Brooklyn Boro

Pet adoption expo helps Brooklynites find new best friends

May 17, 2016 By Andy Katz Special to the Brooklyn Eagle
An event visitor hugs what might be her new best friend and companion. Eagle photos by Andy Katz
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Thousands filled the Brooklyn Expo Center in a quest to find that perfect addition to their family as Best Friends Animal Society staged its Spring Pet Super Adoption event on the banks of the East River.  More than 20 dog, cat and even rabbit rescue organizations joined Best Friends inside the Greenpoint building this past weekend. Volunteers presented puppies, grown animals, elders, purebreds, exotically mixed breeds and dogs with three legs to people willing to open their hearts and homes to a creature in need of both.

Many traveled considerable distances to find the perfect pet.  After driving in from Connecticut, James Hedrick left the Expo Center with a tiny black lab mix attached to one shoulder.

“She has ‘Kayla’ on her collar, but I don’t know if that’s what we’ll wind up calling her,” Hedrick explained, while Kayla put on all the most adorable puppy moves —gently licking daddy’s face, placing one tiny paw on his chin and emitting mighty yawns. Passersby were rapidly and hopelessly transfixed by the display of canine pulchritude.

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Inside the center, some 600 dogs, cats and rabbits waited for their own chance to win hearts and minds. Animal Rescue Fund (ARF) of the Hamptons staffer Jamie Forrester sat near his group’s row of crates introducing Alfaro, a young border collie mix, to visitors. He explained that Citigroup banker David Brownstein — working in Puerto Rico to help restructure the island’s crushing debt crisis — had become deeply involved with the problem of “satos,” or street dogs, who roamed about neglected and malnourished. In response, Brownstein arranges for regular flights of these dogs, many of whom wind up in ARF care and were well represented that day in Greenpoint.

A short while later, New Jersey resident Maria Gomez posed for adoption pictures with George, one of ARF’s rescue “satos,” while Best Friends volunteer Melanie rang the brass bell announcing another successful placement.

By 6 p.m. that day, the bell would ring 161 times.

While canines dominated the Expo Center’s main hall, cats were also represented in an adjacent annex.  Lisa Winters of the Brooklyn-based Empty Cages Collective (ECC) happily displayed a pair of domestic short-hair cats cuddling together in a crate. “They’re a bonded pair,” she said, “very shy. But today we found them a home!” In spite of being ECC’s only adoption of the day, it had been one of the group’s most challenging placements, and thus was cause for celebration.

Since its founding in 1984, Best Friends Animal Society has become one of the largest and best-organized rescue organizations dedicated to ending euthanasia throughout the shelter system. This year marked the society’s second time staging the event at controversial developer Joshua Guttman’s Brooklyn Expo Center, the borough’s first, and thus far only, convention hall.

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