San Francisco has a brand new concept in animal sheltering. Gone are the days of cages and tows of kennels. At the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty on Animals (SPCA) in San Francisco, beautiful design is built into the service.
In February 1998, the San Francisco SPCA opened Maddie’s Pet Adoption Center, a 27,000 square-foot space dsigned by Lucy Schlaffer and Paul Bonacci from ARQ Architect and named after the primary benefactor’s Schnauzer. Entering the lobby, one would think they were at a chic hotel rather than a shelter. The building features the kind of natural lighting and room to roam that makes visitors and puppies reluctant to leave.
Volunteers walk new SPCA visitors through a spacious veranda complete with lounge area where clients spend time getting to know their potential pet.
Animals reside in ‘real-life’ rooms where they become accustomed to an environment without cages or kennels. Before adoption, animals were given extra-socialization and behavioral training when needed to prepare them for their new home.
Animal amenities include spacious apartments for dogs and deluxe kitty lofts. Each dog has its own room, designed in the typical San Francisco Victorian and Spanish style with natural light streams from windows and skylights. The rooms are filled with toys, comfortable furniture and even television sets that offer entertainment and stimulation. Cats have private condos equipped with perches for sunning, trees for climbing, and couches for snoozing.
Dogs and cats waiting for adoption receive safe refuge and extensive medical care. Volunteer dog walkers take dogs out daily and cats are visited by cat socializer volunteers who brush them and play with them. Animals are provided with a comprehensive health care program that includes vaccinations, deworming, and free spay/neuter surgery before adoption. After they are placed in homes, animals receive 30 days of medical treatment.
The SPCA’s people-and-pet friendly environment ha helped to increase its adoption rate by 20 percent and decrease the length of an animal’s stay by 50 percent. Even older animals are being placed in loving homes in record time.
Open 7 days a week from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. in summer, The Center has some amazing animals waiting to be adopted.