Increase in Pet Adoptions During Quarantine

New Pets for the New Normal

March 19, 2020

Helen Woodward Animal Center


Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.  (Mar. 18, 2020) – In recent weeks, news updates on the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic reveal disturbing trends, socially, politically, and economically. One surprising trend, however, is warming hearts at Helen Woodward Animal Center – an increase in adoptions! 


Helen Woodward Animal Center has always sung the praises of furry friends.  The Center’s mission, which promotes “people helping animals,” reminds the world that “animals helping people” is an important and equal component to the success of its many programs.  Through the Center’s Pet Encounter Therapy program, Therapeutic Riding program, AniMeals program, and more, the healing, loving nature of animals is a primary factor.  The jump in adoption numbers over the last weekend (nearly doubling normal numbers) may have much to do with a need to bring more joy, heart, and comfort into the homes of families quarantined and individuals suffering from social-distancing.


“We were really interested in the number of last week’s adopters who worked in the educational field,” explained Helen Woodward Animal Center Adoptions Services Manager Dora Dahlke.  “We met professors, teachers, and counselors who had all been asked to work remotely and suddenly had lots of hours in a quiet house.  Grad students, too, who were now doing on-line classes, were seeking the company of a new pet.” 


Not only is the increase in adoptions a bright spot in some very uncertain times, it is also a uniquely perfect scenario for both the adopting families and the pet.


“We always encourage the entire family to be a part of training a new pet,” stated Dahlke.  “As a pet establishes itself in a home, it will learn signals and signs from its owner.  Often, when we hear that a new pet is misbehaving, it is simply that the pet is confused because the signals are different from one family member to another or the owner’s schedule is changing too frequently.  With the entire family at home for a few weeks, the pet will begin to feel safe in a routine of mealtimes, outside play, and bedtimes.”


Helen Woodward Animal Center’s adoption department remains open to the community to adopt a new furry friend to lighten the challenging days ahead.  The health and safety of our staff, animals, and community is top priority. With this in mind, the adoption process is changing until further notice.  The Center is complying with the California Department of Public Health announcement of limited gathering of individuals. Effective immediately, adoptions will be by “Appointment Only” Monday through Thursday 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Friday 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The following steps will take place when setting up an appointment.


How to set up an Adoption Appointment:

·         Call the  Adoptions Department at  858-756-4117 Ext. 1. An Adoptions Customer Service Representative will be able to help set an appointment date and time.

·         We will send an email with further instruction and a Dog or Cat Adoption Application. After completion of the Adoption Application, email the completed request to for review prior to your appointment.  

·         After review of the Adoption Application, we will call with any further questions and confirm your appointment within 24 hours.

·         Appointments will be scheduled for 1 hour. Within the hour, you will be able to browse the kennels of adoptable animals, meet up to 3 animals, choose your forever pet and process the adoption paper work.

*To cancel or reschedule an appointment please call within 2-5 hours of your appointment time.


To see a list of available orphan pets (updated every hour) or for more information about the Helen Woodward Animal Center, click here