After nearly five months of living at the Orillia Animal Centre, animals will finally be able to move into their forever homes as the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA) is introducing limited-contact adoptions beginning today.
Orillia Animal Centre manager Carol Beard says it’s a highly emotional moment for the staff who have been caring for the animals since before the pandemic.
“We really know these animals and have developed relationships with them, so it’s going to be happy tears when they leave, but the staff is so excited for them to go into their new home and have that bond with some other humans,” she said.
With the animal centre still closed to the public, the adoption process will be different from what adopters and staff members remember from before the pandemic.
Potential adopters will be able to have a meet-and-greet with animals who are up for adoption through Zoom or FaceTime. Once adoptions are finalized, paperwork will be completed through email and payment will be taken over the phone.
The pick-up process will also be quite different from normal.
“If it’s a cat, we will leave the cat carrier outside on a table, the adopter will come, pick up the animal and then we will disinfect everything and get ready for the next adopter,” Beard explained.
“If it’s a dog, then it will be left on a leash and the adopter will be given instructions to bring their own leash. Once the animal is retrieved and gone with the owner we will go out, disinfect, change leashes and keep going.”
Despite the unusual restrictions, Beard expects there to be no shortage of adoptions over the next several weeks.
“We’ve had lots of interest and many of the animals have potential adopters already, so we are just now going through the process and getting things rolling,” she said.
People interested in adopting animals can visit the OSPCA adoption website to find their potential pet.
Information and photos of animals up for adoption will also be posted on the OSPCA Facebook page and Instagram account where information on how to book a Zoom or Facebook meet-and-greet will also be posted.
Staff are still trying to find ways to make up for lost revenue caused by cancelled fundraising events. Already this year the Orillia Animal Centre's golf tournament and the Friends for Life Walk A-Thon have been cancelled.
In an effort to try and make up for critical lost revenue, the OSPCA started the Sweat for Pets virtual challenge on June 22. The event challenges community members to participate in 10 weekly physical activity challenges that are suitable for all age groups.
Participants are asked to share photos and videos of challenges on social media using the hashtag #SweatForPets, challenging friends and family to join in on the challenge at any time during the 10-week event.
Individual registration costs $10 or $20 to register as a family. Funds will be used to cover the costs of caring for animals while they wait to be adopted.
“We are working hard to get people registered, and raise much-needed funds for this campaign,” Beard said.
The local goal is to raise all $17,000 that is usually raised by the Friends for Life event. So far, they have raised just 9% of that goal.
“It’s extremely crucial that we meet that goal. It’s one of our larger fundraising events that we do," Beard said.
The OSPCA is also hoping that they can get 100 local businesses to get involved and pledge $100. In return for their generosity, businesses will receive social media recognition and a window sign to show that they are a proud supporter.