Pet Adoption Strategies

by Lori Sciame | December 24th, 2013 | Pet Adoption

Bengal Cat lying on a Pile of BlanketsMany factors keep potential dog or cat owners from opening their homes to a new family member. These include the thought of the work involved, as well as the initial cost.  One main reason, however, is that many people just don’t think about adoption as an option for them. To solve this dilemma, shelters can hold pet adoption events in the public eye.

Shopping Malls

Large crowds congregate in shopping malls across the nation.  Because of this, don’t overlook the local shopping center as a potential adoption site.  Think of the event in this manner: most have purchased items at a department store that they didn’t think they needed, yet once home, they realize how valuable the item is.  The same can be said for shelter dogs and cats.  A shopper may not have dreamed of adopting a senior cat; however, after falling in love at the mall, she leaves with a new feline friend.

Minor League Baseball Stadiums

As a way to attract crowds, some minor league baseball organizations have pet friendly events.  Owners can bring their dogs to a game, then enjoy special treats and informational booths.  These “dog days” are perfect for an adoption event.  Those in attendance already have a dog, or if they don’t, they must love them, so reaching out to them will probably result in several placements.

Pet Supply Stores

Believe it or not, some pet stores across the nation will allow shelters and rescue groups to set up adoption events.  By doing this, the store presents itself as a place that not only sells animals, but as a place that LOVES animals.

Petsmart has taken this idea and run with it.  Instead of selling animals, this large chain offers adoptions year round.  As stated on the company website, “all PetSmart stores provide space for cat & dog adoptions. Cats are available every day in store, while in most stores dogs are available on weekends.”  Click on this link to find out more.


Another creative idea is to piggy back adoptions at a local festival.  For example, if a city celebrates the Fourth of July in a big way, consider hosting an adoption event that plays on the theme of freedom, such as “Operation Freedom from Shelters.”  Dogs and cats adorned in red, white, and blue will certainly catch the attention of area residents!

Youth Sporting Events

Huge crowds of children and parents can be found at local ball diamonds or soccer fields throughout the summer.   Plan an adoption event entitled, “Have a Ball … Adopt a Pet,” and you should be able to place lots of cats and dogs.  Can’t you just hear a child saying, “Please, can I keep him?”

Important Tips

1.  Plan the event early, as many as six months in advance.

2.  Obtain approval in writing.  It is crucial to have permission to hold the event. Find out who is in charge, and pitch your idea carefully. Prove that you understand the risks, as well as the benefits.

3.  Model your event after successful adoption events across the country … remember, there is no need to “reinvent the wheel.”

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