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Seeking forever homes

Paws and More Animal Shelter cleared out for pandemic; slowly it's taking in more

The Paws and More Animal Shelter in Washington was able to find homes for all of its animals during March. (Gretchen Teske/The Union)
The Paws and More Animal Shelter in Washington was able to find homes for all of its animals during March. (Gretchen Teske/The Union)
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WASHINGTON – The Paws and More Animal Shelter in Washington found homes for all of its animals during the pandemic. Now, the shelter is starting to fill again, and the staff is asking for community support in finding animals quality homes.

“The advice from our leading organization said clear your shelter and have as few animals as you can because nobody knew what was going to happen,” said Director Amber Talbot. “We were so successful at that. During February we had over 90 adoptions.”

On average, the shelter has about 30 adoptions a month.

The shelter was completely empty for about three weeks, she said, as 25 animals were either adopted or fostered.

In the weeks from March to June, the shelter stayed sparse with animals finding homes, fostered or reclaimed shortly after coming to the shelter.

“The community really supported us, and there was a minimal amount of animals in here for that length of time,” she said. “Then July hit, and we really have seen an uptick now of kittens as the world is trying to function and people are going back to work. We have seen an increase in our animals coming in now.”

Despite the increase of animals, adoptions are still up from the average, but Talbot said the staff is cautiously positive because intake has taken a jump in August. Owner surrenders are up 20 percent, she said, mainly because people cannot afford the animals after losing jobs or taking cuts in income.

However, those wishing to adopt have a safe way to do so with a new paperless system.

Emails with adoption applications could be sent without having to meet in person. Zoom adoptions also became popular, she said, as people were looking for an animal to keep them company during the pandemic while staying at a safe social distance from others.

“We could really do adoptions safely and remotely. It was great,” she said.

Foot traffic still is being limited as interested adopters are asked to make appointments to come in and visit the animals. Masks are required, and most of the adoption process can be done outside, she said.

Those interested need to first fill out an adoption application, which can be found on the shelter’s website.

As the shelter slowly begins to fill up again, Talbot encourages the community to continue adopting and fostering animals.

“We just want the momentum to keep going,” she said.