Animal Adoption Research | Teen Ink

Animal Adoption Research

July 24, 2022
By jjjulia-zhu BRONZE, Bellevue, Washington
jjjulia-zhu BRONZE, Bellevue, Washington
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

2022 is all about stepping out of the COVID-19 virus restrictions and trying to restore to our normal lifestyle. In the midst of this, we must come to a realization that our society is not the only one needing revival. Following the global spread of the COVID-19 virus, animal shelters are heavily challenged. Not only are employees navigating how to continue to safely do their job like the rest of us, they're also seeing a vast decrease in pet adoptions. Many people are not adopting pets because of the hassle of visiting local shelters during the pandemic, the shortage of animal supplies, and the complicated registration process – all of which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

To investigate the topic of adoption and why it's an issue, I began by speaking to a local animal shelter staff. During my interview with Alina from Seattle Humane on June 13th, 2022, she stated that although people maintained high interests in adopting pets, the actual adoption rate didn’t seem to rise at all. For instance, Shelter Animals Count, a national database of sheltered animal statistics, issued a COVID-19 Impact Report earlier this summer, containing comparative data from 1,270 animal welfare organizations across the country. The report showed that 548,966 pets entered those combined organizations in March to June 2020 compared to 840,750 during the same period in 2019—a reduction of 35 percent. This indicates that although adoption interest rates might’ve gone up, the number of shelters for taking these animals in are slowly declining. Such occurrence puts the animals that are yet to be adopted in a challenging situation, as they may face the potentiality of getting abandoned again and even worse, killed. 

In addition to the shortage of space at animal shelters, shortage of supplies and staff led to a reduction in full service operations at many shelters at the beginning of the pandemic. According to research done by scholars at the UPenn School of Medicine, veterinary care products and services, including veterinary drugs, were under shortage in the food animal production industry due to the pandemic. Similar situations occurred at Seattle Humane. Although many pets were adopted, the organization had trouble keeping up with the immunization of the pets in the shelter and had to deal with "over reproduction" as there weren't enough vets to perform the neutering task (Seattle Humane). To further expand, in an interview done by the Wisconsin Public Radio, ​​veterinary staff stated that they were declared essential workers early in the pandemic, but only for urgent care. This forced them to navigate difficult triage situations and created a backlog of nonemergency services that clinics are still wading through today.

Because of the Pandemic we were introduced to the idea of quarantine, which reshaped society by a great extent. The 1.5 to 2 year long lockdown made a huge difference on society’s behavior, people tend to prefer staying home and doing everything online. Among those who are currently working from home all or most of the time, 78% say they'd like to continue to do so after the pandemic, up from 64% in 2020. (Pew Research Center). This behavioral change bleeds into the search and adoption process. In the beginning of the pandemic, many people who were interested in adopting pets were “turned down” by the possibility of catching the virus while visiting the pet, and some were even scared that the animal itself could potentially carry the virus. Adoption centers took action on this across the nation to stay afloat. Here locally, Seattle Humane implemented curbside visits, where staff members would bring out the animals for people to see. Now that we’re transitioning back to being “normal” again, people are more attracted to being able to get everything completed online. Whether it’s going through the adoption process or getting the information of the pet, the majority of society like to stay home and do everything remotely whenever possible. 

My Business Proposal For This Situation - Pinder

Pet Adoption in Our Current Society

With technology in our society advancing everyday, new software programs that can bring people together are brought to the market. Apps like Tinder, Discord, and Meetup all help connect people. Now envision a website just like those apps, except instead of bringing people together, it brings people and animals together. 

Approximately 6.3 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year, but only about 4.1 million of them are adopted ( What about the other 2.2 million? Are we going to leave them to die, abandoned, and potentially killed? According to my interview with Alina from Seattle Human, she stated that although adoption interests are generally high, the adoption rate isn’t quite following up. That could be caused by many factors, whether it’s people’s lack of motivation in searching for animals of the perfect match or the concern of having to go through complicated processes for adoption. The issue with needing animal adoption rates to rise and be in consistency with the adoption interest is crucial. If action isn’t taken, over 2 million shelter animals will continue to be abandoned or killed, year after year. 

