As operations director for the Pennsylvania SPCA, Angela Marcus saw stressed animals looking for their forever homes, heartbroken pet owners who had to surrender their pet for a variety of reasons, well-meaning adopters trying to meet adoption criteria, and an overburdened rescue system caught in the middle.
“Every day someone was coming to the shelter trying to find a home for their pet. On the other side of things, you had people coming in looking to adopt pets. One day I just thought why do we need to have owner-surrendered pets coming into the shelter anyway? People were coming to us for help, and we didn’t have any options for them” Angela said. She needed to find a solution, so she founded GetYourPet.com.
Connecting Pet Owners and Potential Adopters
Get Your Pet was created to facilitate responsible rehoming—to connect pet owners looking to rehome their pet and potential adopters looking for the perfect fit. Developed in an age of shared economies like Lyft and Airbnb, Get Your Pet was designed by Angela to help people, pets, and shelter and rescue organizations.
The company launched in November 2016, by partnering with multiple shelters in the Philadelphia area. Pretty soon, these shelters were referring pet owners looking to rehome their pet to GetYourPet.com and the company took off. Vincent Medley, Executive Director of the Animal Care and Control Team of Philadelphia called them the “future of pet adoption.”
“Getyourpet.com represents a win for everyone in the process,” said Angela.
The guardian who needs to surrender their pet to the shelter can play an active role in finding their pet a home, and rest assured that they will end up in a safe, happy place. If both the original pet owner and new adopter agree, they can even stay in touch.
The new pet adopter is given the chance to find a pet that is perfect for their family and has the rare ability to ask the original owner—who knows the pet best— about the animal. They are also not given blanket adoption criteria. Angela noted, “There are well-intentioned criteria that shelters and rescues have put in place that are not necessarily appropriate to each specific pet.”
The ideal is for a pet to never go into a shelter. “It’s the worst experience [for a pet] to go into the shelter or rescue. They’re exposed to stress. Just like humans, stressed animals get sick. So there’s illness and disease. And worst of all, there’s not enough space. One out of every two animals that go through our shelter system is put to sleep because there isn’t enough space.”
Finally, by keeping pets out of shelters, the shelter can allocate the resources they have to the pets that really need it and help stray animals who have not come in through owner surrender. “We’re reducing the burdens on shelters and rescues that are already overwhelmed,” Angela said. “One out of every three pets going into shelters is surrendered by their owner. If we can affect that number and keep those pets out of shelters, we help those pets that have nobody to speak for them.”
Get Your Pet just passed their 50th adoption, and Angela has seen the impact it has had on the community. She receives positive feedback from shelter and rescue organizations they have been able to partner with, and she’s spoken directly to a number of individuals who have experienced Get Your Pet for themselves.
“There was a gentleman named Curtis who was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago. He recently found out his cancer was in remission, and his doctor told him that he needed to start exercising. It occurred to him that maybe getting a pet would be a good idea,” Angela recalled. “He found out about Get Your Pet and adopted a dog, now named Beau. He reached out to say this dog has truly changed his life. Every day he is exercising, going for long walks. He said Beau has made a world of difference toward his recovery and helping him beat cancer.”
Adopting from Get Your Pet
The website launched across the US in early May 2017. Each pet adopted through Get Your Pet goes home with a veterinary voucher to cover their first veterinary appointment as well as a Trupanion certificate, so newly adopted pets can be covered from day one in their new home. In addition, a percentage of profits from all adoptions will go back to shelters and rescues that need support.
“People have good intentions when they go to adopt a pet. They’re already making a good decision. If they are able to go onto Get Your Pet, find the pet they want with the criteria they’re looking for, save that pet the stress and the risk of being put to sleep by keeping them from going into a shelter, and stay in touch with the previous pet owner, should they choose, I think we have the possibility for something really great.”
Kathryn works at Trupanion alongside her little sidekick, a rescued Papillion mix named Modie. She loves all animals big and small but is a dog enthusiast at heart. By the third grade, she had memorized every dog breed and their characteristics and dreamed of being an agility dog trainer or the next Steve Irwin. When not at Trupanion, Kathryn spends her time playing soccer, baking cookies, and exploring the Pacific Northwest with her little sidekick.