Moses Hunt wiped away tears as he told the story of his 19-year-old cat, Lucky, who died two weeks ago.
“He was like my second son,” explained Moses, who was first in line with his two teenage children, Jaylynn and Kameen, at the fourth annual Clear the Shelters adoption event at the ASPCA Adoption Center on Saturday, August 18.
The family hoped to adopt a kitten because, as Moses explained, “We want to have him or her for a long time.”
As ASPCA volunteer John Nugra escorted the family into one of several rooms full of kittens, a spunky tabby named Wolfie caught their attention.
Moses Hunt and his daughter, Jaylynn, with Wolfie.
“She ran right to Jaylynn,” said Moses. “It’s like she picked us.”
The Clear the Shelters initiative, sponsored by NBCUniversal, is a nationwide call for adoption. More than 900 shelters participated this year, including the ASPCA Adoption Center in New York and Baldwin Park and Downey Animal Care Centers in Los Angeles County.
In New York, 73 animals—mostly cats—found new homes. “We’re in the middle of kitten season, the annual high-breeding period that runs through spring and summer, so we’re happy so many cats and kittens found homes,” said Rena Lafaille, Administrative Manager of the ASPCA Adoption Center.
Rozanna Weinberger of Manhattan was looking for a match for her cat, Rosie, who recently lost her best buddy, another cat named Sunny. When she saw Owen, a white kitten with black markings, it was love at first sight.
Left: Rozanna Weinberger of Manhattan with her newly adopted kitten, Owen. Right: At the ASPCA in Manhattan, a line for Clear the Shelters formed at 7:30 A.M.
“Rosie misses Sunny so much, and she needs attention 24/7,” Rozanna explained. “I’m hoping Rosie and Owen hit it off.” In an email to the ASPCA a few hours later, she happily reported that they had.
As Ronald Forehand of the Bronx completed his adoption paperwork, he spoke lovingly of his previous cat, Casey, whom he found on the streets as a kitten 17 years ago and who sadly died three months ago.
“When Casey died, it was really hard on me,” he said. “It took everything I had to come down here, but I knew I had to do it.” After seeing a television segment promoting the event, Ronald purchased cat food, a new litter box and a carrier. “All I needed was a cat,” he said. It turned out that an eight-week-old, black kitten named Hugo fit the bill purrfectly.
Ronald Forehand of the Bronx with Hugo.
Will Kaplan, an ASPCA volunteer for the past 12 years, enjoyed helping potential adopters on this busy day. “It’s really a team effort, and it’s a good feeling seeing so many animals getting homes.”
“It makes me a little bit teary to see my babies getting adopted,” admitted Jackelien Matto, a caregiver in the ASPCA Kitten Nursery, where many of the kittens were nursed and cared for until they were old enough for adoption. “It’s bittersweet.”
Yoko Fujita and her seven-year-old daughter, Anjyu, adopted Frieda, a three-month-old kitten, as a playmate for their cat Kiki. After Chloe Campos, a Kitten Nursery caregiver, outfitted Frieda (now Luna) with a new collar, Anjyu proudly posed for photos.
Anjyu Fujita and her newly adopted kitten, Luna.
“Cats steal people’s hearts,” said Rozanna, as she, too, cuddled her new-found Owen nearby. “This is always a special day. When you adopt a pet, it’s a day you never forget.”
Despite being a feline-focused event—68 cats were adopted from our Adoption Center—five dogs also found new homes, including Jah, a blind pit bull-mix adopted by Steven Berry of the Bronx and his family.
At Baldwin Park in California, all adopters and their new pets were photographed before going home.
At Baldwin Park, the ASPCA’s Tina Reddington, left, prepares a family of adopters for a photo with their new pet.
“The photo booth helped make the day feel like the celebration it was,” explained Tina Reddington, Director of the ASPCA L.A. Volunteer Program. “And it gave us another opportunity to thank each adopter personally.”
“Clear the Shelters helped showcase the ASPCA’s partnership with the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control,” added Devon Frazier, Director of Community Engagement in L.A. “Every day, we combine our resources to keep pets and families together and improve animal welfare as a whole.”
At the Downey Animal Care Center in L.A. County, 73 animals were adopted.
Dogs claimed the majority of adoptions at the Baldwin Park and Downey Animal Care Centers in L.A. County, where county staff, volunteers and the ASPCA’s Community Engagement team helped facilitate 117 total adoptions: 44 at Baldwin Park and 73 at Downey.
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