These days, it seems there is a growing push to rescue pets rather than buy purebred animals.
Personally, I’m a big supporter of the “adopt, don’t shop,” movement, so I love hearing adoption stories and ways pets are being adopted.
However, despite this push, shelters are still inundated with animals that need homes, and the pet population continues to grow beyond our resources to care for them. Because of this, many shelters have started to find creative ways to help pets get adopted.
My Local Adoption Events
I live in a community that supports our local SPCA and Animal Rescue League shelters.
One of the many ways my community has supported our local shelters is by hosting an event called Paw Palooza. Paw Palooza is a weekend-long affair in the summer full of activities for people and dogs alike. You can find things like face painting, dog caricatures, prizes being raffled off and a pet kissing booth to take selfies.
They also have exciting events, like stunt shows performed by rescue dogs and their humans, police dog demonstrations and even Doggy University, where local veterinarians give relevant talks about keeping pets today.
As an attendee, I can tell you that Paw Palooza was a great way to spend a summer day, and, of course, pets are welcome! Admission to Paw Palooza is $7, and all proceeds raised go to local shelters.
One of the biggest ways shelters can promote their companions waiting for homes is social media. With the rapidly growing use of social media, they can continue to post those adorable pictures of pets eagerly waiting to be adopted. Some shelters even hire professional photographers to get more likes, clicks and shares on each pet.
Another great thing about platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter is not only do they allow for people to see which pets are available for adoption, but also they give pet lovers an opportunity to learn more about the pet.
For example, if certain pets are good with kids, good with other dogs, high energy, good with cats and housebroken, this helps people know these things before they go to the shelter and fall in love with a pet who isn’t right for them. It also helps avoid pets being brought back to the shelter again.
Getting Kids Involved
One of my favorite shelter stories is from about 2 years ago, when NBC did a story on the new program offered by the Humane Society in Missouri that combined kids, dogs and learning to read.
The shelter invited children of a certain age to volunteer their time to read to the dogs in the shelter. Dogs in shelters are often stressed, and the shelter will seek out the dogs who are having a more difficult time adjusting and ask the children to read to them.
The presence of the kids eventually makes the dogs more curious, and they begin moving toward the front of their cage. The kids simply sitting and reading is non-threatening to the pups, and it helps them become more comfortable with human interaction. The more comfortable and interactive the dog is, the more likely it is they will be adopted.
Parents and teachers reported that this activity is also a win-win for their child after noticing significant improvement in the children’s reading skills. They attribute this to the fact that the dogs are excellent listeners and offer no judgement. This helps the children to relax and learn without feeling pressure to read perfectly or worry if they make a mistake.
Here’s NBC’s report on the Shelter Buddies Reading Program:
Because of this program’s success, a number of shelters across the nation have begun to adopt something similar. The name of the program in Missouri is called Shelter Buddies, and you can learn more about it on the Humane Society of Missouri’s website.
As a pet rescuer, I’m so happy to see people working so hard to unite pets in need with loving families. It gives me hope that maybe someday rescue will be a thing of the past.
Until that day comes, though, there will always be truly great pets out there just waiting to be discovered by the right people. If you’re thinking about getting a dog or cat, I encourage you to check out your local shelter. You never know; you might just find the perfect match.