Nuzzles uses virtual system to connect animals and humans

PARK CITY, Utah. — Nuzzles & Co. Pet Rescue and Adoption Center is still helping cats and dogs and humans find each other, but the process has changed since COVID restrictions took effect. 

Previously, people could walk into the shelter, meet a few dogs, and fill out an application on the spot. With social distancing, those walk-ins are no longer occurring, having been replaced with virtual adoptions and by-appointment sessions.

A pup rocking Rex Specs dog goggles (
A pup rocking Rex Specs dog goggles ( Photo: Zach Lucer

Would-be adopters now view shelter animals in action online and adopt virtually with a touchless process: Once an online application is approved, a staff member coordinates a virtual meet-and-greet.

The next step is a curbside pickup for a sleepover. If the sleepover is a success, the shelter animal has a new family.

Director of Animal Placement Arin Meade said the open adoption process is more time-consuming, but the staff has been diligent and acclimated well to a virtual and open adoption process and that “the proof is in the number of pets that have continued to find their forever homes during this pandemic.”

And during a year of curtailed activities, loneliness and uncertainty, adoptions have only increased.

“Adoptions have spiked quite a bit during the pandemic,” said Nuzzles volunteer Maddie. “Although we don’t do any owner surrenders, we haven’t been getting many dogs coming back to us once they have been either adopted or fostered, so we have seen a decrease in intake overall. Many people have more time to take care of a pet as they don’t have to be at a 9 to 5 anymore, and so people want to take in a new pet since they now have that additional free time.”

Nuzzles & Co. Rescue and Adoption Center’s mission is to protect animals, to provide a loving and nurturing place where they receive healthy around-the-clock care and learn positive behaviors in a calm setting. After those building blocks are in place, the next goal is to then find loving, suitable, and caring homes for each animal.

The Nuzzles ranch in Peoa is currently open by appointment only. It has a large fenced-in yard as a meet-and-greet area for adult dogs who may be going home with another dog.

To view adoptable pets, visit the Nuzzles site.


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