May 27, 2021

Where are the Dogs?

I often am asked why there are so few dogs available for adoption on our website. There are a few reasons. For one thing, the number of dogs admitted to the OHS — both stray and surrendered by their owners — has dropped regularly over the years. Shelters across North America have been observing this pattern and are thankful for the downward trend. Many shelters, including the OHS, have seen an even sharper decline. The dogs that do come into our care often have much higher and more complex medical and behavioural needs, meaning that while there are fewer dogs in our care, they need greater resources, but that is a story for another blog.

Back to the website…

Another reason few dogs appear on our website is our Concierge Program. Introduced a few years ago, the program assigns potential adopters to an adoption counsellor who helps the adopter find the perfect dog for them at the OHS. I hope the program has ended adopters’ frustration of calling the shelter and speaking to a different staff member each time. The program puts the onus on us to find the perfect pooch for the adopter — an uncommon commitment of a humane society to customer service. 

The result is that many dogs are already “spoken for” by an adopter who has waited patiently to find their match. So, the majority of dogs never appear on our website.

What does this mean for the dog? A better match to the perfect home and a shorter stay in our kennels. What does it mean if you are looking for a dog? A better match for you and no daily visits to the website and frantic calls trying to arrange a meeting with a dog.

It also means that very few dogs for adoption appear on our website.

Bruce Roney
President & CEO