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Let’s Talk About “Screening” Adopters

 Adopter Applying to Adopt a Pet

NO SYSTEM IS PERFECT

In the few months since our site went live, I’ve been asked a number of times what we do about “screening” adopters. For sure, nobody wants to see the wrong kind of person get hold of an animal. In the many years that I have been in the animal welfare field, I’ve seen all kinds of screening criteria, including a written application, copy of driver’s license, personal references, home visitations and more. The honest truth of the matter is that there is no ideal test to guarantee an adopter’s suitability, any more than there is any way to guarantee the character of anyone you meet under any circumstances.

IT’S A BALANCING ACT

Some shelters have almost no requirements. Some have very, very strict hoops they put potential adopters through and still that doesn’t guarantee a successful adoption. Meanwhile, the restrictions they place (like requiring a fenced-in yard, for example) cause them to reject many, many otherwise good, potential adopters.  And, because space and money are tight in a shelter, many, many pets that could have been adopted languish in cages or are put to death.

SO WHAT’S THE ANSWER?

The backbone of our system is not a series of hoops administered by well-meaning, but overworked and underpaid shelter employees. It’s the guardian (pet owner). The person who loves the pet most. Who knows the pet’s likes and dislikes and needs. Who wants to find the best new home possible for the pet, so much so that they came to getyourpet.com rather than just drop the pet off at the pound. This is the person most interested and best suited to judge whether an adopter is a good fit. (We offer help to our guardians with a whole list of Questions to Ask a Potential Adopter listed under the Tips for Guardians section of our site.)

THE SECOND PART OF OUR PLAN

The other element in our system is our payment mechanism. We “pre-qualify” anyone wanting to adopt on our site by asking them to leave credit/debit card information before communicating with guardians. Even though they aren’t charged until they actually adopt a pet, this insures that they are sincere about wanting to adopt and have the finances to afford pet ownership.

If and when an adoption is completed, we charge the adopter $99, considerably lower than most shelters or rescues, but enough to weed out people who don’t mean well. (Bad actors will mostly try to get a pet for free, from a Want Ad-type source, like CraigsList.) The $99 covers the cost of our service;  provides the adopter a voucher for a free veterinary exam and, from most vets, a rabies vaccination, if necessary; and gives both the guardian and the adopter a legal adoption contract, which we believe is important for both parties. (See details at What does it cost?)

JOB ONE: SAVE LIVES

Getting pets re-homed and avoiding the shelter is what we are about. We don’t claim our approach is perfect (what is?), but it puts the decision-making in the hands of the people who care most. It is affordable. It gives pet lovers a chance to help each other. And most of all, it gives our best friends their best chance for happy lives in forever homes.

A Shelter Just Isn’t A Home

Re-Home Your Pet, Home to Home Pet Adoption
Gary with adopted pups, LaLa & Cookie Monster

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE WITH GET YOUR PET

Hi, I’m Gary Childs, Volunteer Team Lead of Project P.E.T.  – the positive reinforcement-based canine training program at ACCT Philly. I’m pictured here with my two rescue dogs, LaLa and Cookie Monster, both ACCT alumni. I’ve been volunteering at the shelter for the past ten years and I’ve worked with many amazing dogs, cats, and all sorts of other companion animals.  Today, I’m thrilled to talk to you about Get Your Pet, the online community that connects people who need to find a new home for their companion animal with people who want to adopt a new buddy.

I recently learned about Get Your Pet, and I’m super excited about what this service can do. Animals that need to be re-homed can be listed on the Get Your Pet website by their current guardians. Potential adopters can search by zip code for lovable, furry friends, and use the site to contact pet guardians to arrange meet-ups or get more information about a particular pet they’re interested in adopting. If everyone agrees it’s a good match, the adoption can be completed!

BENEFITS OF GET YOUR PET

This model of pet adoption has a number of important benefits. First and foremost, it reduces the stress on the pet. Being in a kennel or shelter can be very difficult on a pet. Suddenly, they’re without their guardian, their home, their cushy bed, their favorite toys – their whole routine changes. Shelters are full of new sounds and smells, not to mention unfamiliar animals. As you can imagine, these changes can be very scary and overwhelming for a pet. There are many amazing welfare staff and volunteers who do their best to make shelters as comfortable as possible, but a shelter just isn’t a home. With a service like Get Your Pet, animals avoid entering a shelter or rescue service entirely and remain in their home where they maintain a normal routine (like diet and potty schedule).

If you’re reading this, you’re someone who cares and wants to help animals in need. If you know someone who is looking for a new furry buddy or someone who needs to surrender their pet, tell them about Get Your Pet. You can help make a difference.

Get Your Pet is Featured on Philly.com!

Photo by Anthony Beltran for the Philadelphia Inquirer

WE’RE FEATURED ON PHILLY.COM!

