Goddard, who is 14, has been at Midcoast Humane waiting for a home since February 16, 2018. Credit: Courtesy of Midcoast Humane

BRUNSWICK, Maine — With an eye toward pets who spend the longest time before finding a family, volunteers and staff at Midcoast Humane launched a new program, No Paw Left Behind, designed to ensure all animals find new homes within 90 days of the date they’re available for adoption.

Goddard, a 14-year-old male cat, has been available for adoption since Feb. 16, 2018. A sweet older cat, Goddard would do best in a home in which he is the only cat, and he will need lifelong medication and regular care by a veterinarian to treat chronic hyperthyroidism.

Medical conditions, which can require expensive treatment, and requirements such as being the only cat or not living with small children are among the reasons some animals aren’t adopted as quickly.

“Sometimes visitors just can’t picture these guys in their homes because when they see them behind the kennels, the stress of living in the shelter causes them to look like crazy, unruly creatures, so people pass them by,” said Mandie Wehr, director of shelter operations.

Midcoast Humane, with facilities in Brunswick and Edgecomb, cares for and finds home for approximately 3,500 animals each year and is the contracted animal shelter for 40 towns across the midcoast area.

Last year, 64 animals waited 90 days or longer to be adopted, and sometimes much, much longer.

“While the average amount of time that dogs and cats waited for a home was around seven and 10 days respectively, there were noticeable outliers,” Wehr said.

“Compared to the average dog and cat ready to be adopted in 2018, the hardest to place dog sat 12.5 times longer, and hardest to place cat waited nine times longer, to find their forever home.”

Volunteers are getting to know animals, take their pictures, share their stories and making an extra effort to find the special homes the animals require.

Their efforts have resulted in several pets finding homes, including Shasha, one of the dogs at the shelter the longest, and Mabon, a senior cat with kidney disease.

Before animals are adopted, the shelter arranges private sessions for the dogs with a certified dog trainer, either at the shelter or in the families’ home. They also offer supports such as filling medications post-adoption.

Credit: Courtesy of Midcoast Humane

The initiative is currently focused on finding a home for Cylene, a 3-year-old dog at the shelter since January 2018.

Cylene is “a smart girl, knowing sit, paw and roll over,” Wehr said. “She loves to run and fetch … and get lots of belly rubs. And she loves to be tucked into her bed with a comfy blanket. She does guard her possessions, like food, rawhides and toys, so it’s important that her human companions be 16 years or older to ensure her boundaries are respected. She shouldn’t go home with cats, though other dogs are OK. But she will be a wonderful pet. She’s fun loving and goofy, and her family will be endlessly entertained.”

Animals in the No Paw Left Behind initiative are visible on Facebook at facebook.com/MHNoPawLeftBehind.