I am a crazy cat (and dog) lady, so I was over the moon when the San Francisco SPCA emailed The Bold Italic to ask if we'd want a behind-the-scenes tour of their Holiday Windows at Macy's. This annual dog and cat adoption event is pretty much the only reason I dare to tread the crowded downtown streets during the holidays. Because if you're having a shopping meltdown, there's nothing that can calm the nerves better than a precious kitten or puppy face, no?
But all these cute kitties and puppies aren't just for people to fawn and coo over. For the last 26 years, the SF SPCA has partnered with Macy's to find homes for cats and dogs in need of homes. Last year, 325 animals were adopted from the campaign (!), and this year, they've already adopted 102 four-legged friends since kicking off the Holiday Windows on November 16. That's 102 dogs and cats that were rescued from shelters, rather than bought from breeders and pet stores – nice work, San Francisco!
You'll notice that most of the furballs in the Holidays Windows are young'ens. Of course, it's partly because everyone loves baby animals, but it also is because of the size of the window displays (sorry, no Great Dane puppies here) and the good-natured temperaments of kittens and puppies. As one of the SF SPCA volunteers explained to me, kittens are cool with people tapping on the windows and staring at them, but lots of older cats wouldn't be down (Snowball don't play that).
Unfortunately, it's the older animals who could use a bit more help in getting adopted. Babies are cake, seniors aren't so easy to adopt. Fortunately, there are people (including me) who prefer the oldies for their mellower 'tudes.
I really hope Revere, this handsome black three-year-old feline dude below, finds a home! He's FIV-positive and needs a human partner in crime with whom to spend some quality time.
In case you were wondering, the pets who are featured in the windows don't stay in the displays for hours and hours, or even overnight. There are always SF SPCA staffers and volunteers around who make sure that everyone is comfortable, with enough food and water, and a clean (poop and pee-free) environment. The animals are taken out and given breaks or walks when needed, and at the end of the day, they're taken back to the shelter.
Looks like Buffy, a one-month-old shepherd mix, needed a little post-kibble snooze.
Shortly after I caught her napping, she was given a little outside time with this SF SPCA volunteer.
I also met a few of the "stand-in" cats, who were waiting in the wings for their moment of glory. I fell in love with Jonagold, below, who was intent on batting at my camera strap.
The SF SPCA is careful about who adopts these precious little fur kids. It is the holidays, afterall, and it can be all to easy to be swayed by sweet puppy dog eyes. To make sure that none of these are impulse adoptions, the SF SPCA has staff on hand to insure that animals are going to good homes, and that adopters are aware that they're getting into a serious, life-long commitment by owning a pet. Adopters have to be at least 18 years old and have a valid ID, live where pets are allowed (if your landlord says no pets, don't risk it by taking in a pet you can't keep), and in some cases, attend training classes for your new best friend.
If you pass all the requirements and pay the adoption fee ($50-$100 for cats; $90-$250 for dogs), you get to bring home an awesome buddy, and one who comes with some great bells and whistles: free first vet exam, a microchip, up-to-date vaccinations, a pre-adoption behavior and medical evaluation, spay/neuter surgery, and more.
Better yet, through January 1, 2013, it's 100% FREE to adopt a cat or dog 6 months or older from the SF SPCA Adoption Center (250 Florida Street in the Mission).