Location is important to retailers. If you have something to sell, the more people who walk by and see your product, the more likely you are to sell it -- and the more of it you are likely to sell. This common knowledge is why most retailers pay top dollar for high-traffic retail locations.
Pets are "products", per se. They're living, breathing, loving animals. But the principles remain the same - the more people who see your adoptable pets, the more likely they are to fall in love and adopt them. So many times I've heard shelter people say, "if only I could get people here to meet this dog, they'd fall in love and take her home." It's true.
Most shelters don't have the financial luxury to pay for high-dollar retail locations. Most, are sadly stuck in old warehouse buildings or in far, out-of-the way locations. But many are starting to think like retail in order to get their adoptable pets in front of high-volumes of potential adopters -- and are seeing success with it.
Last month, theFort Worth Animal Care and Control division began a partnership with the Hulen Petsmart store where they began having adoptable pets available at their local PetSmart store (in coordinantion with PetSmart Charities). The satellite adoption center occupies 1830 square feet that was not being used at the rear of the store and houses up to 50 adoptable dogs, cats, puppies and kittens and one time.
Since the partnership began on May 1, adoptions have skyrocketed -- with more than 100 cats and dogs placed with families in just 12 days. Sources say that that type of volume would take a month at the shelter facility.
And because of this success, Fort Worth Animal Care and Control hasn't killed a healthy adoptable animal in two weeks -- the first time in more than a decade that that has happened. In fact, the new adoption center became so busy, that FWACC had to reach out to other shelters in the area in order to keep up.
While many animal welfare organizations complain about 'pet overpopulation' being why they 'have to' kill adoptable animals, programs like this one show the power of thinking like more like a retailer -- getting your adoptable animals in high-traffic locations - can supercharge adoptions, and increase the number of lives we save. We CAN adopt our way to killing fewer pets.
Fort Worth isn't the only organization doing this of course. Last December I noted that one of our local shelters, Animal Haven, took over an empty mall location for one month during the holidays -- a move that resulted in over 150 adoptable pets finding forever homes in just one month.
Off-site adoptions in high-traffic areas is important. And many shelters are finding success by finding semi-permanent (or permanent) locations in high-traffic areas. The economy is slowly on the uptick, but the past 2 years have been really hard on retail areas -- and many now have empty store-fronts thay might be available to non-profits at a very reduced rate. Think like a retailer -- get your adoptable pets more exposure, and get them into loving homes. Their lives may depend o it, and we cannot make excuses for not doing it any longer.