The Adoption Center and Gift Shop, which opens for the holidays with plans to stay permanently, is next to Sears and across from Hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays.
Young volunteers like Kaila Tabasz and Sienke Hofs spent their Wednesday shift holding homeless dogs, declaring their favorite a 5-year-old doodle, which is a longhaired dachshund-poodle mix, of course.
Pearly, a purebred miniature poodle, also got a lot of attention. She’s 8 weeks old.
But for every critter that needs a home comes a need of a different sort.
“We’re desperate for more volunteers,” said Lisa Carter, Santa Cruz SPCA’s executive director, as she scurried around the shop. She said she expects this to be a high-volume adoption center, with other activities as well.
Photographer Portia Shao will take free pet portraits for those who adopt, and members of the public can pay to have their pictures taken at the store with their pets.
Jewelry, T-shirt, purse, pet food and other vendors in the new store, Carter said, will donate 45-50 percent of their sales to the local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, which has been in Santa Cruz for 1938. Besides adoptions, the SPCA has a pet food bank and spay/neuter assistance program, and offers pet loss support and disaster relief assistance.
Volunteer training will be offered Mondays and Tuesdays at 4 p.m. Volunteers are needed to transport dogs and cats from the SPCA shelter at 2685 Chanticleer Ave. to the mall on 41st Avenue and back each day. They set up and clean pens, fill food and water bowls, take dogs for walks and potty breaks, greet shoppers and answer any questions they might have.
For information on volunteering or adopting: 831-465-5000.