© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2021

SPCA: 'video chat' with your potential pet

James Fleury
Betsy Blasdale with foster kitten 2020
Betsy Blasdale with foster kitten 2020  Nicola Blasdale

The Nelson SPCA has come up with some creative ways to introduce potential pet owners to animals using modern technology.

The Nelson SPCA is one of 41 animal shelters in the country that received an influx of animal adoptions just before lockdown started in late March. 

Nelson SPCA team leader, Nicola Blasdale, said because of lockdown measures, people were unable to spend time with animals prior to making the commitment of adoption. 

"We have had to create some ingenious ways of showing off our available animals. I have given video tours of the cattery and sent lots of photos and descriptions." 

Blasdale said the team at the Nelson SPCA usually spent a lot of time with their prospective pet parents so it had been a leap of faith on both sides when it came to adopting or fostering an animal. 

"All our animals that went out during lockdown went out on a 'foster to adopt' basis, as we felt it was a big ask for people to adopt an animal they have never met."

Blasdale said follow-up phone calls with the foster parents suggested the vast majority of the animals were not coming back to the SPCA.

"I'm estimating around 40 cats, five dogs, and nine puppies will be adopted."

Like many other SPCA's in the country, the Nelson branch had to adapt to contactless delivery of the animals, food, litter trays and other important items for the pet's wellbeing. 

Blasdale said while contactless delivery had been one of the biggest challenges, they had been incredibly well supported by the people of Nelson, and the Vets at Victory team for any urgent health matters or advice.

"At least two of our dogs that went on foster had been at the SPCA for a few weeks. They have had a blissful holiday in someone's home. Although neither family is in a position to keep them, it has been a great experience for them all."

Blasdale said while the SPCA staff were worried about a potential flood of welfare cases or unwanted animals brought in because of COVID-19's economic impact, they were ready to help the animals.

If you want to adopt an animal from your local SPCA, find out more information at https://www.spca.nz/adopt