Every animal deserves a forever home. This is the core belief behind Midcoast Humane’s new campaign, No Paw Left Behind, a community initiative to help long-term, overlooked pets find their forever homes. Led by volunteers and staff at Midcoast Humane, the campaign ensures that every dog and cat who is ready to be adopted finds a family within 90 days.
The campaign was created because the hardest-to-place animals need an entire community to help them find a home.
Organizers are asking the community to share the stories of these “underdogs” and cats with their friends by following the No Paw Left Behind Facebook page at facebook.com/mhnopawleftbehind.
In 2018, 64 animals waited 90 days or longer to be adopted, and sometimes much, much longer.
“While the average amount of time that dogs and cats waited for a home was around 7 and 10 days, respectively, there were noticeable outliers,” said Dr. Mandie Wehr, director of shelter operations. “Sherman, a lab mix and staff favorite, was up for adoption for 194 days before his forever family took him home in January.”
Several animals have been waiting for homes for even longer. Maui the cat has been up for adoption for 234 days and 9-year-old pit-bull mix Shasha has been ready for 309 days.
“Compared to the average dog and cat ready to be adopted in 2018, the hardest-to-place dog sat 12.5 times longer, and the hardest-to-place cat waited nine times longer, to find their forever home.”
Some of the hardest-to-place animals often need a particular environment at home, such as being the only pet in the household or living with no children under a certain age. Sometimes they might have a behavioral or medical need that needs special attention.
Additionally, many shelter visitors do not consider a long-term resident because the dog or cat doesn’t “show well” at the shelter. However, post-adoption surveys have revealed that these hard-to-place animals thrive in their new homes.
Midcoast Humane provides the best care and attention possible to every animal, regardless of how long they wait to find their forever home.
For animals that do spend longer periods at the shelter, Midcoast Humane’s enrichment and behavior-modification teams focus on keeping animals happy, stimulated, and healthy. Some animals are kept away from high-traffic areas of the shelter to help alleviate stress. Dogs take “field trips” with volunteers and work on basic commands and improving kennel behavior. Dogs and cats, as well as small animals, are provided with “boredom buster” exercises to help keep their minds sharp, which is vitally important to maintaining health and happiness, according to the shelter.
In addition to finding homes for animals, the community can help by donating funds and supplies, providing in-kind advertising, and sponsoring animal adoption fees.
“In some cases, a fee-waived adoption can help draw attention to particular animals,” said Wehr. “Our trained adoption counselors make sure animals go to the right home and that it’s a great fit on both sides, but if the fee-waived adoption sparks someone’s interest, then it’s worth it.”
“These animals need the community’s support,” she said. “We are hoping that No Paw Left Behind inspires people to use their love for pets to have a direct impact, because these animals need their community rooting for them.”
To learn more or donate to the campaign, go to midcoasthumane.org/nopawleftbehind.
About Midcoast Humane
Midcoast Humane is one of Maine’s largest animal shelters, caring and finding homes for 3,500 animals every year and assisting thousands more through its programming. It is the contracted animal shelter of 40 towns along Maine’s Midcoast across 1,000 square miles from Falmouth to Washington. The organization maintains a 97 percent live-release rate. For more information, visit midcoasthumane.org.