All over the country, people are finding ways to adjust to our new stay-at-home normal, and for some, that means making a furry friend. Shelters in the US have reported an increase in adoptions since the start of the pandemic, some of which have had to create waiting lists or pause practices until they can save more animals. Working with shelters and rescue organizations across the country, Petfinder.com saw adoption inquiries increase 122 percent between March 15 and April 15.
It has led to a number of unique problems that many shelters have not faced before: balancing the growing applications for pet adoption and foster homes while having to adapt to their new conditions.
Many rescue organizations had to close their adoption and medical facilities, and with this change came a shift in strategy. Their first concern was how to ensure their animals were well looked after with limited staff and closed shelters. For many organizations, the answer is encouragement. “Thanks to our large network of volunteers, we have been able to temporarily move many of the animals in our care into foster homes,” says Kirstin Burdett, senior manager of admissions and matchmaking. ASPCA The Adoption Center “allows us to focus on the most vulnerable animals and support animal welfare partners who need our help.”
The second concern was how to adjust adoption processes. This has led many organizations to switch to video meet and greets, virtual adoption events, and attempts to connect foster families with potential adopters. “Some of our centers still do in-person adoptions with appointments, secure, social distancing,” says Hannah Stember. Best Friends Animal Society. Still, most do virtual meet-and-greets, he added.
Meanwhile, this is one of the busiest and most challenging times of the year for rescue organizations as unchanged cats start mating during the warmer months and homeless kittens are starting to appear outside. Rescue efforts will be more intense than before, and more pets will be available for adoption.
As a result, despite the increase in inquiries, shelters are still seeking support, whether through adoption or adoption. Even if you can’t visit an animal shelter, you can use some of these virtual methods to welcome an animal into your home. But before you take these steps, remember that owning a pet is a commitment for the rest of your life. “The decision to adopt a pet should not be taken lightly. “This is a huge time and financial commitment,” says its chairman, Meagan Licari. Puppy Kitty NYC.
Here are some strategies and advice for adopting a rescue pet during these challenging times.
Research local rescue organizations near you
First, make sure you decide which pet is right for you and your home. Cat, dog, lizard, rabbit, guinea pig?
Once you know, make a list of eight to 10 rescue organizations in your area. It’s important to consider a few resources because many shelters these days are overflowing with apps and some may have waiting lists. Shelters often do not see this amount of applications at any one time, and most of their facilities are also understaffed with limited volunteers. So be patient. Don’t be discouraged.
As you research, verify that these are true. 501(c)(3) nonprofits. Every nonprofit must apply for 501(c)(3) status and an EIN number that allows them to become tax-exempt charitable organizations.
Take some time to do some general research on each organization. Visit their website, read some of the recent articles they mention, and browse their social media pages. Once you’re in the application process, you can also confirm with the organization how they keep all their animals’ medical records.
Be flexible when looking for pets
Start looking for the right pet for you and your home. Visit each organization’s website and take a look at their adoptable pet bios. You can also check petfinder and Adopt a Petwhere you can view pet profiles and sync with a rescue organization.
Be as open-minded as possible and don’t stick to one animal. Just as it is important to have several options for rescue organizations, it is also important to meet a few different animals and learn more about them.
Note that many of these shelters may not have the bandwidth to constantly update every pet profile, so if you choose one, it may no longer be available. Kittens and puppies are some of the first animals to be adopted, so there may be a waiting list for adoption when you arrive. Be flexible and talk to the organization. They will guide you in the right direction.
apply for adoption
Let’s say you find a pet you want to adopt – and it’s available. Wonderful! First, you’ll fill out an adoption application, which can be found on each organization’s website.
You may have to wait as many organizations are dealing with an application flow. Eventually, however, you will be contacted via phone or email to discuss the application and your interests, and possibly schedule a virtual home visit. Some of the things you might be asked are:
- your pet history
- Whether your host allows pets
- If everyone in the house approves of this decision
- If you can afford to feed an animal
- If you are open to advice and information about caring for your new pet
- Whether you are allergic to your pet
The organization will then review your information and let you know if you have been approved.
Schedule a meet and greet
If you are approved, you schedule an appointment to meet your pet. Some local shelters will arrange face-to-face appointments so they can regulate how many people are at the facility and take appropriate action. Others may schedule video calls as a way to virtually meet the animal. Ask each organization what their process is when they contact you about your application so you can find one you’re comfortable with.
If all goes well, the organization will arrange a good time for you to pick up your pet, or they can find a volunteer or shipper to bring them to you.
If the pet is in a foster home
If the pet you want to adopt is being adopted, the organization can connect you to the foster family where it is currently living. This will be a virtual video call where you can “meet” your future pet during the call. This is a great time to ask the foster family detailed questions about the animal, its personality/behavior and see if there is anything you can do to make him happy and comfortable in your home.
Some organizations also offer adoption situations where you can temporarily foster a pet before deciding to adopt it officially. Since face-to-face meet and greet is not possible for many organizations, this is a good alternative to ensure that the adopter and pet are a good match.
Attend a virtual adoption event
Watch out for virtual adoption events! This type of meeting is a first for many organizations, but has become an effective way for adopters to learn about future pets. It’s also a great opportunity to hear from the establishment, learn about the adoption process, and “meet” a few different pets available for adoption.
We have seen great success in the operation our virtual adoption eventsrunning every weekend,” says Alena Jones. Houston Pets Live. Best Friends Animal Society also recently used Instagram hosting an “adoption”. “It allows the animals to be displayed in a way that isn’t stressful for them, and their personalities can really shine through,” Licari says. Puppy Kitty NYCRecently held its first event on Zoom. (Disclosure: Puppy Kitty NYC is an organization I promote and volunteer for regularly.)
Make sure to follow these organizations on social media to see their adoptable pets and find out when the next virtual adoption event will be.