PIERCETON — The adoption trial program of the Animal Welfare League of Kosciusko County has a 98% failure rate — and the shelter is looking to further build upon that success.
Failure in this case — which means a family with a shelter animal on a trial basis decides not to return it but to keep it permanently — is a very good thing, for both the adoptive family and the selected pet.
“Our adoption trial program has been going on for several years,” said Sally Scott, the shelter’s executive director since Dec. 26, 2019. She has worked at the shelter, which recently moved to its new building in Pierceton, for three years.
“People come into our location looking to adopt a pet,” she said. “Perhaps they have seen a pet on our website they are interested in meeting. They can use our cuddle room — a small room with a chair and some toys and maybe some treats — which provides a quiet place to get to know the animal and its personality.
“If they don’t have a particular animal in mind, we interview them to find out what they are looking for. They are allowed to go into our adoption wing or our free roaming cat room in the silo out in front of our building.
“We might suggest a pet. All of our staff is well versed in all of our animals, and two of our staff members are adoption techs who meet with the families and recommend pet animals.”
The shelter deals mainly with dogs and cats, in roughly equal numbers, but “we had one snake and have had some guinea pigs and rabbits,” Scott said. “The snake went to a science teacher to be a classroom pet.”
After the family meets the animal and fills out an application, they may take the pet home for a trial period, usually three or four days, but not more than two weeks, “to give them time to allow the pet to get used to the environment,” according to Scott.
“If it’s a good fit and they want to keep the pet, we call that a foster failure, which means they are not bringing the animal back. We are hoping they fail.”
The new owners return to the shelter to finish the paperwork and receive an adoption package including a pet care guide, the pet’s medical record and rabies tag, a list of local veterinarians who will conduct a free wellness check within three business days, a thank you letter “with reminders for maintenance of the pet” and a goodie bag with toys and treats.
“All of our dogs are microchipped,” said Scott, noting the adoption package includes information how to register the microchip with the Michelson Found Animals Foundation. Cats are chipped upon request.
The trail adoption fee is refundable if the arrangement doesn’t work out. Fees for permanent adoption, which occurs 10 to 15 times a week, are determined by the animal’s age.
Puppies nine months and younger cost $160; dogs 10 months to 5 years old, $130; and senior dogs 6 years old and over, $105. The prices for cats of similar ages are $90, $70 and $60, respectively.
Senior citizens and military personnel receive a $10 discount.
The Animal Welfare League of Kosciusko County is seeking financial donations to help pay off the new building and provide operating funds, as well as non-clumping kitty litter and other items for the animals.
The shelter facility is located at 1048 S. 325E, Pierceton. Business hours are 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. The facility is closed Sunday and Monday.
For more information or to get a list of donation needs, call (574) 267-3008, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.awlwarsaw.com or www.facebook/awleague.