Free animal adoptions at Maddie’s Matchmaker Adoptathon

Miss Twiggy is up for adoption at Oakland Animal Services and will be at this weekend's adoptathon.

Miss Twiggy is up for adoption at Oakland Animal Services and will be at this weekend's adoptathon.

Miss Twiggy is an overweight Rottweiler with hyperthyroidism and an affectionate personality. She’s 4 years old, fairly slow moving and loves to cuddle. And she lives in Oakland’s animal shelter. If Miss Twiggy is adopted this weekend, not only is her adoption free but she’ll also earn the shelter, Oakland Animal Services, $1,000.

The second annual Maddie’s Matchmaker Adoptathon is happening this weekend and Oakland Animal Services is calling it a “free fur for all” event. On Saturday and Sunday, dog, cat, puppy and kitten adoptions, which normally cost between $35 and $135, are all free and Maddie’s Fund, a pet rescue foundation, will give all participating animal shelters between $500 and $1,500 for each adoption.

“The goal is to adopt as many animals in a two-day period as possible,” says Megan Webb, director of Oakland Animal Services. “The importance of this event for us is the donations that it brings in.”

Last year, Maddie’s Fund pledged $1 million and nearly 2,000 animals were adopted in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. Oakland Animal Services was able to adopt 133 cats and dogs and raise $66,500, which helped the shelter pay for veterinary supplies and medications for the animals.

Oakland Animal Services annual operations budget is $80,000, which includes food, cleaning and vet care for the animals. The money donated by Maddie’s Fund nearly doubled the amount the shelter has to spend on its animals. “This has really increased our ability to provide care to the animals at the shelter,” says Webb.

This year Maddie’s Fund is pledging $2 million. The group’s goal is to find a home for every animal living in a participating shelter. Over 40 animal shelters and rescue organizations are participating in this year’s adoptathon and the cats and dogs up for adoption can be found at more than 70 locations throughout the East Bay.

“Our big initiative this year is to expand our lifesaving to include more senior and treatable dogs and cats,” said Maddie’s Fund president Rich Avanzino in a press release.

Typically, older animals or those with medical conditions, like Miss Twiggy, are more difficult to find a home for, says Webb. “She [Miss Twiggy] will need medication for rest of her life, but she is a wonderful dog,” says Webb. Other common animal medical conditions are upper respiratory problems or dental disease that has been treated, and some animals have chronic conditions—like Miss Twiggy’s hyperthyroidism.

A few of the animals are both seniors and have medical conditions, like Rembrandt, a friendly 8-year-old Maltese mix. “Rembrandt had to have his eye removed,” says Webb, “and he is a senior.” If adopted, Rembrandt will earn Oakland Animal Services $1,500.

All healthy animals under 8 years old that are adopted this weekend will earn the shelters $500, adoptions of animals that are either senior or have medical conditions will raise $1,000 and animals that are both senior and have medical conditions, like Rembrandt, earn $1,500 for the shelter. Last year Maddie’s Fund gave $500 across the board for each donation.

The overarching goal of Maddie’s Fund, which was named after its founder’s miniature schnauzer that passed away in 1997, is to increase awareness of shelter animals and the need for finding them homes. Maddie’s Fund supports the idea of a no-kill policy and the idea that all healthy and treatable shelter dogs and cats should have a loving home.

All animals up for adoption at Oakland Animal Services have been spayed or neutered and have vaccinations and microchips. In order to adopt an animal there, people need to follow the shelter’s guidelines, which include bringing a drivers license and either proof of home ownership or a rental contract that shows pets are allowed, and having all members of the household come meet the animal.

“It’s a fairly straightforward concept, that’s why it appeals to people,” says Webb of the adoptathon. “People are able to adopt an animal for free from the shelter as well as support the organization.”

Maddie’s Matchmaker Adoptathon is happening June 4 and 5 in several Bay Area locations. Hours for the Oakland Animal Services’ adoptathon will be on Saturday, June 4 from 10 am to 7 pm and Sunday, June 5, from 10 am to 5 pm; their cats and dogs can be found at the main shelter on 1101 29th Avenue in East Oakland and also at the Stoneridge Shopping Center in Pleasanton and Woof Boarding and Day Care in San Ramon. Go to Oakland Animal Services website to see all of its available animals.

For more information on additional participating animal shelters and locations to find animals, go to Maddie’s Fund’s website.

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