It’s only the beginning of March, and already Best Friends–New York is gearing up for a major lifesaving year.
Soon, Best Friends will open the interactive, co-op style Pet Adoption Center, located in the heart of SoHo. And planning is well underway for annual citywide events like Strut Your Mutt, presented by BOBS from Skechers, that help raise funds for local shelters and rescue groups, and Best Friends Super Adoptions, where hundreds of pets find homes in a single weekend.
Learn what’s to come this year from Elizabeth Jensen, Best Friends–New York executive director. One thing is certain: this year is shaping up to be pivotal for animals in New York and beyond, as we work with partners across the country to Save Them All.
What are the biggest challenges to achieving no-kill in your community?
Elizabeth: Our biggest challenge is making sure we can save cats and kittens, especially in the summer months. In 2016, our team was working like maniacs alongside Animal Care Centers of NYC to keep up. Our program was bulging at the seams. This year we plan to do even more.
Another challenge for us is transportation. It’s hard to get around New York City with an animal in tow, so running a foster program that includes adult dogs, in particular, takes a little extra effort in the city.
Looking back on 2016, what were some of your most successful programs and biggest "wins?"
Elizabeth: Last year, we partnered with businesses that provided free space to drive adoptions. Our adoption events at Urban Outfitters, for example, were very successful. At one of those events, 100 cats found homes in a single day. Our event team has an “event in a bag” format that promotes the events to get potential adopters to our locations and ― voilà ― we’re able to find lots of forever homes for cats just in the nick of time.
What are you most excited for in 2017?
Elizabeth: We are excited about opening our adoption center ― period, end of story! The Best Friends Pet Adoption Center in New York will operate like a co-op, with space available for our network partner groups to showcase their pets for adoption. This makes room so they can go back and pull more animals in need from the shelter.
Animal Care Centers of NYC has made incredible strides in lifesaving over the last several years, and we will continue to collaborate with other rescue groups to support NYC and the immediate vicinity.
Also, doubling down on cats this summer will be just what the doctor ordered. And of course, we will be working to make our two signature events ― the Best Friends Super Adoption and Strut Your Mutt ― even bigger this year. Last year’s Strut Your Mutt raised nearly $300,000 for local rescue groups. This year, we’d like to raise even more.
What ways can people get involved to help Best Friends help save animals in 2017?
Elizabeth: Adopt, volunteer and donate! There are so many ways to help save a life. Our programs utilize help from volunteers in a myriad of ways. Some help us engage the community with street teams, while others help us with clerical functions. And, of course, fostering is so vital to our work. If you can give an animal a place to crash for a few weeks, you can help save a life.
Working toward no-kill across the country
New Yorkers are committed to saving their homeless pets, and while we’ve come far, there’s still a long way to go to ensure that no more pets are killed in a shelter simply because they don’t have a safe place to call home. Together, we can Save Them All.