Second annual “Mega-Match-a-thon” to bring pets and owners together

Second annual “Mega-Match-a-thon” to bring pets and owners together

Nearly 190 dogs and cats will hopefully find homes on Oct. 20 during Columbia’s second annual “Mega-Match-a-thon” event, which pairs up potential pets and owners.

Animal advocacy non-profit organization No Kill Columbia will host the event again, which previously was in April 2012 and had 700 people attend, said No Kill Columbia board member Michelle Bird.

The “Mega-Match-a-thon” is the largest adoption event in mid-Missouri and is sponsored by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Bird said.

This year’s event features dogs and cats from 11 area shelters and rescue organizations looking for homes. It is one of 38 around the nation going on this weekend, but is the only one to partner with multiple organizations, Bird said.

Bird said event participants can find a pet through ASPCA’s “Meet Your Match” program, which is a survey to see which type of pet meets their needs.

“You as an adopter will fill out a survey that will ask you questions like, I want a dog that’s going to lay on the couch with me, or go for a run,” Bird said. “And you circle which preference you have. You go through….what your ideal characteristics are in looking for a dog, and they match your lifestyle into a color.”

The colors, which cover both cats and dogs, indicate differing energy levels. ‘Purple’ pets are relaxed and ideal for a first-time owner, orange is medium energy, and green is the most demanding and high-strung animals.

After the potential owners receive their color information, they can walk around the event looking for animals who have corresponding colors next to their cage. The animals have all gone through a similar evaluation.

Bird said taking home adoption-animals ready at the “Mega-Match-a-thon” has its advantages.

“If you tried to do (vaccinations) on your own it’d be $300 to $500,” Bird said. “So we think that’s a pretty awesome deal. (The fees) are just gonna add up with your own personal vet.”

The event’s adoption rates are significantly lower, with $75 for a dog and $45 for a cat covering full vaccinations that usually require additional fees, said Bird.

ASPCA grants $280,000 nationwide to such adoption events and gave No Kill Columbia $7,500 to put on the event.

Animal welfare organization Best Friends Animal Society, in partnership with PetSmart Charities, also gave an additional $2,500. The total of $10,000 in grant money will help fund general promotions such as making t-shirts and other marketing. It will also help participating shelters prepare their animals for the “Mega-Match-a-thon”.

“We give the rescues money back toward every animal that they bring in to our event,” Bird said. “Basically what we do is if they bring an animal to our event, we’ll give them this much money out of the grant funding to basically pay for the cost to get the animal ready for adoption, from neutering to vaccination to microchipping. Plus they get to change the adoption fee which we’ve asked them to lower.”

“Mega-Match-a-thon” committee member Kerri Burrows said the first 2012 event saw an adoption amount that surpassed the organization’s original projection.

“Our goal was 120, but we adopted out 142,” she said.

Burrows said ASPCA changed adoption event times to the fall due to more animal availability. The new date will thus see more kittens due to cat breeding patterns.

Because of the previous event’s high number, the 2013 “Mega-Match-a-thon” hopes to adopt out around 190, Burrows said.

Interested participants can meet animals 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday at the Midway Exposition Center.

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