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The Underdogs (and cats!)

Pet adoptions soar during COVID but not all find forever homes.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Humane Society of West Michigan is a busy place these days. Brianna Shahly, marketing and communications coordinator says she was worried when COVID-19 first hit but it turns out she didn't have to worry. 

"It's a wonderful time to adopt an animal and help them adjust to their environment" she said, adding "adoption numbers have been better than ever." 

Shelter Animals Count runs a database that tracks shelter and rescue activity and they looked at pet adoptions during the pandemic. The group, which tracks about 500 rescue organizations across the country, recorded 26,000 more pet adoptions in 2020 than in 2019, a 15% increase. 

But not all find forever homes quickly. Many animals stay in shelters and rescues much longer than others. The Underdogs (and cats) are often broken down into common categories. But all have special qualities. 


These are typically past the potty-training stage and what you see is what you get. An adult dog or cat has already gown to its full size, has its adult hair coat and has a fully developed personality.

Don’t overlook sweet and easy senior dogs and cats. They will be forever grateful for being chosen and reward you with endless love.


Special needs pets might not need as much extra care as you might think. Some rescues and shelters will even help out with medical expenses and offer other resources to help manage the pet's condition.

Regardless of their individual challenges, these animals need forever homes and offer boundless gratitude and immeasurable love. 

"We validate rescuing, we think it's the best thing you can do in terms of adopting a pet," Shahly says. "Not only because you know where these animals are coming from, but you know they have had a full vet check. They are going to go home healthy. They are already spayed and neutered. They come with all of their vaccines. Not only is there that benefit, but they are just so grateful when they find those homes and it is also a great way to support your community."

After a while with your "Underdog" (or cat) you just might find yourself asking who rescued who? 

At 13 ON YOUR SIDE we love pets. We want to help find these Underdogs a home. So, throughout the year we'll be highlighting those that need a little extra help getting adopted. You will see them on air and at 13LovesPets.com and if you're interested in adopting one, reach out to your local shelter.

 Disclaimer: 13 ON YOUR SIDE’s mission is to assist in the adoption of pets. If the featured pet has already been adopted, we hope that you will continue to seek out other adoptions. We do not guarantee the availability of adoptable pets. 

Humane Society of West Michigan 

Harbor Humane Society of West Michigan

Pound Buddies  

Michele's Rescue 

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