05/18/2012 12:13 pm ET

Meet Your Best Friend At The Zoo: Pets Up For Adoption At Detroit Zoo (PHOTOS)

It's not everyday you can bring a new pet home with you from the zoo.

But on Saturday and Sunday, the Detroit Zoo and Michigan Humane Society are teaming up for "Meet Your Best Friend at the Zoo," an event that has found homes for more than 17,000 pets in the 20 years since its founding.

Cited as the largest off-site adoption event in the country by its organizers, it will draw more than 30 organizations from across the state, some from as far away as Manistee on Lake Michigan, and hundreds of pets in need of adoption.


Several organizations dedicated to rescuing specific breeds, including Greyhounds, Shi Tzus, Cocker Spaniels, poodles and pugs, will be on hand, though they will not be offering same-day adoptions.

Another in-demand "breed" will be present: puppies. Families and individuals interested in adopting a puppy should arrive early to the event, which starts at 10 a.m. each day. The first 25 to arrive will get a "puppy pass" allowsing them to enter 15 minutes early to get their pick of the litter.

"After 20 or 30 minutes, puppies are going to be pretty rare," MHS spokesman Kevin Hatman explained.

Detroit Bully Crew, a pit bull rescue group, will also attend. According to Hatman, pit bulls make up about 35 percent of the canines rescued in Michigan, and their large numbers are in part due to exploitation. MHS offers a free pit bull sterilization program.

"Every animal deserves a home, regardless of what breed they are," Hatman said.

At the zoo this weekend, those considering adoption can speak with counselors who will be available to teach people about the process of adoption and the proper care of a pet. "It is a commitment for the lifetime of the animal," Hatman added.

More than 75,000 pets were adopted from shelters last year in Michigan alone, according to the MHS. If you're interested in finding a pet of your own, the free "Meet Your Best Friend at the Zoo" event will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, May 19 and 20, in the parking lot of the Detroit Zoo, 8450 W. 10 Mile Rd., Royal Oak.

Meet Your Best Friend At The Zoo