Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Kokomo Humane Society is closed to the public, but its staff still has been working to get pets adopted.
Through a foster-to-adopt program with dogs and adoptions at PetSmart for cats, as well as “drive-thru” pickups for adoptions at the shelter, dozens of animals have been rehomed during the stay-at-home orders. Karen Wolfe, executive director of Kokomo Humane Society, said the downtime many people have now is ideal for introducing a new pet to the family.
“I think people are feeling really isolated, and having a pet is something else to do. And also a major part of that is they’re home, and they have time. So it’s great. It’s a great time to adopt if you’re home. What a great time to introduce a new family member,” Wolfe said.
For the dogs, people are encouraged to visit the humane society’s website, kokomohumane.org, and find a dog they may be interested in fostering and potentially adopting. Wolfe said foster homes are helpful as they allow the dogs to get out and get more exercise, though playgroups still are ongoing at the shelter.
Those interested can email email@example.com to get more information on the dog, and, depending on if it’s a good fit, they can go to the shelter to briefly meet the dog while social distancing and take the dog home.
Wolfe said the majority of those fostering currently are wanting to adopt the dogs.
“At this point now, some of them have had the dogs for three weeks, and they know they want them. So we’re going through and doing the adoptions over the phone,” Wolfe said. “It’s working out pretty well.”
Approximately 50 dogs currently are in foster homes.
For cats, those interested in adopting can look online to see the available pets. If interested in adopting, they can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on the cat and complete an application online. If the application is approved, they can pick up the cat at the door.
Cats also are available for adoption at PetSmart, and Wolfe said those cats have been getting adopted quickly.
“We’re actually in really good shape. We have empty kennels in our adoptable room, which is unprecedented. The animals are healthier, so this sort of made us look at things a little different,” she said.
While now is a good time for many to adopt, Wolfe reminded people that they’re making a commitment that should last long after the stay-at-home order.
“If they’re wanting to adopt, especially a more active dog, we really caution them that once life goes back to normal, you’re still going to still have this active dog. You really need to think about if you’re going to have time afterward for this,” she said. “You can still foster, but if you’re going to adopt, then let’s make sure that this is going to be a good forever home.”
Since the stay-at-home order was issued on May 16 until April 28, 68 animals were adopted, and around 50 dogs were in foster homes. During the same period last year, 223 animals were adopted. While adoption numbers are down, Wolfe said intake also is down, as she has asked people not to surrender their animals at this time if possible.
While the humane society still is picking up stray dogs and doing animal control, people also are being encouraged to rehome their animals on their own if they need to rehome one.
“We’re asking people to hold off, and I think that sometimes people who hold off may decide they don’t necessarily want to surrender their animal. And if they need us to take a dog or cat, we will, but if they either can hold off or decide that they can make it work that’s great. Or they can rehome the animal themselves. That’s another thing. We have an online application where you can rehome your pet,” Wolfe said.
People can register their pets to be rehomed at rehome.adoptapet.com/list-a-pet/step-1.