For the fourth year in a row, Oakland Animal Services (OAS) participated in Maddie’s Pet Adoption Days, a weekend full of matchmaking success and tales beyond the tails. At the end of the two marathon-like days—driven by the unflagging spirit and strength of more than 75 volunteers, devoted shelter staff, and many friends and supporters—OAS tallied new-home matches for 110 cats, dogs, kittens, and puppies. And, once again, the list of now “former OAS residents” included a whole new batch of stories.
Some of the weekend’s stories, such as that of Dingo, tell of the determination of the adopters. Dingo looked like any number of dogs labeled “terrier mixes” at OAS, and had an exuberant personality as well. A Dingo-loving volunteer purchased a DNA analysis to see what was really inside that spirit. Turns out the dog was a mix of Collie, German Shorthaired Pointer, Greyhound, and Italian Greyhound mix. Who would have thought that? Volunteers also taught Dingo to “fetch” and “sit” and even do some agility tricks. The young dog loved training and got pretty good at his skills over the months, which was captured on video and posted on Petfinder.com. This video caught the eye of Avery and his mom, who came to meet Dingo just before the Maddie’s event. The dog’s energy was perfect for a kid, and everyone fell in love. That night, mom and son downloaded Dingo’s photo from Petfinder and printed it on the boy’s T-shirt with the words, “I am Dingo’s new human (ball thrower).” Taking no chances, they arrived at 7:30 a.m. Saturday to be first in line when the doors opened and made Dingo part of their family.
Or take Celia, an older cat who’d been at the shelter for months. She had two things working against her: She was a black cat, and she was a senior. Her original guardian had lost her home and abandoned Celia and another cat on the property. A neighbor had promised to feed them but didn’t. Thankfully, a different neighbor stepped in, eventually bringing them to OAS. Although the original guardian wanted them back, she admitted that she was still without a permanent home and that if she got the cats back, she would take them back to where they had been found—her old property—to be “cared for” by the same neighbor who had failed to care for them before. So Celia sat, until the Maddie’s weekend, when an interested family eventually adopted her—black cat, senior cat, and all. Without a doubt, her adoption brought the loudest cheer of the weekend.
And, finally, there’s Remington, a handsome gray cat who was pure music to they ears (and eyes) of a couple and their son. The family had made a point of waiting to adopt until Maddie’s Pet Adoption Days so that the adoption would bring the shelter a donation. They had a special requirement: They came to the shelter with a mandolin in tow. Now, adopters often ask for cat-cat tests, dog-dog tests, and even cat-dog tests, but volunteers have never witnessed a cat-mandolin test. The man explained that they were interested in adopting a cat, but because he often plays his mandolin—as well as his banjo and guitar—he wanted to make sure that any cat his family adopted would tolerate the music.
The family first visited with Nougat, a pretty, young female. New to the adoption galleries and stressed by the crowds at the shelter that weekend, she simply hated the mandolin’s sound (everyone’s a critic!) and made no secret of it by jumping at the door to escape it. Then came Remington, and for him, it was love at first sight . . . and sound . . . and the family felt the same. [Mandolin] case closed on another potentially great adoption.
These are just a few of the stories that emerged from Maddie’s Pet Adoption Days. Some stories are simple, while others that involve favorite or long-term cats or dogs bring cheers and applause. Each story, however, is just the beginning for these creatures; their real story is about to begin outside of the shelter, in loving homes where they belong.