Windsor Essex humane society says online adoptions a success

·2 min read

Lakeshore resident Bob Flannery has a new best friend. His name is Otis and he likes to go for walks.

Otis is a nine-year-old pug Flannery recently adopted from the Windsor Essex County Humane Society.

"This dog is the greatest dog I've every had. He just listens. He goes for walks. He's happy. He's never upset," said Flannery.

He first saw Otis' picture on the society's website. That's how all the pets are being introduced to new owners these days.

The pandemic has forced the humane society to start the adoption process online. People looking for pets first go to and check out the pictures which also include descriptions of the pets. They fill out an application form on the website and then await a call from an adoption counsellor.

Dale Molnar/CBC
Dale Molnar/CBC

"We have people come into our front reception area and they go over any of the paper work. They get a lot of the documents virtually so that makes it even easier, and then they pay the adoption fee and they take the animal home," said executive director Melanie Coulter, adding that people can return the pet if things aren't working out.

But Coulter said they haven't had many returns and the process has not hurt the adoption process, in fact the demand has "skyrocketed".

"Since we've been open our adoption numbers for cats have been remarkably consistent with last year and we're seeing great results," said Coulter. "People were really happy with their adopted animals and we're getting lots of happy endings."

Flannery says the process didn't deter him one bit and he actually preferred it.

"The good thing about the internet is that you can see what individual dogs are out there. Once you get there then they give you a ten minute alone time with the dog to see whether there's going to be a match," said Flannery.

Dale Molnar/CBC
Dale Molnar/CBC

Coulter says the process is actually better for adopting cats.

"Some of our cats are a little shyer and you take them into a room with a strange person and they sit there for 15 minutes and you don't get a sense for their personality," said Coulter.

"So now the animals get a chance to go home and show themselves in the home and get a chance to settle in. And if it doesn't work out, we are happy to take the animal back. But we're finding in most cases, it's working out really well," said Coulter.

Coulter said the system is working so well they may keep an online component to the adoption process even after the pandemic is over.