Overcoming potential barriers to adoption
Most if not all of us would agree: adopting an dog or cat that is in need of a home is the way to go when looking for a new pet. However, it is becoming increasing clear that there is a significant gap between the number of people who believe in adopting pets from rescues rather than buying from breeders and pet stores, and the number of people who actually do adopt.
How do we know this? The Best Friends Animal Society partnered with the research firm M&RR to do a two-part study on people who had purchased or adopted a pet dog or cat in the past year. They wanted to better understand the pet acquisition process, and how to overcome any barriers to adoption, either real or perceived.
They uncovered some truly compelling statistics:
85% of people involved in the study stated that they would consider adopting their next pet dog or cat. 66% of people said adoption was their most likely option when getting a new pet. But - only 40% of the people polled actually adopted their most recent pet dog or cat.
Other interesting findings from the study included:
- When considering a new pet, characteristics (health, compatibility, temperament) outweigh the need for a specific breed. This bodes well for adoption.
- Rescues have a more positive impression with adopters - and even people who purchased their pets - than breeders, pet stores, or individuals. This doesn’t seem to be a barrier to adoption.
- There is a general misunderstanding of euthanasia rates in shelters. Two-thirds of pet owners said the rate of euthanasia was higher than they thought it was, when presented with the evidence. Among those who were surprised by the high rate of euthanasia in shelters, both adopters and people who purchased their pets agreed they were now more likely to adopt now that they were aware of the statistics.
- Of those who didn’t adopt, most adopters and people who purchased their pets felt that the adoption process could be improved. This is a critical finding.
What can we learn from this? Here are some key takeaways from the study:
With 66% of people in the study stating that they would prefer to adopt than buy, and only 40% of those same people actually adopting, there is an opportunity to bridge that gap and save more animals.
We feel that both rescues and potential pet parents can learn from this important study, which suggests some excellent strategies to make the adoption process easier and removing uncertainty for people looking to adopt.
Some of the tactics rescues and potential pet parents might employ include:
- Having the ability to spend time with the animals in a private area at the rescue facility goes a long way to helping the potential pet parent bond with the dog or cat, and allows the rescue to observe their interaction and provide advice if needed.
- Rescues should consider offering a standardized behavioral/medical checklist with key information to new pet parents, if they are not doing so already. This will streamline the adoption process.
- The ability for a pet parent to take their new buddy home the same day makes a big impact on the number of successful adoptions. If that’s not possible, it’s good for pet parents to be made aware that there might be a wait and what the reasons are for that delay.
- The ability to search a database of pets for adoption with all of their information has become expected by pet parents.
- Cost is a factor for some potential pet parents looking to adopt. If access to a veterinarian to discuss the animal’s health is possible, this is an excellent benefit.
- Trial adoption periods are a great way to see if your new buddy is a good fit for your home, family, and other pets. Potential pet parents should be aware that young puppies are not generally up for a trial adoption, as the rescue may not to disrupt the puppy’s environment; plus, a puppy’s true personality has not yet emerged.
My Buddy’s Place endeavors to be a part of the solution to make adoption easier, offering a simple, cloud-based software platform to rescues that helps save time, eliminate paper, and manage important information. Our software is provided to hundreds of rescue organizations for FREE, with no upfront costs or maintenance charges. Upon adoption, that information is then conveniently transferred to the new Pet Parent, all at no cost. To learn more about our programs, visit My Buddy’s Place.