“It’s going to be for all our long-timers,” Lee said.
But there’s also an upside to the restrictions forced by the pandemic.
Previously, groups of potential adopters walked by cages, spurring lots of barking and increasing the stress level of the animals, Lee said.
With the appointment system, visitors look at pictures of the animals available and choose ones they want to see. An animal care tech will bring the pet to the visitors outside, where they can interact with it.
“So it’s just one person going through the building instead of the whole group (of visitors),” Lee said. “So with COVID, we were able to keep the stress level for the dogs down and it has really, really helped.”
The Guilford shelter also started holding virtual adoptions during the pandemic, something that Lee said has worked well for people that can’t get to the shelter.
“Our director likes to say, (the pandemic) actually slowed us down enough so that we could run the shelter, not have the shelter run us,” Lee said.
In Forsyth, Neff said his shelter, which also operates by appointment only, expanded its foster care network during the pandemic.
“During that period, we recruited more foster parents to shorten the length of stay for animals in the shelter,” he said.