Q&A with Customer Care

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How adoption by appointment has helped thousands of pets find a loving home

In March 2020, OHS had to quickly adjust almost every aspect of operations to continue to help the pets and people of the community. One of the biggest changes was the adoption process. Instead of browsing through the shelter and waiting to meet with a pet, potential adopters would view and apply for pets online and meet with a customer care representative over the phone and during a scheduled appointment.

The process continues to evolve and change to ensure the best client experience while keeping people safe. Read more about the current process here.

We spoke to the OHS Customer Care team about the adoption-by-appointment process and how it has been working during the past 22 months.

Tell us a bit about how the adoption process has shifted since the pandemic has started? What does the new process look like?

”Since the pandemic, the process has continued to ebb and flow based on CDC standards, community needs and the shelter’s care capacity. Through all of this, we have been able to evolve our process. Clients, pre-COVID, were able to walk through OHS and would place their name in a line to wait. Wait times would sometimes take hours. During the pandemic, we began consulting on individual animals over the phone and scheduled one-on-one appointments. Currently clients make same day appointments, which allows animals to go home on the same day as their consult.” – Chloe R., Customer Care Representative

What has your team learned during this trying time?

“A tremendous amount of flexibility and adaptability! The world turned upside down and we all had to learn to adjust with it. With almost daily changes in the workplace and huge adjustments in our personal lives, these last two years have been incredibly challenging, but also an opportunity for growth. I think we have worked as a team better than ever and found support in one another as we navigate our way through this difficult time.” – Nicole M., Customer Care Representative

What has your team done to take care of themselves during this time? How have the animals helped?

“Working at OHS and embodying its vision helped to anchor us greatly during the storm. OHS is a very compassionate placed filled with deeply empathetic people. We’ve done so well taking care of each other. The animals helped just as much as the people! One of my favorite things about them is that they have no idea what’s going on outside of their lives with us! They can’t turn on the news, don’t have social media, and they have no idea what a virus is. They really do live in the moment. Like many people, I adopted a dog, Ruby, during the pandemic. She was my missing piece in terms of fostering my own resiliency because when we’re together I don’t think about the shifting challenges of the pandemic.” – Kat L., Customer Care Representative

Is there anything you would like to incorporate in your work as we move closer to the end of the COVID-19 pandemic?

“Everyday we incorporate our growing skills and resiliency into serving people and animals. Matching up clients with their new family member has always been the focus of Customer Care. Taking home an animal is a life-changing experience. Our department is one of so many happy endings. This will continue to be our focus. But building a more humane society is also about helping animals outside the shelter. With the community hospital opening in 2022, we will be growing our crucial support of animals and people once they are home. And I am so excited for those happy endings.” – Kat L., Customer Care Representative

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