promote your animal shelter

October is Adopt-a-Dog Month – 4 Ideas to Promote Your Shelter and Find Animals New Homes

The shy or abused dog that refuses to make eye contact or snarls at potential adopters. The senior that was dumped by its owner. And the pup that has a face only its mother could love. You know them all too well. These are the canines that often have hearts of gold or amazing personalities but end up languishing day after day at your shelter, while other more charismatic or attractive pups are scooped up and whisked away to their forever home. That is why it's so important that October has been designated as Adopt-a-Dog Month by the American Humane Society. It gives you a natural tie-in to promote your shelter – and these hard-to-adopt-out dogs – through media outlets and other promotions.

The following are four ideas that you can implement in October so that you can draw in more potential adopters to your shelter.

Send Out Press Releases

Media outlets are always on the lookout for stories, so send out press releases to local TV and radio stations, newspapers, and also to websites that focus on your city or county to let them know that October is Adopt-a-Dog Month. Don't forget to tie in information about your shelter and any events you may be planning for October. Or you can spotlight one of your dogs that has a particularly compelling story. For example, if you have a dog in your shelter with a serious health issue that requires funds through a crowdfunding site, such as Waggle, make sure to mention that in your press release. Or if your shelter has taken in a sudden influx of pups from a recent disaster, such as the flooding in North Carolina, you will want to mention their plight in your press release.

Write Information-Rich and Interesting Dog Biographies

Potential adopters are often searching for certain traits in their future furry best friend. An active person may be searching for an energetic dog they can hike with, while another potential adopter might be searching for a cat-friendly pup. So, the more information you can put in a dog's biography, the easier it is for future dog moms and dads to narrow down their search.

You should also try to find that "hook" for each dog that will grab a reader's attention. For instance, if a dog came into your shelter from an abusive or neglectful home and seems starved for affection, you might say, "Until Shadow came to our shelter, he had never known a kind word or the touch of a loving human." It's also important to write in a positive tone about each dog, even if it has some faults. For example, if a dog is high energy, mention that it would do best with an active family or someone who likes to run. Or if a dog is missing a limb, you could say, "Diamond may be a tripod, but he's never let that stop him from playing and sharing his seemingly bottomless well of love with everyone he meets."

Partner with Local Businesses

Reach out to local retail stores and businesses, such as car dealerships and pet stores, to find ones that may be interested in hosting dog adoption events. Fortunately, this is a win-win for both you and the business. Your pups will get more exposure to potential adopters, and the business could benefit from the added foot traffic of those interested in seeing your rescues.

Utilize Social Media Sites

Your adoptable dogs deserve to be seen. So, do them justice by placing their information on as many different websites, such as Petfinder and Rescue Me, as possible. And don't forget Facebook, which has countless pages devoted to specific breeds. These FB pages can be invaluable if you have a certain type of dog in need of a home. A Virginia rescue, for example, was recently deluged with adoption requests after showcasing one of their poodle mixes on a Doodle Facebook rescue site. Also, the right picture can go viral. Recently, a volunteer at another rescue, put a beautifully photographed picture of one of its bull terriers on Instagram. The photo went viral after someone noticed the dog looked like the actor, Patrick Stewart. Needless, to say the pup and the rescue all benefited greatly from the added publicity.

While October may be Adopt-a-Dog Month, it’s never a bad time to go the extra mile to promote your shelter and the pets that are looking for their forever home. Some may even require a little extra care and help to find that special home. So, if you find your shelter in this situation and you’re looking to get started with crowdfunding for a pet in need, contact Waggle today for help.