Cats and dogs are calmer at shelters when they are selected online because of the coronavirus pandemic

NEWS AND VIEWS (COMMENT): Because of Covid-19, one animal shelter in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Assisi Animal Sanctuary, is using the Internet as a means to present their animals to potential adopters in order to comply with social distancing, to minimise the spread of the virus.

Assisi kitten
Assisi kitten. Photo: Jessica Black
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In doing this they then allow an applicant to come to the sanctuary for a one-to-one meeting with the staff and the animal selected (after the online application is carefully considered). The benefit in this way of working is that there are less people in terms of visitors at the sanctuary because they are managing and restricting the number of visitors. The spin-off, we are told is that the animals are more settled and calmer. This indicates to me that they become unsettled with the throughput of strangers i.e. the potential adopters.

The CEO, Nigel Mason, said that the switch to this method of working has been a boon for the cats and dogs because they’re better behaved and therefore easier to rehome.

He says that they are able to home a significant number of animals while keeping people and pets safe. He even thinks that they may be rehoming more animals than before. He describes it as a bespoke system and a further benefit is that overlooked animals who’ve been at the shelter for a very long time are now being rehomed successfully with this system.

Dylan Paton, the dog unit manager, said that it had created a “more settled environment”. This had made the animals calmer and therefore more rehomable . He believes that it is decreasing the average stay time at the sanctuary. This is obviously a primary objective of the staff working there.

Comment: Is it possible that the coronavirus pandemic has forced shelters to reassess how they work and in doing so perhaps they might come up with fresh, novel methods which may prove beneficial to the animals in the long term?

Source: Belfast Live.

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1 thought on “Cats and dogs are calmer at shelters when they are selected online because of the coronavirus pandemic”

  1. What a great story about the Belfast shelter! This is exactly what our shelter has done as well due to the pandemic. Most volunteers are on hiatus at the moment; however, a select group rotate coming in to clean, feed/water animals and walk dogs.

    Surrenders are done by appointment, as always, but adoptions are done exactly the way the Belfast shelter does it. Our shelter is presently closed to the public due to the pandemic, and our available animals are also online. The potential adopter submits an application online, usually with a particular cat in mind, to the shelter and a volunteer works the application. Once approved, an appointment is made for the approved adopter to visit the shelter.

    The normal hubbub of a busy shelter has been replaced with a calm atmosphere. Music plays softly in the background. The animals are much more receptive to a one-on-one visit, rather than having gads of people gawking in a noisy atmosphere.

    Who knows? Perhaps this will be the new norm. It couldn’t hurt. Our shelter has adopted out many animals during the pandemic. It appears the process is faster too. The best part? The animals find their forever homes in record time.


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