A long concrete corridor ushered potential pet owners past scores of orphaned dogs during Saturday’s Moonlight Muttness & Meow Adopt-athon, an event put on by Maricopa County Animal Care and Control.
Dogs cost $85 and cats $55 during the event, which put 228 animals on display at the Mesa facility at 2630 W. Eighth St.
By 6:30 p.m., 72 animals had been adopted, and volunteers estimated about 100 animals had been adopted by 8 p.m.
In the last kennel on the left, a sand-colored Shar-Pei perked her oversized ears at every passer-by. She’d poke her round, black nose toward the sky, as if nudging potential buyers to give her their vote.
Shoppers cooed at the three-month-old puppy, then milled by her on their way out the door.
Once the people were gone, the puppy paced in circles, riled up by the attention she got , before slumping to the floor.
But after one parade of dogs and people passed by, she exploded with excitement, loudly yapping herself into hoarseness.
A woman who’d been adoring the Shar-Pei threw up her hands as she winced at the puppy’s cacophonous bark.
A two-year-old brown Chihuahua mix was more lucky. Outside in the “test drive” area, the Chihuahua got acquainted with Jessica Brown’s sevenyear-old terrier mix, Scout.
Brown, a software engineer from Queen Creek, was looking for a second dog who could get along with Scout, and possibly do some agility competitions, as Scout does.
“So what happens if she hates him?” Brown asked the adoption counselor, curious whether she could return the Chihuahua. Brown could exchange him, she learned, within 14 days.
Organizers made the adoption process simple.
Small groups of shoppers were let into the kennels to look around and talk with an adoption counselor about their needs and wants. When they found a dog or cat, they could go outside to get to know each other better.
If the stars aligned, the new owners filled out paperwork, paid and were on their way.
Animal Care and Control spokeswoman Aprille Hollis said about 70 percent of their animals are dogs. She said the main goal of the event was to clear out the kennels, so that no healthy dogs or cats would have to be euthanized because of overcrowding at their facilities.
They’ve kept their euthanizations at zero for more than a year — a testament to their work, as more than 50,000 cats and dogs come through their three Valley facilities each year.
The event was about more than just the adoption process. Families ate barbecue, played games and talked to vendors about products and how to be better pet owners. Kids walked away with painted faces while dueling with balloon swords, and the lucky ones had new playmates in tow.