dog sits inside one of the rooms in SPCA animal center
Arthur, 9 months old, sits inside one of the rooms of the SPCA animal shelter. Photo by Christine Delianne.

The SPCA’s kennels are packed at 20 percent over capacity, so the animal care center on 16th Street is waiving the $400 adoption fee for any dog five months or older. 

The center periodically runs short-term adoption promotions for harder-to-place older or larger dogs, and the Summer of Lovin’ program, launched this month, significantly extends the promotion. 

“This year, we have a more pressing need for dogs of all ages, so we broadened the age range and focused on all adult dogs,” said Chief of Rescue and Welfare Lisa Feder.

Feder attributed the oversupply of dogs to the end of the pandemic and a return to travel and work. At present, the center has 25 dogs up for adoption; generally, it has 20 dogs. The candidates include American Blue Heelers and a Rottweiler, in sizes ranging from 19 pounds to 70 pounds. 

Since the summer program launched in early June, 20 dogs have been adopted, Feder said.  

The center’s goal is to place a dog within 12 days of arriving at the SPCA. “After that, the dog becomes depressed,” said Feder. 

Even though the center keeps the animals in relatively spacious rooms filled with toys and beds, she said dogs lose their appetites and become lethargic after their length of stay passes the 10-day threshold. Right now, the majority of the big dogs — the ones that have been most difficult to place — have been there for some 20 days. 

“There’s this misconception that dogs take a lot of work if they are bigger. But that has more to do with their personalities,” said Feder. 

Han, a prospective dog owner, was a case in point. She peered into a kennel at Lily who, at 30 pounds, was on the edge of being too big for Han. 

When Han entered the room to meet Lily, a mixed breed, it seemed like love at first sight, but Han hesitated.  Her last dog grew into a 45-pounder, and when the dog became sick, Han said, she struggled to pick her up and care for her. 

“I know I shouldn’t put so much emphasis on the end, when there was so much life, but I feel a lot of guilt about that,” she said. 

“She’s a cutie,” Han said. “But that’s a lot of dog for me,” Han said back in the center’s lobby.  Han said she was going to think about it. 

And, one day later, Lily was adopted.

Learn more about the Summer of Lovin’ program here.


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Christine Delianne

Christine flew across the country from Long Island to the Bay Area for college. She is a junior at Stanford University, where she served as the Managing Editor for the student newspaper. Before joining Mission, she covered breaking news as an intern at Bay City News and The Sacramento Bee.

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  1. I am a type 1 diabetic with PTSD. Can you find me a free friendly dog for a pet in Oregon, Lincoln city??

  2. Is ARTHUR abaible? I want him❤️He looks just like my dog Jovi Bone Jovi… He was a great pleasure to have spent 14 years with my hubby and I. He went to dog heaven 2 years ago. I miss him still😇 Thanks, Fran Hunter

  3. I’d love a small dog like a Shelty young to adult I’m 68 years old and live alone with my cat who lives dogs. I’m a mother and my grown son comes over quite a bit he loves animals he grew up with as I did

  4. I am 84 years young still mow my own lawn, I have had to euthanize my precious friend Carpenter due to crippled hind legs a year ago. He was 14 years old. I’m still trying to adopt. They say I’m too old. I own my own home w fenced in back yard. I’m looking for a Senior dog large breed. Must be good with cats.

  5. I’m looking for a small dog not a puppy. Around the age of 3 or 4. Like the size of a terripoo which I had. My husband and I are both seniors at the age of 76. We are home most of the time. I just want one that is a cuddler and not aggressive. I’ve had 5 dogs in my lifetime . All puppies. I can’t go through that stage again at my age. I would also like a female. We love animals but if I say I don’t really want a senior dog that could put me out of getting a dog. It’s just that all 5 of our dogs grew to be seniors. The ages were 13 to 16. We went through a lot with them as they aged and I cried too many tears to go through it again. None of them were ever put to sleep until it was absolutely necessary. I hope you can help us. I really miss having a little one running around. The last one we had was a Shih-Tzu. a year before covid 19 hit so we decided at that time we didn’t want to get another dog but as you can see we have changed our mind. Thank you for taking the time to read this.

  6. I do not support FREE adoptions for dogs. This practice only invites questionable prospective dog owners. There may be a few good people out there who want a free dog, but if you do not have the money to adopt than you certainly do not have funds to provide good care long term for a dog. Reduced fees for shots and spraying are available out there for those with limited funds. FREE dogs programs only invite great RISK for the dog.

    1. I agree with Julie Benedict but 400 is much to high . Free goes against one of the most important rules of adopting. SPCA is making a big mistake and endangering these already mistreated and vulnerable animals please don’t let them fall into desiving hands!

  7. Say “yes” to an older dog. They have stories to tell (or keep to themselves). They know “stuff” (and can learn) , like: “potty outdoors” , “sit”, “this is my bed”. And if they loved and were loved before, they believe and hope they will love again – even if their hearts were broken. My first older rescue dog is with the angel pups now, and although I had him for only a few years – every day I had him was filled with love and joy. It was a gift to be able to help make his golden years, his best. I adopted my second senior dog this year. He gets me out to walk far and fast three time/day, and calms us both with his long afternoon snoozes in my lap. He is a great co-pilot in the car, and loves a new adventure. Now that he is safe, and has his fur-ever home and person, he can appreciate the good things in a simple life – a wisdom that comes with age.