The Orphanage is a unique storefront concept for rescue pets to live and stay while finding a new home.
Look at any pet adoption website and it’s pretty easy to see that many animals in Orange County—and elsewhere—need good homes.
This need is the inspiration behind a rescue designed like a pet store, with one important distinction: the pets are all adoptable.
The concept of The Orphanage is that it’s a place where homeless pets live until they find a new home, says Mandy Stover, co-founder and director of Priceless Pet Rescue (www.pricelesspetrescue.org), which runs these unique adoption centers. Priceless Pets, a no-kill pet rescue, just opened its third Orphanage in Costa Mesa on Jan. 12, 2019.
Stover took some time to answer some of our questions about The Orphanage:
POC: Have you noticed an improvement in adoptions since you opened the Costa Mesa location?
Mandy Stover: “Just in the month of January—from [the] 12th to the 31st—we placed 49 animals into a home.”
POC: How did Priceless Pet Rescue begin?
MS: “Priceless Pet Rescue was founded 2007 in the City of Chino Hills. Lisa Price and I are escrow officers by trade and during the housing crisis we heard stories about people leaving behind their pets when they lost their homes. We were looking for a way to give back to the community. Lisa had recently adopted a dog from a dog rescue and we got to thinking, we could help by starting a dog rescue. Originally we held adoption events at our local PetSmarts. In 2011, The Orphanage Chino Hills was opened and we started rescuing cats. In August of 2015 The Orphanage Claremont opened. In 2018 Priceless Pets signed a contract with the City of Costa Mesa to provide adoption services for their homeless pets.”
POC: How does Priceless Pets rescue animals?
MS: “Priceless Pets is primarily a ‘Pull Rescue,’ meaning we work with local [high-]risk shelters and pull their animals before the shelter has to put them to sleep. Priceless Pets does take owner surrenders on a case-by-case basis.”
POC: Does the rescue have volunteers?
MS: “Priceless Pets is 80 percent volunteer-based with over 250 active volunteers. The directors of Priceless Pets do not receive a payment or a paycheck from Priceless Pets. The directors believe that all the funds donated to the pets should go to the care of the pets. Priceless Pets’ pets are housed at The Orphanage. Priceless Pets does have a foster network and pets are sometimes housed with fosters depending on their needs.”
POC: What are some reasons pets end up at your rescue?
MS: “A lot of the surrenders we see is due to moving or restrictions on breeds from landlords. It is very sad to see families having to [give] up their beloved pet because their new home does not allow dogs.”
POC: How many pets can The Orphanage hold at any given time?
MS: “One hundred and thirty-five pets can be housed at all three locations; 45 pets [in] the Costa Mesa [location]. We will transfer the pets between the three adoption centers. But other than that, they stay at the adoption centers.”
POC: How is it funded?
MS: “The only government contract we have is the Costa Mesa contract. We solely exist by private donations and fundraisers.”
POC: How do you help match up animals with people?
MS: “Being that we are a rescue we get to spend a lot of time with our animals. The volunteers and staff get to know the animals and we share our experiences with them to the adopters. Adoptions require an application and based on the answer of the application, pets can go home same day.”
By Jessica Peralta