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Great Homes for Great Pets

Capital Area Humane Society (CAHS)

A $10,000 winner in the 2008 Maddie’s Fund Marketing Competition; submitted by Capital Area Humane Society, Lansing, Mich.

The Capital Area Humane Society (CAHS) has used many strategies to find new homes for hard to place pets. Although these animals can require a little more work, there is no reason they shouldnt have great homes. We know that each animal has something great to offer!

Pets for the Elderly
To help these animals find great home, we started with the elderly community. Many times weve seen an older person come into the shelter and fall in love with a senior animal. More mature animals usually have better manners than their younger counterparts and are easier to control. To get elderly people into our shelter to meet our animals, we started with a poster. The poster extols the number one reason to adopt a pet; they give you unconditional love.

We hung the posters in every assisted living home, senior center and bingo hall in the area! We placed ads in the Silver Lining section of our local newspaper, which is aimed at seniors. An article about our Senior Adoption program also appeared in our Paw Prints Newsletter, which reaches over 10,000 households. Weve had a great response to this campaign, and while some seniors go for kittens or younger dogs, most adopt older dogs and cats.

Senior cats and dogs have been placed with 105 senior citizens so far this year. If this trend continues, we will place over 140 pets with seniors this year. Last year we adopted 72 animals to seniors. With the help of our targeted marketing, we have doubled these adoptions!

Special Behavior Needs
Now that we found a great match for our older pets, we needed to help the dogs with behavioral problems. Stephanie, a member of our staff, works with special behavior needs animals in the shelter and continues to help them after theyve been adopted. Our Behavior Help-Line is a great tool to help adopters once they have their new pet at home. We encourage all pet owners to take advantage of this phone number, and Stephanie handles all of these calls.

Anyone can call and ask for advice, even if they didnt adopt their pet through us. We have advertised our Behavior Help-Line in our Paw Prints Newsletter and on our Web site. If people have a pet that they are having issues with, wed like to help them work with their pet. In this way we can prevent people from surrendering their animals.

The Capital Area Humane Society works hard to find great homes for all of our animals. We make sure to provide help to people that adopt special-needs pets. Through our Behavior Help-Line, Stephanie has been able to help over 800 people this year.

Summer Babies
Each summer the CAHS is over-flowing with puppies and kittens. We have a constant influx of younger pets, and people looking for a kitten or puppy are often drawn to the smallest ones in the nursery. This makes it harder for our older ones (those three or four months old) to get adopted. This summer we came up with a creative way to get those older puppies adopted.

We planned our Puppy Palooza for a Friday in July. We were particularly full of puppies that week and, by Friday, we had 50 in our nursery. We planned to offer a $100 discount on puppy adoptions for one day only. In the middle of the week I sent out a press release to all area radio and television stations and newspapers. What really caught peoples attention was the Friday morning news. We usually bring one dog or cat to our regular Pet Pals spot on the NBC news, but that Friday we took five puppies. The puppies sold themselves as they ran around the desk and cuddled with the news anchors.

That day we thought we would be prepared for the rush on puppies; we were wrong. People lined up around our building to come in and see the puppies. Our staff worked efficiently and got everyone in, and out with their new puppies. In one day we had adopted out 45 puppies, eight kittens and five adult dogs. It was a very proud day for our staff, and a happy one for each puppy that went to a great home.

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