2020... what a year, right? The global pandemic has upended our daily lives and likely changed our world forever. While we are still adapting to the new world around us, our furry best friends have been thriving. With social distancing guidelines and stay at home orders we’ve turned to dogs for love and companionship in a time where it’s needed most. As a result, adoption rates worldwide have soared and animal shelters have developed socially-distanced adoption procedures. One shelter that has done a remarkable job of placing pets while complying to Covid-19 safety guidelines is the Richmond, Virginia SPCA.
Today, we’d like to highlight their hard work and success during these challenging times. At the start of quarantine, the SPCA cancelled its pet training classes, kid classes, and fundraising events, and they directed all its energy into creating socially-distanced adoption procedures. Thanks to the hard work of its staff and volunteers, the Richmond SPCA has placed over 1,320 animals into loving homes since March! Here are a few stories of the families who found a forever friend during these trying times...
Molly: Learning to Love After a Puppyhood in a Kennel
Molly was the biggest bark of the Richmond’s SPCA Kennel. She was loud, there was no doubt about that, and she was waiting for the right family to hear her. She was ready to find a forever home.
By the time Molly was one year old, she had been in three different animal shelters and had spent seven months of her life in kennels. Charles and Selden first saw Molly on the Richmond’s SPCA’s website and immediately fell in love with her (who wouldn’t?).
They contacted the SPCA and learned that Molly is a highly energetic dog and could be a challenge for some families. Charles and Shelden were undaunted. They are both avid outdoor adventurers and were looking for a spirited dog that could be their hiking buddy and trail running partner. The couple met Molly in a socially distanced meeting set up by the Richmond SPCA and the rest is history.
Molly now spends her weekends adventuring with her new family and in lieu of the kennel she falls asleep every night curled up on an armchair in her forever home. You can follow along with Molly and her new life at @lilborky.
Winston: Love at First Sight
Prior to the start of the pandemic, Lee Anne lost three beloved pets to old age. Devastated, Lee Anne and her family turned to the Richmond SPCA to help them find a new companion. The shelter set up an appointment for Lee Anne and her daughter Rachel to meet a beagle puppy. The beagle puppy was an adorable furry ball of wildness. But upon meeting the puppy, Lee Anne and Sarah both instantly knew that the young beagle would be too much excitement for the family’s elderly cat.
Disappointed, Lee Anne and her daughter were on their way towards the exit when they saw Winston strolling down the hallway with a volunteer. Winston looked up at Lee Anne and Sarah with his warm dark eyes and they knew right away that the hunt for a new family dog was over.
And as Lee Anne said, “there definitely has been silver linings in the whole Covid experience and Winston was one of them.”
Max: An Elderly Dog Finds a Forever Home Thanks to a Shelter that Never Gave up on Him
Max was a depressed and heartbroken senior dog when he entered the Richmond SPCA several years ago. After his previous guardian died, the executor of the estate brought Max to the shelter. Max struggled with anxiety—mourning his previous life and guardian. Over the years he spent at the Richmond SPCA, Max was fostered by numerous prospective families but none of them were a fit.
The Richmond SPCA family never gave up on him though; volunteers came in specifically to see Max. The dog behavior and training coordinator spent countless hours working with Max in preparation for the day he found his family. The entire Richmond community was cheering for Max and the local news station featured Max twice on their adoption segments. And after years of waiting, and in the most unlikely of times, Max finally found his forever home.
Healing takes time, and losing his owner had taken a toll on Max. But thanks to the love given to him by the Richmond SPCA, he was ready to trust again. Keith was looking for a companion and found a kindred spirit in Max. After two months of fostering, Keith was able to win Max’s respect and friendship.
The entire shelter watched in tears on June 1, as Keith signed Max’s adoption papers. The shelter’s hardworking staff and volunteers waved goodbye as he left knowing that Max would never again live in a shelter. Max had finally found his permanent match.
A Note on Covid-19 Adoptions
More animals are being adopted during this pandemic than ever before. Therefore, some shelters now have a waiting list for future adoptive families. Do not be discouraged if you get placed on a wait list; there are still plenty of animals out there looking for homes. In the wait, please don't turn to buying dogs online. By buying a dog hastily online you could be unknowingly supporting a puppy mill. To learn how to recognize the signs of a puppy mill go to https://richmondspca.org/dont-buy-into-animal-cruelty/.
As can be seen from Max’s story, the wait for the right dog is worth it. If you are looking to adopt a dog during this pandemic, there is a shelter dog out there waiting to meet you.
The Richmond SPCA is Wilderdog’s September Purchase for a Pound recipient. For every purchase made we donate a pound of kibble to this amazing rescue. To learn more, or to have your rescue or shelter apply here https://www.wilderdog.com/pages/purchase-for-a-pound.
And as always, Happy Trails
About the Author
Emily Negus is a freelance writer and avid trail runner. She currently resides in Northern California with her two troublesome German Shepherds, Pippin and Chancey.