LifeLine Animal Project manages the two largest county shelters, DeKalb and Fulton, in the metro-Atlanta region. We care for over 15,000 animals a year, and at any given time have hundreds of dogs at our shelters who need loving homes.
A high percentage of our dogs are pit bull mixes, requiring us to work even harder to find homes, because of the many stereotypes and misconceptions that people have about these types of dogs. However, despite the odds, we’ve been successful in in getting the majority of these wonderful dogs into caring homes.
How do we do it? We try to develop ways to showcase each dog’s loving and unique personality, so people will give them a chance and get to know them.
Here are some of the ways we do this:
- We put pits in pajamas to show how adorable they really are, and invite people to host them overnight at slumber parties (one night sometimes turns into forever!).
- We take funny photos and make cute videos to showcase their sweet and sometimes goofy personalities.
- We have a program, Dog for a Day, where volunteers can check out shelter dogs for fun outings, giving the dogs more exposure to potential pet parents, and providing them with exercise and one-on-one time with the volunteer. The program also gives them an opportunity to be highlighted on social media through videos and photos the volunteers often post.
- We bring shelter dogs to businesses through our Pop Up Pup Parties during lunch or after work, where employees can get to know the dogs by playing with them, walking them or cuddling them. This program also has the added benefits of lowering employees’ stress levels and giving the dogs a break from the shelter.
- We’re holding a Best Smile contest, where families send in pictures of their adopted pets smiling (many are pits) which reinforces the image of pits as sweet dogs and encourages people to adopt and support us in getting 20k dogs adopted over the next three years.
- We’ve created a Pit Bull Awareness Page on our website to help dispel some of the myths and provide fun facts and stories.
The above are just a few of the ways we’ve been able to think outside the box and allow people see a little more of our pit bulls’ personalities.
We are also able to provide our dogs with additional exposure through:
- Our Dog Jog club, where people meet at the shelter and jog with the dogs;
- Six adoption events every weekend;
- Parades (most recently Pride) and festivals; and
- Shelter promotions where we offer adoption specials to bring more people into the shelters.
Once our shelter dogs are adopted, we receive lots of Happy Ending stories which we love to share about the family’s newest member who brings so much fun, warmth and love to their family’s life.
Sharing these letters of gratitude helps to dispel stereotypes and shows everyone that a pit bull can be an affectionate, gentle, goofy and wonderful dog who makes a cherished family member.
PupJournal is proudly hosting National #PitBullWeek, or #NPBW, to celebrate blocky-headed wigglebutts, otherwise known as “pit bulls.” It’s time these pups are able to live their lives free from discrimination and harm. You can find articles, videos, and adoptable dogs on our National Pit Bull Week page and on Facebook. Join us by tagging National #PitBullWeek, or #NPBW!
Header images via LifeLine Animal Project