When the Jefferson County SPCA partnered with Petco in January 2013 to open an adoption center in Watertown, neither organization had any idea what the outcome would be. Now, just over one year later the risks taken by the animal rescue agency have proved more than worthwhile. An additional 400 adoptions have brought the total to around 1,500 since the opening of the new center and the numbers continue to climb.
The partnership between the local SPCA and Petco marked the ninth adoption center of its kind in the nation located within a Petco store. The existence of the new adoption center is due not only to the financial aid of the Petco Foundation, but also to the tireless commitment of its former store manager, Heather Roux. Ms. Roux contributed countless hours in her effort to make the dream a reality for the JCSPCA. The adoption center's opening was well received by the community last year, and despite some initial hesitation, the risks taken by the non-profit have proven worthwhile.
"It's wonderful that we are on the opposite end of town with our main shelter and we are going to be up here with the adoption center. It gives people who are on either end of the city the opportunity to see our animals," Doug Marlow, Executive Director of the Jefferson County SPCA, noted at the opening last year, adding the location is perfect for its purpose.
“If you don’t take risks, you don’t grow,” Mr. Marlow said. “That was the ultimate decision of the board, to take that risk. It turned out to be more positive than we originally anticipated.”
A token $1 per year rent is paid by the SPCA and the shelter pays the costs for staffing and associated expenses to keep the adoption center open seven days a week, while the Petco Foundation covered construction costs that amounted to $380,000. But even though the expenses from the first year of operation were significant, around $50,000, the increase seen from adoption fees, $61,000, was enough to offset the cost.
“Because of that foot traffic at Petco, and the Heather Freeman Foundation purchasing two iPad minis, we’re able to use FaceTime and show them (the animals) we have down here,” Mr. Marlow said. “We’re in a good position having Petco. We can’t afford the kind of exposure Petco’s given us. With agency volunteers and paid staffers at the Petco adoption center, the agency can do more work outside of adoptions."
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