Wednesday, March 6, 2013

From Application to Adoption

Know the Adoption Process

Many of us have experienced the joyous feeling of knowing that we’ve finally found the one.  Maybe it was love at first sight, or maybe it took a while for love to grow.  But in the end, there was the commitment—the knowledge that this is forever—that you’ve found the love of your life.

We’re talking, of course, about adopting a pet. At Animal Friends, we want to be sure that you and your new family member live happily ever after.  Our commitment to our animals extends to the adoption process, where we like to view ourselves as old-fashioned matchmakers.

Visitors to our facility usually like to start by looking around and checking out the animals in our cat, rabbit and dog adoption areas. Sometimes, a particular animal catches a visitor’s eye, as there’s just something appealing about that particular bundle of furry love. But as we all know, looks can sometimes be deceiving. And that’s where Animal Friends can help.

Our staff and volunteers are here to provide assistance with selecting just the right pet. There are many factors to consider: the ages of family members, other pets in the home, the family’s lifestyle and the fit between the animal’s and adopter’s personalities. When an animal is admitted to Animal Friends, we learn as much as we can about that animal. All of our pets are evaluated both medically and behaviorally, and our staff can help you find a pet that’s good with kids, tell you who can live happily with cats, dogs or rabbits, and who needs to be an only pet. We can help an adopter looking for a lap cat, affectionate bunny or a dog who gives face-licking kisses. And, we don’t want a family who’s looking for a rough and tumble playmate to take home a snuggly snoozer.

At Animal Friends, we’re committed to giving you a realistic assessment of every animal’s personality, behavior and health.  If an animal has issues, we’d rather tell you up front and allow you to make an informed decision than have you and your pet suffer in your home. In any case, you’ll leave with the animal’s full history as we know it.

When you’ve identified a potential match (or two or three!) a get-acquainted room is your next destination. There, you can meet and interact with the animal to see if it’s true love or just infatuation.  While many pets are stressed and anxious with new people in an unfamiliar room, spending some time with them can provide a good indication of the future of the relationship. Many times, we return to find pet and new owner locked in a fond embrace, and we know that this is the beginning of true love. Other times, the chemistry just isn’t there, and we try again (sometimes several times) to make the right match.

Since we want our animals and their new owners to have a fairy-tale ending, we ask that every member of the household come and meet the pet. We may ask that dog adopters bring in their own dogs for a meet-and-greet to determine compatibility, and if there’s doubt about your potential new love’s ability to live with another species, we can administer a quick evaluation, bringing a member of that species in to gauge the pet’s reaction. A little sniffing or suspicion may be fine, but a full-out snarl may tell us that your home will not be harmonious, and that you need to continue your search.

Not to spoil the moment, but our adoption process does involve a bit of paperwork.  A driver’s license is needed for identification and to prove the minimum adopter age of 21, and renters need landlord permission, preferably in the form of a lease specifying that pets are allowed.  We want the landlord to be happy, too, and welcome the pet into your home.

The next stop for many new pet owners is our on-site supply shop and boutique, so you can go home with all the pet food, dishes, crates, treats, toys, litter or brushes that you need.

As we put the leash on or load your new pet into a carrier, we know that we’re not losing a friend, but gaining another member of the Animal Friends family.  We love to see our animals and their new families ride off into the sunset, hand in paw, beginning a new life together, but we’re always there for you if you need advice, a nail trim, or just want to say hello or if you decide your new pet needs a brother or sister and you want to adopt again. 

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