Waterville Area Humane Society sees positive side to COVID-19 pandemic

Community members were able to foster animals while at home in quarantine.
Waterville Area Humane Society
Waterville Area Humane Society(WABI)
Published: Oct. 12, 2020 at 5:24 PM EDT
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WATERVILLE, Maine (WABI) - October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month.

“We’re really here for the benefit of animals that are abandoned or surrendered or just not in a good situation to find them good long-lasting, forever homes,” said Executive Director of the Waterville Area Humane Society Lisa Oakes.

Like many businesses, the Waterville Area Humane Society had to adapt at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

They quickly found that those at home in quarantine were the perfect candidates for fostering.

And staff made use of the extra time with the animals.

“We had so many dogs coming up and dogs in house as well, and they went out to foster and they flourished," Oakes said. "And just having staff be able to take the time to work with them behaviorally and working with them to do a little bit of training has made a huge difference in their adoptability.”

Members of the community are encouraged to take dogs like Fluffy out for an afternoon or even home for a sleepover.

“I did a slumber pup over the weekend that extended into this week," said volunteer Melissa Elisa. "I just couldn’t give him back, he was very sweet and shy here at the shelter, we had a hard time getting him out. We brought him home, and he did great with our cats, dogs. So giving that information back to the shelter he’s going to be adopted right away. Now everyone knows his personality and his temperament, and that information is great for the shelter.”

Lisa Oakes says the positive impact they’ve seen from these changes might shift how they operate moving forward.

“We want people to have a purpose for coming in to meet Fluffy or Bunny or even some of the cats," said Oakes. "It’s really changed our mindset in a really good way that benefits the animals as well as the people coming in.”

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