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If shelters made it easier to adopt

What if shelters made it easier to adopt?

Sometimes we worry about what could happen if shelters made it easier to adopt a dog or a cat. But do we really need to worry?

This post includes the good things that could happen such as:

A decreased demand for pet shop puppies.

More first-time dog owners adopting “pitbull dogs.”

Dogs and cats spending less time overall at the shelter.

If it were slightly easier to adopt a dog or a cat …

If shelters made it easier to adopt

Fewer people would buy puppies from pet shops.

If it’s easier to adopt from a shelter, there will be fewer people supporting pet shops and backyard breeders, decreasing the demand for these puppies.

More ‘pitbull dogs’ would go home with first-time dog owners.

And they would end up as valued family members, just like any other dogs owned by first-time dog owners. Read more about increasing pitbull adoptions.

More dogs would go to homes without fenced yards.

Most of these dogs would go for walks and live with loving families. An ideal life for most dogs. (My dog has never had a fenced yard.)

More ‘pitbull dogs’ would go to homes with other pitbulls.

These dogs would become loved family members, just like their canine “brothers” and “sisters.” Some pitbulls would even go to homes with (God forbid!) other pitbulls of the same gender. And they would be just fine. Read more about pitbull myths.

Dogs and cats would spend less overall time at the shelter.

This means less stress for all the animals, as well as less stress for shelter workers. There would be less crowding because even as more animals come in, they would be leaving just as quickly. With the animals spending less time at the shelter, there would be less chance for illnesses to spread and less time for dogs to develop behavioral problems due to long-term confinement.

Millions of healthy dogs and cats would not be killed.

Currently, 3 million healthy dogs and cats are killed annually in U.S. shelters due to a “lack of homes.” While shelters face many challenges, we now know that pet overpopulation is a myth and that it’s possible for a shelter to adopt its way out of killing.

More families with children could adopt a pet.

These children would learn about the rewarding experience of saving a dog’s life, increasing their chances of adopting a pet themselves one day. It’s a shame how some groups won’t adopt out dogs to homes with children.

More people would adopt in general.

This equals more people spreading the word about the shelter because they had a positive experience there. It also equates to more donations, more volunteers and more people adopting a second or third pet.

More resources would be available.

The dogs and cats that truly need more time at the shelter due to specific health or behavioral issues could get the focused care and time they need. The easier-to-adopt animals could get on with their lives.

There are just so many good things that can happen if we ease up on our adoption requirements even slightly!

How can we make it easier to adopt a dog?

  • We can stop requiring fenced yards for all dogs because most dogs don’t need fenced yards.
  • We can offer monthly adoption specials such as promotions for senior pets, kittens or black dogs.
  • We can keep our adoption fees as low as possible. For example, cats over 10 years old are just $10 at Nevada Humane Society.
  • We can go overboard with great customer service, even if potential adopters are rude or ignorant.
  • We can bring the dogs and cats out in public so people who would never visit a shelter have a chance to consider adoption.
  • We can personally thank every single one of our supporters, volunteers, adopters and foster homes so they are likely to reach out and help a second time.
  • We can start marketing our dogs and cats as the healthy, well-behaved, friendly animals they are. People feel sorry for “abused” animals, but they want to adopt nice pets.

The possibilities are endless, and that’s why I’m so passionate about this topic. We can all work together to send these dogs and cats into homes. They don’t need to be perfect homes (those don’t exist). They just need to be good homes. There are plenty of those.

What ideas do you have about increasing adoptions?

If shelters made it easier to adopt



Friday 2nd of August 2013

How can we make it easier to adopt a dog? Scrap applications that are 30 or more questions long.

Kimberly Gauthier

Saturday 27th of July 2013

I would love to see local shelters off first time dog parent seminars. Maybe bring in former adopters who are active with the shelter or in the dog rescue community to come and speak to them about their new dog. It doesn't have to be a formal event, just something to show that there is a community and resources out there.

The friends I have today are completely different than the friends I had before we moved and adopted dogs. My friends back then didn't understand, my friends today are dog lovers and "get me" and that support is amazing.

Lindsay Stordahl

Monday 29th of July 2013

Yes, that is a great idea. Dog ownership can be overwhelming for anyone, but especially first-time dog owners. Some sort of seminar for anyone interested would be so helpful!


Wednesday 24th of July 2013

And that is an adorable family portrait.

Lindsay Stordahl

Wednesday 24th of July 2013

Thanks! :)


Wednesday 24th of July 2013

I do understand that shelters don't want a revolving door, but some of the rules are ridiculous. I know so many people and bloggers who don't have fenced yards, but that is non-negotiable in some shelters and rescues.

With our abundance of Chihuahuas in California, many shelters have relaxed the fence rule and waived fees. They are still reluctant to adopt them to families with small children. I got my first Chihuahua when i was 3 and she taught me a lifetime of love and gentleness.

Lindsay Stordahl

Wednesday 24th of July 2013

It's a hard situation. I look at all those Chihuahuas for adoption and it breaks my heart.


Wednesday 24th of July 2013

My local shelter is having a Summertime Special...all adoptable cats are only $15, including spay/neuter and license...I'm proud of them for doing this...They also run specials for dogs...

Lindsay Stordahl

Wednesday 24th of July 2013

That's awesome! Good to hear!