15,000 pets find new homes in national adoption event

In its fifth year, Maddie’s Pet Adoption Days, a free adoption event sponsored by billionaire couple Dave and Cheryl Duffield’s pet-saving foundation Maddie’s Fund, took place May 31 to June 1.

Reaching 591 cities, shelters in Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, New York, Nevada, Vermont, Virginia, and Wisconsin participated in last weekend’s unprecedented adoption marathon. Maddie’s Fund originally set aside $10 million dollars in donations to the participating shelters, but the group plans to provide a whole lot more than that after the success of the weekend.

While the original goal for the multistate pet adopt-a-thon was to find new homes for 10,000 shelter pets, that goal was not only reached, but surpassed. In only two short days, a whopping 15,000 homeless animals found families — that’s a 78 percent improvement over last year’s 8,432 adoptions.

“As we near our goal of a no-kill nation by 2015, we are thrilled at the sheer number of people who visited all of the locations over the weekend,” Maddie’s Fund President Rich Avanzino said in a statement. “We congratulate the groups on a successful event, and applaud the thousands of people who opened their hearts and homes to a shelter pet this weekend.”

One of the 15,000 lucky pets adopted during Maddie’s Pet Adoption Days 2014, a small Miniature Schnauzer puppy, has a very special new owner indeed — Maddie’s Fund founders Dave and Cheryl Duffield. The Duffields adopted the pint-sized pooch from California’s own East of Eden K-9 Rescue because she reminded them of their foundation’s beloved namesake, their late dog, Maddie.

“Each year, Cheryl and I see the spirit of Maddie at every adoption location we visit,” Dave Duffield says. “It’s a tribute to her legacy and the power of one little dog to inspire a movement and bring communities together to find thousands of animals loving homes.”

All of the shelters involved never could have anticipated the effect “America’s Biggest Free Pet Adoption Event” would have in their communities.

For the 12 Vermont shelters that participated in last weekend’s event, including the Windham County Humane Society, the North Country Animal League, Good Karma Rescue, and others, Maddie’s Pet Adoption Days events in their state were nothing short of a rousing success.

“Hundreds of staff and volunteers prepped for weeks to rescue dogs and cats from high kill regions and to ready our own shelter animals for this weekend,” lead agent with participating shelter the Humane Society of Chittenden County, Jeanne Chenoweth, tells VTDigger.org. “None of us could imagine the thousands of people who came and the 733 lucky families who have a new best friend thanks to the generous Duffield family. We have learned so much about the spirit and the love that animals generate.”

In Alachua County, Florida, where the Alachua County Humane Society, Gainesville Pet Rescue, and Alachua County Animal Services shelters all came together for last weekend’s amazing event, 856 animals were adopted, including a 3-year-old Boxer mix named Patsy, who’d been at the animal services shelter since December.

“It was nice to finally see her find her forever home,” Adoption Coordinator Dory Rosati tells The Gainesville Sun.

And at the Arizona Humane Society, all but one of the 514 pets the shelter brought to the adopt-a-thon found new homes by the event’s closing on June 1. Only one dog, 4-year-old Pit Bull Terrier Madeline, remained. Madeline had been brought to the shelter after her owner fell ill and could no longer care for the sweet dog.

When they learned that Madeline was the “last dog standing” after a report on 3TV News, Kim and Eli Beckman knew what they needed to do. The Beckmans arrived at the Arizona Humane Society shelter Tuesday morning ready to adopt Madeline and give her the family she so deserves.

Maddie’s Pet Adoption Days 2014 might be over, but there are still plenty of homeless pets looking for forever families at animal shelters all across the country. Check out our Adoptable Animal Finder and find your new best friend today.

Sources: 3TV News, The Gainesville Sun, VTDigger.org, MaddiesFund.org, DogChannel.com

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