Our Founder, Angela Marcus, is featured on Philly.com, sharing why she created getyourpet.com, the current challenges local shelters face, as well as her life-long dedication to saving domestic animals. We thank reporter Robert Moran of the Philadelphia Inquirer for helping us get the word out so we can help more pets go from one good home to another!

Take a look at the article on Philly.com or read below:

Angela Marcus, a former director of operations for the Pennsylvania SPCA, had an idea: What if there was a way to connect people who need to surrender pets with people who want to adopt, completely bypassing animal shelters. In today’s sharing economy, “if you want to go somewhere, you go in someone else’s car. If you want to stay somewhere, you stay in someone else’s house,” Marcus said, citing Uber and Airbnb.

Last November, Marcus, a 33-year-old Bucks County native, launched Get Your Pet, a website that enables home-to-home adoptions. She hopes it becomes the future of pet adoptions. Instead of dropping a pet off at a shelter, an owner can list their animal on getyourpet.com. Potential adopters browse listings for dogs and cats and can contact an owner directly. A meeting is set up between both parties. If everything works out, the pet is checked by a veterinarian and the adopter pays a $99 fee. The adoption is then made official.

An estimated 2.5 million pets are surrendered annually to shelters across the country, Marcus said. For many of the animals, shelters can be traumatic.

“You’re in a cage 24 hours a day,” Marcus said. Shelter life can lead to illness for the pet. And if there isn’t room, the pet is euthanized.

Her fledgling company has so far facilitated nine adoptions in the Philadelphia region. Get Your Pet recently entered into a partnership with Animal Care and Control Team of Philadelphia, the city’s official shelter. The timing is fortuitous for both sides. On Monday, ACCT Philly began a major renovation of its kennel’s heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems. During the two-month project, the shelter’s capacity to take in large dogs will be reduced by half, from 100 to 50. It is an opportunity for Get Your Pet, which will maintain a kiosk at the shelter during the renovation.

“We are referring to Get Your Pet,” said Audra Houghton, operations director at ACCT Philly. “Anything we can do to get people to keep their their pets in their home [to reduce] owner surrenders.”

ACCT Philly spends an average of $168 for each animal that arrives at the shelter, Houghton said. That covers basic care and medical expenses. The shelter takes in about 25,000 animals a year, so it will save money by avoiding surrenders. Also, with each adoption through Get Your Pet, 5 percent of the fee goes back to help shelters. 

The first success story for Get Your Pet started at ACCT Philly. Marcus was at the shelter when she met a Philadelphia man who needed to surrender a pit bull named Coco, who was not getting along with the family’s two other dogs. Marcus told him about her website and he agreed to try it to find Coco a new home. However, he could not keep Coco in his home, so Marcus arranged for a foster to take her. Through Get Your Pet, the man communicated with two potential adopters, but neither were a good fit.

Then he was contacted by Caitlyn and Adam Kotchetovsky of Sellersville. The couple had just lost a dog to cancer in October. They learned about Coco in early November through Caitlyn’s aunt and joined Get Your Pet. “Everything was through the website,” said Caitlyn, 26. The couple met Coco’s owner that weekend. They learned about tricks Coco could perform.

“That’s what I liked about the whole experience with Get Your Pet. You know the dog’s background,” Caitlyn said. The following Monday, Coco got a veterinary exam and then the adoption was completed. The couple renamed her Ruby.

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Read the full article here on Philly.com. Thank you again to Robert Moran, the reporter who conducted the interview who you can find on Twitter here, and Anthony Beltran, who took the photos featured in the story.

 

Who’s Your Valentine? Show (and tell) Us!

valentines day gifts for her small dogs 14 days of love

#14DaysofLove starts now!

Over the next 14 days leading up to Valentine’s Day, PLEASE SHARE photos and stories of your adopted pets on the #GetYourPet Facebook page! We’d  love to meet the dog or cat you adopted. Tell us where did you adopt your dog from? What do you love about your kitty cat? Why does your pet make your heart burst?

Show (and tell) us all about it on the Get Your Pet Facebook page. How? Easy! Just post a photo of you and your pet, or just your pet, along with a short story. Kinda like this:

“We adopted Gus and Nina, a bonded pair, from ACCT Philly. It will soon be their 3-year adoptaversary. They keep us on our toes but they’re super affectionate, smart, hilarious, and have oversize personalities,” says Kathryn.

Tag it!

…and make sure to tag the photo with #14DaysofLove and #GetYourPet so we can all share the love!

We need the love… don’t you? Happy Valentine’s Day!

Want to Get Your Pet Adopted? Follow These Tips

First things first…

THANK YOU for choosing to re-home your pet through Get Your Pet instead of dropping your dog or cat off at the local animal shelter.

Believe us when we say we know how hard parting with your beloved family pet can be. Particularly when you don’t know who will own them next, or if the new owner will treat your pet as kindly as you have. The weight of that uncertainty and worry can be heavy on our hearts.

But EVERYONE at getyourpet.com wants to help you find the right, safe, loving home for your pet. And that means giving Get Your Pet a try.

