The concept of bringing homeless pets in search of their forever home into a business to both humanely care for them and help promote pet rescue and adoption is definitely not a new concept, but it's definitely one we are excited to see slowly becoming more and more popular.
In the last couple of years we have seen an IKEA in Italy take in stray dogs during the winter nights and help promote adoption, a priest take in stray dogs and find forever homes for dozens of dogs, as well as a Japanese company institute an "office-cat policy," and after public complaints, even this law office adopted a stray cat and gave him an official job!
So, yeah, you could definitely say this is becoming "a thing," and we are far from complaining about it.
This conversation has already been great but now it's about to take a turn for the infinitely better, because I'm about to tell you all about this amazing Canadian bookstore called Otis & Clementine's Books & Coffee.
Literally me at the mention of my 3 favorite things (cats, coffee, books) in one space:
Just outside of Halifax in Nova Scotia, Canada, is a bookstore and coffee shop where kittens roam freely.
The South Paw Conservation Nova Scotia organization provides kittens to bookstore owner Ellen Helmke, and she lets them roam around her cozy shop while folks browse books and sip their caffeine bean juice. The goal? Adoption.
In an interview with Narcity, Ellen said:
"[We] have several kittens and usually a mama cat as well."
Sorry to interrupt your kitten feed, but this is my reaction to every single squishy, fluffy, jelly bean kitten I see right now:
The model is also working flawlessly, which is definitely not hard to believe! In fact, if you've decided that you're in the area and this is the route you want to go to kitten adoption? You have got to act fast! Helmke explains:
All the kittens are in and out fairly quickly, as they are adopted!
Now, I know some of you are like me and worried that scooping up a kitten at the big store comes with the potential for serious abuse and I'm glad to inform you that you don't have to worry because the process isn't that simple.
The setting in the bookstore is purr-fect for humans to get to know and have direct, cuddly exposure to adoptable kittens but the adoption process itself is still operated through and by South Paw Conservation!
First of all, it's not a free-for-all. It costs 255 CAD (or 194 USD) to adopt a kitten.
If that sounds like a lot, it's really not because the adoption fee covers everything, including any medical expenses!
In addition to the financial qualifications, potential kitten adopters also need to provide personal socal references.
Helmke's program is in it's infancy stage, having only been started a mere year ago.
However, it's clearly a raging success. With 30 kittens already adopted, Helmke can boast a 100% adoption rate.
In an interview with Global News, Ellen said:
People come here specifically to see the cats, and then some people just wander in to look at books and discover there are kittens. Either way, the response has been really great—I mean, who doesn’t love kittens, right?
Helmke started her adoption "program" when she realized simply she had the room for it.
Ellen also said:
“I’m so happy to make my customers happy when they come in and they’re just thrilled to see a kitten they weren’t expecting… It’s amazing and makes me happy to come to work.”
In an interivew with Bored Panda, the Nova Scotia rescue organization revealed that in a single month the "group rescued 3 kittens, 4 cats, 6 puppies and 2 dogs."
A representative for the organization also said:
Otis & Clementine’s Books and Coffee is one of many loving foster homes that provide an enriching environment for our kittens and cats. It’s amazing to have this unique platform to help home our kitties!
“South Paw Conservation rescued 30 puppies in 2019 from the Bahamas and Antigua and well over 50 kittens and cats locally. Really hoping the platform of attention we receive from Otis & Clementine’s will help us to find loving homes, provide proper medical care, food and litter through donations and spay/neuter even more kitties within the province in 2020.”
The rescue organization is dedicated, too. They explained that all of their cats and kittens are “vet checked, vaccinated, feline leukemia tested, treated with revolution, and dewormed within the first few days of arrival or when healthy/old enough.”
The adoption fees and donations are extremely important. They explained:
“Some of our kittens require to be bottle-fed or even just be in a space where they can be monitored 24 hours a day. We have an amazing foster network that helps us to meet all their needs. All of this is made possible through donations and adoption fees.”
Additionally, the rescue organization does not limit their outreach and assistance to just the Nova Scotia area. The representative told Bored Panda:
“We just did a conservation trip to Antigua earlier this month. We took 5 people. We spent time in a psychiatric hospital doing crafts with residents, worked in a soup kitchen, rescued 7 puppies and dogs which we will provide shelter and medical care for until they are able to return to Canada with us. We took 5 bags of humanitarian supplies and brought 3 puppies home with us.”
What's next for the rescue?
“We are headed back to Antigua on March 4th to bring home 6 of the puppies we rescued and one 10-month-old we have had in foster since August. We are fundraising like crazy to pay all the medical and travel costs."
If you're interested in helping financially to the South Paw Conservation's funraising efforts, you can see their online auction here and follow their public Facebook page here, where they sometimes share more specific goals like an individual animal's GoFundMe, and ways to donate via PayPal.
What do you think of Ellen's idea? Should more book and coffee stores across the world take her lead and run with it? Share your thoughts in the comment section right meow!
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