Photo by: Stargirl / Bigstock
Staff at the Hillsboro County Pet Center in Florida have turned to new strategies to increase mass adoption of dogs. They use today’s technology to do so.
Even though the shelter in Florida is primarily a no-kill shelter, they still want to ensure that senior dogs get new homes.
Who is already being adopted and who is not
Currently, dogs such as American Staffordshire Terriers, Pit Bulls and American Bulldogs have less than a 75% chance of adoption, while huskies, shepherds, pugs, Border Collies, golden retrievers, poodles, schnauzers and Shih Tsus have a much easier time Adopted over 85% of the time.
Overall, senior dogs are only supported 78% of the time. Large and medium-sized dogs are 80%, and small dogs are 84.5%, according to the latest statistics. Age also affects the ability to find a new home. Senior dogs are only adopted 68% of the time while adult dogs get new homes 76% of the time. Young dogs have an 80% chance of being adopted and puppies have a 95% chance.
Related: How Dog Shelters Help When You Can’t Adopt
The color of the dog is also important in adoption. Parents adopt away from red, chestnut or orange-colored dogs while golden, yellow, yellow, tan, blond or fawn dogs happily eat new dog chow in their new homes.
With large dogs, it seems like you have to be a “big dog” in order to be adopted. A big dog person is someone who loves to do things outdoors with their pets — hiking, snowshoeing, biking, even water sports. Have you noticed that you don’t see a small dog on your boating trip? The heat is too much for them. However, large dogs can take the heat — and all the activity.
How did DNA testing begin?
The staff thinks outside the box on how to get to the Big Dog. They knew there must be a missing link in big dog thinking, and that’s when someone got their team to try the light bulb – the big idea that sounded like inspiration from heaven.
Related: Cool ideas for dog adoption events
They thought it must be the senior dog being kept away from adoption because they weren’t aware of what senior dogs at the shelter were previously owned and what the dog’s pedigree was.
And if people thought similarly about how men and women screen a future spouse by knowing the identity of a person’s parents, they might be more willing to adopt a dog. After all, dating a woman whose family tree includes some famous people and some rich people makes her even more attractive. A large dog with a champion background or one that had a little bit of small dog DNA or a preferred large dog breed in that would still have the personality traits of that breed.
Fortunately, the shelter also received a $10,000 Dingo Big Dog grant from the Best Friends Animal Society. They ran 200 different DNA samples on the dogs and put the information on adoption cards so potential owners knew exactly what they were getting.
And it worked. One hundred and forty-four large dogs over 40 pounds are adopted.
What is the future of dog DNA testing?
By running DNA samples from dogs in need of adoption assistance, the idea may beat other shelters across America. For example, the new Big Dog owner could say “Hey what kind of dog do you have?” to a friend. The friend would reply, “I really don’t know. Just a regular jerk!”
And the new big dog owner could say, “Well, I knew about Ralph. He’s got the DNA of a Siberian Husky, Labrador Retriever, Dachshund and Jack Russell. It sure explained why he loves snow, can’t help himself from running after small animals, burrows.” In my bed at night…”
Or the new senior dog owner can take pride in the dog and declare how the four-legged friend is the most nimble dog they know…and they have the DNA on it to prove it. It could indicate that everyone needs a DNA test on their dog, too.
Whatever approach new dog owners take, it will be fine.