Florida Shelter Creates Curbside Cuddles Adoption Program That Brings the Animals to You

The Curbside Cuddles pilot program is for adopters interested in having a new furry friend, but who are unable to physically come into the shelter

Dog Peeking Out From Car Window
Photo: Getty

There’s a delivery service for just about everything these days, so why shouldn’t there be one for pets as well?

One shelter in Florida has come up with a brilliant way to help their animals in need and aid those who are unable to travel to a shelter during the current coronavirus pandemic.

To help potential pet owners adopt a dog or cat, the Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center has launched a pilot program called Curbside Cuddles that is for adopters interested in owning a new furry friend, but who are unable to physically come into the shelter.

The trial program will allow adopters the choice of submitting a request for a pet online or over the phone.

Staff members then complete the adoption virtually and help schedule Curbside Cuddle pick-ups outside their shelter or deliveries via their limited Cuddle Shuttles to select locations within Florida’s Hillsborough County.

The first step for those interested in the county’s animal adoption program is to view their online kennel. All the notes on every animal are kept up-to-date so, whether in person or online, adopters know everything the shelter knows about each pet.

The next step is to put in a request for the selected animal. Adopters will need to provide their full name, contact information including phone number and email address, and the ID of the pet they are interested in adopting.

Then, the Pet Resource Center’s staff will contact the adopter to finalize the adoption virtually. Once the adoption is approved, staff will work with adopters to schedule their Curbside Cuddle pick-up or to schedule a delivery via one of their limited Cuddle Shuttles.

The website notes, “Our pets make great sidekicks during self-isolation and long after.”

Other animal shelters across the country have been forced to rethink their adoption strategies as they continue to deal with the current health crisis.

While many have remained open with limited staff, others have relied on more creative ways of finding forever homes for their animals like the California shelter that organized a drive-thru fostering event.

Julie Castle, the CEO of Best Friends Animal Society, recently told PEOPLE, “If you don’t have a pet and are thinking about getting one, now is the perfect time to ‘try it on’ by fostering from your local shelter.”

The Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization, and the American Veterinary Medical Association have all stated that pets are not at risk of spreading COVID-19, and science has shown time and time again that adding an animal to your life makes you happier and healthier.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments and visit our coronavirus hub.

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