By Lorie Ham
According to Shelter Animals Count, 26,000 more pet adoptions took place in 2020 than in the year before. The group runs a database that tracks shelter and rescue activity. Some shelters during this time have even been faced with the demand being greater than the supply—which never happens during normal times. Are more people adopting animals because they are lonely due to being stuck at home? Or perhaps because they now have more time for a pet?
Mindi Miller, Vice President of Animal Rescue of Fresno states that they have definitely seen adoptions go up. “Everybody wants a dog and they feel since they are working from home they are able to better care for the companion since they have more time.”
Paula Hunsaker, CEO/Founder of Feral Paws Rescue, has been rescuing cats for over 20 years. She too has seen an increase in adoptions during the pandemic. One thing they do during the process right now is to make sure people understand that a cat isn’t a temporary fix for loneliness. “Adopting any animal is a serious commitment.”
Paula feels that while sometimes people are looking to adopt out of loneliness, more often she feels that the pandemic has had us all stepping back to re-evaluate our lives. “Normally, life moves along like a speeding train without thought of what is lacking in our lives. With this past year of lockdown, we’ve stopped to see that in many instances the connection with a pet is what filled the empty spots in our lives we didn’t even know that we had. The joy we see from adopters, and shared happy experiences, shows us that people are much more grounded with a pet in their lives, almost as if it is an added extension of home.”
For most rescues, the process of adoption has changed a bit. “Our process is no more walk throughs—all our adoptable dogs are online for all to see,” shares Mindi. “If they are interested in meeting a dog they complete the application and our adoption crew will contact them to go through their application first and then arrange a meet and greet. Which is safe for all involved.”
Feral Paws has always worked by appointments so for them less has changed. They have a listing of adoptable cats on their website and listed at over 1000 other websites. “When somebody views a kitty, or sometimes two kitties, they send us an email or call us to make an appointment. We have always asked the public to make an appointment, which makes it much more comfortable for the adopter and also for the cats, where we have an enclosed area for the cat(s) they wanted to meet and also a couple of others . We also ask that they have an open mind and allow the cat to choose them, and most often, this works best. You want a connection with the cat, and allowing them to choose you is a special blessing. Pet adoption, as well as human insurance, is a contractual agreement.”
Pets can bring so much joy to life, but before adopting always make sure you are able to make a lifetime commitment to your new companion. If you feel that a pet is right for you, there are many options for finding just the right one. You can check the websites of local rescues, which can be easily found by doing a Google search, or check out Petfinder, which connects those who want to adopt with rescues all over the country. Kings River Life Magazine has columns from many local rescues every month featuring various pets that are up for adoption as well.
If you have adopted a new pet during the pandemic, we would love to have you share some photos on the Mennonite Insurance Facebook Page!