A PET ADOPTION drive Saturday in Manteca turned out to be fortunate for some children with disabilities.

The event hosted by the Delta Humane Society & SPCA of San Joaquin County and radio station Kat Country 103 (KATM) outside PetSmart brought together several organizations facing crowded shelters.

Lathrop Animal Services said it is holding about 30 large-breed dogs that need homes, while Manteca Animal Services has reached capacity.

“Last week on Saturday we got nine dogs,” said Mackenzie Teunissen of the Manteca shelter. “Tuesday, we got five dogs, and today we received three dogs.”

Evalena Anderson, 9, looks at kittens during a pet adoption event at PetSmart in Manteca on Saturday. Evalena’s mother, Lauren Cudjoe, said her daughter’s neurologist suggested that an animal could be therapeutic. (Harika Maddala/Bay City News/Catchlight Local)

With a variety of animals to pick from, 9-year-old Evalena Anderson of Stockton took her time playing with the dogs and holding cats. Ultimately, she chose a male Chihuahua Pug who was a little over six weeks old.

Evalena’s mother, Lauren Cudjoe, said her daughter’s neurologist suggested that an animal could help calm the girl, who has Tourette syndrome. The disorder is characterized by involuntary repetitive movements and sounds or words.

Holding her new dog in her arms, Evalena announced with a wide grin that his new name was Max.

Furry animals were not the only choices at the event. Cali_FID Parrot & Exotic Rescue Sanctuary is looking to place parrots, birds, rabbits, geckos, turtles and other animals.

“The animals had a need to be saved and nobody was saving them,” said Jennifer Perez, who said she started the group after volunteering at a shelter in Stanislaus County.

“I wanted a dog that was very gentle and friendly and caring.”

Nikki Sasser, adopted a Great Pyrenees for her son

She said animals would be given away to the staff or euthanized because proper care wasn’t available.

About three hours into the event, Nutter Butter, a large white Great Pyrenees, hadn’t been adopted despite his well-behaved manners.

Asher Schossow, 3, looks shyly at his new dog Peanut Butter from behind his mother during Saturday’s pet adoption event in Manteca. Schossow has mild autism and his parents adopted Peanut Butter to help him. (Harika Maddala/Bay City News/Catchlight Local)

That was solved by the family of 3-year-old Asher Schossow. Nutter Butter was renamed Peanut Butter to reflect one of Asher’s favorite foods. Nikki Sasser said her son has mild autism.

“I wanted a dog that was very gentle and friendly and caring,” Sasser said. The Great Pyrenees breed “is also big enough so it’s not just going to get hurt. … I just wanted a companion.”

As of 3 p.m. Saturday nine animals including cats and dogs had been adopted.

Victoria Franco is a reporter based in Stockton covering San Joaquin County for Bay City News Foundation and its nonprofit news site Local News Matters. She is a Report for America corps member.

Victoria Franco, Bay City News

Victoria Franco is a Stockton-based reporter covering the diverse news around the Central Valley as part of the Report for America program. As a Stockton native, Franco is proud to cover stories within her community and report a variety of coverage. She is a San Jose State University alumna with a Bachelor of Science degree in Journalism. In her collegiate years she was Managing Editor for the Spartan Daily. From her time at the Spartan Daily she helped lead her staff to California College Media Awards and a General Excellence first place. Victoria encourages readers to email her story tips and ideas at victoria.franco@baycitynews.com.