Printer Friendly Version

Paws up! Annual Pet Adopt-A-Thon in Anthem set for Feb. 6


Elizabeth Medora

ANTHEM – Get ready for a tail-wagging good time at the upcoming PACC911 & Anthem Animal Extravaganza & Pet Adopt-A-Thon on Saturday, Feb. 6, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. This annual event in the Anthem Community Park brings together dozens of pet rescues, resulting in an average 100 adoptions each year.

Phoenix Animal Care Coalition 911 founder Bari Mears noted that this will be the 12th annual PACC911 Adopt-A-thon in Anthem. Originally, the Anthem event involved about 30 rescues; it’s since grown to over 60 rescues participating, and multiple local merchants and pet hospitals have booths at the event, as well.  

“After one or two of these wonderful events, it became one of our favorite events of all time,” Mears said. “We love coming up to Anthem. Many times at our events, people will come by with our alumni, to show us how well their previously adopted animals are doing.”

Emilee Spear, president of Rusty’s Angels Sanctuary, noted that this will be Rusty’s Angels’ second year participating in the Adopt-A-Thon.

“Last year, we brought two wonderful seniors and they were the first two adoptions of the day – it was very exciting,” Spear said.

The Anthem Adopt-A-Thon is one of many PACC911-sponsored adoption events. These adoption events focus on bringing rescues together and raising awareness of the needs of homeless pets. PACC911 founder Mears noted that she has “always been an animal advocate and an animal lover” and has always tried to help strays find homes. Almost two decades ago, she formed a coalition for pet rescues, uniting county shelters, Humane Societies, and local rescues in their common goal of saving animals.

“We managed to form what I consider a community, where we work together in harmony,” Mears said.

The PACC911 community is credited for helping save many animals from euthanasia. The coalition also has a “huge community message of spay and neuter,” Mears said.

PACC911 holds multiple rescue events across the Valley, and many PACC911 partners participate regularly.

“As a partner of Phoenix Animal Care Coalition (PACC911), you can often find AZBTR at many of their valley-wide, bimonthly events,” said Mandy Edin, Arizona Boston Terrier Rescue volunteer. This will be AZBTR’s third year at the Anthem event.

“In 2015, we had great success placing nearly 60 rescues, in part, thanks to events like these,” Edin said. “We encourage those interested in the breed to stop by our booth to interact with available rescues.”

Many of the rescues, including the Boston Terrier rescue, don’t do on-site adoptions at the Adopt-A-Thon; anyone interested in adopting one of the available dogs can fill out an application at the event. 

“We strive to make sure adoptions are mutually beneficially for the adopters and rescues, that we are placing rescues in the best environment to succeed,” Edin noted.

Some of the rescues, such as Arizona Golden Retriever Connection, don’t bring their adoptable pets due to the busy environment of the event, but interested adopters can speak to rescue volunteers and schedule a meet-and-greet with adoptable pets.

“Our organization does not do on-site adoptions, but we definitely see an increase in applications from the event,” said Golden Retriever Connection volunteer Candy Ziemer. “Arizona Golden Retriever Connection has been participating in the Anthem Adoptathon for 12 years.”

Interested in adopting a different kind of pet, like a rat? Small animal rescues will be attending the Adopt-A-Thon, too.

“Any Rat Rescue has been attending the Anthem event as long as we’ve been members of PACC911,” said Janet Cooper Communications Coordinator for Any Rat Rescue. “We facilitate on-site adoptions about 25 percent of the time, but the greatest benefit of this event for us is raising awareness and education. Families who meet us at events such as this often follow up afterward to adopt pet rats.”

The Adopt-A-Thon includes a variety of animal welfare organizations, like The Fetch Foundation, which has been participating in the Anthem event for five years.

“We have a fantastic opportunity to educate the public about The Fetch Foundation's programs at this event,” said Gail Buch, Fetch Foundation board member. She noted that they meet many people who aren’t aware that a special O2 mask was designed to save their family pets in case they were ever caught in a fire.

“That life-saving equipment is part of the Fido Bag program,” Buch said.

Fetch Foundation founder Marie Peck has made it a goal to see that every fire station in the country has a Fido Bag, which is filled with life-saving equipment that first responders can use to help save pets. The Fetch Foundation also works to train homeless dogs as therapy and service dogs, pairing the dog with someone who needs one of these special canine helpers.

“To see the success of those dogs we have placed with people in need, it's just amazing,” said Buch.

The Empty Bowls Pet Food Pantry will be represented at the Anthem Adopt-A-Thon. This non-profit partners with local agencies to get pet food and needed pet items to pet owners who are struggling financially.

“People won’t ask for help for themselves, but they will for their pets,” said Empty Bowls president CJ Anderson, who noted that events like this help get the word out about the pet pantry.

“We’re so grateful to Anthem to make the space and try to get more animals home,” Anderson said.

Local rescue Anthem Pets will be participating in the PACC911 Anthem event for the first time this year.

“Anthem Pets was fortunate enough to gain our partner status just last year and we are looking forward to attending our first PACC911 sponsored event in our own community,” said Anthem Pets president Angie Wray.

Like many other PACC911 partners, Anthem Pets volunteers works 24/7 helping animals in need, and they appreciate the opportunity to raise awareness of their mission through events like the Adopt-A-Thon. The event also promotes the resources rescues provide for pet owners, including lost pet assistance and vaccination clinics.

“Events like the adoptathon are beneficial in so many ways,” Wray said. “The number of abandoned, abused, and surrendered animals is astonishing. Anthem Pets is dedicated to finding homes for these animals, and participating in such a huge event gives us a perfect venue to raise awareness within our community and hopefully find homes for some of these animals.”

“We are thrilled to be able to participate in this event and hope to see a huge turnout!” Wray emphasized.

The PACC911 & Anthem Animal Extravaganza & Pet Adopt-A-Thon will be held Saturday, Feb. 6, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., in the Anthem Community Park. See more information at


More information on rescues interviewed:

Anthem Pets:
Any Rat Rescue:
Arizona Boston Terrier Rescue:
Arizona Golden Retriever Connection:
Empty Bowls Pet Food Pantry:
Rusty’s Angels Sanctuary:
The Fetch Foundation: