Adoption is just one of the many goals Animal Alliance has for the dogs and cats that come through its doors.
The Lambertville, N.J.-based agency adopts out nearly 500 animals each year. But, before they can find their forever homes, the organization works with the animals to ensure they’re ready for adoption.
“We do rehabilitation because some of the animals who come to us have been victims of physical abuse, sometimes come from hoarding situations; we try to understand more fully what’s going on with the animals, help socialize them,” said Sheri Woodruff, the board president of Animal Alliance. “Our job is to make them more comfortable in their skin and help them to understand that they’re safe now, which will bode well for their ability to get adopted. Adoption is certainly a big part of what we do but it’s one part of a full-service operation we have.”
That operation includes a low-cost spay/neuter clinic.
“We don’t want anyone to turn over their animal because of the lack of low-cost spay/neuter services,” Woodruff said. “If we can help keep pets in loving homes, and prevent bringing additional animals into the world who would struggle to get adopted, that’s really important. As much passion as we all have for these animals, we also take a business-like approach to adoption, and really understand the challenges and then work to address the needs.”
Alongside the clinic is an adoption storefront, where interested adoptive families can meet their potential pets.
“We want to make it easy for people to come in, bring their family members, and interact with the animals,” Woodruff said. “We found that having like pet store-like scenario really helps people make that choice.”
Cat adoptions, in particular, Woodruff noted, have climbed since the facility opened, which she owes to the enhanced accessibility afforded by the open displays at the venue.
Many of the agency’s adoptive families hail from the immediate area, which is across the river from New Hope.
“We’re kind of the home anima-rescue organization of New Hope and Lambertville,” she said. “I think people take a lot of civic pride in our organization. They show us a lot of loyalty; I have people on my street who’ve adopted through Animal Alliance.”
Woodruff, a South Jersey native who grew up in Delaware and lived in Chicago, New York City and other locales before moving to Bucks County in 2006, herself adopted two of her three dogs from the agency.
She found Tater, a Jack Russell, through an Animal Alliance posting on Petfinder.com.
Several years ago, she and her wife began volunteering with the organization, working at adoption events, transporting animals to vet care and other appointments and managing fundraising events.
One weekend, her wife proposed bringing an Animal Alliance dog who was awaiting adoption home to spend the weekend with them for some
“She pulled up at the house and opened the door and out jumps this seven-pound white Chihuahua. So Willie spent the weekend with us and Sunday night came and went and she said, ‘Oh, I’ll take him back tomorrow morning.’ And then Monday came and went.”
Willie has been a part of their family, along with Tater and Tucker, since.
“The chemistry among the three dogs is amazing,” she said. “Willie’s been a great addition.”
Woodruff said many same-sex couples and LGBT families adopt through the organization and support its mission.
“I think our community has always tended to be more likely than others to adopt animals,” she said. “We’re seeing more gay and lesbian couples having children now but, even as our families are changing, people are still adopting; now we see children and pets. The LGBT community has been an important part of the support for Animal Alliance.”
All proceeds from the weekend will benefit Animal Alliance. For more information about Animal Alliance, visit www.animalalliancenj.org.