Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Heritage Humane sees increase in adoption interest during coronavirus

(WYDaily file/Courtesy of Pixabay)
(WYDaily file/Courtesy of Pixabay)

As people are stuck in their homes during the coronavirus pandemic, more animals are finding their forever homes.

The coronavirus has many people working from home, which leaves them more time to adjust and care for their new furry friends. As a result, the Heritage Humane Society is seeing a spike in adoption interest just this past month, said Jennifer Lafountain, spokeswoman for Heritage.

Since closing on March 15, Heritage has had 74 pets adopted which is down from 110 pets adopted in the same timeframe in 2019. The closure caused the shelter to switch to an appointment-only mode of operation for pet adoptions in order to limit the number of people in the building.

Staff also are limited and asked to express their concern if they feel uncomfortable or unwell. Staff will show the animals outside and remain six feet away from any guests during adoption appointments.

But despite these numbers and changes, Lafountain said the interest in adoption is growing.

“The amount of people who have been contacting us in the past month is amazing,” Lafountain said. “It’s a good time right now because a lot of people are at home so they have time to work with the animals and help them adjust.”

During this time of year the shelter typically experiences lower adoption rates because there are fewer animals. Lafountain said she hopes people will continue to show an interest.

Lafountain said the shelter’s adoption team is working to make sure potential pet owners will still provide a quality level of care for the animals, even when they’re not working from home. The Heritage team discusses the level of care for the pet, such as an energetic dog, and makes the potential owner aware of the responsibilities associated.

The team also makes sure potential owners are aware of the financial commitment as well, especially in what is turning out to be an uncertain economy. 

“Every animal will be different,” she said. “But our team is very aware that, especially right now, a lot of people are suffering so we want to make sure they’re aware it’s a big commitment.”

Heritage is also continuing to keep its Kibble Kitchen open which provides resources, such as food and supplies for those struggling with unexpected financial hardships.

Part of Heritage’s adoption contract requires pet owners to agree that if they can no longer care for the animal then they will surrender it back to Heritage. This helps the organization keep better records on the animal when trying to adopt them again because they already have a history with them.

Lafountain said the organization hopes people won’t end up surrendering their animals once the pandemic has passed but she knows some people will find they’re in over their heads after they’re no longer home as much.

The shelter has also seen an increase in foster care. While Heritage is accepting new applications Lafountain said most aren’t moving to foster care training because there simply aren’t enough animals at the moment. 

“We’re really hoping people will continue to follow us and our story because our mission will remain the same, even during this time,” she said. 

To learn more about how to adopt, visit Heritage Humane Society online.

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Alexa Doironhttp://wydaily.com
Alexa Doiron is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She graduated from Roanoke College and is currently working on a master’s degree in English at Virginia Commonwealth University. Alexa was born and raised in Williamsburg and enjoys writing stories about local flair. She began her career in journalism at the Warhill High School newspaper and, eight years later, still loves it. After working as a news editor in Blacksburg, Va., Alexa missed Williamsburg and decided to come back home. In her free time, she enjoys reading Jane Austen and playing with her puppy, Poe. Alexa can be reached at alexa@localvoicemedia.com.

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