Why Animal Rescues have a set Adoption Process
Most animal rescues, do not have a shelter that houses the animals. Instead, utilizing foster homes. That can mean that all of the animals the rescue has available for adoption, are scattered in many foster homes, in many locations. Some of those foster homes are not all that close, as we foster not only for a local rescue 20 minutes away, but also for a shelter that is an hour drive for us. This is why most rescues, especially those that utilize foster homes, have a set adoption process.
Instead of shelters: Foster Families
Having animals in a home setting, in a foster home, is much better for the animal than being confined to a crate or kennel for most of the time. It’s much easier to determine the personality of the animal in a home setting. And it’s much easier on the animal’s mental health. The foster families can also better determine if your household is a good fit for the animal in question, as they learn their likes and dislikes, behavior problems, etc.
The General Animal Rescue Adoption Process:
Adoption Applications before Meet and Greets
All of the foster families also have lives too. In addition to their foster animals, they also have jobs, families, and other responsibilities, not to mention their own animals. They do it out of their love for the animals, not because they have a lot of free time.
This means meet and greets must be scheduled in advance, They can’t always drop everything when someone wants to meet an animal in their care right that minute. Most do go out of their way to set the meetings to the potential adopters schedule.
But only once they’ve have an approved adoption application. They’re not going to drop everything and drive a great distance to introduce you to an animal that you haven’t even applied to adopt yet.
They aren’t doing it to inconvenience you. They just aren’t letting people who are not serious about adopting the animal to waste their time. If you don’t have the time to fill out the application and send it to the rescue, you probably won’t have time for the animal you’re claiming to be interested in.
So if you’re interested in an animal that is in foster care, make sure to get your application filled out and sent in first. Until you have an adoption application in, you’re not going to be taken seriously by the rescue. It’s that simple.
Processing Adoption Applications
Once the application is sent in, the animal rescue will need time to process it. Once again, keep in mind that rescues are run almost solely by volunteers. No one is getting paid to do the paperwork. It’s processed by reviewing the information provided, calling references, vets, and landlords if needed. It requires time to complete. Again, the volunteers also have full time jobs, families and other responsibilities. They can’t just drop everything to get your application processed immediately.
After your application is approved, it’s usually given to the foster family to look over. They help spot any problems that might occur due to the personality of the animal in question.
Oftentimes they will call and talk to you about the animal, before they set up a meet and greet. Once again, it’s to help weed out the time wasters who aren’t serious about adopting the animal. If a foster family calls, and you ask no questions about the animal you’re looking to adopt, it’s a red flag.
Ask questions, find out as much as possible about the animal you’re looking to adopt. Foster families don’t mind answering questions. They not only expect you to ask, they get concerned if you don’t.
Next it’s time to set up a home visit, or meet and greet.
Scheduling Home Visits and/or Meet and Greets
At home visits, and meet and greets, you’re not being judged on the cleanliness of your house or your decorating skills. What they are looking for is your environment. They want to make sure it’s a healthy one for the animal you wish to adopt. They aren’t reluctant to point out any problems they see. Such as a fence being too low, or climb-able. Or any other possible escape routes. They’re there to help spot potential problems, before they can become problems for you.
Remember, they’ve been living with the animal for a while, they know what the animal is likely to get into, or get out of.
I’ve personally pointed out fences that are too low for the animal in question, or decorations, that are lovely, but also potential items of destruction for the animal. Luckily, both times the animals in those cases were adopted by the families, but they at least knew what to watch out for to avoid problems.
They also, want to make sure any other animals in the home are healthy and well taken care of, and loved. If you’re not properly caring for the animals in your care, they aren’t going to let you adopt another one.
Meet and Greets
At meet and greets, what they’re looking for is how you interact with not only the animal you’re looking to adopt, but with the other animals in your household. Not to mention how the other animals in the house react to another animal coming in. If your current dog instantly attacks the puppy you want to adopt, or the current resident dog takes off after the cat to be adopted, there’s going to be a problem.
But the foster families are there to help, not hinder the adoption. They just want to make sure the animals they’re placing are going to homes that are going to love them, and give them the training they need to become well-adjusted animals. Animal rescues don’t want to adopt out animals to families who aren’t going to socialize, train, or care for the animals properly, and then return them back to the rescue, sometimes years later, with numerous health and/or behavior problems.
After you’ve passed the meet and greet/home visit, it’s time for adoption!
The Adoption part of the Adoption Process
After all of that, the adoption part of the adoption process is pretty simply. You have to agree to their adoption contract. They usually require you to keep the animal in the house, no outside cats or dogs, and to return the animal to them if you cannot keep it at some point in the future. A lot also, have clauses about making sure the animal gets the required vet care.
Some even have it in them, that the board members of the rescue can stop in to check on the animals from time to time, to see how they’re doing.
They’ll also go over the health records for the animal and micro-chip information, if applicable.
All in all, the adoption process is pretty simple. You just need to follow the steps, and be patient. They are going as fast as they can to get the animals into wonderful forever homes. And that’s what they’re looking for in potential adopters, wonderful forever families.