May 6, 2008

Adoptions: Re-homing Street Dogs & Cats

Finding safe, secure and loving homes for our rescued dogs remains a constant challenge. At Amazon Cares we follow the adoption guidelines of the Humane Society International as well as other major animal welfare organizations. Currently we charge S./ 30 per adoption, which is less than $10 US. Puppies and purebred dogs carry a higher adoption fee of S./ 45, which is less than $14 US. These fees meet with great resistance, despite the fact that our pets are spayed or neutered, free of parasites, and have all their vaccinations. We also give the adopter a free collar, leash and ID tag for the dog. Many of these items are donations by the Lupine Pet Company.

Despite this resistance, we hold firm to charging this adoption fee. We feel that families that can not afford this fee can not afford to maintain the dog properly. Adopters fill out an application and meet with an adoption counselor. Often, based on personality and lifestyle, we select a dog from the shelter that we believe will be a good match, and the actual adoption takes place a few days later.In order to increase our adoption rate, we have fought prejudices held against mixed-race dogs.

We often run ads in the local newspaper pointing out the advantages of adopting a mixed race dog or an older dog. This campaign seems to have made an impact, and interest in adoptions continues to grow.We have also begun personality testing of our dogs so that potential adopters can have greater information. Finally, we have implemented "clicker training," in the shelter, knowing that an adoption is more likely to be successful if the dogs have basic obedience skills.

Employees and volunteers remain in contact with our adopted pets and their families. Home visits are a normal part of our adoption follow-up. Nothing can replace the happiness we feel when we see that we have found an affectionate home for a dog that might have suffered a needless death in the streets of Iquitos. That look of the hope in the eyes of the dog. The smiles and the happiness of the family make our work meaningful.

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