|Adopt & Shop
184 The Shops at Mission Viejo, Mission Viejo
Adopt & Shop opened its pet rescue shop on May 21 at The Shops at Mission Viejo, a store resembling its existing Lakewood location that just turned two in April and has adopted out more than 1,600 pets.
The pet retail-rescue concept, which is part of the Los Angeles-based Found Animals Foundation, is a 100% nonprofit organization that has been working with the Best Friends Animal Society to create a successful business model of how pet shops should operate.
"It's not supporting puppy mills and it is relieving the burden on the shelter by getting the animals into more venues for them to be seen and adopted," says Elizabeth Oreck, national manager of the Best Friends Animal Society.
Unlike most pet stores, Adopt & Shop brings in animals from local animal shelters, not puppy mills, and makes sure all pets are vaccinated and microchipped. The Found Animals Foundation's main objective is to reduce the number of animals in animal shelters through multiple programs.
The store also sells high-end pet products with proceeds going to animal well-being programs within the Found Animals Foundation.
Aimee Gilbreath, executive director of the Found Animals Foundation, says that there is an adoption counseling process and the goal is to educate people and help them find a pet that will work in their household and lifestyle.
"If they (customers) find a good match, they pay an adoption fee and then we send them home with lots of resources and support to integrate their pet into their household," says Gilbreath.
All animals at Adopt & Shop will stay at the location until they are adopted, meaning that all pets will eventually find a home.
"We're incredibly excited to come to Orange County and we really love the reception we've received so far," says Gilbreath. "Everybody has been so welcoming and excited to have us. We look forward to it being a really successful location and partnership with the community."
The Best Friends Animal society is a national organization that has offices located throughout the U.S. and is home to the largest no-kill sanctuary in Utah.
Oreck says their focus is on advocacy, adoption programs and lowering the number of animals coming into shelters and raising the number of animals going out of shelters. The Best Friends Animal Society and the Found Animals Foundation both strive to educate the public on the dangers of buying animals from pet stores, since most of the animals are from puppy mills. Both organizations also raise awareness through adoption events, community outreach and legislation.
"It's about changing hearts and minds because that's really how you see change happen for animals," says Oreck.