Animal shelters move to online adoptions during COVID-19 crisis

Being stuck at home might also be the perfect opportunity to add a new pet to the family, but shelters are having to make adjustments during the spread of coronavirus while still helping find forever homes.

Shelters across the nation like Houston Pets Alive are getting paws out the door with little human contact through virtual adoption events.

"We had to figure out how could we still move these dogs that need our help," explains shelter volunteer Adrian Berg.

Every weekend, the shelter's Facebook Live events feature dogs up for adoption. Although cats are not featured, they can be found at their PetSmart partner locations or on the Houston Pets Alive website.

If someone finds a pup they like, they are required to fill out an application before coming to the shelter.

There, future families wait in cars and are allowed in one at a time with disinfecting in between sessions.

"They’ll come out in the play yard and play with the dog as long as they need," says Berg. "We want to see that connection so that we can make sure that this is an adoption that sticks."

Dozens have found homes through the events. Houston Pets Alive then picks up a new crew of animals from euthanasia lists and shelters closing temporarily.

They're handling more than 300 dogs and cats on any given day.

"It’s a great time to form a very deep bond with a new animal. Instead of people catching the COVID-19 pounds, they can actually go for a walk around the block with their dog," adds Berg.

It's also for those who just want something cuddly to stream with while staying indoors.

And before the adoptions are finalized, volunteers give advice for permanent plans so that love at first sight, lasts beyond the COVID crisis.