At BrightSide, we’re matchmakers.
That’s the secret to our high save rate, one of the highest in the country. Last year we were able to find homes for 98% of the dogs and 96% of the cats we took in. That included animals who had languished at other shelters before coming to us. How are we able to do this?
Our method is differentFamilies seeking pets at BrightSide don’t wander through kennels hoping they might find the right pet. We know that if a pet is not a good match for your family’s needs and lifestyle, he is likely to end up back at the shelter. Our goal is to find each pet its forever home. We know our animals’ needs well, but to make a good match we need to know your wants and needs equally well.
That’s why we invest time in interviewing all adoption applicants. One of our counselors will spend time with you, without any pets present, to understand what you are looking for in a pet. He or she will ask about your lifestyle, whether you have children or other pets, how active you like to be, what prior experience you have had with animals. We are not being nosy. We want to understand what characteristics would make an animal the right match for you, because we want you and your BrightSide pet to be happy together for the rest of its life.
After understanding your family’s lifestyle, an adoption counselor will bring appropriate pets to meet you face to face in our meet-and-greet room. This spares our dogs the stress of strangers walking by their kennels, and reduces the odds that you or your child might be impulsively drawn to a pet who would not fit your lifestyle.
Our pets are truly ready for forever homes
Often pets, especially dogs, are not ready for adoptive homes when they come to us. They may simply be too young, or may need some basic training. Some might need medical treatment. Or they may be fearful or abused and need time in an experienced foster volunteer’s home to learn to trust people. We take the time to get pets ready.Once pets are ready for new homes, we invest in an enrichment program to keep them ready. This is especially important for dogs. A dog sitting in a kennel by himself all day will soon become neurotic. We keep our animals healthy psychologically as well as physically by providing companionship, exercise, stimulation and enrichment.
On any given day that might include a crock pot wafting great smells into the indoor housing area; dog kibble fed from a sturdy jug with holes in it where the dog has to manipulate it to release the yummy food inside; a scavenger hunt where the prizes are treats or great toys; classical music played softly on a stereo; wind chimes swinging gently in a breeze; a long walk with a Dog Buddy volunteer. It includes being let out individually into the outdoor kennel area to explore and sniff; massage time with a valued human; play groups consisting of two to five canine pals; interactive toys that encourage seeking, scenting, and manipulation. It’s wonderful time for dogs spent utilizing touch, taste, sight, hearing, and smell.
Not every dog likes every item, but they certainly all love the attention coming from the caring human who delivers it. It presents a real-life opportunity for behavior training, as well.
All our dogs are socialized with humans every day. They take walks and play on our agility equipment. And every dog adopted from BrightSide comes with a free session with a trainer for you and your new best friend.
Cats get plenty of human attention and handling too. Some greet visitors at the front desk, others keep employees and volunteers company. At BrightSide, every day is take-your-pet-to-work-day.