Maddie was— and is, a special dog. A miniature schnauzer who was a loving pet to her caretakers Dave and Cheryl Duffield, they adopted her when she was just days old; she went on to spend 10 years with them. At the time, Dave was forming an organization called PeopleSoft. One day while playing with her, he picked her up and promised that if he ever managed to make money on his new project he would spend some of it on other animals like her in need of a home.
Over the past several years, they kept their promise to Maddie, spending close to a hundred million dollars to save cats and dogs. Maddie’s Fund has benefitted numerous organizations and, of course, thousands of animals; once a year they pull out all the stops. This year Maddie’s Adoptathon will be held June 9 and 10. It’s one of (if not) the largest single weekend pet adoption event in the country. This year over 60 pet rescues and shelters are taking part.
The long and the short of it is this: Pet rescues and shelters charge an adoption fee to help cover the costs of spaying, neutering, vaccinations and general care (none of which the donations actually fully cover), but on Maddie’s weekend, the Duffields foot the bill. Groups like Purrfect Cat not only do not have to charge an adoption fee, we are actually given money by Maddie’s Fund for each animal we adopt out. For small rescues like ours (run out of people’s’ houses and garages on kitchen tables—not boardroom tables), this is a tremendous gift. Over sixty groups throughout the Bay Area are taking part this year so thousands of cats and dogs will all find a home in a two-day period, and some of those groups might survive another year of operations simply because of the money gained in those two days.
I was lucky enough to attend a lunch earlier this spring hosted by SFSPCA in preparation for Maddie’s Adoptathon. Dave Duffield spoke, as did Rich Avanzino, former president of SFSPCA and current president of Maddie’s Fund. I gained a lot of insight into how much work and how many people are required to organize an event like this, and I felt quite honored that I was asked to attend. A year ago I was just a guy with a cat trap, a pocketful of canned tuna, and absolutely no clue what I was doing stalking feral cats; having lunch with a billionaire who wants to start buying the canned tuna for me is big damn deal.
If you are located in the Bay Area and know someone who might want to adopt a cat or dog, check out the Adoptathon website for a full list of the groups participating. Additionally, the website has flyers available for downloading and printing (under the “resources” tab). If you live, work, shop or play somewhere that will allow you to post them, please do. All the groups taking part would appreciate the extra exposure.
Maddie: by any measure, a pretty inspirational dog.