With his pet personal ads, pooches always find love

For the Record

August 01, 2004|By KNIGHT RIDDER/TRIBUNE

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Scott Delucchi writes personal ads - for pets.

He's pretty good at it, too. In nine months, only one of the Peninsula Humane Society pets he's spotlighted was not adopted and had to be euthanized for health reasons. Meanwhile, his Pet of the Week ads have developed a following.

The ads, which appear in a local paper, are so popular that animal shelter volunteers lobby him to feature their favorite strays, and some ask him to e-mail them his weekly ad early so they can get a sneak peek.

He has a weakness for unusual names and goofy animal photos. He also focuses on those that need an extra boost: old animals, blind animals, fat animals and those that have been living in the shelter for months. The young and healthy ones, he says, don't need help.

His weekly ritual begins with the name. Considering cat candidates recently, he lighted on Mandy, a tabby. And the sarcasm flew:

"Oh, Mandy! If I hear one more visitor singing that [horrible] Barry Manilow song, I may hack up a fur ball on the spot. At just five years of age, I'm not old enough to remember the 1970s songster, but his music apparently lives on."

It's a little different from the usual pet ad. Shelters once preferred the guilt approach: If you don't adopt me, they might kill me. Others liked it sugary - I'll be your best friend and kiss you every night.

Delucchi, 37, sees things differently. The Humane Society, where he is a vice president, is a place of sweetness and despair, he says. It matches families and animals. It takes in strays that have been beaten, burned and abandoned.

We "see the best and the worst of humanity," said Delucchi. "If we have a chance to have fun, we do it."

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