It wasn’t clear if Thadeus knew his life was about to change.
The silky black Chihuahua mix was enjoying a good head scratch as he nestled into the arms of Sonoma County Animal Care and Control volunteer Charley Kennedy.
Just five feet away, Irene Reyes of Santa Rosa was filling out the paperwork to bring Thadeus into her family, at the strong urging of daughters Elizabeth, 11, and Isis, 10.
“My girls begged and begged and begged,” Irene Reyes said.
Kennedy could hardly contain her glee as she gave Thadeus — soon to be known as Leo — a couple pats.
“Yeah! He’s being adopted! He’s being adopted!” Kennedy said.
Some dreams became reality Saturday in the parking lot of the Airport Stadium 12 theater complex on Aviation Boulevard north of Santa Rosa. For 16 years, the Tocchini family-run Santa Rosa Entertainment Group has collaborated with Sonoma County’s animal agency to hold the Pet Adoption & Wellness Weekend, a one-day adoption fair to connect animals with new homes. People who adopted animals also received free movie passes.
The five-hour event took place in the shade of two rows of tents set up in the theater’s front parking lot.
Other animal welfare groups involved included Santa Rosa’s Countryside Animal Rescue, Forgotten Felines and Western Farm Center as well as the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter, Pets Lifeline of Sonoma and Green Dog Rescue Project of Windsor.
Some groups brought informational displays, like the Paradise Pets boarding facility and the K-9 Activity Club. A Lake County animal control officer handed out animal coloring books and pamphlets on animal spay and neuter programs.
Amy Tocchini, secretary/treasurer of the local theater group, said that the highest number of adoptions since they started the event was 45 in one day. Saturday’s event raised $750 and helped 20 animals find new homes.
While Thadeus was about to start a new life with the Reyes family, others had their dreams at least temporarily dashed.
The Miller family of Santa Rosa had been hoping to adopt caramel-colored Mr. Chips, an extra fuzzy Chihuahua mix relaxing in the shade on a padded cot. They recently met the pooch at Windsor’s Greendog Rescue Project.
Paul Miller said the family had this “gnawing feeling” since they left Mr. Chips behind at the project’s facility on Old Redwood Highway.
Alas, they arrived too late to Saturday’s fair. Adoption papers had been signed. The dog was to join another family.
“We can try again” to find another dog, Paula Miller told their sons, ages 7 and 4.
Because maybe it just wasn’t meant to be.
That’s what Joe Menicucci believes.
A animal health technician with Sonoma County, Menicucci said that after about five years with the agency, he’s convinced people and animals will end up with one another when it’s meant to be. It has happened to Menicucci several times, he said, including a fateful Christmas Eve several years ago when a Chihuahua joined his family.
“When the right person walks in at the right time, that’s how it happens,” Menicucci said.
You can reach Staff Writer Julie Johnson at 521-5220 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @jjpressdem.