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Sep 17, 2019 12:19 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Pet Adoptions At Bideawee Hit Peak This Summer

Sep 18, 2019 10:58 AM

The Bideawee animal shelter in Westhampton had its most successful season in more than a decade.

This summer, 123 dogs and cats from the shelter found homes, a significant increase from past years. Last summer, the shelter saw 87 adoptions; previous summers averaged between 45 and 60 adoptions, according to Leslie Granger, Bideawee’s president and CEO.

The success was partly due to the shelter’s summer pop-up adoption center that was open from July 4 through Labor Day weekend on Main Street in Westhampton Beach, where 20 animals were directly adopted.

“Our goal for this summer was really to take advantage, as best as we could, of the increased population out in Westhampton during the summer, and see if we could get as many dogs and cats, puppies and kittens adopted as we could,” Ms. Granger said. “And we were certainly successful.”

She continued, “I think what we saw was an amazing amount of foot traffic through the pop-up, which also ended up increasing our foot traffic to our 118 Old Country Road shelter.”

One of the pets that was adopted from the pop-up was Dally, a boxer-hound mix who was later renamed Penny Hardaway, the name of the Memphis Tigers basketball coach. Blake and Robert Brody and their three children, who spend their summers in Westhampton, knew they wanted to adopt a puppy around Labor Day weekend before heading back to Manhattan.

“After we visited the Bideawee outside of town, we went to the pop-up in town and saw the most beautiful puppy we’ve ever seen,” Ms. Brody said. “She’s amazing. She’s so well-behaved. She’s so sweet. My children love her.

“It was so nice to have Bideawee in town this summer,” she said, adding that she would bring her kids to the pop-up every weekend to play with the dogs.

Another puppy that found a loving home was Angus, now named Monte Carlo. Jersey City couple Jennie and Marcello Ciminelli were in Westhampton Beach for a Fourth of July barbecue and spontaneously adopted Monte Carlo during their stay. They stopped on Main Street to go to Goldberg’s Famous Bagels before heading to the barbecue — and left with a new addition to their family.

“We had been talking about adopting for a while, and thought we’d take a quick peek at the Bideawee pop-up shop just next door,” she said, adding that they “locked eyes” with the puppy, who they believe to be a pitbull-Labrador mix, and it was “all over from there.”

In addition to the pop-up, Ms. Granger cited several other reasons for the record adoption number, including more focus on advertising and press coverage and, on a larger scale, a growing popularity nationwide of choosing adoption centers over pet stores, and of spaying and neutering pets.

The recent cultural shift, as reported by The New York Times, caused pet euthanasia rates to drop by more than 75 percent over the last decade.

“I think you are seeing more and more people’s first choice is to adopt from a shelter, whether they consider it rescuing or considering just adding a family member,” Ms. Granger said. “That’s sort of the trend that we have seen, and we’re certainly seeing at Bideawee as well.”

Bideawee will look into reopening the Westhampton Beach pop-up again next summer if a suitable location is available, as well as exploring other possibilities, like opening a similar location near Tanger Outlets in Riverhead during the holidays, Ms. Granger said.

“I don’t have anything concrete right now, but a goal would be to really take advantage of areas that have a greater population of people walking by so that we can really increase our brand presence,” she added.

Despite the accomplishment this year, Bideawee in Westhampton is still seeking volunteers at the shelter and people willing to help expand its foster program.

“We would love to have more volunteers come in and donate their time,” Ms. Granger said. “It’s a crucial part of being able to increase the number of animals that come through the doors.”

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