Start by setting up a pet profile… 

Similar to a dating website, like Match.com, your dog or cat needs their own pet profile (listing) in our search engine. Potential Adopters can search the Get Your Pet website and find pets they are interested in meeting. But a successful hook up only comes if your pet’s profile is eye-catching and tempting! An irresistible pet profile should have cute photos of your pet as well as positive background information and their up-to-date medical history.

If interested, the potential Adopter can reach out to you and ask questions about your pet. Right through our website! Cool, right? And from there, if the Adopter and Guardian start feeling good vibes, they schedule a date to meet the pet in person. Can you feel the excitement? Let’s do this!

But let’s break down what makes for an IRRESISTIBLE pet profile, one step at a time. Read More “Want to Get Your Pet Adopted? Follow These Tips”

Why Get Your Pet is a For-profit, Not a Non-profit

Many Nonprofits are competing for your heart…

When I was running the Pennsylvania SPCA, I got to know the non-profit world very well. I know what it means to have to constantly be competing with, frankly, all the other non-profits seeking donations for other worthy causes. Because non-profits are businesses, too, all competing for your heart and your donations. It’s a competitive business and when you factor in all the shelters and rescues, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of well-meaning animal-saving organizations that are struggling to get their share.

Embracing today’s sharing economy…

So I tried to take a new look at what we were doing, thinking outside the crate, so to speak, about what could be done differently in a 21st century context. I specifically noted the success of businesses that embrace a “sharing economy” principle, companies like Airbnb and uber. Even the lightening-fast growth on the internet for social interactions that you see in dating websites like Match.com. Consumers were able to review, research, meet, and “make their match” using a detailed profile posted on a website.

Using a similar model for home-to-home pet adoption…

I realized we could use these new trends, this new technology to help solve the problem of millions of pets being euthanized. But use the model to help save pets by matching them with adopters. To deliver a service that benefited everyone: the pets, the guardians who have to give up pets and the adopters, all at a price that would cost people less and save more animals. And, as a bonus, we could create a business that benefits the shelters with a portion of our proceeds, because the work shelters do for abused and stray animals deserves support from all of us.

We don’t compete with other shelters…

So, we built getyourpet.com as a for-profit business. As a result, we don’t compete with other causes, asking for the same dollars in the old non-profit world. Instead, we choose to compete in the modern world, using modern technology to keep animals out of the shelters. We are delivering a much-needed, valuable service at an economic price (only $99 for an adoption!) that allows more people to save more animals.

A new, economic approach that works…

That’s how the problem gets solved. And that’s why the head of the largest animal shelter in Pennsylvania immediately called Get Your Pet “the future of pet adoption.”

Learn more about how it works for potential adopters and what it costs…

Get Your Pet Adopted at the Greater Philadelphia PetExpo

Family Pet Shows Get Your Pet

Guardians, please come to the PetExpo!

Pet owners, aka Guardians, we know you are doing everything you can to find your pet a new home. Believe me, so are we. Which is why we’ve reserved an exhibition booth at the Greater Philadelphia PetExpo this Friday, January 13 through Sunday, January 15.

We would like to personally invite you, and the pet you need to find a home for, to join us at the getyourpet.com booth. Why should you come? Because your pet will be exposed to thousands of potential adopters, one of whom just might be the right fit!

Read More “Get Your Pet Adopted at the Greater Philadelphia PetExpo”

Beware the Deadly Must-Haves

Couple and their white cat Pet Adoption with Get Your Pet Online Home to Home

Must-haves kill adoptions. And pets.

I just got off the phone with a close friend, Sara. She was in tears because she had just been denied the adoption of a dog she had tracked down on PetFinder, listed with a shelter.

Sara: “They said I can’t adopt her because I don’t have a fenced-in yard! And because I don’t have a dog for her to play with!”

Me: “Are you (expletives deleted) kidding me?”

Sara: “I just spent $200 at the pet store on new bowls, a harness and leash, toys and treats. I rearranged my whole apartment for her new crate and dog beds. I was sure she was going to be mine! Darcy (her cat) and I have been discussing bringing her home for days!”

Far too common a situation for adopters.

Read More “Beware the Deadly Must-Haves”

Too Many Pets Need a Home for the Holidays

get your pet home to home adoption
Mama and Rosie.

Give a pet a new home for the holidays…

Well, the Giving Season is upon us. Sadly, thousands of dogs and cats don’t have a home for the holidays. As I said in one of my recent blog posts, an adopted pet can make a wonderful gift three times over: to the pet themselves, to their current owner, and to you or that person on your list who will be feeling the love for years to come.

Making the decision to adopt a pet…

Perhaps you have visited us at getyourpet.com because you’ve been thinking about adopting a new pet. If you haven’t already found your (or someone-you-know’s) new best friend, please take a moment and check out some of the recent additions on the site. Read More “Too Many Pets Need a Home for the Holidays”