Placing/prioritizing applicant records "in line" for other records

I struggled with the title of this, so some clarification: We are an animal shelter that has switched from in-person applicant processing to entirely digital applicant processing for people interested in adopting animals from our care (due to COVID). We just started using AirTable for this purpose, and have a table filled with records of Applicants (that automatically creates a record upon a Google Form submission [Zapier integration]). We have another table filled with records of Animals in our care.

Basically, we are placing people in virtual “lines” for specific animals they are interested in. Right now, we link these two types of records with three separate fields labeled First In-Line, Second In-Line, and Wait List.

Example: If Dave wants Bella, and no one else is in line for Bella, Dave’s record is assigned “First In-Line” to Bella’s record. Then, if Jeff submits an application for Bella, and Dave is still first, Jeff’s record is assigned “Second In-Line” to Bella’s record. If Carrie also wants Bella, she is added to Bella’s “Wait List.” If Dave meets Bella and decides not to adopt, his record is removed from “First In-Line” for Bella, Jeff moves from “Second In-Line” to “First In-Line,” and Carrie is moved from “Wait List” to “Second In-Line.” I hope this makes sense.

My first question is: Is there a way to make it so that when we add an Applicant to a position in line for an Animal, that it automatically removes their record from the other places in line? Using the above example, if we move Jeff to “First In-Line,” can we make it so that his record is automatically removed from “Second In-Line?” The issue we are having is staff forgetting to remove Applicant records from places in line as they move up and down the line. But maybe this is just a user error issue as staff get used to working with new software.

My second question is: Is this the best way of doing this, even if we have an answer to the above question? Is there some functionality in AirTable that we have not discovered and that would make this “virtual line” system more efficient (compared to moving records across three different fields)? I’m open to any ideas. Thank you!

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