30 adoptable pets get ‘courtside’ seats at NBA playoff game

On Tuesday, the NBA scored a lot of points with fans of animal rescue.

During Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Denver Nuggets, the broadcast cut to 28 dogs and two kittens and their fosters filling virtual courtside seats, with an announcement that they were all “100% adoptable and 100% adorable” and a link to learn more about adopting them.

The pets are being fostered by families around the country for Best Friends Animal Society and the nonprofit’s rescue partners. Valerie Dorian, chief development officer for Best Friends, a national animal welfare organization, said that as a result, a 4-pound Chihuahua named Jolene has already been adopted from Lexington Humane Society in Kentucky.
Jolene loves squeaky toys and she loves other dogs,” she told TODAY. “She’s in a family that has a few other small dogs, so she is in the perfect home for her. We’re super excited for Jolene.”
Jolene, a 1-year-old Chihuahua, appeared during Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals and was adopted within 48 hours.Lexington Humane Society / Best Friends Animal Society
Three dogs from Mutts of the Midway in Chicago already have interested adopters as well. A dog named Daisy May and her puppies made an appearance during the game and will be available for adoption in a few weeks.
Daisy May and her puppies will be ready for adoption soon through Mutts of the Midway in Chicago.Mutts of the Midway / Best Friends Animal Society
It’s the first time Best Friends has showcased adoptable dogs during an NBA game. Dorian said it was a fun way not only to help get 30 pets adopted but to raise awareness about pet adoption and the need for people to temporarily foster dogs and cats until they find forever homes.

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When the coronavirus pandemic forced many shelters to close their doors to the public, people across America stepped up to foster pets in their homes. But with continued economic uncertainty, she said there’s still a need for people to foster and adopt.
Jackson, one of 28 adoptable dogs, joins a virtual courtside seat as the Denver Nuggets play the Los Angeles Lakers.Courtesy of Best Friends Animal Society

“We are concerned and we want to make sure that people are thinking about the animals and how they can help,” she said. “Now is a great time to have a pet in your home as people are working at home, to have a buddy to watch an NBA game with, or just to be your companion in life and everything that you do.”

Participating organizations included the Best Friends shelters in Los Angeles and Houston, as well as Mutts of the Midway in Chicago; Lexington Humane Society in Lexington, Kentucky; Muddy Paws Rescue in New York City; NorCal Boxer Rescue in Davis, California; Louie’s Legacy Animal Rescue in New York City; One Tail at a Time in Chicago; Lucky Dog Animal Rescue in Arlington, Virginia; and Angel City Pit Bulls in Los Angeles.
Lady is poised and ready for her big cameo during Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals.Courtesy of Best Friends Animal Society
Dorian said that including pit bulls helped underscore that they can make great pets — which was particularly poignant since the Nuggets represent Denver, where voters will decide in November whether to repeal the city’s 30-year ban on pit bulls .

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Many of the pets were large dogs, which typically have a harder time getting adopted than small ones. Two kittens also joined in, since they face challenges as well: They need fosters willing to bottle-feed them and keep them warm until they are 8 weeks old and ready for adoption.

Los Angeles resident Samantha Bell is fostering a 4-week-old kitten for Best Friends LA and was delighted to help Ant-Man wave at fans during the game.“It was so much fun,” she told TODAY. “There were all these huge dogs as you looked on the screen and then there’s this little tiny kitten waving on there.”