Twice a year, the Detroit Zoo becomes a little more domesticated. Hundreds of adoptable pets – dogs, cats and the occasional rabbit – join the zoo animals for a weekend in the spring and fall.

The animals, accompanied by the rescue groups that care for them, are displayed in a pop-up tent city adoption center. Attendees of the event get to see the final product, but they might not realize all the planning and set-up work that goes into the zoo event every year.


It’s a 52 week a year job for Marie Skladd, the MHS Director of Community Outreach, who is the MYBF “point person” on the MHS side. Marie and her team contact rescue groups who are interested in being involved months before each event, and spend time planning out what groups will go where. Designing the layout of the zoo event is as difficult (maybe more!) than planning a seating chart at a wedding.

Once the map is ready, the individual rescue groups have decided which animals and how many to bring, the event has been marketed to the public… then the real work gets started!


All those animals can’t just be running loose in the zoo parking lot, so hundreds of crates, kennels and pens are set up in the days before the event. All the kennels need informational cards about the animal they will be holding and each group needs to organize all their adoption applications and adoption paperwork for each animal.


Participating in the zoo adoption event has many benefits for the adoption groups involved. It brings hundreds of people specifically interested in a pet, which gives the adoptable animals a whole new audience. Especially for groups that operate out of foster homes, this allows them to meet adopters and adopt out animals all in one day. The event is a great way to get lots of animals adopted, and is also great exposure for animals that might have been overlooked before for one reason or another.


One of those “overlooked” animals is sweet Meisha, with Home Fur-Ever Rescue. This sweet chow mix will be available for adoption at the weekend’s zoo event, and we are all hoping this is the weekend she finally finds the perfect home!

Join us this weekend and meet your new best friend!