Pets play very meaningful roles in the lives of millions of people. We want to see each other happy and healthy and one of the easiest ways to increase our overall health is to own a pet. In fact, research has been done by a non-profit organization known as HABRI. They’ve gathered scientific evidence showing that owning a pet can lead to a healthier heart, healthy aging, staying in better shape, lower depression, and also improves your social life. You can read more about it on their website – The Pet Effect. After hearing all these great things that a pet can do, why wouldn’t you want to see more people adopting pets and living better lives? In this blog you’ll learn some great ways to increase your adoption rate and how to improve your animal shelter.

What adopters are looking for

The leading factors that most adopters are interested in when looking at a pet is its current behavior, health, how the animal interacts with them, and the appearance of the animal. Some people may be shocked to hear that the animal’s past is low on the list of factors that contribute to adoption. How the animal acts around people is the most important factor. People prefer to gain that information themselves by interacting with the animal in an area outside of its kennel. We can’t say it better than Maddie’s Fund: To get pets adopted, focus on the present, and not the past.

How to promote these factors

First, when writing an adoption listing give a short bio about the animal that will help the adopter understand what the animal is like. List things like the pet’s behavior, how social it is, its current health, and something unique about the animal that will capture the readers attention. Second, get some great pictures of the animal and show off their beauty and personality. Tips on how to make those photos look great and show off the animal: make sure the animal is groomed, use colored photos, put a person next to the animal to show its size, take a picture of the animal when it’s happy and calm, and try to get the animal to look at the camera by using a squeaky toy. Third, when adopters come to visit the animal, have a space they can go and interact with each other to start forming that strong bond.

Too many animals in one area is overwhelming

Of course, you want to show off all the beautiful animals that are up for adoption to get them into a loving home, but showing off too many in one area can be too overwhelming. Instead, by showing off a couple animals in sectioned areas can make it much easier to process the animals in the shelter in order to narrow down the adopter’s choice of what animal they want to adopt. Think of it like a grocery store; there are certain sections and isles for fruit, meat, bread, etc. You wouldn’t expect to walk into a grocery store and see every single item that you can buy all in one open area.

Tips on how to house the animals

  • House common breeds with breeds that are more likely to be viewed – this gives the common breeds more attention and makes the popular breeds stand out
  • Put young animals at the end of the shelter because most people will want to see them and will have to walk past the other animals first
  • Make the viewing areas comfortable
  • Try setting up a “bark wall” this is a wall in the center of an isle that blocks dogs from viewing another animal across the room

Be knowledgeable about the animals you have up for adoption

Getting to know the animals you have up for adoption can really help the animal’s chance for getting adopted. It’s a win you get to play with the animals and see how they act in certain scenes, and can easily talk about how the animals play and any great stories you have with them to the adopters. By knowing the animal’s personality and being able to highlight their unique characteristics you can match animals to adopter’s requests much more comfortably.

Hold local adoption events

Holding periodical adoption events can really increase a shelter’s adoption rate because it promotes the animals and can show off the community. Here are some steps for holding a successful adoption event.

Decide where and when you want to hold the event:

  • Try hosting the event, asking a local business to host it, or collaborate with another local rescue to find somewhere to hold the event – this will increase the number of people coming which leads to more animals being adopted
  • Host the event on a weekend when more people are available to come

Establish a theme for the event:

  • Match the theme with the time of the year or get creative and make your own
  • Recruit Volunteers to help before, during, and after the event
  • Make flyers, posters, post on social media, send emails, and ask previous volunteers or adopters to help or ask others to come help
  • Fundraise to cover event costs
  • Ask local businesses for fundraising or to donate prizes – if they contribute, promote their business at the event
  • Ask to put flyers or posters on the contributing businesses to raise awareness of the event
  • After the event send cards/pictures of adopted dogs to the businesses to show how much their donation helped

Publicize the event:

  • Create posters, banners, flyers etc. and put them outside the shelter, on the businesses that agree to it, and around the city
  • Talk to people that come into the shelter about the event and tell them to spread the word
  • Use media – post information about the event online on your website or social media and ask for people to like and share the posts. Create an article for the newspaper, a short segment about it on the radio, etc. in order to get as many people aware as possible

Showcase the animals at the event:

  • Make sure the animals are groomed and on their best behavior
  • Allow visitors to walk the dogs or cats
  • Show which animals are adoptable
  • Give each animal a bio card that tells basic information about the animal like name, breed, weight, age, etc.

A Happier Animal Shelter

For animals in a shelter it can be very difficult for them to show themselves off. For some animals they’re in an environment that they don’t enjoy and would rather be huddled in the back of their cage. However, once these animals get into a loving home they thrive and are living their best life. It can be very difficult to get those timid animals out of their comfort zone and interacting with adopters.
Here are some ways you can help animals feel more comfortable being in a shelter:

  • Consistent, simple, and positive-reinforcement-based training will greatly help the animals grow. They need a way to express their behaviors and by interacting and building a relationship with them it can greatly help their peace of mind.
  • Keeping housing comfortable – having a resting place will allow them to be free from fear and stress. Try and keep the animals in the same area and the same bedding so they can be familiar with the sounds, sights, and smells of their area.
  • For animals that are very stressed create an area in their cage for them to be able to enjoy some time to themselves in order to calm down. Keep young animals or small animals in a quiet division to keep them feeling comfortable.
  • Develop a consistent schedule of activities for the animals in order to meet their needs and give them adequate time to be out of their kennel. Some animals will want to go to a quiet spot in the shelter while others may want to be running around and playing outside. This is another great way for you to get to know your animals in order to match them with an adopter.
  • Treat the animals like they’re yours, you should want the best for the animals and by treating them with the love and respect they deserve you’ll keep the animals happier and healthier. When the physical and emotional needs of the animals are being met, you’ll see more relaxed animals that will display their natural behaviors. These positive emotions are contagious, when the animals are experiencing happiness, you and your guests will be happier.

Your ability to understand your animals empowers the process of placing each pet into the most loving home possible.

Thanks for reading! Remember to like the post, share it, and comment something you learned something from this Muttrics post!

Curated and Written by Riley Berner