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A brown and white dog stands in grass with a staff member in The Dig’s article about the Jacksonville Humane Society

Our Pets

Jacksonville Humane Society

This animal shelter’s adoption process is so personal, it feels like family bonding

Fetch by The Dodo presents our shelter partner, Jacksonville Humane Society. As the pet insurance brand that shelters trust, we’re proud to highlight the important work they do for animals. 

If you ask Denise Deisler, CEO and president of the Jacksonville Humane Society (JHS), what’s the best part about her job, it takes her a minute to decide. Whether it’s reuniting a family with a lost pet or seeing a child meet their first kitten, there are so many rewarding moments at the shelter. 

But, if Denise had to narrow it down, she says it would be, “Helping people who are in crises is the single most rewarding aspect of what we do.” JHS wants to be there for every curveball life throws at pet parents, providing free resources like their pet-food pantry and planning for disasters in case of natural emergencies. “The light in a parent’s eyes when they see that there is a solution, that there is an answer, that they don't have to give up their dog or cat.”

Since JHS cares so much about its community and pets alike, their adoption process is more like family bonding. “We trust our community, and we respect that they love and care about animals and that they're seeking companionship,” Denise said. “Our adoption process is completely paperless and very open-ended and designed to be conversational.” Since January 2021 alone, around 1,700 pets have been adopted from the shelter.

Typically, there are between 250 to 300 pets (and 400 more in off-site foster care). And the organization's partnerships with PetSmart and Petco allow them to bring adoptable cats into local stores, too. 

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COVID-19 brought some challenges around caring for and finding pets homes. “We were very committed to remaining open. However, to do that meant radically adjusting a number of things,” Denise said. For the sake of the animals, the team split into two to minimize the risk of transmission. That meant that each team would be working with less members, while increasing their shifts to 7 days a week, 10 hours a day.

However, JHS is used to innovating — becoming a no-kill shelter in 2005. Then, in 2014 they helped lead a coalition to make Jacksonville the nation’s largest no-kill city. JHS took another step to help more pets get the best long-term care by partnering with Fetch by The Dodo to offer pet insurance to newly adopted pets. “We believe in the value of having pet insurance. It's an essential ingredient,” Denise said. “We all never know when we're going to get surprised by something with our pets. We all love and care about them and want to be in a position to provide the care that they need, and pet insurance goes a long way to helping us do that.”

JHS partnered with Fetch because of how accommodating we are to shelter pet’s needs. “We chose Fetch by The Dodo over the other partner because they were very shelter-centric. It wasn't just one more insurance plan with the standard rules and things that apply to anybody who has a pet. It's a company that really understands sheltering and certainly our challenges,” Denise said. 

Photo by Jacksonville Humane Society

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