One of the most heartwarming moments of 2019 took place earlier this month in Puerto Rico when we teamed up with the Humane Society of the United States to help five shelters hold the first island-wide adoptathon. 131 pets went to loving new homes in just seven hours that day.
It happened on Saturday, December 7, and participating shelters offered all animals for a $5 adoption fee. “The idea first arose during the Puerto Rican shelters’ stateside visit in October, when representatives from the organizations spent a whirlwind three days visiting Tampa-area shelters that demonstrated best practices,” said Dr. Sarah Kirk, who heads up the Puerto Rico project for the Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at UF. “Highlighted during that week was the concept of fee-waived or low adoption fees as a means of clearing the shelters and finding wonderful homes for shelter animals.”
Research has shown that the care provided to animals adopted through fee-waived events does not differ significantly than those animals adopted through non fee-waived events and that these animals were just as likely to remain in their new adoptive homes. In other words, the adopters’ attachment to their new family member was not dependent upon the amount of money they paid to adopt.
Dr. Kirk said, “And if finding loving homes for their shelter pets wasn’t enough, the Home for the Holidays adoption event allowed each shelter to showcase their organization and their value to the community. Many of these shelters have low-cost public clinics that provide spay-neuter and vaccines as well as food banks. Inviting the community to visit may also allow the shelters to gain new volunteers and donations to ‘pay it forward.'”
The participating shelters were:
- Santuario de Animales San Francisco de Asis
- Villa Michelle Albergue de Animales
- Centro de Control de Animales-Municipio de San Juan
- Centro de Control de Animales-Municipio de Carolina
- Humane Society of Puerto Rico
Working with them on this project has been an honor. We can’t wait to see what the New Year brings for the animals of Puerto Rico!