The ASPCA Celebrated Its 150th Birthday By Throwing The Biggest Puppy Party EVER*

Written by: Kellie Stevens

April 21, 2016

It was a literal puppy party on Sunday, April 10th in NYC’s Union Square as The Mayors Alliance For NYC’s Animals hosted a very special Adoptapalooza. The event celebrated the ASPCA’s 150th anniversary with its first ever Paws Parade and a huge adoption drive after.

Paws Parade

The Paws Parade kicked off at 11 am, marching from Madison Square Park down Broadway to Union Square where the festivities were set up. An estimated 100 dogs walked in the parade, accompanied by some very fine humans of course.

Acclaimed actress and co-founder of Broadway BarksBernadette Peters was the Grand Marshal of the parade, while Pip the rescue dog with an incredible story was named the four-legged Grand Marshal. The parade was led by NYPD-mounted and canine units, and of course what animal-inspired event would be complete without being joined by some FDNY fire dogs as well? There were even local veterinarians that marched in the parade.

Adoptapalooza Grand Marshals

Paws Parade Grand Marshals Bernadette Peters (left, photo taken by Scott Lynch of the Gothamist) and Pip the Rescue Malshi (right, photo taken by the ASPCA)

The parade ended on the north side of Union Square near Petco (whose Foundation sponsored the event) where hundreds of rescued dogs, cats, and even bunnies awaited their perfect human to step up and take them to a loving home of their own. The festivities began with remarks from the stage by Mayor’s Alliance President Jane Hoffman, ASPCA President Matt Bershadker, Bernadette Peters, Senator Charles Schumer, Assembly member Linda Rosenthal, NYC Public Advocate Letitia James, and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer

Adoptapalooza parade

Nearly 100 dogs and even more humans marched in a special parade raising awareness about animal rescue

The event featured booths with over 30 Alliance Participating Organizations, listed on the event page as including but not limited to: Animal Care Centers of NYC (NYCACC), Animal Haven, The Animal Project, ASCPA, Best Bullies, Bideawee, Bronx Tails Cat Rescue, Cats Cradle Rescuers, City Critters, Inc., Earth Angels Canine Rescue, Frankie’s Fund for Feline Care and Rescue, GROWL, Husky House, Infinite Hope, K9Kastle, KittyKind, Linda’s Cat Assistance, Long Island Bulldog Rescue, Long Island Greyhound Connection, Louie’s Legacy Animal Rescue, Metropolitan Maltese Rescue (MetroMalts), NYC Metro Rabbit, The Patricia H. Ladew Foundation, Place for Cats, Posh Pets Rescue, Rebound Hounds, Rescue Dogs Rock NYC, Sean Casey Animal Rescue, Second Chance Rescue, Staten Island Hope Animal Rescue, Waggytail Rescue, and Zani’s Furry Friends.


Rock & Rawhide was collecting donations of toys, blankets, and other “goodies” for shelter pups in addition to trying to get their own rescues adopted. Kylie Edmond, co-founder of Rock & Rawhide, told BarkPost:

Goodies are anything that can be placed in kennels and cages of animal shelters to help reduce stress, noise, and increase the cutie pie’s chance of adoption.

She said that their favorite donation of the day was from a little girl named Susan who took all of her birthday money and bought toys for shelter dogs and cats. AWWWWWW!

Kylie Edmond Bocker

Rock & Rawhide co-founder Kylie Edmond with celebri-doodle Bocker, who recently beat cancer!

Kylie Edmond also went on to say that it was a wonderful turnout despite the chilly weather, and there were over 300 adoptions (an amazing 62 of which came from NYC Animal Care Center) in addition to “loads of silly fun.” One of those adopters was Joe Gatto from TruTv’s “Impractical Jokers,” who is a big time supporter of Rock & Rawhide and shelter pets.

Joe and Bess Gato Clark Kent

Joe and Bess Gatto holding a cutout of Clark Kent, who is still up for adoption

Apart from collecting donations, Rock & Rawhide co-founder Sean-Patrick Hillman emceed Adoptapalooza (along with spokesperson for the Mayor’s Alliance Stephanie Mattera and Q104.3’s Maria Milito/iHeart Radio) and provided the ROCKIN’ music.

