One year after opening, P&T’s Puppy Love Adoption Center going strong thanks to strong…

One year after opening, P&T’s Puppy Love Adoption Center going strong thanks to strong relationships

The adoption center has teamed up with local organizations to help provide healthcare and homes for all of its rescue puppies. In its first year of operation, the center had about 1,000 dogs adopted.

Jeb, a hound/retriever mix, was one of the first rescue dogs available for adoption at P&T’s Puppy Love Adoption Center in Cherry Hill last October.

Last fall, Cherry Hill puppy store owner Pat Youmans made a drastic change when he transformed his former store selling commercially bred dogs into an adoption center for rescue puppies. The new P&T’s Puppy Love Adoption Center, located at the Saw Mill Village shopping center off Route 70, opened in late October 2015. The center offered dozens of puppies for adoption from multiple rescue organizations in the U.S.

One year later, P&T’s Puppy Love Adoption Center is still going strong. In the center’s first year, approximately 1,000 puppies were adopted to local families. In addition, the center is gaining support in the community and through partnerships with other local organizations.

Youmans said center has seen a steady influx of business, with only a few slow months during the winter after the holidays and the summer season. The center has used social media to share news of when a family adopts a local puppy.

The center has established relations with more rescue organizations in the southern United States. When the center first started, most of its puppies were from organizations based in Puerto Rico and Tennessee. In the year since opening, the center has established new relationships with rescue organizations in the South.

“They’re coming from Puerto Rico, Georgia, the Carolinas and we have one still in Tennessee,” Youmans said.

P&T’s also has established relationships with two locally based organizations. When a puppy outgrows P&T’s facility, the center will send them to Voorhees Animal Orphanage or Almost Home Animal Shelter in Pennsauken.

Alan Braslow, a Cherry Hill resident and animal activist who helped Youmans get the center off the ground, said the center’s goal is to make sure every dog finds a home.

“A dog is never thrown out on the street,” Braslow said.

The center has an arrangement with House Paws Mobile Veterinary Service where its vets regularly check the health of the animals at the center. In addition, the center receives detailed medical records for all of the animals from the sending rescue organization.

Youmans said the community has mostly embraced the new adoption center, saying people see it as an opportunity to adopt a rescued puppy rather than purchasing a puppy.

The center has had a few critics. One criticism Braslow has heard is from people who believe there doesn’t need to be an additional outlet for rescues.

However, Braslow believes P&T’s serves a niche and operates in cooperation with other local rescue organizations.

“You’re giving them the option to acquire a pet that they want without having to go to a pet store that acquires puppy mill dogs,” Braslow said.

The Humane Society of the United States is also supporting P&T’s. Brian Hackett, the state director for the Humane Society, said P&T’s is a good model for how other shops can begin adopting out rescue animals.

“People feel good that they are providing a home for a rescue animal,” Hackett said.

“A small business is doing the right thing for animals and consumers. And, of course, the animals benefit because they would otherwise be stuck in a shelter or euthanized.”

Financially, P&T’s relies on money from the adoption fees to cover its expenses.

The adoption fee for most animals at the center is approximately $550.

When the shop first started, it cost between $10,000 and $12,000 a month for the center to operate. That number has increased in the year since opening. The center pays for the cost of transporting the animals to New Jersey, health care, supplies and more. All of the proceeds from adoption fees go toward paying the center’s expenses.

“The pricing on the adoption fee is not that much more than some of the foster-based rescues,” Braslow said.

The center is in the process of filing paperwork to become a 501c nonprofit. The nonprofit status is important, as it will allow the center to apply for grants and other financial assistance.

Volunteers are also important to keeping the center going strong. When P&T’s first opened, Youmans said there were a ton of volunteers coming in to help.

“We were getting more than we could handle in the beginning,” he said.

As the year went on, the number of volunteers has decreased. Youmans said the center would like to have more volunteers help. Volunteers can fill out at application at the center’s website, http://puppylove211.wixsite.com/adoption-center.

After having a strong opening year, Youmans is determined to keep his center going for years to come. The center is planning to have an event in the next couple of months to celebrate its first anniversary.