Pet lovers flock to adoption event at Graham Park (video)
Tess Landi drove more than an hour to meet Preston, the dog she fell in love with online, at the second annual Super Adoption Event on Saturday at Graham Park in Rochester.
Landi, of Rosemount, was pre-approved by Camp Companion, a rescue organization that provides foster homes and medical care for homeless animals, to adopt a pet. She said Preston, a black spaniel and setter mix, was even better than he appeared in pictures.
"He's probably going in the car today (with Landi)," said Amanda Thiele, the dog's foster mom, who added that it took her 45 minutes to get a collar on him the first day he came home with her.
About 20 rescue groups and vendors participated in the 2012 Super Adoption Event, sponsored by the Rescued Animal Coalition of Southeast Minnesota.
The first event was held last year to increase public awareness of animal homelessness and provide a "one-stop shop" for the public to look for adoptive pets, said volunteer coordinator Becca Stiles-Nogosek.
She said there are many rural organizations, such as Andrea's Angels Rescue of Northfield, or specific breed organizations, such as Basset Buddies, that "open up that pool" for potential adopters and in turn decrease the number of homeless animals in the state.
"(People) just don't know how many homeless animals there are," she said. Events like this one also get people plugged in to fostering, she said.
Learning to trust
Benny and Javey had never had human contact until they moved in with foster mom Rebecca Kruetzfeldt, of Rochester.
The 14-month-old Norwegian Elkhound mixes were feral when she adopted them, Kruetzfeldt said. The brothers were two of 12 dogs that were not cared for by their owner, who "just threw food at them," she said.
When they moved in, Benny was confused when watching her touch her own dog, Kruetzfeldt said. But with love and attention, the pair are learning to trust people and be domesticated.
"Having leashes and collars is all new to (Benny)," she said.
Rebecca Isaacs, of Rochester, put in an application for both Benny and Javey on Saturday morning at the adoption event.
"We want them really bad," she said.
Only some of the rescue organizations allowed visitors to take home a pet on Saturday. Many have a screening process and a matching service, including Basset Buddies, said Lisa Turnquist, who is on Basset Buddies's board of directors.
The nonprofit currently has 48 basset hounds or basset mixes, known for their clownish personalities, that they provide medical care for, Turnquist said. Hoover, a former stray at the adoption event, needed surgery when he came to the organization about a month ago and is missing half of his toes and tail.
"He just loves everybody," Turnquist said, as Hoover rolled over for belly rubs from passers-by.
Landi wasn't the only one who fell in love at first sight. Laura Prow, of Rochester, only went to the adoption event to see the pup that one of her tenants wanted to adopt. But she wanted Lion, a kitten, the moment she saw his mismatched paw colors and calm demeanor.
"He's got tufts of hair in his ears; that's what did it," she said, asking the Steele County Humane Society to hold him for five minutes while she thought about adopting him.
Ultimately, Prow left empty-handed because she and her husband are leaving on a vacation this week, but she said she adopt him on her return.