Adopting a new pet is an exciting time. Scrolling through websites, getting dog kisses at adoption events, happily clicking “add to cart” for collars and leashes and beds so you’ll be ready when you bring your new pet home. You finally find the right pet and submit an application – yay! But then there’s that other feeling. Nerves? Anticipation? Fighting the urge to push the other potential adopters out of the way so YOU get the dog? Then the week goes by and you don’t hear anything. Then another week. You send a follow up email, but don’t want to seem pushy. Finally, you see the puppy you applied for on the rescue’s Facebook page, happily adopted to a different family. Then come the tears (ok, maybe you aren’t as emotional as we are but maybe they’re figurative tears for you.)
At Gateway Pet Guardians, our goal is no tears and happy adopters with no application going unnoticed. We have all been on the other side, patiently (or not-so-patiently) waiting to see if we were chosen to adopt a dog or cat. And frankly, not knowing is worse than the news that your perfect dog has been adopted to another loving family. Our Matchmaker Program is in place to make sure that everyone can find a dog, cat, puppy or kitten whose personality is a match for their home.
Our Cat Matchmaker, Cara, explains “There are two scenarios when it comes to matchmaking. Adopters may put in a generic application for us to “match” them to a pet. The other scenario is that an applicant has applied for a specific pet. Someone may think they have fallen in love with a particular animal after seeing them on the website. Then, they are disappointed once they find out that their first choice has already been adopted or that the dog or cat is not a good match for them. With our Matchmaker Program in place, we make sure their application is not just discarded and do our best to match them up with a different pet that meets their criteria. Because our dogs and cats are in foster homes, we are able to learn so much about their personalities. We often know how they will react in a home with other pets or children. Therefore, we can “match” adopters with their perfect companion. We reply to every application, because we know how the waiting game feels. We love pets, but we love our adopters too and want them to feel respected during this process.”
A recent example of our matchmaker at work was the adoption of Alfonzo. Dog Matchmaker, Jessica, says “Alfonzo was returned during the week long “adoption guarantee” period because his energy was stressing out the resident cat, which happens, it just wasn’t the right fit. But I knew his bouncy personality was exactly what one of our matchmaker applications was looking for. I sent her an email, put her in touch with Alfonzo’s foster, and he was adopted less than 24 hours after he came back to us!”
So far in 2020, 41% of adult dog adoptions have been thanks to our Matchmaker service. To think, that many more dogs have been adopted because we’ve dedicated a volunteer to it! The cat matchmaking numbers for 2020 are very similar. Jessica adds “we call it the matchmaker because we are helping people find love, but I also see us as advocates for our potential adopters. We have so many great applicants who don’t work out with the initial pet for one reason or another, and so many fantastic dogs and cats just waiting for the right people, it just makes sense to help one find the other. Why turn away or ignore loving families because the first try wasn’t the right fit?”
We are incredibly proud of our Matchmaker Program, which we were able to further improve after our Program Director attended a Maddie’s Fund/American Pets Alive! Matchmaker Apprenticeship. We truly believe it has been a huge part of our increase in adoptions and decrease in the length of time a dog or cat is in our care. We have dedicated dog, puppy, cat and kitten volunteers ready to match you with your new furry best friend! If you are interested in being matched with a pet, please submit an application at gatewaypets.org/adopt and put “matchmaker” where it asks for a pet name.