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August 19, 2009 > Successful animal adoption

Successful animal adoption

By Simon Wong
Photos By Courtesy of Christina Gin

Hayward Animal Shelter's Adoption Event on August 8 and 9 proved to be a great success. Staff and volunteers welcomed potential adopters and placed a dove, two rabbits, four dogs, an adult cat and 13 kittens in new homes. This is seven times the number of animals that find a new owner in a typical weekend.

For the uninitiated, an animal shelter might be perceived as an uninviting place. This is not the case. The shelter is both an adoption center and a hospital. Staff and volunteers invest a tremendous amount of behind-the-scenes work in the welfare of their charges. This is obvious when given a tour of the entire facility.

Front-of-house has a charming, kindergarten-like ambience - bright, airy, clean and colorful. Furballs and critters in excellent health lazed in small, towel-hammocks as visitors searched for their ideal pet.

The hospital function, out-of-bounds to the public, is impressive. Even the starchiest matron would approve. Maternity wards, isolation wards, a reception room with bath and shower for new arrivals and examination rooms are all there.

What the public also misses is the ancillary work. There is a preparation kitchen, laundry room with industrial-sized washer and dryer and warehousing for feed, supplies and equipment.

The Shelter takes the business of adoption seriously and so should new owners. Prospective pet-owners must complete a three-page questionnaire designed to raise their awareness of the issues and commitment to an animal companion. All family members must be present to see if there is a rapport between them and the new addition. Staff discussion with clients also reveals other important factors that determine eligibility to adopt. Sometimes pet and potential owner are incompatible; sometimes the meetings end successfully.

"Cats will use a litter tray but a dog will soil your home. We don't allow anyone to leave with a dog or puppy until they've registered for training classes that provide house-training, obedience and other necessary skills," explained Hilary Drake, Volunteer Coordinator. "We do our utmost to place each animal with a good and responsible home."

"Some of our funding comes from the Hayward Police Department's budget. We aren't profitable. We rely heavily on the kindness and generosity of donors and vets who reduce their fees for us when an animal requires surgery or other treatment. Our adoption fees cover spay and neuter surgery and vaccinations," added Drake.

The Hayward Animal Shelter also works closely with Hayward-based Sunshine Rescue Group and other animal welfare agencies. The non-profit, manned entirely by volunteers and wholly reliant upon public donations, specializes in feline rescue, treatment, release and adoption. On Saturdays, Sunshine Rescue is responsible for adoption outreach at PetSmart, San Leandro, finding homes for many of the cats and kittens from the Shelter.

Sadly, the most endearing animals prove the most popular. The public prefers kittens to cats, puppies to dogs, bunnies to rabbits and color to black-and-white.

"There are various reasons for this. In America, black cats are considered unlucky which is the not the case elsewhere. Most people prefer cute to full-grown and deem black-and-white as less attractive than colorful fur," agreed Drake and volunteer Christina Gin.

"Look out for The Black and White Furball, our adoption event in October. That's when we'll showcase black-and-white, piebald animals. We look forward to the public's continued support."

For more information, visit the Hayward Animal Shelter, 16 Barnes Court, Hayward or call (510) 293 7200. To contact the Sunshine Rescue Group, call (510) 372 0736 or visit

Adoption Fees

Female cats/kittens: $107
Male cats/kittens: $97
Female dogs/puppies: $166.50
Male dogs/puppies: $141.50
Female rabbits: $85.
Male rabbits: $70.
All other animals - turtles, hamsters, guinea pigs, birds, reptiles, etc.: $20.

If the adopter lives outside the City of Hayward, the license fee is deducted.

If a pet enters the shelter already spayed or neutered, the fee is reduced because the shelter does not have to subsidize the procedure.

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