A guide to adopting a pet from the Bloomington Animal Shelter


Happy the cat rests on a bed in an off-campus house in Bloomington. Happy is very friendly and loves meeting new people. Sam House

If you’ve been thinking about adopting or fostering a new cuddly companion during the coronavirus pandemic, you aren’t alone. 

The Bloomington Animal Shelter has seen a significant increase in adoption rates since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, said Edyth McEvilly, an animal care technician at the shelter. 

“From January to August, we’ve had an 81% adoption rate compared to 65-74% in previous years,”McEvilly said.

For those interested in adopting a pet and making a new friend, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to go through the process.

1. Adopting an animal is a commitment

The most important part of adopting an animal from the shelter, or from anywhere, is preparing for the responsibilities of being a pet owner. This includes keeping your pet healthy and up to date on vaccinations, spending ample time with them, being financially prepared to buy food and other necessities and providing your pet with exercise and other physical activity.

2. Know what type of animal you can accommodate

Just like with people, no two animals are alike. It’s very important to have an idea of what type of personality you are looking for in a new companion, and it’s also important to know what type of pet may do well in your housing situation. A rabbit will require less room to roam around than a dog, but that doesn’t mean taking care of a rabbit won’t come with its own set of challenges. 

3. Check out the animals up for adoption

The Bloomington Animal Shelter has a long list of animals looking to be re-homed, and this list can be found on the Adoptable Animals page. This page contains pictures and information on each animal, including cats, dogs, rabbits, birds and rodents. Some of the animals also have descriptions of their personalities, which may be beneficial for a potential pet owner.

4. Submit an adoption form

After finding an animal online you are interested in taking home, the next step is to submit an adoption form. These can be found on the Adoption Policies and Fees page, and the form varies depending on which type of animal you are considering. This page also displays the adoption fees and services included in the fees.

5. Schedule an appointment

Following the submission of your adoption form, a staff member will follow up with you to schedule an appointment at the shelter. This is your opportunity to ask questions and possibly meet your new best friend. The appointment may take up to one hour, so be prepared to spend a bit of your day at the shelter.

6. Bring home your new friend

After you’ve visited with the animal, discussed with a staff member and filled out the adoption paperwork, you will be ready to bring your pet home. Be prepared to spend time helping your animal companion adjust to their new home, and enjoy the friendship that comes with adopting a pet.

“So many people have lost their jobs or income because of the pandemic and have been forced to relinquish their beloved pets," McEvilly said. "There’s never been a better time to help out animals who have been separated from their families.”

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