Think of your last time browsing for a partner on Tinder or FindSomeone. Now think of that, except instead of being matched with other people, you’re linked up with a pet.
Since Alert Level 3, the SPCA has launched a contactless adoption process for owners-to-be. The catch? You don’t actually meet the animal until you pick it up.
The programme is already seeing fantastic results — Wellington SPCA’s head of veterinary services Alison Main said dozens of animals were expected in from foster care over the next week.
They would be de-sexed, microchipped, de-flead, vaccinated, photographed, and have an online profile written about them before they find a forever home. Many people were already on the waiting list.
The process itself is straightforward — to enquire about an animal, people simply need to browse the SPCA website for individual pets. If there’s no adoption profiles uploaded on the website of your local centre, it means there aren’t any animals available. Owners are only able to adopt animals within their region.
To enquire about a specific animal, you click on its profile then fill in a question form with as much detail as possible. Alternatively, owners-to-be can also phone local centres directly about an animal.
Then, a centre will be in touch via phone, to help make sure the pairing is suitable for both pet and human.
They’ll discuss the owner-to-be’s lifestyle, their pet experience level, how many pets are in the home already, how much an animal may be left unattended for, fencing and property details, and what exactly the owner is looking for in a pet.
In some cases, photos or videos may be asked for in lieu of a property inspection, to help ensure owners have adequate home environments.
If the match is suitable, a centre will email through an adoption form and link to payment. Some centres have also enabled contactless payment on arrival. Adoption fees — which are currently heavily discounted — include a secure box, or collar and lead, to transport the animal.
After payment is arranged, a date is sorted for contactless pick up.
Alison Main urged people to be patient with any delays, as interest was through the roof. Many centres had been “inundated” with enquiries about adoptions since Level 3 began.
She reckoned the increased demand for adoption — including several centres being cleared out of animals entirely — was because lockdown had given time for people to realise they may be able to accommodate a pet in their lives.
“Also, kids might have been begging mum and dad.”
The process applies to most animals. Larger pets like horses would be processed on a case by case basis, SPCA spokeswoman Kim Taylor said.
“SPCA always ensures that the right animal is paired with the right family and their lifestyle,” Taylor said.
In the first three days of Level 3, the SPCA received 800 enquiries about adoptions, and it’s adopted out more than 100 animals. Most of these were cats and kittens.