How to Give a Lost Pooch (or Pussycat) a New Home

As Bernadette Peters and Mary Tyler Moore get set to find homes for hundreds of homeless pets at Broadway Barks 14, we spoke with the ASPCA on how guys can get a new pet and feel good about it, too.
July 06, 2012

(Mary Tyler Moore and Bernadette Peters)

These days it seems like there’s some adorably cute guy with an even more loveable designer dog at the end of a leash on nearly every block. Sure, those smoosh-faced bundles of squeezable joy are pretty irresistible (we mean the dogs), but meanwhile there are more than 44,000 pets currently in shelters awaiting a home.

Today, Bernadette Peters and Mary Tyler Moore want to remind you that adoption saves pets’ lives—and costs less than buying from a breeder—with their annual adopt-a-thon, Broadway Barks 14, where you can get started on the adoption process right away.

The star-studded afternoon will feature appearances by Rory O’Malley (The Book of Mormon), Tracie Bennett (End of the Rainbow), Jackie Burns (Wicked), Michael Cerveris (Evita) and other Broadway stars helping Peters and Moore raise money for area shelters and help find homes for wayward dogs and cats. To help ’mos looking to get a fur ball to call their own—and reduce the population of shelter animals—we spoke with Diane Wilkerson, director of volunteer programs at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), which is a presenting sponsor of Broadway Barks, about how to give a shelter pup a new home and what to expect once you’ve got them there.

Before any of their animals are made available for adoption, the ASPCA does much of the veterinary heavy lifting. “The ASPCA’s main concern is always the health and wellbeing of the animals in our care,” Wilkerson asserts. “All of our puppies are spayed [or] neutered, up-to-date on their vaccinations, microchipped and are eligible for a free vet exam at the ASPCA’s Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital,” she continues. “When you purchase from a pet store, you will have to pay for all of those things.”

Contact the ASPCA

The ASPCA is located on the Upper East Side on 92nd between York and First Aves—but there are plenty of locations around town where you can adopt a new pooch, too. “The ASPCA offers a wealth of information on our website,,” Wilkerson explains.

Commitment Issues? Try Fostering

If you’ve got cold feet, you can try fostering an animal. As a foster, you’re only taking on a temporary commitment, and not a financial one since rescue organizations pay for food and medical care. In most cases you’ll help care for the animal until it finds its “forever home,” but if you wind up falling in love with one of your furry foster charges, you can adopt the pet yourself.

Save a Life, Save Some Dough

In 2002, the third year of Broadway Barks, the euthanasia rate among New York City shelter animals was 74 percent. By 2009 that rate had dropped to only 33 percent. And doing the right thing is cheap, too. “Adoption fees do differ from shelter to shelter but as an example,” Wilkers says, “the adoption fees at the ASPCA range from $75 to $200 for a dog.” Compare that with the several hundred dollars you may drop on a breeder’s puppy.

Follow Up

Once you’ve adopted a pet from the ASPCA you’ll have a partner not only in your new pal, but also in the organization itself. Says Wilkerson, “Once an animal is adopted from the ASPCA, the new owner has a support system for life.”

Broadway Barks 14 at Shubert Alley, 225 W 44th St (btwn Seventh/Eighth Aves), July 14 from 3:30pm–6:30pm; free. Visit or for more info.