Each week, we introduce an animal seeking adoption at the SPCA. Maybe a cute cat or doggie in the Baltimore Fishbowl window caught your eye and you considered adopting him, but weren’t sure what all was involved in the process. Vincent Jennings, adoption counselor for the Maryland SPCA, offers information to let would-be parents know what to expect.

Do potential pet owners have to complete forms and be approved before adopting a pet?

All adopters must complete an adoption application and sit for an interview/discussion of their expectations of owning that particular cat or dog. This policy helps the adoption staff to better evaluate the adopters’ desires with the particular needs of that pet.

How many hours or visits do potential owners usually spend before they decide a particular pet is for them?

Most adopters who are “just looking” actually end up meeting a pet and complete the adoption the very same day. Not including the time spent getting acquainted with the animal, the adopter will spend between 30 minutes to 1 hour.

What would you advise for people “just looking” who don’t complete adoption procedures the same day?

We discourage potential adopters from leaving without applying for a pet they are interested in as most of the time the pet is adopted by another individual in their absence. We will happily place a pet on hold for 24 hours to give that person time to prepare the home and to ponder their decision, as adoption is a serious endeavor.

 Are there certain characteristics that could cause the SPCA to discourage or even prevent a person from adopting an animal?

Some adopters are asked to select an animal better suited to their lifestyle if the applicant cannot demonstrate that they can provide for that animal. Some adopters are denied or turned down based on prior adoption or surrender history and we gently explain to them the reasons for that decision. On rare occasions an adoption is denied due to the fact that the applicant has too many animals and we do not want to increase their burden.

But all in all, the fit between owner and pet works out for both of them?

Our adopters are a healthy mix of seasoned pet owners and first timers. Approximately 99 percent of our adopters successfully adopt the pet they have chosen.