Rock & Rawhide collage

Rock & Rawhide’s founders Kylie Edmond and Sean–Patrick Hillman (left), and some of the Rock & Rawhide Roadie Volunteers holding flyers and donations (right)

Of course, there were some other celebrities mixed in the crowd, including award-winning actress Edie Falco. She told Susan Richard of CBS NY’s 1010 WINS news radio that she always had dogs growing up so she is continuing that tradition in her kids’ lives, and that “rescuing dogs makes the most sense.” The full interview for Richard’s show All For Animals, including Bernadette Peters, Matt Bershadker (President and CEO of the ASPCA), and Jane Hoffman (President of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals), can be seen below.

Perhaps one of the most generous acts of Adoptapalooza was performed by Animal Planet, who covered all of the adoption fees. People clamored to put in applications and rescue a furry friend of their own – something we would love to see more of on a regular basis!

adoptapalooza collage

NYCACC volunteer Tamar getting love from Oak the Pittie (left), and event-goer Christine giving some love to Rescue Dogs Rock NYC’s Stallone (right) who was one of the 4 out of 5 dogs they brought that got adopted

BarkPost had the chance to speak with Steve Gruber, the Director of Communications for the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals, to get the full report on just how successful Adoptapalooza was, and the answer was… VERY!

Apart from the adoption drive (which was the focus of the event), those in attendance of Adoptapalooza were treated to a host of other goodies and special offers. These included:

– Microchipping their dogs by Vetco (the first 50 were FREE!)
– Purchasing a license (required by NY state law) from the NYC Department of Health
– Learning how to prepare themselves and their pets for emergencies by representatives from New York City Emergency Management/Ready New York
– Taking home free pet ID tags, courtesy of the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals
– Enjoying the Kids Korner, which included face painting by The Cheeky Chipmunk, caricature portraits of people and their pets by Lorelai Arts, and glitter tattos by Rock & Rawhide
– Bringing their dog to the Blue Buffalo dog training field for a free training session with a Petco certified trainer
– Having free photos taken of them and their pets at the photo booth, provided by the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals
– Picking up free food samples, other products, and information from pet–related vendors such as Blue Buffalo, Freshpet, HEARTGARD, Merrick, Nature’s Variety, and NexGard
– Meeting wildlife rehabilitators Urban Utopia Wildlife Rehabilitation and the Wild Bird Fund to learn more about the wild animals who share our home
– Learning how Pets For Vets is providing second chances for shelter pets by rescuing, training them, and pairing them with military vets who can benefit from a companion animal

Adoptapalooza Dog kid tutu

Adoptapalooza was fun for people of all ages – even the little ones!

As you can see, it was a full day! And if that wasn’t enough, there was an additional adoption drive and festival in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, at the House of Vans! Celebri-pups Marnie the Dog, Mervin the Chihuahua, Chloe Kardoggian, and Ella Bean the Dog were in attendance there, and event-goers were treated to a look at ASPCA historical artifacts on display.

Celebupups collage

(Clockwise from top left): Marnie the Dog, Mervin the Chihuahua, Chloe Kardoggian, and Ella Bean the Dog

If you missed out on all the fun this time (and it was a LOT of fun), Adoptapalooza will be back later this year for the second of its’ biannual events. Be sure to follow the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals on their Facebook page and check their website as well to keep up to date and learn more about how you can get involved.

Adoptapalooza crowd

Thank you so much to the organizers, rescuers, sponsors, participants, attendees, and most importantly — those that were able to adopt a new family member! See you all at the next event!

Featured Image via: Metro New York/Bess Adler
Sources: NY Daily News, CBS NY, The Gothamist, All For Animals, Metro NY, Mashable, The Dogist

(*Well, maybe not the biggest ever. But pretty big!)

Written by: Kellie Stevens

April 21, 2016

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