MILAN, Illinois — The Quad City Animal Welfare Center is back open to the public for adoptions, after closing because of the COVID-19 pandemic. They moved all of their services online, and the building was closed for more than a year.
During that time, the QCAWC did not have any potential adopters coming through their doors.
Surprisingly, pet adoptions went up.
Staff at the QCAWC say the past year was really good for pet adoptions there. Adoptions increased during the pandemic, and continue to rise in 2021.
At about the end of June in 2019, the QCAWC had adopted out 363 pets, according to QCAWC staff. That's the year before the pandemic.
At this time in 2020, the center had adopted out 415 pets.
And so far in 2021, since January 1, the QCAWC has adopted out 597 pets.
Stacey Teager, the community services director at the QCAWC, says that increase is partly because the center specifically scheduled adoptions. That's something staff there did not do before the pandemic's shutdown.
"So they could schedule cat adoptions every half hour, and what they were doing was counseling them over the phone, and then people would come up, we'd go out with our masks on, six feet away, and take 'em their new kitty," said Teager.
Teager said the QCAWC staff actually considered changing their business model. More control with adoption scheduling seemed to be working for both the staff and the animals, Teager said.
Teager said the QCAWC has taken in more animals during the pandemic, too. That's because of the increasing adoption numbers providing more regular space, she said.
Teager also said the additional time at home helped the adoption numbers increase as well.
"They were looking online and seeing all these adorable animals looking for their forever homes, and decided, you know what, we're home, the kids are home, what a great time to add a furry family member, you know, so I think that's part of the reason we saw our adoption numbers go up like they did," said Teager.
Teager said staff missed the interaction with adopting families. She said that socialization is important for the pets, too.
Teager said one downside to adopting during a pandemic is that animals may not have gotten as much socialization as they need. Staff suggest talking with a veterinarian if you are noticing any behavioral issues.