Pinder - A Website Proposal to Make Adoption More Accessible

To put an ease to this issue, I propose a website – Pinder – that help people find the pet of their dreams, from the comfort of their homes. The idea here is rather simple: click the right arrow if you’re interested in adopting the pet, click left if you’re not. With Pinder, adopters can easily get access to finding pets within their location, with filtering tools to help them filter down to the state they live in, the breed they’re interested in, gender, activeness, and age. Once you swipe left, the website will take you to a page that provides basic information about the animal and a link to its adoption site. 

What Makes Pinder Stand Out?

The idea is appealing to people of all ages across the internet. Whether you’re a 30 year-old woman or a 17 year-old teenage boy, it would catch your attention instantly. Because of its familiar way of usage, the website will be able to make its way to adopters of all ages. It’s also a quick and simple way to help those who can’t find time to research/look for pets on their own (I can fall in that category too, I don’t blame you). Because of the Covid-19 Pandemic, people are getting used to doing everything at home, rather than getting up and going to places. For instance, we’re more likely to call for delivery service, to work from home, and to make purchases online (Pew Research Center). And although we’re now in the recovering/walking out phase of the Pandemic, we’re still accustomed to the habits we developed in the past two years. This is why an online search engine for pets is in the perfect place for development: it provides all the necessary info to people about the pets they’re interested in, including videos to help further strengthen the “bond”. In addition, it also helps solve the problem of people’s unwillingness to visit shelters because they’re scared of catching the virus.

Pinder V.S. Tinder, Are They Going To Resemble Completely?

Yes, the website will be structured similar to Tinder, but no, it will not be “gamified” like Tinder did. Ever since its release, Tinder has been used as an app for “clowning”, “playing”, “joking”, or just simply giggles. The same case will not apply to this pet-styled Tinder. Animal adoption is a serious matter and in no way should be treated like a game. Before using the website, background checks will be held and strict security will be enacted to protect the website. The sole purpose of the website is for people who have high interests in adopting animals to find their “soulmate” with ease and accessibility, not for those who want to do no good to these animals.

Besides the background check, the website will be non-profit and will feature a donation page after the adopter adopts the pet. This will allow them to give back to the organization from which the pet was adopted. Many organizations across the nation suffered from the shortage of food supplies and veterinary care. They're still recovering from this devastation and the donation on my website will help support these organizations to improve/speed up their recovery.

Vulnerable animals in our own community and across the country are depending on one thing for survival: adoption, and that factor is the need for adoption. Action is essential at this point and our fight for these animals are always needed. I believe that through Pinder, we can save the lives of millions of pets and prevent any potentiality of gruesome endings for these animals.





Pet statistics. ASPCA. (n.d.). Retrieved July 12, 2022, from 

Parker, K., Horowitz, J. M., & Minkin, R. (2022, March 23). Covid-19 pandemic continues to reshape work in America. Pew Research Center's Social & Demographic Trends Project. Retrieved July 22, 2022, from 

The National Database COVID-19 Impact Report. Shelter Animals Count. (2020, June). Retrieved from 

Powell, L., Houlihan, C., Stone, M., Gitlin, I., Ji, X., Reinhard, C. L., & Watson, B. (2021, September 10). Animal shelters' response to the COVID-19 pandemic: A pilot survey of 14 shelters in the Northeastern United States. Animals : an open access journal from MDPI. Retrieved July 12, 2022, from 

Bezucha, D. (2021, October 6). Burned out and understaffed, veterinary clinics are struggling to catch up after pandemic challenges. Wisconsin Public Radio. Retrieved July 12, 2022, from  

Parker, K., Horowitz, J. M., & Minkin, R. (2022, March 23). Covid-19 pandemic continues to reshape work in America. Pew Research Center's Social & Demographic Trends Project. Retrieved July 14, 2022, from 

The author's comments:

My name is Julia Z. and I'm a rising senior in high school. I wrote this research/business proposal paper because I'm into the animal adoption industry since I have a puppy that I adopted from the suburban area of China. I see animal adoption as one of the biggest issues that moves me and I think this topic deserves more attention/more actions. 

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