Super season

Best Friends New York–area Super Adoption wrapped up a three-day, feel-good celebration of homeless pets going to loving new homes yesterday afternoon with 360 pets out the door and dozens of additional adoption applications to sift through for more pet/people matchups in the days following the event. This weekend saw the first in a series of “supers” hosted by Best Friends that include Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, as well as St. George, Utah, which was held this past Friday and Saturday and placed 140 dogs and cats.

The New York event was held at the Westchester County Center in White Plains, New York, a sturdy municipal auditorium that my friends and I used to go to in the ’50s and ’60s to catch the touring Harlem Globetrotters, various blues/rock acts and even wrestling in the days of Killer Kowalski and Gorgeous George. However, rather than a wrestling ring or a basketball court, the place was loaded up with portable kennels, about 700 dogs and cats, 300 volunteers, including 10 trainers, and lots of happy people in search of their new best friends.

One of the volunteers on hand was Emma Kenney, the young star of the ensemble cast of Showtime’s “Shameless.” Emma drew a crowd, but more importantly she was tweeting to her followers and getting out the word about pet adoptions. We caught Emma on video having fun with the animals and sharing her insights into animal issues. What a great way to get kids to steer their parents to the shelter for their next pet. Go, Emma!

Super adoptions are intended to be high-volume adoption affairs that make an impact on local shelter populations, but we shouldn’t overlook those special-needs sweeties – such as a mostly blind cat, Isis, and a one-eyed dog, Gala, who found great homes – and the wonderful folks who go out of their way to accommodate them as their way of contributing to the cause.

Dobbie, a 15-year-old dachshund came from a breeding/hoarding situation that Pets Alive assisted with. Dobbie is a staff favorite – he's got no teeth, but he still grins.

Dobbie was adopted by Gary Rockfield and Lesta Cordil, who explain,"We always adopt older dogs, and we feel it's one thing we can do. Rescue dogs are so happy, grateful and loyal.”

When Best Friends volunteer Elizabeth McKeon saw Portia, a little pit mix who had been born with deformed hind legs, she didn’t see a problem: "I was looking at her on the inside, and I saw she's an awesome dog." Elizabeth, who is also a dog trainer, plans on working with Portia to help her become a therapy dog, so she can help children and veterans who might be struggling with birth deformities or lost limbs. Portia demonstrates an indomitable, positive spirit and helps people to understand that everyone deserves dignity and respect.

These events advance the cause in so may ways – with or without a formal coalition, super adoptions provide the framework for collaboration and mutual support, with every group focused on offering the best of our movement to the public. They also elevate public awareness of the issues and are invariably newsworthy occasions that draw the media and show a wider public what great animals are waiting for them at their local shelter or rescue and how they can help by adopting their next pet. They are celebratory, life-affirming occasions that truly embody the spirit of rescue and no-kill.

I want to leave you with a great video shot and edited by Brooklyn resident Sarah Oren Brasky, CEO of Foster Dogs, Inc. and founder of the Dog Matchmaker.

Next up: the Best Friends NKLA Super Adoption at La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles next Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Francis Battista