Dogs and cats have varying levels of playfulness, energy, and affection, and it’s important to find the right before bringing a new friend home from the local shelter.
To help you make the right decision, the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) has launched its Meet Your Match™ adoption program. The main goal of the program is to increase adoption rates and reduce return rates, thereby helping combat the problem of overpopulation at shelters. “The key to developing successful adoptions lies in making good matches between adopters and pets, thus creating lasting bonds,” said Dr. Emily Weiss, the ASPCA’s senior director of shelter behavior programs and developer of Meet Your Match.
Your local shelter can purchase an inexpensive package of materials, including a training guide and instructional video that teaches staff how to use a special behavior assessment to identify an animal’s Canine-ality™ or Feline-ality™. This research-based assessment, which took two years to develop, reliably predicts how an animal is likely to behave in his new home. Potential adopters are surveyed to determine how or if their preferences and lifestyle would correlate with the personalities of the animals up for adoption. With the help of a color-coded classification system, adopters can then look for the cat or dog that would be the best fit for their household. For example, a cat with a purple classification is one that seeks affection, is quiet and stays out of trouble.
“Even if adopters choose animals outside their recommended color range, which they sometimes do, the Meet Your Match tools help them go home with the right expectations to make a good match regardless,” said Dr. Weiss.
The program is intended to create picture-perfect adoptions that will develop into lifelong bonds of companionship. Initial results have been extremely encouraging; adoptions have increased by up to 46%, while returns and euthanasia numbers decreased by nearly 40%. As well, 105 out of 107 adopters reported they would probably choose a shelter that uses the Meet Your Match program in the future, and rated their satisfaction 8.89 out of 10.
For more information, and to find out which shelters offer the Meet Your Match program, visit www.aspca.org.