Across the country, people are finding ways to adapt to our new stay-at-home, and for some that means adopting a furry friend. Shelters in the U.S. are reporting an increase in adoptions since the onset of the pandemic, some of which had to make waiting lists or pause applications until they could save more animals. Petfinder.com, which works with shelters and rescue organizations across the country, saw 122 percent more adoption requests between March 15 and April 15.
It has led to a unique set of problems that many shelters have never faced before: juggling more requests for adoption of pets and foster homes while adapting to their new circumstances.
The second concern was how to adapt their adoption processes, which has led many organizations to switch to video meet-and-greets, virtual adoption events and attempts to establish connections between foster homes and potential Adopters. "Some of our centers still do by appointment only, safe, socially aloof personal adoption," says Hannah Stember of the Best Friends Animal Society. Although, she added, most do virtual encounters and greetings.
Meanwhile, this has been one of the busiest and most challenging times of the year for Redd organizations, as unchanged cats begin mating in the warmer months and litters of homeless kittens appear outside. Rescues will become busier than before and more pets will become available for adoption.
Despite the increase in the number of studies, shelters are therefore still looking for support, whether through adoption or promotion. While you may not be able to visit an animal shelter, you can still use some of these virtual methods to welcome an animal to your home. However, before taking these steps, keep in mind that adopting a pet is an obligation for the rest of his life. “A decision to adopt a pet should not be taken lightly. It's a huge time and financial commitment, ”said Meagan Licari, President of Puppy Kitty NYC.
Here are some strategies and advice for adopting a rescue animal during these difficult times.
Research local rescue organizations in your area
First, make sure you decide which pet is right for you and your household. Cat, dog, lizard, rabbit, guinea pig?
Once you know it, make a list of eight to ten rescue organizations in your area. It's important to consider different sources, as many shelters are flooded with applications these days and some may have waiting lists. Shelters usually do not see this number of requests at the same time, and in addition, many of their facilities are understaffed with limited volunteers. So be patient. Don't get discouraged.
While investigating, verify that these are 501 (c) (3) non-profit organizations. Every nonprofit must apply to receive their 501 (c) (3) status and EIN number, which allows them to be a tax-exempt charity.
Take the time to also do some general research on each organization. Visit their website, read some recent articles mentioning them and check out their social media pages. Once you are in the registration process, you can also confirm with the organization how they keep the medical records of all their animals.
Be flexible when looking for a pet
Find the right pet for you and your household. Visit each organization's website and view their adoptable pet bios. You can also check out Petfinder and Adopt a Pet, where you can see pet profiles and sync with a rescue organization.
Be as open-minded as you can and don't settle for just one animal. Just as it is important to have different options for rescue organizations, it is also important to meet different animals and learn more.
Keep in mind that many of these shelters may not have the bandwidth to constantly update each pet profile, so choosing one may make it unavailable. Kittens and puppies are some of the first animals to be adopted, so there may be a waiting list to adopt when you get in touch. Be flexible and have a conversation with the organization. They guide you in the right direction.
Sign up to adopt
Suppose you've found a pet you want to adopt – and it's available. Excellent! First you fill out an adoption request that you can find on the website of each organization.
You may have to wait as many organizations juggle an influx of applications. But eventually, you will be contacted by phone or email to discuss the application and your interests and possibly schedule a virtual home visit. Some of the things you may be asked to do are:
- your pet history
- whether your landlord allows pets
- if everyone in the household has approved this decision
- if you can afford to buy an animal  If you are open to advice and information about caring for your new pet
- Whether you are allergic to the pet you are adopting
The organization will further evaluate your information and let you know if you are approved.
Schedule a meet & greet
If you are approved, schedule an appointment so that you can meet your pet. Some local shelters schedule personal appointments so they can arrange how many people are in the facility and take appropriate precautions. Others may schedule video calls as a way to meet the animal virtually. Ask each organization what their process is when they contact you about your application so you can find one you like.
If all goes well, the organization will schedule a good time for you to pick up your pet, or they can find a volunteer or carrier to take them to you.
If the pet is in a foster home
If the pet you want to adopt is cherished, the organization may associate you with the foster home where it currently lives. This will be a virtual video call in which you can & # 39; meet your future pet & # 39; during the conversation. It's a good time to ask the foster family detailed questions about the animal, its personality / behavior, and see if you can do something to make it happy and comfortable in your home.
Some organizations also offer foster homes. adopt situations in which you can temporarily take care of a pet before officially deciding to adopt. Since face-to-face meetings and greetings are not possible for many organizations, this is a good alternative for ensuring that the adopter and pet are a good match.
Take part in a virtual adoption event
Keep an eye on 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 organization, learn about the adoption process, and meet & # 39; who are eligible for adoption.
"We have seen great success in organizing our virtual adoption events, which take place every weekend," said Alena Jones of Houston Pets Alive. Best Friends Animal Society also recently used Instagram to create a 'adoptagram' to host. "It allows the animals to show off in a way that is not stressful to them and that their personality can really shine," said Licari of Puppy Kitty NYC, which recently held its first event at Zoom. (Disclosure: Puppy Kitty NYC is an organization I regularly foster and volunteer with.)
Be sure to follow these organizations on social media so you can see their adoptable pets and know when the next virtual adoption event will be.  Puppy Kitty NYC held their first virtual adoption event with Bond Vet clinic at Zoom.