grand Lebanese Adoption Event

It’s monumental! It’s historic! It’s ---- the first Best Friends super adoption event to take place in the Phoenix area!

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And the stars of the event? About 50 cats and 50 dogs from Beirut. They’ll be appearing at two PetSmarts in Arizona this weekend. The cats have been practicing their best purrs and the dogs have been voguing their cutest expressions, ready to melt the hearts of anyone coming by.

Troy Tamer from Petsmart helped put this event in motion.

"Usually, we do much smaller events of this kind, so this is going to be huge," he said. "Generally speaking, the adoptions are very exciting. And I think this one will be really great. We are thrilled to be working with Best Friends."

It’s not that the Beirut animals haven’t been enjoying their stay at Best Friends --- they have! But they’ve been living in transition for a long time now and would really like to settle down. If all goes according to plan this weekend, they will all take up permanent residence in new homes with forever families.

Troy said these adoption events usually attract as many as 1,000 people a day --- he’s expecting to beat those numbers easily.

"This creates a lot of excitement within the community," said Troy. "We’re expecting more traffic than usual. It’s not every day that we get cats and dogs from Lebanon."

For those of you living in the Phoenix area and are planning to meet these wonderful creatures, a word of caution: Don’t make any other plans for the day! You’ll want to spend all afternoon getting to know them. For instance, there’s McDo (pictured above left), a little black and white kitty with a big heart and a voice like Chewbakka from "Star Wars." Seriously! And then there’s Michelin, the torty with a white underbelly. She simply cannot get enough love. Just try walking away from her; it won’t be easy.

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Dog lovers will have a field day this weekend, as well. Anyone training for a marathon might enjoy the company of Flipper (pictured left), a cute white, shaggy mutt who never seems to run out of breath. Rocky (pictured below right), a husky mix, will also be waiting to greet you with a wagging tail. He loves to play but every now and then he’ll stop, come up to his person of the moment, and gently jump up to give hugs.

Each Beirut animal has their own tale to tell and everyone at Best Friends hopes all those tales come with "happily ever after" endings this weekend. Don Arnold volunteers more than 40 hours a week with the Beirut dogs. He sees this adoption event as a great opportunity.

"These are my babies," he said. "I love them all. I will be sad to see them go. But it would be the best thing in the world for these wonderful guys."

Even people who enjoyed the briefest of encounters with them fall in love. Ed and Tanya Gaus from Indianapolis spent a week visiting Best Friends. They enjoyed some quality time cuddling and cozying up to the Beirut beauties.

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"I’d just go and spend 20 minutes lovin’ on each of the dogs and cats," said Ed. "I’ve never seen such friendly, affectionate animals. They’re all wonderful. Each and every one."

The hope is that "each and every one" will find forever home this weekend.

"We’d love to see all the dogs and cats find their perfect match," said Troy. "We’re going to do everything we can on our end to make that happen."

Everyone who adopts a Beirut animal will receive a free bag of cat or dog food for your new companion’s homecoming dinner, and a PetSmart booklet filled with $150 of money-saving coupons.

The super adoption will take place from noon to 7 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at the Colonnade Petsmart, 1949 E. Camelback Road in Phoenix and at the Priest & Elliot PetSmart, 1315 W. Elliott Road in Tempe. For more information, call 602-248-8809 or 480-961-9710.

Read the Best Friends ongoing adoption event blog. To read the blog, click here.

Written by Amy Abern. Photos by Troy Snow.