The Payson Humane Society has found a new and very successful location for mobile adoption events.
The new PETCO store at Four Peaks Shopping Center on Shea Boulevard near Highway 87 invited the PHS to participate in its grand opening last weekend, during which 11 dogs and one cat were adopted.
"It started with (PHS board member and volunteer) Lisa Boyle, because she goes down (to the Valley) every Thursday to work," shelter manager Ann Campbell said. "She saw that PETCO was opening a new store, stopped by and got to talking to them, and they were interested in us and asked us if we would like to bring some animals down for their grand opening."
Boyle said she didn't leave store general manager Greg Eby a lot of choice.
"I kind of waylaid him," she said. "You know me -- I'm big and I shake hands and I talk real fast and he let us in."
Boyle's original mission was to score some dog food in broken bags.
"They told me they tape up their broken bags and sell them at a discount," she said. "So I then asked if we would have the opportunity to possibly do a mobile adoption down there, and he said, as a matter of fact, they were looking for a couple of organizations to do mobile adoptions for their grand opening."
The little shelter that could, swung into action and pulled it off.
"We set up out in front of the store," Boyle said. "We had two portable corrals, and (PHS board president) Larry and Carol Stubbs stayed there in their motor home, so we didn't have to tear down completely and move out every afternoon. We just hauled dogs and cats down in Diane Dalton's van and the shelter van."
What happened exceeded any of their expectations.
"On Friday, we took six dogs down and five of them got adopted," Campbell said. "Saturday, we took six dogs and four cats, and two dogs got adopted. Sunday we took another six dogs and two cats, and we adopted another four dogs."
While it appeared to the shelter personnel who ran the event that interest in cats is minimal in the Valley, there was one notable exception, according to Campbell.
"A lady was talking with (cat supervisor) Kim (Garza) about a cat, and she said, ‘We have that kind of cat up in Payson.' She drove all the way up from Fountain Hills and adopted Winchester, which I thought was really cool."
And when you think about it, a scenic drive to Payson isn't a bad way to adopt a pet.
"It's almost quicker for Fountain Hills people to drive up to Payson than it is to drive to downtown Phoenix," Campbell said.
According to Eby, PETCO is more than happy to host the Payson shelter and its animals.
"All of our stores work with either the Arizona Humane Society or whomever," he said. "They come in on weekends, and we allow them to set up and work on adopting animals."
PETCO stocks more than 10,000 pet-related products in over 650 stores in 43 states and the District of Columbia.
The humane society plans to go back to the Four Peaks Petco at least twice a month for the immediate future, including May 1 and 2 for National Pet Adoption Days.
"They want us to come every weekend, but we're limited right now by a lack of volunteers," Boyle said.
To volunteer, call the shelter at (928) 474-5590.
On May 1, Cracker Crate General Store and Creature Comforts Beastro and Boutique will hold a benefit and silent auction for the shelter beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 1, at 900 N. Beeline Highway.
Pearson and Company North, an interior plantscape design company, has invited the shelter to participate in its grand opening at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 8, at 513 S. Beeline Highway.