Adopt-a-thon attracts dog lovers to event celebrating best-selling book
by Dina Athanassie
St. Petersburg College student Katherine Lafayette and her family had discussed adding a dog to their family but were waiting to find the right one. When Lafayette walked into SPC’s Race to Adopt: Dog Adopt-a-Thon at the Tarpon Springs campus on April 4, she had hoped to find that special dog there.
SPC’s Race to Adopt: Dog Adopt-a-Thon was organized as part of the One Book One College series, a program wherein faculty and staff chose a book to incorporate into that year’s lessons and organize events supporting the book’s theme throughout the year.
This year’s selection is The New York Times best-seller, The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein, a heart-warming story about a race car driver written from the point of view of his loyal dog, Enzo.
Paula Knipp, a librarian at the Tarpon campus, felt the event was the perfect way to celebrate the book. She said, “Since our book this year featured a dog and his relationship with his family, I thought that hosting a dog adopt-a-thon would give animals and humans the opportunity to share the same bond. Our local shelters have so many animals that need homes and creating our event to showcase that really helps bring awareness.”
Originally slated to take place outdoors at the Amphitheater, the event had to be moved inside due to rain. That didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits, least of all the animals who were excited to socialize with the people who came to visit them.
The event was made possible by the Tarpon campus Student Government Association (SGA), who generously provided funds for the event which included pizza and beverages. Along with the SGA, the Latinos United Club also provided assistance by promoting the event and providing volunteers for the day.
The importance of volunteering can never be underestimated, particularly when it comes to animal shelters and rescue groups where volunteers literally save lives. Knipp hoped that the event might inspire students to volunteer adding, “College students make wonderful volunteers and this way they could meet some of the local shelters and rescue organizations in our area.”
Those organizations included Pasco County Animal Services and local rescue group, Placing Misplaced Pets.
The event wasn’t only for the dogs; Placing Misplaced Pets brought along some kittens in need of homes. They turned out to be quite the attraction, playing non-stop in their cage and completely unfazed by all the dogs at the event.
One lucky kitten found his “forever home” at the event.
SPC student Shelby Hensley had been looking for a Bengal kitten for quite some time. She saw the kitten on Placing Misplaced Pets’ website, and looked forwarded to meeting him at this event. Hensley said, “He met the exact criteria I was looking for: he’s a boy, he’s a Bengal, and when I saw him on their website, I knew this was the cat I had to see.” She filled out an adoption application found on the group’s website prior to the event so the paperwork portion of the adoption process would already be completed.
As for Lafayette, she found the dog she was looking for in a floppy-eared shepherd mix named Dazzle. When Lafayette sat on the floor to pet Dazzle, the dog began affectionately licking the student, laid down in the student’s lap, and stayed there. After a phone call to her mother, Lafayette started the process of adopting Dazzle.
The well-attended event was a success, particularly for the 3 dogs and 1 kitten who found their new families there.