The journey of animal adoption from overwhelmed shelters (includes photo essay)

Animal shelters across South Florida continue to face a critical overpopulation crisis. Miami-Dade Animal Services currently takes up to 36,000 animals each year despite being overwhelmed. This photo essay shows the conditions of the facility in Medley and the adoption process.

The Medley shelter which houses more than 150 dogs has signs with the names and descriptions of dogs for people who are interested in fostering or adopting them.

Many dogs are not living in the best conditions because of overcrowding issues at the shelter. The dogs are kept in outdoor cages with bowls for only water and food. 

The inside of the cages show the lack of resources for the animals trying to live a healthy life.

Water bowls and electric fans are used to make sure the dogs stay hydrated during hot and humid days in their cages.

The shelter also keeps the dogs refreshed during the heat by letting them take turns cooling off in a kiddie pool. 

Families arrive in the search for a new life-long friend at the pet adoption event. Many are unsure of whether they might foster a dog for 30 days or adopt a new family member. 

A family looks at all the cages to see the dogs and learn more about them by reading their descriptions.

The family was captivated by Mateo, a 2-year-old male dog that has been in the shelter since September 2023.

A volunteer unlocks a cage for the family to interact with the dog. The staff encourages them to spend time with each pet they are interested in adopting to see if they are the best fit.

The family and Mateo start to form a connection for the first time. The family isn’t sure about adopting him because they don’t know how Mateo will behave at home. 

They felt a strong connection during the bonding time, especially with the kids, which ultimately led the family to make the decision to adopt. 

After signing the adoption papers, Mateo is ready to start a new life with people who love him and will take good care of him. 

Paula Navas is a bilingual journalist at Florida International University with an interest in sports journalism. Navas hopes to become a producer at a major sports broadcasting company or  work directly with the NBA. Beside sports, she also enjoys drawing, design and video editing. Navas holds an associate of arts degree in graphic design from Broward College and is set to graduate with a bachelor's degree in digital communication & media from the Lee Caplin School of Journalism & Media in Summer 2025.

 

Alexandra Howard is a senior pursuing a dual degree in digital journalism and political science. She intends to later graduate from law school and become an immigration lawyer and political journalist.

Tatiana Ciprian is a bilingual international student from Peru at Florida International University who is passionate about the film industry and hopes to work in film production. Ciprian has experience in photography as she has captured special moments at weddings, quinceañeras, and events. She has also collaborated with Peruvian brands to plan marketing strategies on social media platforms. Ciprian will graduate with a bachelor’s degree from the Lee Caplin School of Journalism & Media in digital TV and multimedia production with a minor in social media and digital marketing in Summer 2025.

 

Michael Adeshina is a senior at Florida International University who is passionate about marketing and graphic design. He hopes to leverage his expertise in interactive media and marketing to make an impact in education, sports or media. Adeshina worked as a marketing and graphic intern for the University of Central Florida Athletics and ABclonal, a biotech company. He refined his skills in marketing strategy and visual design as a marketing and graphic design assistant with Florida International University. Adeshina will graduate from the Lee Caplin School of Journalism & Media with a bachelor’s degree in digital communication in  Summer 2024.

 

Victoria Fernandez is a bilingual journalist at Florida International University who hopes to work in the sports industry. Fernandez works with the Miami Dolphins as part of the entertainment and events staff. She also works with Cox Media Group in promotions and activations. Fernandez will graduate with a bachelor's degree in digital communication & media with a concentration in broadcasting from the Lee Caplin School of Journalism & Media in Fall 2024.