`Volunteer Alyssa Phelps, 16 from Burroughs High School, poses with a puppy just before the annual Muttshack Animal Rescue and Petco Burbank puppy adoption event, at the Victory Blvd. store in Burbank on Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017. The Muttshack Animal Rescue Foundation brought about 20 puppies ready for adoption and more than 40 people waited in line a long as a couple of hours to get a chance to take one home.(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)
Dozens of prospective dog owners flocked to the Petco in Burbank the Saturday before Christmas to give more than 20 canines new places to call home.
There were about 40 people waiting outside the pet store at 3525 W. Victory Blvd. before the business opened that morning, according to event organizers. They were there for a weekly event held by the Muttshack Pet Adoptions, an area animal-rescue nonprofit.
“All the dogs were spayed or neutered, microchipped and ready to go,” said Amanda St. John, co-founder of the organization. “The people came in and waited very patiently.”
She added that, although there were some families who left without adopting a dog from the Muttshack after its lengthy interview process, all 22 of the dogs who were up for adoption that morning were paired with new owners.
Martin St. John, Amanda St. John’s husband and the other co-founder of the Muttshack, said many of the dogs the organization puts up for adoption come from people whose dogs have given birth, but they do not want to keep the litter or from low-income neighborhoods where there are pets who can no longer be cared for.
He added that sometimes volunteers will find a box full of puppies that someone has abandoned.
Though the Muttshack also helps animal shelters by pulling dogs from those facilities and placing them for adoption, Martin St. John said his nonprofit aims to reduce the number of homeless dogs in shelters by finding them good homes before it reaches that point.
Both Martin and Amanda St. John said they were happy to see the large turnout at their dog-adoption event on Saturday, adding that they received numerous positive messages on Christmas from the families who adopted a dog on Saturday.
“They recognized our mission, which was giving these dogs a home for Christmas,” Martin St. John said. “It’s about giving a puppy a home that they need and to bring joy to their lives and consequently to their owners’ lives.”