Coffee Break: Best Approach to Adoptions
What do you think is the best approach to adoptions? Are there certain requirements organizations should never budge on? What are the most important things to do when interviewing potential adopters? Those are the questions we asked for this issue’s Coffee Break. You responded by telling us about the policies, screening skills, and animal evaluation methods you’ve developed to try and ensure that animals adopted from your shelter find the best possible matches.
The Danbury Animal Welfare Society’s adoptions are about making the right match between people and pets. Volunteer adoption counselors interview prospective adopters to guide them toward animals that fit their lifestyle. A few things we don’t budge on: everyone living in the home must meet with us and the animal before the adoption is approved; at least two personal and one veterinary reference; and facilitated animal introductions by our training director to spot red flags with a prospective adopter’s current companion animal(s). We also give adopters a sense of the financial responsibilities of caring for an animal, since most people factor in food and grooming but may not have considered veterinary expenses beyond routine care. We also realize that circumstances may change, so our adoptions don’t end when the animal goes to its new home. We follow up and make sure our adopters know we are there to help—and happy to do it!
—Melissa Sader, volunteer, Danbury Animal Welfare Society, Danbury, Connecticut
Our adoption philosophy has shifted in the eight years I have been here. We used to be very strict, [but] that did not seem to make much sense when so many animals were being put down. We now concentrate on education rather than exclusion. We still turn some people away. We do not want to place an animal in an unsafe situation, but we no longer demand perfection.
—Peggy Brown, community outreach, Humane Society of North Texas, Fort Worth, Texas
To see and respond to the latest Coffee Break question, check out animalsheltering.org/coffeebreak.