August 6, 2014

This article will focus on how the pet business owners whom I call “pet pros” can work with local animal rescues/shelters and, in doing, so create some wonderful synergy while saving lives.

Shelter animals are usually classified into adoptable and non-adoptable categories. Non-adoptable pets are those that a shelter thinks are aggressive or potentially aggressive. Sick, fearful and elderly animals can also find themselves on the non-adoptable list. The challenges most shelters run into are space and cost.

There is only a finite amount of space in a shelter, which means that dogs and cats classified as non-adoptable are often euthanized because there is simply no room to house them. Even adoptable animals only have limited time in which to find a home before the challenge of housing space rears its head and an animal is reclassified.

As a result of these challenges, about 2.7 million healthy, adoptable cats and dogs—about one every 11 seconds—are put down in U.S. shelters each year, according to the Humane Society of the United States. Armed with this rather depressing information, what can a retailer of pet products do? You can partner with local shelters and rescues to improve their denizens’ odds of finding a forever home.

Since human beings are visual creatures, if your facility offers grooming services you can assist in helping shelter animals look their best, making them more adoptable. Consider going to a shelter once a month or more to give the animals a free bath and brushing. You might even throw in a groom or two while you are there. Most shelters, which are usually run on very tight budgets and have small staffs, will welcome the volunteering.

Some groomers even provide the shelter dogs they work on with customized bandanas that feature cute sayings such as, “Are you my new Mom”? or  “Looking for my forever home,” or my personal favorite   “Adopt me quickly ‘cause I am gorgeous!” This can make a huge difference.

You can also provide a shelter with discount coupons for grooming services, products or even a free groom. The shelter can give these out to everyone who adopts a dog or cat. While some might simply come for the discounted or free groom, others could become regular customers. In addition, even those who only come once could tell their friends about the great job and service you provided.

Additionally, by letting your customers know about the various dogs and cats available at a shelter, you are increasing the likelihood of the pets’ adoption. Posting pictures of pets in need of forever homes in your shop and on your website is a good way to encourage your customers to adopt them. Advertising a free groom for anyone adopting a pet at xyz animal shelter on your website is also effective, as is linking to a shelter’s website.

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