The 2020 Clear the Shelters campaign is underway! While the event looks a bit different this year (what doesn’t?), the Dumb Friends League is excited to team up with Hill’s Pet Nutrition, NBC and Telemundo owned stations in this nationwide campaign to raise awareness and increases pet adoptions so that animals find their forever homes.
In addition to the League’s goal to place 31 animals per day in 31 days during August in loving homes, we want to share and celebrate the heroes who work in our shelters to care for the animals every day. (You do know not every superhero wears a cape, right?)
In some ways, it doesn’t seem that long ago when Denver’s Stay at Home order went into effect on March 24, while in others, it feels like a lifetime. So much has happened within our community in this relatively short period. Still, one constant has been the League’s commitment and dedication to remaining open, standing up to each day’s challenges and ensuring the animals in our community are not forgotten. Our staff continued to show up each and every day to care for the animals who needed them most. After all, shelter pets don’t understand pandemic.
Let’s take a look at our Adoption team heroes . . .
Prior to temporarily suspending adoptions, the League began offering adoptions by appointment to reduce the number of people entering our shelters. But that change was just the beginning.
“The last day we knew adoptions would be open to the public, the Adoptions team was dedicated to getting as many animals out into loving homes as possible. I had never seen anything like it,” said League Adoption Manager Tayler Gonzalez. “It was truly inspiring.”
The Adoptions team continued to use their experience and knowledge to help pair pets with people. “When our doors for adoptions closed and the shelter came to an eerie halt, we immediately started coming up with a plan to connect our community with our animals.”
At the same time, the Adoptions team was working to find permanent homes for adoptable pets, the Foster department was working to move animals out of the shelter and into loving, temporary homes. So, when adoptions ceased, that team’s expertise was put to work to help the Foster department pair appropriate pets with foster families.
Throughout the pandemic and subsequent changes that resulted from it, the League’s Adoptions team was determined to resume adoptions. “We thought, how can we do this while maintaining social distancing? Are patrons going to want to take home an animal they have never met before? Thousands of questions crossed our minds, but the teamwork and collaboration that developed during this time of uncertainty is what the League is all about,” said Gonzalez.
The first step in resuming adoptions was to begin a Foster to Adopt program. Potential foster families were asked whether they were interested in possibly opening up their homes to pets permanently. “This program utilized our remote adoption associates where our patrons can have a virtual phone consultation about an animal match and then a contactless animal pick up at our shelter.”
The Foster to Adopt program quickly became a success, so the Adoptions team used what they’d learned from it to begin a new adoptions process. Changing and constantly adapting to respond to a demand for people to find new furry family members, they introduced a virtual adoptions program. “Just as quickly as this pandemic moved across the world, we have reacted and adjusted our processes here at the League.”
With virtual adoptions, interested adopters make an appointment to meet with an adoptions associate over the phone. During the virtual appointment, patrons are carefully counseled about what kind of pet they’re looking for and subsequently matched with an appropriate pet. When they’ve decided to adopt, they schedule a time to come to the Buddy Center or the Leslie A. Malone Center for a contactless pick up.
Gonzalez said, “Since the beginning, our priority has been our animals, staff, and our community.”
With a dynamic team that was ready and willing to embrace change and find creative ways to pair pets with people, the League Adoptions staff made animals, staff and the community a priority throughout the pandemic, and they continue to do so each and every day. They are true heroes!
If you’re interested in adding a new furry family member to your family, visit our adoptions page to read about pets in need of loving homes. All adoptions include spay or neuter surgeries, age-appropriate vaccinations, a microchip ID and a free wellness visit with a participating veterinarian.
Can’t adopt? You can still support the animals in our care by donating to the League or sharing our story so your friends and community learn about us!
Have a story you’d like to share? We’d love to hear it, click here to share your story!