Our journey into the future begins…
Let’s paint a picture
I wish I had a picture to show you but lacking that I will try to paint a picture in words for you. Use your imagination to picture the following:
Imagine a building with “Adoption Center” on the sign out front. Inside are large rooms where dogs or cats of similar size live. These are quiet rooms filled with couches and chairs for people and soft beds for the animals.
A volunteer first explains that these are quiet rooms where the animals live and mingle. There are no cages and the animals enjoy their comfy surroundings in large groups of 10-20.
Outside are open areas where dogs can play and blow off steam during the day. Volunteers walk all the dogs in pairs so they learn to walk under control and get plenty of exercise. It’s also part of their socialization.
If you’ve just come to spend some quiet time with friendly pets you can go in and read or just sit quietly and enjoy the furry company. Children are asked to go play with the puppies and kitties in the play rooms where they will have close supervision.
If you find one you’re interested in you are instructed to notify a volunteer who will take you and your dog (or cat) outside or into a play room where you can play or just get acquainted.
People and animals are carefully matched up with the help of counselors. All adopters are lead through a basic course on leadership to help ensure the animal receives proper care and exercise.
There are no adoption fees, no medical costs and every animal is neutered. Each adopter gets a package containing a free bag of food, collar, leash, a shot record and proof of rabies vaccination.
Adoptions are a time to celebrate. Out rolls the red carpet and the new partners are walked out with lots of fanfare. A week later the adopter receives a follow-up call to ensure all is going well.
So what’s so different about that?
The new model
First, this is not a shelter as we know it. This is an adoption center where all is geared toward marketing – the presentation and adoption of animals in their best light. Unlike the current dreadful prison model, this attracts people; they want to come visit. Not only do animals get placed far more quickly, but they are calm and balanced, ready for adoption. Visitors are eager to spend time here. Being a fun place, volunteerism becomes contagious and spreads like wildfire.
There are no cages; the prison model is gone. Calm, confident dogs and cats relax in the company of other balanced animals. These are all well socialized pets, ready to go home and fit right in. Each communal showroom is a homey environment built to show off the animals’ best qualities.
This adoption center is fully supported by a caring community. There are no out-of-pocket costs for adopters. All is paid for by the community of animal lovers. All fees have been paid – every animal is free. Each adopter is encouraged to become a contributor in one of the many programs, but the adoption process is not contingent upon financial giving. Most importantly, this adoption center does not need to fund its operations itself. Special fundraising efforts are for emergency situations or capital building projects only.
In the next post let’s take a closer look behind the scenes to see the operational side and what makes this so different from today’s shelters.