WILTON, N.Y. (NEWS10) — There’s a new place to window shop at the Wilton Mall.
The H.O.P.E Pet Adoption and Education Center is unlike any pet store you’ve ever seen. It embodies the phrase “adopt, don’t shop.” Its opening brings Wendy Mongillo’s journey full circle.
“The funny thing is, about 30 years ago, I worked here,” she said.
Before it was a dollar store, it was a pet store.
“But it’s ironic that I ended up here,” she said.
The adoption center will be nothing like the place where she worked all those years ago.
“I think way more people understand the importance of adopting pets as opposed to buying them,” said Mongillo. “This is the dog that inspired me to start H.O.P.E. His name was Lucky.”
Mongillo founded the rescue group in 2002, working with shelters to adopt and foster out cats and dogs. Now, she has a prime piece of real estate in the Wilton Mall to continue finding pets their forever homes.
There will eventually be up to 20 cats there. The dogs will live with foster families, but come in on the weekends to catch the eye of mall shoppers. Far more than an adoption agency, Mongillo says there will be a focus on education with speakers, programs, and trendy events.
“There will be cat yoga, which we’re really excited about. Cat café days where the cats can roam around and people can have a cup of coffee and some cookies,” she said.
The center will run on donations. There are adoption fees for pets under 6 years old — $100 for cats and $225 for dogs. Unlike any other transaction you make at the mall, the center insists on pet counseling to make sure it’s the right fit for your family and the animal.
The soft opening is at 11 a.m. on Sunday, January 26 and is open to the public. It will then be open seven days a week.