The annual tradition of seeing adoptable puppies and kittens in the windows of Macy's in Union Square, courtesy of the SPCA, will be more of a virtual affair this year.
In the interest of protecting staff members and the general public during the pandemic, the SPCA will not be bringing live animals to Macy's this year, as the Chronicle reports. Instead, the traditional holiday window displays will feature video screens showing adoptable pets instead — with the occasional "pop-up" adoption event onsite.
For the past 18 holiday seasons, the windows at Macy's Union Square have featured bedecked playpens for furry friends, including model trains that kittens liked to intentionally derail. But this is actually 34th year that the SPCA has partnered with a store for a holiday window display in San Francisco in order to encourage pet adoption.
"We wish we could bring our wonderful live animals into Macy’s Union Square today, but this year you will see them on screens throughout the store and here on our website," the SPCA says in a statement.
Adopting pets has been a major trend of this pandemic year, in this city and elsewhere, and the SPCA tells the Chronicle that they've received 3,000 applications per month from would-be pet parents since March — far exceeding the number of available pets. In a normal year, the organizations adopts out about 4,000 animals, and this year they're on track to find homes for 4,500, with another month left to go in the year.
The SPCA has been posting photos of newly adoptable animals every morning on their website, leading to a rush of applications for each one. Prospective adopters are first screened in a phone interview, and then possibly permitted to come meet the animal by appointment.
With the puppies and kittens in the Macy's windows, wrapping around the corner at Stockton and O'Farrell, along with an adoption center inside the store, the SPCA says it typically adopted out 200 to 300 onsite over the holidays. That tradition will continue with a few "pop-up" days with onsite adoptions for a handful of animals, but otherwise people will need to go through an online application process and wait for a possible phone interview — and the animals seen in the featured videos this year won't necessarily be the ones available in a given week.
And, if you just need a moment of delight in your day, you can tune into the live feed, which will alternately feature kittens and pups through the end of the year.
Here's a video promoting volunteering for the 2016 holiday windows: