All Animal Rescue & Friends co-founders Gwen Dorcich (middle) and Jenifer Lepow (far right) are pictured Dec. 13 with some of the rescued kittens up for adoption at the nonprofit’s new pop-up playroom. Pictured at left is Nadine Borelli, AARF volunteer and foster parent. Photo: Michael Moore

A local nonprofit animal rescue recently established a pop-up playroom at a Morgan Hill shopping center where prospective kitten adopters can meet their potential new pets in a setting that is fun and comfortable for both humans and felines.

The playroom, located next to Nob Hill grocery store at Vineyard Town Center, is run by All Animal Rescue & Friends. The site is open 11am to 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays. The playroom is also open for private meet-and-greets with rescued animals and for adoptions, by appointment, according to AARF co-founders.

When the playroom is open, more than 20 rescued kittens ready for adoption are likely to be roaming throughout the space, which is filled with climbable cat towers, tunnels, scratch posts, toys and all manner of distractions—even a giant hamster wheel—to allow the kittens to be themselves.

One recent afternoon at the AARF playroom, foster parents brought two “kitty friendly” dogs who mingled peacefully among the cats.

AARF co-founders and board members Jenifer Lepow and Gwen Dorcich explained that a dedicated playroom like this one is much preferred to other centralized adoption sites. At a pet store or animal shelter, rescued kittens are typically housed in cages or crates, unable to play and likely scared, Dorcich said.

At a spacious playroom where animals can roam freely, potential adopters “get to see (the kittens’) personality” and get a better idea if they’re a good fit, Dorcich added.

Lepow added that the playroom is better for the animals because they get to socialize with other kittens, and it’s more similar to their foster home environments.

“It’s good all around for humans and animals,” Lepow said.

There are currently more than 70 rescued kittens and 26 dogs in the care of AARF foster homes. So far this year, AARF board members and volunteers have rescued more than 500 animals.

The nonprofit works “24/7” to rescue cats, dogs and livestock throughout Santa Clara County, Dorcich added. They do so via owner surrenders, rescues from high-kill animal shelters, trapping and neutering strays and training other community members to help out. They also help public animal control services when animals are loose and for natural disaster evacuation efforts; and they take in sick or injured animals found on the streets, nursing them back to health before putting them up for adoption.

The AARF pop-up playroom opened on its part-time schedule Nov. 1. The site is temporary for AARF, as the property owner is seeking a long-term commercial tenant for the space, Lepow said.

For details about the new AARF pop-up playroom or any other AARF activities—including how to donate to or help the nonprofit—visit their website at

A rescued kitten investigates a holiday decoration at the AARF pet adoption playroom Dec. 13. Photo: Michael Moore
All Animal Rescue & Friends adoption playroom, Dec. 13. Photo: Michael Moore
All Animal Rescue & Friends adoption playroom, Dec. 13. Photo: Michael Moore
All Animal Rescue & Friends adoption playroom, Dec. 13. Photo: Michael Moore
All Animal Rescue & Friends adoption playroom, Dec. 13. Photo: Michael Moore
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Michael Moore is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor for the Morgan Hill Times, Hollister Free Lance and Gilroy Dispatch since 2008. During that time, he has covered crime, breaking news, local government, education, entertainment and more.


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