The final Harry Potter book was released in 2007, but cultural fascination and appreciation of all things Potter forges strongly ahead. And what's possibly the only thing in the world better than Harry Potter? That's right: DOGS! Those two subjects are adorably combined at a Harry Potter themed animal shelter, called, wonderfully, Pawgwarts Shelter. Bringing some magic to these pets' lives is not only entertaining, but tremendously valuable to the animals.
The Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando came up with the idea for Pawgwarts in order to boost pet adoption. In the United States alone, 3.3 million dogs are placed in shelters every year, and despite the disturbingly high rates of homeless animals, 34% of all dog-buyers still purchase from breeders. The Pet Alliance knew they had to do something to help get the pooches in their care adopted. That's when staff members came up with the idea of sorting dogs in Harry Potter houses, just as Harry and his classmates were sorted when they arrived at Hogwarts. The results have not only generated publicity, they've generated a spike in adoption rates.
It Encourages Adoptions Based On Personality
All too often, potential dog owners decide whether to adopt based almost entirely on a dog's looks. Sometimes, a prospective owner will get hung up on breed, buying into old stereotypes about certain dogs behaving in certain ways.
None of this is good for the dogs because, like people, they shouldn't be judged by their looks. By sorting dogs into houses, Pawgwarts puts the focus on the personality of the individual animal, giving future dog owners who visit the shelter a solid idea of the dog's character, temperament, and likes/dislikes.
The Houses Are The Same As They Are In Harry Potter
Pawgwarts has based their houses on the ones featured in the Harry Potter books: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and Slytherin. They assign major personality traits to each of the four houses. Knowledge is a Ravenclaw trait, ambition a Slytherin one, courage is all Gryffindor, and friendliness gets you into Hufflepuff.
"We decided to show them for their individual behaviors and personalities," Pet Alliance explains.
All Dogs Are Sorted
Every canine adoptee that enters Pet Alliance is sorted and given a house designation. "Our goal is to end breed discrimination and promote responsible ownership," said Stephen O'Neal, marketing manager for Pet Alliance. And it seems to be having an effect: their approach has started a national conversation about selecting a dog based on personality rather than breed.
There Is A System To Determine House Designation
Despite the fun and frivolity of sorting shelter dogs by Harry Potter house, there is a system in place to make sure the right dogs go to the right house. An assessment is conducted to gauge the dog's nature and behavior. Staff and volunteers also observe the dogs during daily interactions and play groups. By the time Pet Alliance has arrived at a designation, they have a pretty good idea of who the dog is and what they can offer a potential pet parent.