Attendees can help make the shelter pet Michigan’s official state pet
The Detroit Zoological Society (DZS) and Michigan Humane Society (MHS), in collaboration with more than 40 local animal welfare organizations, will co-host the spring 2019 Meet Your Best Friend at the Zoo, presented by Purina, on Friday, May 17, noon to 6 p.m., and Saturday, May 18, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Hundreds of dogs, cats, puppies and kittens will be available for immediate adoption to loving homes at one of the nation’s largest off-site companion animal adoption events.
The DZS’s Berman Academy for Humane Education will continue its mission of “helping people help animals” by demonstrating to attendees how they can help their companion animals thrive. Volunteers from the DZS and MHS will show guests how to provide their pets opportunities to express natural behaviors through special toys and treats. Staff will also demonstrate how a “catio”, or cat patio, allows cats to experience the outdoors while keeping birds and other wildlife safe.
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To underscore the dangers of leaving pets unattended in a vehicle, a car will be on display equipped with a thermometer so guests can see firsthand how quickly the inside temperature rises compared to the outdoor temperature. Literature will be available to inform guests how to keep dogs safe in these instances, including what to do if they see a dog locked inside a hot car as well as a list of local shops and restaurants that allow dogs indoors.
“It’s wonderful to see hundreds of people meet their new best friend, and we want to help people ensure the animals’ well-being once they leave our grounds by providing them with information so their pets thrive in their new home,” said Ron Kagan, DZS executive director and CEO.
Guests will have the opportunity to write postcards to their state representatives urging them to support House Bill 4092, which would provide immunity from criminal prosecution to a person who forcibly enters a hot car to rescue a dog. Attendees can also write postcards asking representatives to back House Bill 4455, which would designate the shelter pet as Michigan’s official state pet.
“Passing HB 4455 is a way to raise awareness of the need to adopt, not shop,” Kagan said.
The Suburban Collection will present a check for $37,511 to the DZS and MHS from the Subaru Share the Love event, which took place from November 15, 2018, to January 2, 2019. Customers who purchased a Subaru during that time were given the option to donate $250 of their car purchase to one of four national charities or a hometown charity. The Suburban Collection selected the DZS and MHS for the second year as local co-beneficiaries and matched customer donations dollar for dollar.
Meet Your Best Friend at the Zoo will be held outdoors under tents in the Detroit Zoo’s front parking lot beneath the landmark water tower. There is no charge for admission or parking for the adoption event; regular admission and parking fees apply for those visiting the Zoo.
Adoption fees and policies are set by each participating group. Adopters must present a valid driver’s license or state ID card. All animals will have received a medical checkup and age-appropriate vaccinations. A get-acquainted area will be available to provide guests an opportunity to spend time with an animal before adopting. For health and safety reasons, all current companion animals should be left at home.
Since the inception of Meet Your Best Friend at the Zoo in 1993, more than 25,000 dogs, cats and rabbits have been placed into new homes at the semi-annual spring and fall events.
Meet Your Best Friend at the Zoo is also supported by Pet First and Premier Pet Supply.
The Detroit Zoological Society – a renowned leader in humane education, wildlife conservation, animal welfare and environmental sustainability – operates the Detroit Zoo and Belle Isle Nature Center. With an annual regional economic impact of more than $167 million, the Detroit Zoo in Royal Oak is one of Michigan’s largest paid family attractions, hosting more than 1.3 million visitors annually. Its 125 acres of award-winning naturalistic habitats are home to 2,400 animals representing 235 species. The Belle Isle Nature Center sits on a 5-acre site surrounded by undisturbed forested wetlands on Belle Isle State Park in Detroit. It provides year-round educational, recreational and environmental conservation opportunities for the community. For hours, prices, directions and other information, call (248) 541-5717 or visit detroitzoo.org.