How Harry Potter is Helping Pets Find Forever Homes



It turns out the Hogwarts Sorting Hat doesn’t just work on people. It works on pups, too!

Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando in Florida is harnessing the power of Harry Potter to boost adoptions by sorting dogs into four categories inspired by Hogwarts houses.

To sort the dogs, employees monitor them as they play and interact with other dogs. Then, they’re divided into Gryffindogs, Ravenpaw, Hufflefluff or Slobberin based on their personalities.

The sorting isn’t just a smart promotional stunt, though; it’s also meant to address breed discrimination. The shelter receives approximately 1,800 pets each year surrendered by owners whose new homes don’t accept certain breeds, most of which are dogs. So, rather than focusing on the breed of a dog, potential adopters instead can read about the dog’s personality and “Pawgwarts” house, and decide if they’re a good fit.

“We want people to understand what they want in a dog and what will work in their lifestyle rather than going into a shelter and saying, ‘I want a black Lab,’” said Stephen Bardy, Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando’s executive director to ABC News. “We want people to start talking about their own lifestyles and personalities and allow us to match a dog to them not based on looks or breed.”

The marketing strategy has certainly garnered mass attention, leading to a large influx of online traffic to the shelter website as well as 23 adoptions in just the last week. Pet Alliance has also created an online quiz so current dogs owners can sort their pets, too.

These kinds of results are a great reminder to shelters and retailers alike the magic of marketing and social media to educate pet owners, drive sales, and, most importantly, help furry, four-legged wizards in need.


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