Community Members Adopt Ten Animals at Oregon Rail Heritage Center Adoption Outreach Event

Thank you to our supportive adoption community for coming out on Saturday, August 19th and adopting 10 animals at our first ever outreach event at the Oregon Rail Heritage Center. From the moment the doors opened, the event picked up steam and really chugged along.

Foster volunteers were on board to share what it was like living with each of these wonderful animals. We had dogs, cats, and bunnies available. Visitors stopped by various platforms showcasing so many different personalities. The pups were as energetic at times as bullet trains, and the bunnies were as chill as a slow climb up a beautiful, winding mountain pass.

Now before we get sidetracked, we want to thank MCAS Staff and Volunteers, and our host - Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation- for the tremendous amount of organization that went into the day. The day ran smoothly, mostly because so much thought went into what all the animals would need to have a pleasant and successful day. They all certainly chew, chew, chewed on delicious treats. We are so happy that 3 dogs and 7 cats disembarked to new and exciting destinations, and we look forward to finding new homes for everyone else also. - Danni D., MCAS Volunteer

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How often does the right dog for your situation,” said Jessica Osborne, cradling Dahlia, her newly adopted puppy, “just fall right into your lap?”

On Saturday, Aug. 19, Osborne was one of a dozen people who gathered outside the Oregon Rail Heritage Center for a Multnomah County Animal Services adoption event that started an hour before the center’s open train rides began.

The event, a partnership between Animal Services and the Oregon Rail Heritage Center, was an immediate success, with people quickly filling the Enginehouse to visit with foster dogs, puppies, cats, kittens, and bunnies as soon as the gates opened. It was the first such event since 2020. And it demonstrated how even a short time with a foster family can help pets transition from the shelter to a permanent home.

Dahlia, Osborne’s 3-month-old puppy, only spent a few weeks with her foster family before being adopted.

The night before the big day for Dahlia, Connor Cook, her foster, hosted a barbecue with their flyball team. (Flyball is a dog sport in that it is made up of a team of dogs and handlers who work together as dogs jump over hurdles and catch balls.)

Cook held the party in part to help Dahlia prepare for the big adoption event — showing how she’d do around a crowd of people and socializing with other dogs.

“I did my own little reconnaissance,” said Cook. 

But Cook also hoped they might connect Dahlia with a flyball teammate or mutual friend who loves animals and would want to adopt Dahlia. 

Just like Cook hoped, Osborne, part of their flyball team, met Dahlia. 

“I sat there and mulled it over for a couple of hours while I was just watching her be the most social, confident puppy,” Osborne said about thinking of possibly adopting Dahlia. 

And less than an hour into the event, Animal Services celebrated the first adoption of the day. 

Dahlia was one of the first to go through the adoption process, and soon after was carried out in her kennel by Osborne, with Cook in tow holding an adoption-dog bag filled with goodies like a collar and treats.

Cook also promised Osborne to dogsit Dahlia for “the rest of her life!”

Dahlia was one of the first adoptions of the day, but hardly the last; by the end of the event, 10 other animals had new homes: three dogs and seven cats.

James, an 11-week-old kitten, was one of those cats. His foster, Kate Williams, who’s nearing five years of fostering with Animal Services, was happy to see him going to his new family. 

“It’s bittersweet,” said Williams. “Getting to know the couple that just adopted him made it a lot better, because they seemed like a really great pair, and I could tell that it would be a really great match.” 

Marian Cannell, Animal Services’ operations manager, said “it’s amazing to actually see our first event” after so long.

Volunteers and fosters played an important role in the adoption event, providing information about adoption fees, showing off the pet’s tricks, qualities and personalities, and telling community members all about the pet. Support from volunteers also allowed adoption counselors to review prospective adopters’ applications on a first-come, first-serve basis — determine if it was a good match for the pet and then make a plan to take the pet home that very day. 

“We’ve had quite a few people,” Cannell said. “And even if they’re not adopting today they’re going to come back and adopt from us down the line."


- Alicia M., Multnomah County Central Communications

Happy Adoption
Round of Apaws
Adoption event volunteers with a puppy in front of an engine at Oregon Rail Heritage Center

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Jessica Osborne, puppy Dahlia, and Connor Cook.
MCAS Volunteers at the ORHF Enginehouse

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Volunteers Holly Jank, Susan Mcneill and Danni Duggan.
Foster volunteers feature adoptable pets in the Oregon Rail Heritage Center Enginehouse

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Foster volunteers feature adoptable pets in the Oregon Rail Heritage Center Enginehouse