Winners: Friends of Parkville Animal Shelter, Humane Society of South Mississippi, Nevada SPCA, Meridian Canine Rescue, Memphis Animal Services
This week, we’re highlighting some of the strategies used to find homes for long-stay shelter pets from 5 of the 10 organizations that won our $1,000 Completion Challenge Award during the Get ‘Em Home Challenge. Read on to learn about their most creative tips and tricks!
Friends of Parkville Animal Shelter
A talented volunteer painted beautiful pictures of many of the organization’s long stay pets. They asked local businesses to display these “Works of HeART” to help them find homes for the pets. They sent information about the portraits out to supporters in their e-newsletter. They also posted photos of each pet’s painting on their Petfinder profile, made a gallery for the photos on their website and got the local news to cover the initiative. Friends of Parkville Animal Shelter used social media to challenge the public to help them get the pets adopted.
Humane Society of South Mississippi
HSSM created a new program, Fostering Hope, to encourage local businesses to foster pets. One of their first partners was Home2Suites, a nearby hotel. The program was a huge win for the hotel’s management, guests and for the dogs that were fostered there.
At the hotel, guests and community members are invited to play with and interact with the dog and take him or her on walks around the property. The dogs also have the opportunity to stay with guests overnight in the hotel or go on field trips around town. Some guests even bought the foster dogs new toys! During the Get ‘Em Home Challenge six dogs were fostered and adopted through Home2Suites.
NSPCA used a variety of strategies to get long stay pets adopted during the Challenge. Volunteers helped them make videos for each long stay dog and post them to a new YouTube channel they created. They reduced barriers to adoption and learned more about their long stay pets so they could better market them. They also partnered with a local trainer to offer coupons for $50 off training classes for adopters.
Meridian Canine Rescue
“Meridian Canine Rescue volunteers and staff members spent a lot of time writing ideas on big white boards,” said Executive Director Jessica Ewing. “During these brainstorming sessions, we resolved to focus on our individual dogs' stories and personalities and to develop supportive programs that would reduce their lengths of stay. So, for one dog, Roko, we knew that his cocky but lovable persona could be spun into a fun dating series. And those dating experiences led us to optimize our Short-Term Foster Program and to develop our LOS Reduction Protocol. Our biggest challenge was to find creative ways to stretch our limited resources and execute our ideas; luckily, volunteers and staff were incredibly invested in this project and worked really hard to find homes for our dogs.”
MCR designed several creative social media campaigns to market their longest stay dogs for adoption. They had several of their dogs “take over” their accounts for the day and created the previously mentioned series of hilarious posts where long-stay dog Roko went on “dates.” The date series culminated during their fundraising auction when they auctioned off a date with him. A local artist donated drawings of four of the dogs and volunteers painted them, with the goal of giving them to the dogs’ eventual adopters.
“Many of our ideas and strategies from the Get Em Home Challenge are now a big part of our programming,” Ewing told us. “We use the LOS Reduction Protocol for each dog; we promote short-term foster experiences every week; we offer unique marketing content and displays for dogs who need a little extra help getting home; and we have come up with even more ways to offer alternative, low-stim housing for some of our residents. Our Enrichment and Behavior & Training Programs have come a long way since this initiative, so the Challenge had a major impact on most of our work here at MCR.”
“The winnings were directed toward our Dog Care Program and Behavior & Training Program. One of our biggest goals for this year was to find ways to minimize the time dogs spend in our custody, so Maddie's Fund helped us to invest in our LOS Reduction tactics and individualized training plans,” Ewing said.
Memphis Animal Services
MAS ran a Facebook campaign featuring cats that had been in the shelter for 30 days or more, with the goal of posting one cat each day. The campaign really brought cats to the forefront.
In the videos, each cat was introduced by one or more staff members. This was not only great adoption marketing for the cat, but it helped show the community how much they care about the pets (seriously- take a moment to check out this adorable video of Christian the Cat Man with kittens). By discussing the cats’ length of stay, the videos also showed their community that the shelter doesn’t euthanize cats for space.
By the end of the Challenge, MAS had been so successful with adoptions that they ran out of 30-day+ cats to feature! So they did a video of a brand-new cat who had an entire cat room to himself. He was adopted the next day!
Together, these organizations got nearly 1,100 long-stay pets adopted during the 3 months the Get ‘Em Home Challenge took place!