37th St. stuffed animal petting zoo helps spread Christmas cheer

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by QUITA CULPEPPER / KVUE News and photojournalist JOHN FISHER

kvue.com

Posted on December 21, 2012 at 7:36 PM

Updated Friday, Dec 21 at 7:41 PM

AUSTIN -- Christmas is always a spectacle on 37th Street. Wendy Mitchell wanted to add her own flair to the holiday tradition, so four years ago, the Stuffed Animal Rescue Foundation (SARF) petting zoo was born.

Mitchell finds stuffed toys and gets them in tip-top shape.

During the holidays, the stuffed animals go on display.

“They all have their stories, and it's pretty fun to write them or to help them write,” Mitchell said.

The made up bios let people know where the toys are from, what they like and so much more.

Mitchell uses her creative writing skills to give the creatures varied backgrounds and interests. One stuffed puppy named Nancy is studying to become a Brazilian blowout specialist. 

Two stuffed animals, Phil and Buster, spend their time reading phone books. 

A large bat toy named Jason Stone is a realtor who flew to Austin from California.

“He’s working on buying his own bridge. He's not a fan of the Austin commune bridge thing,” Mitchell said.

Part of SARF's mission is to find these stuffed animals a new home, but adopting one of the cuddly creatures isn't that easy. Every potential stuffed animal parent has to fill out the adoption application form.

“And then the big process of deciding who is the best suited for the particular stuffed animal begins, which is a difficult choice,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell says she understands why some may think she’s going overboard, but she just wants to help spread some Christmas cheer.

The SARF stuffed animal adoptions are free. Monday night, Dec. 24, is the last day the petting zoo animals will be on display.

Click here for more information about SARF.

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