Super adoption celebration in New York

Best Friends helps hundreds of New York dogs and cats find homes for the holidays.
By Kelli Harmon

Even Santa Claus visited the New York Super AdoptionOn an especially warm December day, a crowd had gathered outside the Altman building in Manhattan for a very special purpose. Inside, Best Friends staff and volunteers, people from Animal Care Centers of New York City and many other shelters and rescues had been setting up for hours after planning for weeks in preparation for this moment.

They’d brought more than 400 homeless pets to the Best Friends Super Adoption, presented by BOBS from Skechers, and judging from the long line outside, it was clear that New Yorkers were eager to meet those pets.

Pet adoption gets a warm welcome

Elizabeth Jensen, executive director of Best Friends–New York describes how, when the event opened, staff and volunteers gathered at the entrance to applaud people coming in after they’d lined up outside to wait.

She says when people began to stream into the building, “We clapped and clapped, then started laughing because our hands were getting sore from all that clapping. And people kept pouring in. I couldn't believe it. Hundreds of people waited outside on that beautiful December day — all for the purpose of saving lives.”

Over the course of the three-day event, more than 8,000 people visited — some just to gather with others who love animals, and some to bring home a new pet. Every single adoption was cause for celebration, which was part of the fun, too. Staff members rang a bell each time a pet got adopted, causing the crowd to send up a cheer every few minutes.

Amy Davila, Best Friends–New York marketing manager says, “It felt like a constant celebration of saving lives. I started to feel trained to cheer and clap when the bell rang, but all that happy energy was one of my favorite things about the event.”

Nomo and The Dream Team

Nomo found his new person at the New York Super Adoption thanks to The Dream TeamHelping pets find new homes was the most important goal of the event, and New Yorkers responded in a big way by adopting pets of all shapes and sizes. One extra special adoption was made possible by The Dream Team, part of The Society of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Two women undergoing cancer treatment dreamed of adopting dogs to be their constant companions during a difficult time. And a dedicated Best Friends volunteer who also happens to be on The Dream Team helped make their dreams come true at the super adoption. Both women adopted dogs from Best Friends No More Homeless Pets Network partner Carolina Poodle Rescue, which brought several dogs to the event. That’s how Nomo, a ridiculously cute beagle-basset hound mix found his home. (Carolina Poodle Rescue helps many other types of dogs in addition to poodles).

As Nomo met his potential new person, everyone who stood by to watch felt he was following his true calling. When the woman invited him up into her wheelchair, “He just melted in her lap,” Amy says. “It was like he knew he was destined to cuddle with her. And just knowing that he’s going to be providing her comfort and cheer had us all in tears.”

Celebrity support (both canine and human)

Saturday Night Live alumnus Kevin Nealon with a puppy palWhile adoptions were taking place fast and furious(ly), a few celebrities came by to lend their support and encourage more New Yorkers to come out and meet the pets. Victoria’s Secret model Lindsay Ellingson, Saturday Night Live alumnus Kevin Nealon and Jackie Cruz from Netflix’s series Orange is the New Black all spent time cuddling with the dogs and cats, while also spreading the word about adoption through social media.

Several “celebridogs” made appearances as well, in order to meet their fans and encourage their thousands of Instagram followers to come out and adopt. Chloe Kardoggian, Walter Cronkite, Ella Bean, Chloe The Mini Frenchie, Royce The Frenchie and Samson The Dood took shifts meeting their followers and posing for photos.

Homes for the holidays

When the dust settled and the event came to a close, more than 300 pets had found new homes just in time for the holidays. Animal Care Centers of New York City (which Best Friends supports by taking pets into its New York adoption program from this shelter) found homes for nearly all the cats they brought to the event.

Many of the rescue groups finalized adoptions the following week, so the joy carries on as even more pets are arriving at their new homes throughout the week.

Elizabeth says, “Seeing the huge impact we can make by working together gets me incredibly excited about what we can accomplish here in New York. Between the local rescue groups we partner with, the caring New York adopters and donors who support us, I know for sure we have all the tools we need to help achieve and maintain no-kill here in New York City.”

Get involved

  • Looking for a holiday gift that gives back? The Symbolic Gift Ideas page is the perfect place to find a truly meaningful gift for those who are most special to you.
  • Adopt your own bundle of joy this holiday season by adopting a pet for just $25 from Best Friends or one of our nationwide No More Homeless Pets Network partners though December with Best Friends’ Bring Joy to Your World promotion
  • Learn more about how Best Friends is working to help New York City reach and maintain no-kill for pets at

Photos by Marshall Boprey and Cesar Brito