|Written by Lu Stitt|
|Wednesday, 30 September 2009 12:58|
Event has a variety of cats and dogs to adopt & take home
When Joe Sowerby lost his beloved cat in 1993, he went to the nearby shelter to adopt another cat. Sowerby had picked up some literature enlightening him to the plight of millions of animals euthanized every year in the United States — 3 to 4 million.
“It haunted me, and I felt I had to do something,” Sowerby said.
The something turned into Pet-a-Palooza which started in Detroit, Mich, Sowerby’s first home state. His second home state is Arizona. He has a home in Sedona.
Sowerby’s first mass adoption took place at the Detroit Zoo. He called it Meet Your Next Best Friend at the Zoo.
“It became the largest adoption in the country; it still is. We sent home 860 cats and dogs. That was 1993,” Sowerby said.
While he was ecstatic about how many pets found new homes, he wanted to do more to save animals from death simply because they were homeless.
“Pet-a-Palooza was born in 2002. I figured every community has a venue big enough that everybody knows. Within three years it became the number two event in the country,” he said.
Four years ago, Sowerby brought Pet-a-Palooza to the Verde Valley. The first year, at Sedona Red Rock High School, showed 150 cats and dogs adopted. The number has increased each year.
This year Pet-a-Palooza will be at the Cottonwood Kids Park at the northwest corner of South 12th and Cherry streets near the Verde Valley Fairgrounds in Cottonwood.
As Sowerby thought about the past 16 years he organized pet adoptions he said, “Wow. Since 1993 the four to five events have sent home more than 30,000 animals.”
Sowerby’s belief is that humans are the reason so many dogs, cats, kittens and puppies are homeless, because many people do not spay and neuter their pets.
“People need to personalize the animal welfare issue. Look at your own cat or dog you love dearly and imagine it as homeless,” he said. “They deserve better than we’re giving them.”
Many groups will join with Pet-a-Palooza on Saturday, Oct. 10, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., or until all the cages are empty.
“I love seeing those empty cages to back on the truck. That means those animals got a new home and a new life,” Sowerby said. “Every adoption counts as a save.”
Yavapai Broadcasting will provide a live broadcast from the event and Best Friends Animal Sanctuary from Kanab, Utah, will bring several animals.
Other groups will be Coconino Humane Society, the Humane Society of Sedona, the Verde Valley Humane Society, Paw Placement of Northern Arizona, Payson Humane Society, Second Chance Rescue from Flagstaff, Greyhounds of the Verde Valley, Tara’s Babies, Yavapai Humane Society and Best Friends Adoptions.
“One of the neat phenomenon about this event is that these organizations can get to know each other and find some common ground,” Sowerby said.
Several vendors will have pet items available along with information about owning a pet and keeping them healthy and what people can do to help with the overpopulation.
He also hopes to keep the Cottonwood Kids Park a permanent venue for Pet-a-Palooza in the Verde Valley because of the unlimited parking and the enclosed area with plenty of grass.
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