Responses from an adopter survey (n = 1,491) determined reasons for pet selection, type of information received by the adopter, and the context in which the animal's behavior was observed. Appearance of the animal, social behavior with adopter, and personality were the top reasons for adoption across species and age groups. Most adopters stated that information about the animal from a staff member or volunteer was more important than information on cage cards, and health and behavior information was particularly important. Adopters found greater importance in interacting with the animal rather than viewing it in its kennel. The results of this study can be used by shelters to create better adoption matches, prioritize shelter resources and staff training, and potentially increase adoptions. Additionally, some simple training techniques are suggested to facilitate adopter-friendly behaviors from sheltered dogs and cats.
Keywords: adopter; adoption; animal shelter; appearance; behavior; cat; dog; greeting; interaction; selection.