SanteDOrNational surveys of pet owners show that only 25% of pets are adopted from shelters. Potential pet owners often believe that shelters are overwhelming and depressing, and that shelter pets are pets with issues – not realizing many shelters are now bright friendly modern facilities with up to 25% purebred pets and most are wonderful healthy friendly family pets who were just displaced due to no fault of their own. Enter a “new” kind of pet adoption center – the storefront! Last week we interviewed  Found Animals about their Adopt&Shop retail pet adoption center located in a mall, and this week we talk to Sante D’Or, who have a successful and very different type of pet adoption center and sanctuary, in what used to be a retail record store!

What is the goal of your pet rescue’s storefront location?
To bridge the gap between rescued animals and their potential adopters, as well as invite supporters and interested parties to see first-hand how we operate and how our animals are treated.

How did you come up with the idea for having a storefront?
It seemed the most logical solution for an efficient adoption process and operation transparency.

What’s it like inside?
We are mostly one large room, with a small front entry space for merchandise (t-shirts and tote-bags) and literature, and then a small back room where new animals can be acclimated, or sick animals can be separated for treatment.

How many paid staff & volunteers are in the store daily?
We have only one paid staff member, our Executive Director, who runs the rescue facility full-time, and we are otherwise entirely volunteer-run. Volunteers care for and interact with our animals during two shifts each day, seven days per week. The shifts are mornings 9-12 and afternoons 4:30-6, and our Executive Director is on-site during the in-between hours. Additionally we have a Vet Tech in weekly to examine each animal’s health.

What are the store hours?
12-5pm, Friday-Sunday.

How do adoptions happen from the store?
Application, consultation with our Executive Director and then a home check. Our Director also offers consultation during the transition to assist with any concerns and the bonding of new and existing animals.

How long are the pets left alone when the store is closed?
They are only left alone over night, at which time they are tucked away in their cages for safety and so that we can monitor eating and behavioral habits in the mornings to ensure optimum health. When volunteers are there to clean in the mornings and afternoons, the animals are able to run free and play and exercise. While they do have to be left alone during the nights, they have daily one-to-one interaction, exercise and socialization. While no rescue facility can take the place of a forever home, it is truly the next best thing.

When did it open?
We were founded in 2003, but our storefront was opened in 2007.

How many adoptions has your store had since it opened, and on average?
More than 1400 since opening, and we average around 8-10/month.

Where do the pets come from?
Almost anywhere. Many are either dumped at our doorstep, found by volunteers, or surrendered by owners. Others come from our vet who contacts us when there is a situation with a client who is unable to care for an animal or is requesting euthanasia for a healthy animal. During kitten season, we also have numerous people calling and stopping by with litters they have found on the streets, by dumpsters, on hiking trails, etc. We have multiple calls per day from people seeking assistance with strays or turn-ins. We actively seek to quickly secure loving, forever homes for as many animals as possible and increase our outreach capabilities so that we can assist in more of these situations.

Who planned the design of the store and/or the business plan to make it viable?
Our Executive Director and Board of Directors.

How did you find the location?
We are celebrating the 1-year anniversary of our new location. Our Executive Director and Board President sought out the location, as we were having difficult building challenges in our former space.

How much did it cost to get it up and running?
There were only a few costs associated to making it “animal friendly” which were funded by donations.

How much are the monthly or annual operating costs to your organization?

We average roughly $8,000/month, depending on vet bills and number of animals.

How does it generate income, and does that cover your costs?
Grants, donors and fundraisers. While we do cover our costs through these avenues, we are actively working on more sustainable funding initiatives to enable progressive, long-term growth.

If you’d like to visit the Sante D’Or storefront adoption center, they are open to the public from noon to 5pm Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, and by appointment during the week.
3165 Los Feliz Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90039