Boba cat

Boba the cat at the Healdsburg animal shelter.

Photo Ciara Pegg.

Some shelters are seeing more animal adoptions  

Some local animal shelters are seeing more pet adoptions amid COVID-19 as families and individuals spend more time at home and perhaps long for a furry companion. The Humane Society of Sonoma County hasn’t seen a huge increase over last year’s adoptions, but they are adopting out more animals than expected and Windsor’s Green Dog Rescue Project is “Experiencing a dream come true,” where they have more homes wanting to adopt than they have dogs available.

“We haven’t seen necessarily a huge increase over last year, but since the shelter-in-place order our adoptions have been very productive. There have been a lot of adoptions, more than we expected,” said Karrie Stewart, the shelter manager for the Healdsburg location of the Humane Society of Sonoma County.

She said while their numbers are still a bit under from last year’s, they’re doing a lot of adoptions, plus, kitten season is kicking in which means they are receiving and adopting out more cats.

“Some of our kittens will come in as strays and people do find stray kittens quite a bit, or they’ll find a female with newly delivered kittens and generally the kittens are too young to spay and neuter and will go to our foster homes until they are old enough. We have a fabulous network of fosters,” Stewart said. 

After the kittens are old enough to get spayed and neutered, they are made available for adoption.

Despite having a new method of handling adoptions through online work and appointments, Stewart said the new adoption process has worked out well.

“The building is still not open to the public and our adoptions have been by appointment. We ask people to check online, our website is always up to date with our adoptable animals and it changes daily, so we ask people to look at the website and call us if there is an animal that they are interested in. We go over as much as we can over the phone ahead of time whether it’s medical or behavioral, and we just try to answer as many questions as we can,” Stewart explained.

If the person is still interested in the animal, adoption applications can be done via email. If folks want to meet the animal beforehand, then for the cats, it will be done virtually.

“For the cats we do a virtual meeting either by Facetime, Zoom or Google meet. A staff member will take a device into the cat habitat and interact with the cat online so that the person can kind of see how the cat is and meet them that way. If they want to move forward with the adoption we process that and they make an appointment to take their animal home,” Stewart said. “It’s been super successful that way.”

Since shelter dogs can roam around outside, those who’d like to meet a potential adoption buddy of the canine variety can make a time to meet outside.     

“Dogs can actually meet outside and we can do a socially distant meeting in the yard with the dog. It is by appointment and everyone wears masks and gloves and we are very careful,” she said.

When asked if there have been surrenders of animals due to COVID, Stewart said they haven’t really seen that occur yet, but are preparing for the possibility.

“We really haven’t seen that, we’ve seen more adoptions. I don’t think we’ve had any animals surrendered that were from people who were ill with COVID, although we have prepared ourselves for that possibility,” Stewart said. “We haven’t even had an uptick in strays and I think because people are home and they’ve been with their animals, so we’re not seeing them escape the yard, or do anything that they used to do.”  

With all of these adoptions, is there a concern that once people start to resume their lives that perhaps they won’t be as committed to pet care as they were when they had more time on their hands during shelter in place?

Stewart said she wasn’t sure she could answer that at this time since the pandemic is still very much in its early stages and that scenario hasn't been seen yet. 

“That is kind of in the back of our minds as well,” she said. She said there will always be situations where someone or a family has to give up a pet for some reason and the humane society will be there for folks to help if that occurs.

To learn more about adoptions through the Humane Society of Sonoma County, visit: https://humanesocietysoco.org/.

Busy with adoptions at Green Dog

The Green Dog Rescue Project based in Windsor isn’t just doing a lot of adoptions, they are doing a high volume of adoptions, so much so, they had to post a statement on their Facebook page.

“We understand how incredibly frustrating it is when you see a dogs picture and bio pop up on an adoption site, submit your application, then not hear back from the organization, only to discover that the dog has already found a new home 10 minutes before you arrive to meet it,” the statement reads. “It has also become abundantly clear to us here in the 'Rescue World' that we are experiencing a dream come true... more homes than we have dogs available for. That being said, it has proven to come with a new set of challenges.”

For instance, last week at around 9 p.m. one day, a litter of 5-month-old Golden Retriever/shepherd puppies were released for adoption and posted on the Green Dog website. By noon the next day, the organization had received 50 adoption applications and an hour later all four that were available had found homes, as well as a majority of the other available dogs.

In the Facebook post, they said while it was wonderful they found homes for a majority of animals, they recognize that it may have been disappointing for families who were hoping to find a pet.

They asked folks to be patient during this busy time of adoptions.

Green Dog adoptions hours are Thursdays through Saturday, 12 to 4 p.m., by appointment only. One-on-one meet and greets with dogs can be set up by appointment and visitors must wear masks during visits. 

To learn more about Green Dog, visit: https://www.greendogproject.org/.

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