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A New Approach To Pet Adoption Saves Resources & Lives

Written by: Amber King
| Published on June 16, 2017

As the former Operations Director for the Pennsylvania SPCA, Angela Marcus knows better than most what happens when an animal ends up in a shelter.

About 2.6 million animals are euthanized in shelters every year, but their lives aren’t lost because of a lack of compassion. Shelters across the country simply don’t have the money, space, or time to save every animal. After a long career in animal welfare, Angela was ready to push the system toward change.

For years, Angela had been thinking of an idea. She told iHeartdogs,

“There are all these businesses like Uber and Airbnb connecting people to things they need, and I thought, ‘Why hasn’t anyone applied this shared economy platform to animal adoption?'”

Photo Image Source: Denise St. Jean


Shelters take in stray animals and animals rescued from abusive situations, but that’s not all they do. There are also pet owners who are forced to surrender the animals they love because of uncontrollable circumstances. Whether it’s a sudden allergic reaction, a disagreement with a landlord, or the result of an elderly person transitioning into assisted living, Angela’s idea was to give pet owners the option to keep their furry family members out of the shelter.

A direct adoption without shelter involvement greatly reduces the animal’s stress and frees up valuable shelter resources that can be put toward another animal in need.

That’s why, in fall 2015, Angela finally said,

“It’s time, I’ve got to pursue this.”

She started working on, and in January 2017, the new solution to pet adoption launched regionally in the Philadelphia, PA area.

Instead of taking a pet to a shelter, pet owners, called “guardians,” create profiles complete with pictures and information about the animal. From there, families interested in adopting browse available profiles. If they see an animal they’re interested in, they message the guardian through a secure system. They can choose to schedule a meet-up, and the guardian has complete control over who adopts their pet. If all goes well, papers are signed, a fee of $99 is paid to, and the animal has a new happy ending without ever stepping foot in a shelter.

Image Source: Screen Shot via


Edward Gross from Lafayette Hill, PA tried everything he could to keep his family’s dog, but their child’s sudden allergies gave them little choice. Instead of taking the dog to a shelter, he chose He said,

“Shelters scare me as it is not known as to what will happen to your pet or who will get your pet.”

After posting his pet’s profile, he connected to a family he knew would be perfect. He stays in touch with the dog’s new family and knows his former pet is in good hands.

Jen Bellot from Philadelphia, PA used to welcome Twix into her home after the dog’s previous owners could no longer provide the time and attention he needed. Jen told iHeartdogs about how a previous experience at a shelter compared to Twix’s adoption.

“Twix was nervous when he came to us, but not shell shocked like our dog who came from the shelter. While the shelter was kind, they had very little information for us and were just kind of operating in crisis mode looking to move dogs out so they could move more in.  I felt like we couldn’t take our time to make sure there was a good match and it didn’t work out very well unfortunately.”

Photo Source: Jen Bellot


After the regional launch, is now available nationally and has facilitated over 75 successful adoptions. There are over 5,000 registered adopters who browse available pets for free and an ever-changing population of dogs and cats awaiting new homes. is reducing the number of animals in shelters, freeing up shelter resources, and helping pets and their owners through the adoption process. Angela said,

“If we keep pets out of shelters, we help everyone.” is free for everyone browsing adoptable pets, and a portion of the adoption proceeds go back to the shelters who need it most. Adopters also benefit from complimentary veterinary care and 30 days of free pet insurance. Visit the website to look for your next family member or to find your beloved pet the perfect new home.

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