FAYETTEVILLE, NY (NCC NEWS) – Seventh Heaven Rescue has experienced an increase in adoption rates because more people are home during the pandemic. The pandemic has made people adjust to this “new normal” but Seventh Heaven has continued to keep things normal for their dogs. Issues arise when families who adopted their new pet go back to their life before the pandemic, which can cause difficulties in families keeping their dogs.
Seventh Heaven Rescue had placed 97 dogs in adoptive homes by the end of 2019. Approaching their third quarter, Seventh Heaven Rescue has already placed 204 dogs in adoptive homes and projects that by the end of 2020, 430 dogs will be with their forever family. That is a 110 percent increase compared to 2019.
Although this is a good thing, Seventh Heaven Rescue had to make changes to their screening processes and check-up to ensure the safety and stability of the dogs’ new homes. The economy is slowly reopening and more people are going back to work, so the dogs well being is very important to the rescue before they allow a family to adopt.
Foster Volunteer and Application Processor Liz Persons said “We are really looking for people who are not just doing this on a whim, but they really thought it through…we make them think about vet bills and even on the application we ask them if they have a contingency plan if something happens because stuff does happen”.
The screening process requires three references, the number of people in the household, the amount of time the family will spend with and without the dog, and the contact information of a landlord if the family does have one.
Nikki Knowlton, a Foster volunteer said “One thing we have to make sure is that the dog is okay with kids, cats, small animals, other dogs…we want to make sure that everybody is going to be safe”.
Seventh Heaven Rescue also trains their dogs to learn positive behaviors, keep them active by going outside, and foster them inside of homes instead of kennels so they’re housebroken before adoption. They have expectations that adopters will keep up with these same behaviors so the dogs can continue to have a normal life in this pandemic.
“What we really have to have conversations about is what is your home going to look like when we get a handle on COVID, or you go back to work, or the kids go back to school because adopting a dog is not a short term thing, it’s a commitment….we hope for 12 to 15 years” said Persons.
Seventh Heaven Rescue reaches out to families veterinarians to make sure the pets the families do have are taken care of. The Rescue also visits the home after the family has adopted a pet to make sure it is suitable for the dog. There have not been any instances where a pet has been surrendered because of lack of time, but the Rescue says they make sure to properly screen families so that issue wouldn’t arise.