An Adoption Ambassador program empowers foster parents to market and directly adopt out their own foster dogs without the dog ever having to return to the shelter or rescue. Here are some of the most common questions we receive about the Adoption Ambassadors program.
Q: How is this program different than in-shelter adoption programs?
A: The Adoption Ambassadors' home-to-home program gives dogs and cats a better chance at finding an adopter by expanding your reach and simultaneously engaging volunteers as adoption counselors, talent agents, and foster parents. It lets adopters get more detailed information about an animal's behavior in a home environment and improves quality of life while awaiting adoption.
Q: Are the requirements and adoption processes different for Adoption Ambassadors?
A: No, the processes mirror those done in the shelter. That said, if your requirements are extensive or might be prohibitive for a foster parent to implement (home visits or the like) the Adoption Ambassadors program could be a great opportunity to experiment with eliminating or relaxing a requirement that might otherwise pose an obstacle to adoption. Learn more about conversation-based adoption.
Q: How do I find fosters willing to make the commitment to being an Adoption Ambassadors home?
A: Many of your regular fosters will be excited about the opportunity to take their fostering to the next level. However, if you are having trouble recruiting Adoption Ambassadors, one strategy is to test the waters with a short-term foster program like Holiday Heroes. Modeled after Adoption Ambassadors, this program has a set end date (Christmas), which gives first-time fosters the confidence to jump in and give fostering a try.
Q: What animals are eligible?
A: All dogs and cats can benefit, including ones who may face a longer length of stay based on their breed, color, age or energy levels. Shelters can also place highly sought-after animals in order to free up kennel space and resources.
Q: How long is the average stay in an Adoption Ambassador's home?
A: ASPCA research into the program found that most dogs found homes within three weeks after being placed in a foster home, and some stay just a few days! We do not currently have research on cats but hope to get data on felines as more shelters include them in their Adoption Ambassadors programs.
Q: Where do the adoptions take place?
A: Adoptions can occur on the spot, at a public place or in the foster's home – it's up to the Ambassador and the adopter. During COVID-19, we encourage Ambassadors to get creative in highlighting foster pets online. Once a match has been made, Ambassadors are responsible for facilitating the payment and adoption application--all of which can be done electronically in cooperation with your shelter. We suggest you work with your foster families to determine what their comfort level is with interacting with potential adopters in person. We also recommend developing protocols for meet-and-greets and hand-offs that minimize physical contact.
Q: How do foster caregivers choose the right pet to foster?
A: Your fosters most likely have at least a few criteria in mind when it comes to the type of animal who would make for a good fit for their lifestyle. Since your staff is familiar with the available animals in your shelter, their insight – combined with the foster's preferences – can help ensure a match.
Q: How soon do you place a pet in an Adoption Ambassador's home?
A: As soon as a dog or cat is available for adoption, he or she can be ready to go into a home.
Q: Can this work in rural as well as urban settings?
A: Absolutely! Just about every town has places where people gather, and a street or two with a little foot traffic. Just remember to follow local health guidelines related to physical distancing and PPE. And with internet access increasingly available in even the most rural communities, social media is the perfect tool to help an Ambassador find a home for their foster pet.
Q: What animals are generally made available for the program?
A: Though it varies from shelter to shelter, we'd recommend that any animal available for adoption is eligible to go home with an Ambassador.
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