A few nice things happen to an animal shelter - and our animal shelter in particular - in a bad economy.
For one, we continue attracting volunteers. Could be that some folks are out of work and want to stay active, so they try volunteering. Lucky for us, many stay on, even after they begin working again.
For two, adoptions don’t seem to be impacted by the economy. Sure, some people or families decide they can’t keep their pets, and surrender them to our shelter. And, I imagine other people on the fence decide not to bring a pet into their home because of the extra expenses.
But our adoptions statistics tell another story. They show that some people choose a shelter and not a breeder; they’ll spend $50 to adopt instead of $500 to buy and they’ll love their mixed breed shelter pet just as much as the purebred they were researching.
Our adoptions stats tell us that people give up other things in a poor economy before they give up their dreams of having a new companion. Maybe they take less extravagant vacations; maybe they drink Two-Buck Chuck instead of $35 wines, or maybe they’ll consider gently-used items instead of new ones. Actually, we know this to be true and have cash register receipts to prove it.
Business at the Peninsula Humane Society’s secondhand store, Pick of the Litter, has never been brisker. This year, sales from our gently used furniture, clothing, jewelry, household items, books and bric-a-brac, will generate more than $130,000 in net profits, all of which goes to the shelter animals.
The Peninsula’s best treasure trove at 1127 Chula Vista Ave. in Burlingame (a block off Broadway) is much like a Salvation Army or Goodwill store. Our sales benefit animals right here in San Mateo County. Animals that our shoppers can see and meet inside our new Lantos Center for Compassion just half a mile from the secondhand emporium.
The “Pick” has a few things that make it hum. Caring, dedicated staff and volunteers, including a few who have been with us for more than a quarter century. A steady supply of donated items means the merchandise changes daily and always includes interesting, quirky surprises and steals around every corner. If you look hard enough, you’ll see my recently donated loud Hawaiian shirt, and size 12 boots (what was I thinking?).
Speaking of deals and steals, we have one the Pick can’t touch.
The Peninsula Humane Society has waived the adoption fee for all black cats. Our “Black Out” promotion will run indefinitely. We have dozens of black cats in need of homes and we’re saying that finding those homes is far more important than collecting adoption fees.
A special guest helped us launch the Black Out. He’s only partially black, but we let that slide because of “his star power. If you know cats, you know , the world famous "Klepto Kitty” who lives here in San Mateo, but has traveled to Hollywood and New York for , the Today Show and every major network television affiliate. He has his own Facebook page and is a bona fide Internet sensation.
He steals stuff.
Since his family adopted him from our shelter in 2006, he’s lifted more than 400 items from neighbors, from garden gloves to g-strings. And, since he’s not swiping jewelry or power tools, Dusty’s neighbors are mostly cool with his late night escapades. If something is missing, they know where to find it.
We might not have another Dusty among our current group of black beauties, but we have a cast of characters in their own right who need nothing more than someone to open their home and heart. We’re waiving the entire adoption fee, but asking adopters to bring two cans or one small bag of cat food for our food pantry program. The Peninsula Humane Society partners with human services agencies by supplying pet food for their clients.
If now isn’t the ideal time to adopt, please tell other cat lovers in your lives about our Black Out. Everyone wins.