RANCHO SANTA FE — During Veterans Day weekend, Helen Woodward Animal Center held an adoption event to give the dogs and cats in its care new homes. Veterans who applied for adoption had their fees waived.
During adoptions, Director of Operations Jennifer Shorey bustled about, meeting with potential adoptees and managing her animal care technicians (ACTs), who took potential adoptees and animals outside into one of three closed-off recreation areas.
These long, rectangular pens with turf ground, toys and large gazebos provided a space for people to interact with animals they were interested in adopting. Some smaller, dedicated meeting rooms were also available for people to interact with animals in.
The center’s cats are kept in the Twinkle & Zinger Feline Center. Some of the cats — Wheat, Barley, Pie, Medusa, Dracula, etc. — were paired together in enclosures because they had bonded; visitors were encouraged to adopt these animals in pairs.
As for the dogs, they were held in the Kent Hauschulz Canine Center. They were more popular than the cats, with multiple families visiting the much larger enclosures at a time. Dogs like Winston, Wrangler and Candy barked and pawed at passing humans, whilst others slept.
The center staff took pictures with adoptees before families took home their new pets, and their gift shop was open for visitors to purchase leashes, food, toys and more.
In 2018, the center had 2,740 adoptions, 2,016 of which were from animals placed in foster homes. The center provides foster homes with the resources to make fosters successful, including toys, food, and newspapers for sanitary purposes. Though staff admits that there was some degree of “foster failure,” it only means that the foster caretaker ended up adopting some of the animals in their care.
The center also participates in another program in order to have animals adopted over the holidays. “Home 4 the Holidays” is three-month adoption drive that encourages people to adopt animals, instead of buying them from mills and backyard breeders. The drive consists of a network of at least 4,000 shelters and is credited for saving over 16 million pets.
Anyone interested in adopting an animal from the HWAC can find out more at animalcenter.org.
Alex Wehrung covers Rancho Santa Fe and theatre-related news in North County. He previously reported for The Daily Nexus in Santa Barbara, CA and the Escondido Times-Advocate in Escondido, CA.