Presents and Adoptions Mark Successful ACC Holiday Open House

With Christmas lights aglow, above, St. John Animal Care Center officials welcomed a huge crowd — including Santa and an elf, below — to the organization’s open house last week. Several attendees even took home some furry friends for the holidays.

Almost 100 animal lovers — including Santa Claus himself thanks to Gary Cox — packed the St. John Animal Care Center’s Estate Enighed shelter on Tuesday evening, December 13, to ring in the season with the island’s non-profit animal welfare organization.

“It went great,” ACC shelter administrator Sally Nelson said about the group’s open house last week. “It was huge. A lot of people got here early and stayed for the whole time.”

While enjoying complimentary treats and drinks, many ACC open house guests also took home a furry friend.

“We had lots of adoptions,” said Nelson. “A couple who are leaving Monday for Boston are taking two of my old cats, who have been at the shelter for more than a year.”

The visiting Massachusetts couple ran into several ACC volunteers and dogs on a Sunday morning hike recently and mentioned they were planning to adopt a few cats when they got home, Nelson explained.

“They came by during the open house, since they were going to adopt two cats when they got home anyway,” she said. “They ended up adopting two adult cats from the shelter and will be taking them home to Boston with them.”

A dog named Sid has already left the shelter for a potential new home and his fellow abandoned dog Nancy was set to go to a new home last week as well. Even the ACC’s model, Buster — who posed as Santa for the group’s Holiday cards and ads — was set to try out a new home last week, Nelson explained.

“Buster is going to do a sleep-over over the weekend to try out a new home,” she said on Thursday, December 15.

While some ACC open house guests took home new friends, many others brought presents for the animals at the shelter.

“The amount of things that people brought — food, toys, collars, leashes — was just amazing,” said Nelson. “There is a huge amount of presents here for the animals. My tree is overflowing and we have a second tree downstairs for the dogs.”

The ACC open house was such a success, Nelson promised to make the soiree an annual event.

Anyone who missed last week’s ACC open house should keep an eye on the group’s Facebook page for an in-the-works New Year’s Day polar bear dip at Cruz Bay beach.

For more information about ACC or to make a donation call the shelter at 774-1625 or go to