Adopting a pet is a life changing decision. At the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland, Maine, workers take great care in matching pet to person.
Every year, 4,000 animals call the shelter home. Some stay a while; others are adopted quickly.
"We've been looking for a long, long time for a family pet, and the criteria was a dog that will love both of our kids," said Adain Wilson.
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The shelter in Westbrook has all kinds of cats, dogs and small animals. They are all evaluated and given personality assessments so adopters can find the best match. At this shelter, workers are able to place 96 percent of their animals.
Some animals' owners had to give them up for different reasons. That was the case with Hambone, whose owners couldn't care for him. They took him to this shelter. Now, the Wilson family is giving him a home on Peaks Island.
"When we found Hambone, he met all the criteria, and then some," said Wilson.
Some of the other animals at the shelter are strays, brought in by animal control.
For NBC's Clear the Shelters initiative, the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland is waiving adoption fees for one day, hoping every animal up for adoption finds a forever home.