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A.D.O.P.T. provides opportunity to ‘Paw-ty with the Animals’

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Lisle TribLocal
Linda Kane, A.D.O.P.T. volunteer
August 19, 2011
Serena Karevich of Bolingbrook prepares to blow out her 10 birthday candles at Naperville’s A.D.O.P.T. Pet Shelter. Serena invited 10 friends (and lots of dogs and cats) to join her (photo by K. Johnson).

Elizabeth Horvat, soon to be 10 years old, knew what she wanted at her birthday party.

So, she got on the computer and “did a little Google search,” her mother Chris said.

“I found what we’re going to do,” Elizabeth told her mom.

Elizabeth’s search led her to Animals Deserving of Proper Treatment (A.D.O.P.T.’s) website where she found information about having birthday parties with the shelter’s animals.

“Since she’s been able to walk or crawl, she’s had a huge affinity for animals,” Chris said. “We always joked that she was our little Dr. Doolittle because we’ve had every kind of animal on the planet.”

The Horvats decided A.D.O.P.T.’s “Paw-ty with the Animals” was just “purr-fect” for Elizabeth’s celebration.

“[From a parent’s point of view], it was such an easy party,” Chris said. “The volunteers were so fantastic! You were able to enjoy the party right along with the kids.”

Mom Chris said A.D.O.P.T. asks if the birthday girl/boy would like a cat or dog-themed party. Shelter volunteers then coordinate all decorations and paper products around that choice.

Elizabeth chose cat. The Horvats had previously adopted two cats, Sydney and Marley, from the Naperville shelter.

Likewise, Giselle Gerolami’s daughter Serena also chose a cat-themed birthday party. Serena’s family includes two feline members–Mitten, almost 6, and Portia, 1. In addition, Mom Giselle fosters kittens for another area rescue group.

Giselle said shelter volunteers gave Serena and her friends a tour of the A.D.O.P.T. facility, including a look at the surgery center. The approximately two-hour party also included a visit to one of the cat rooms and an opportunity to sit in a circle and play with some of the dogs and puppies.

“I was so impressed with the facility at A.D.O.P.T.,” said Giselle, a Bolingbrook resident. “I have already recommended the [birthday] parties to others. We really had a good time.”

Opting for a dog-themed party, Jean Stone and daughter Gabriella, who turned 10 in April, own a three-year-old dog, Rocco.

Jean said she learned about the birthday parties from a friend and ultimately chose A.D.O.P.T. [for the party] because it was a bigger facility with a private room.

“[Shelter volunteers] did a really nice job,” said Mom Jean, whose daughter invited 10 friends. “I would definitely recommend it.”

Laura Giannone’s daughter Caroline also chose a dog-themed party.

“Caroline loves animals, so this was the perfect party,” Mom Laura said.

Instead of gifts, Caroline opted to have her friends bring items to donate to the shelter. “She received beds, food, toys, cash and other items to help out with the animals,” Mom Laura said. “What does a girl from Naperville need? Yet there are all these animals looking for great homes.

“I wish we could have take one or two home, but we already have two dogs.”

All four birthday girls agreed that the best part of their parties was playing with the animals. “It was a huge highlight,” said Elizabeth’s mom whose 11-year-old son Alexander also attended the party. “Both [Elizabeth and Alexander] were excited that the cats were so playful. I guess at one point there were two or three cats sitting on my son; that was super.”

And what about birthday cake and other “human” treats?

“You can coordinate [the food] through the shelter, but you can also bring your own as well,” Mom Chris said. “Elizabeth made and decorated her own cake, a big paw print. And we ordered pizza [which the shelter] had delivered, so it worked out really nice.

“[The party] was all-around a great experience. You can tell [that the volunteers] love doing them. They are really good with the kids as well as so knowledgeable and dedicated to the shelter.”

A fifth grader this year at Naperville’s Welch Elementary, Elizabeth says she “feels older” now that she’s 10.

As for her future, Elizabeth, who also loves horses, is considering a career as a veterinarian.

But in the meantime, she is already talking about future birthday parties, Mom Chris said.

“Even my son said, ‘I can’t wait until we can come back [to A.D.O.P.T.].’”

For further information about A.D.O.P.T.’s birthday parties, go to Birthday Celebrations on our website (located under Programs and Services).

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