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Mary Margaret: Oh, the animal shelter right? How's that going?
David: Well, the apes haven't taken over.
David and Mary Margaret src

Storybrooke Pet Shelter, also known as the Animal Shelter, is a Storybrooke location on ABC's Once Upon a Time. It first appears in the tenth episode of the first season.


During First Curse

Sheriff Graham, meeting Regina for an evening tryst, leaves night patrol in deputy Emma's hands with the excuse he has to help a sick dog at the shelter since the veterinarian, Dr. Thatcher, won't be available. Later that night, however, Emma catches him sneaking out of Regina's house and figures out why he lied. Despite this, Graham insists he really is an animal volunteer. ("The Shepherd")

After coma patient David is discharged from the hospital and resumes his life, he finds a job at the pet shelter helping Dr. Thatcher. While putting up posters around town, he bumps into Mary Margaret, who asks how his job search is going, to which he tells her about working at the pet shelter. ("Desperate Souls")

David, harboring feelings for Mary Margaret, tells her that he is going to work on his marriage with Kathryn. Without either party knowing, they become more enamored with one another. Both begin showing up daily to the diner by seven-fifteen just to see each other. Throughout each day, Mary Margaret secretly watches David come to the diner, go to work at the pet shelter and then return home. When Emma catches her one morning at the diner, rather than at the school, a lovesick Mary Margaret admits "stalking" David and tracking his movements. Later on, in the woods, she finds an injured dove and brings the animal to the shelter to check its health. Dr. Thatcher says the dove's wounds will heal, but cannot survive on its own and needs to reunite with its flock soon. Braving the coming storm, Mary Margaret attempts to set the dove free where its flock might pass by. However, she almost falls down a ravine and is rescued by David. He persuades to wait out the storm, so they seek shelter in a nearby abandoned cabin. After the sky has cleared, Mary Margaret believes her chance of finding the flock has passed until she sees the birds flying overhead. Releasing the lone dove into the air, it flies to its flock while she and David contently look on. ("7:15 A.M.")

Unable to deny the growing attraction between them, David and Mary Margaret embark on an affair that ends when Kathryn angrily discovers they are seeing each other. David, although he previously agreed to tell Kathryn the truth, lies to Mary Margaret about doing so. When the affair becomes public, Mary Margaret is hurt by his lie and breaks up with him. Kathryn then realizes what the two have is true love, and she leaves a note to encourage David to reconcile with Mary Margaret. He never sees the letter due to Regina's interference and Kathryn's disappearance as she is on-route to Boston. After being questioned by Emma about Kathryn, David leaves, but ends up wandering the woods with no recollection of why he is there. Though Dr. Whale says it's a side-affect of waking from the coma, David relates fears to Mary Margaret that he may have killed Kathryn. As they talk at the pet shelter, Emma arrives to announce a human heart has been found and it's a match for Kathryn's. Believing himself guilty, he begs to be arrested, but Emma reveals the fingerprints on the box, that the heart is in, are Mary Margaret's. With little choice, Emma arrests a shocked and confused Mary Margaret. ("Red-Handed")


On-Screen Notes

Set Dressing

  • The pet shelter has silvery forest wallpaper on the counter and behind the counter,[5] and tree silhouettes on the window panes.[5][6] Above the fish tank, there is a framed picture of a winter woods scene with birch trees.[5] Real birch tree trunks are used as decorations.[7] These are all nods to the Enchanted Forest. ("7:15 A.M.", "Red-Handed", "The Return")

Filming Locations


Note: "Archive" denotes archive footage.