You know the song “How much is that doggie in the window?” Well, during the holidays, that doggie in the window is available for adoption.
The windows at Macy’s at the corner of O’Farrell and Stockton streets in San Francisco are filled with adoptable puppies and kittens. At Kiehl’s on Fillmore, a photographer was taking holiday dog photos. A pen of adoptable senior dogs was ready to play and find their forever homes at a holiday fair at Seven Stills Distillery.
The holidays are a unique time for shelters and rescues. Most will receive the largest portion of donations during the holidays but see fewer adoptions, despite the puppy under the Christmas tree cliché.
In order to raise awareness, increase adoptions, and get more donations, shelters and rescues will hold special holiday events. Across the city and the country, shelters and rescues, big and small, are doing everything they can during the holidays to raise money and find dogs their forever homes.
“The holidays are a great time for fundraising because there is a mindset in the community of doing well, helping others, and helping others less fortunate,” said Erick Smith of Muttville, a cage free senior dog rescue based in San Francisco. “So it is a time to remind people that there is a lot of dogs that are looking for homes.”
“It’s very sad and unfortunate, but some families will get rid of their dogs at this time of the year,” Smith continues. “Either for economic purposes or they want a new, shiny, young dog, a puppy. And so the seniors, a lot end up in shelters. It’s really important to help them find forever homes.”
Muttville is holding special events such as an adoption event at an ice rink at the Embarcadero, participating in a holiday fair at Seven Stills Distillery, holding Wagging Wonderland Wednesday adoption events, and other events in order to raise money and find homes for their adoptable dogs this holiday season.
“December can be a very slow time for adoptions, so we are trying to make a very big push for adoptions in December,” Smith said. “We are running a campaign called ‘home for the holidays’ where we are trying to bring awareness for available dogs this time of year and invite people in to meet their new best friend.”
They are just one of the rescues and shelters that is doing more for the holidays.
“It is definitely a big time for fundraising,” said Jill Leiva of Copper’s Dream. “People are in the giving spirit.”
Copper’s Dream is another San Francisco rescue that is hoping to catch people in the holiday spirit. They are a foster-based, all-breed rescue that has dogs ranging from puppies to seniors.
Leiva notes that adoptions slow down closer to the holidays but fundraising is more successful. With the constant influx of dogs, donations are a rescue’s lifeline. One hundred percent of donations at Copper’s Dream go directly to their medical fund, while adoption fees help with the overhead of running the rescue.
Copper’s Dream participated in Giving Tuesday, which brought six thousand dollars for the rescue. They also had holiday photos at Kiehl’s as a way to raise money. Unfortunately, as it often does in rescue, the money went straight to medical bills.
“Just had two heart surgeries on puppies, had a knee surgery, and a major fractured tooth removal that put us well over ten thousand dollars in a month’s time,” said Leiva. “It goes quickly.”
At Muttville, the average amount spent on a dog to get it ready for adoption is sixteen hundred dollars.
“The more money we can bring in, the more money we can use to save dogs,” said Smith. “The biggest expense we incur is for medical treatment. Most of our dogs had not seen a veterinarian in a very long time or some of them have never seen a veterinarian.”
Larger shelters are also using the holidays to raise money and increase adoptions.
The San Francisco SPCA has events such as photos with Santa and a puppy playpen to raise money. They also have adoptable puppies and kittens in the holiday windows at Macy’s in Union Square.
According to the SF SPCA, they have had over one hundred adoptions from their holiday windows so far this year and still have a few weeks left to go.
While adoptions are usually down at most places for the holidays, the holidays are actually the perfect time to welcome a new furry family member.
“I think that it is great when you first adopt a dog if you are home more often,” said Samantha Benedict of Muttville. “It gives the dog a little more time to adjust and people do have a lot more time off during the holidays. Plus everyone is just in a better mood around the holidays.”
For those that don’t feel up to a permanent furry family member, another option to get a dog home for the holidays is fostering.
As a foster-based rescue, Copper’s Dream is always looking for fosters. Alyce Yetso of Copper’s Dream notes that fosters for moms with puppies and larger adult dogs are the hardest to find.
“It doesn’t matter if you have dog experience or not, we can find a dog that will fit in your house,” said Yetso.
As far as rescue dogs are concerned, anything people can do to help make the howlidays a little happier is worth a lot of love from Santa Paws.