Monday, October 31, 2011

Adoption Events: What's Involved

Every Saturday, and even some Sundays, we hold adoption events to try to find our foster pets a home.  In case you've never been to a pet adoption event, I thought I'd share with you what is involved. 

Gonzo and Molly wait quietly at an adoption event.
 First, you need crates.  Wire crates are best, because they make it easier to see the dogs and cats than the plastic travel-type crates.  Crate liners (brightly colored fabric cloth that covers the bottom of the tray) are great, especially when you have a dark colored dog.  I have no crate liners, and many other groups don't either, so if you're looking for a good volunteer opportunity, and you can sew, there ya go.  Bandanas are also good.  I usually forget to put these on my fosters, but I remembered on the day this picture was taken.  It's also important to remember to take the leash off of any dog who might decide it makes a good chew toy.  I've learned this the hard way.  More than once.

Whenever possible, hold a dog out of the crate so people can easily notice him or her and pet him or her.  This makes the animals much more approachable to people, and really helps them get adopted.  See, doesn't Cookie look very approachable in this picture?  (We won't discuss the fact that after three adoption events she still isn't yet adopted...sigh).

Cookie, looking approachable
They make all sorts of "Adopt Me" bandanas and vests and collars for dogs - these are always popular.  They also make vests to collect donations, and we often get more donations when one of our dogs is wearing this vest than when we only have the standard donation box available. 

The ever-helpful Roo collecting donations.

Adoption events are mostly the same.  We set up at an area PetSmart store and wait.  People come by and pet the dogs and cats.  Most of them make at least one of the three following statements: 
"I wish I could take him but I already have "x number" of dogs or cats at home."
"If I could afford to, I would take you all home!" (Speaking to the cats/dogs, not the volunteers - I think)
"If my house was bigger/If I lived in the country, I would have "x number" of dogs or cats."

I think maybe they feel guilty for not adopting because most of the animals turn on their best "please save me" faces while they're in their crates.   What the people don't realize is that the pathetic looks are the dogs' way of trying to get people to let them out of their crates and pet them.  The dogs have no idea that people think they're begging for a home. 

Gonzo practicing his pathetic look.
Many new volunteers get overzealous and try to convince every person walking by that they should take home one of these pathetic-looking animals.  I have learned that it's a bad idea to guilt someone into adopting a dog or cat, because as soon as the guilt wears off, the dog or cat will most likely be returned to us!  Still, I have been known to offer cash rewards to anyone who is willing to adopt Ziggy and keeps him (no takers yet).  The most important thing about volunteering at an adoption event is to pay attention to the foster pets and to the people who may be interested in them, because you never know when one of the many visitors will actually be looking for a new member of the family and might choose one of your foster pets!
In addition to talking to people who walk by and answering questions about the foster pets, we also take dogs out for potty breaks (or clean up messes if they aren't taken out in time!), let the foster dogs play with each other, complete adoption paperwork for any adoptions, and just spend time with the animals.  Most of the foster parents who bring their pets stay at these events so they can answer questions about their fosters, and we also have several volunteers who don't foster but are available to help with adoption events.  These volunteers are so greatly appreciated because adoption events are a lot of work, and setting up for the event, taking care of the dogs during the event, and taking everything back down at the end of the day is exhausting.  So if you can't foster but want to help, you can inquire of your local shelter or rescue group if they need help at adoption events. 

Adoption events are a lot of work, but I always enjoy them.  Not only do my foster pets get a chance to find a home, but I get to spend a day surrounded by good friends.  So next time you see a shelter or rescue group at your area PetSmart or PetCo stores, stop by to visit the dogs, drop a dollar in the donation box if you can, and remember that there is a cash incentive being offered to whomever adopts Ziggy.  He'll be waiting with his best pathetic look!

Pleeease adopt me!


Pauley, the Mr. or the Mrs. said...

Oh how I wish that we had adoption events.....

meowmeowmans said...

Wow, so much work! Thank you, and all the volunteers for working so hard to get these wonderful animals adopted.

Donna and the Dogs said...

That's so awesome of you to do all this for these wonderful dogs. What a great idea about using the vest as a way to collect donations too!

Bailey said...

I appreciate your comment about guilting not being a good idea. DH and I have used the same rescue orginization twice now for our Shelties. We have always had long talks and discussions about the finances and the physical issues with taking on a new dog before contacting the resuce. We were in a pet store with our two shelties and met an aggressive woman who was sure she had the right Sheltie for us and followed us down the aisle when we politely mentioned we had already rescued two and had a group we worked with when we were ready for our next one.

Kim said...

The "I wish I could take them all" comment is my favorite. I hear it at least once an hour at adoption events. :)

Two Pitties in the City said...

This is a great look at seeing all that goes into the events. There are so many people needed to transport and handle and site manage. Levi's group rotates between a couple of local dog stores. My favorites are the outdoor events at Whole Foods; that's where I found Miss M! Levi was even chosen to wear the donation vest a couple of times which was so funny because he's always so goofy with us, but when he had it on he was so serious and did such a great job.

Anonymous said...

Huh. That's Ziggy's pathetic look? Um, I think maybe I know why he hasn't been adopted yet. That kinda looks more like a "Do you have a piece of furniture I can chew" look.

Anyways, I luved finding out everything that goes into putting on an adoption fair. I only went to one before I gots adopted, you know. So I don't remember too much about it. It sounds like a lotta work but a lotta fun, too!

Wiggles & Wags,

PeeS. My mom really DOES wish she could take them all. But then I think that would make her a hoarder.

Brandon - The dog with a blog said...

There sure is a lot behind those adoption events!
I wish you the best with finding wonderful homes for all those guys :)

Brandon's Raiser

Kolchak Puggle said... theory, how big would crate covers need to be? Is there a specific kind of material to use?

PS - Ziggy's pathetic look needs work. He looks adorable.

Dog Foster Mom said...

Kolchak, most dog crates come in several sizes. The standard sizes around here are usually 36" x 24" or 42" x 28". And the material doesn't matter much - fleece seems to be popular (usually a couple pieces of fleece sewn together are easy to make/clean and comfortable for the dogs to rest on). :-)