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Small Biz Spotlight: Pet Alliance Of Greater Orlando “Pawgwarts” Program


Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando is changing the way we think about dog adoptions. Knowing that a potential pet’s personality is more useful information than their breed, they’ve created Harry Potter-esque house assignments to categorize pups by their attitudes and helping people find just the right pooch for their lifestyle. So, if it looks like a Hufflefluff, plays fetch like a Hufflefluff, and barks like a Hufflefluff, then it probably is a Hufflefluff.

We spoke to Stephen Bardy, Executive Director of Pet Alliance, to get the scoop on two of their most unique programs making serious waves lately.

Pawgwarts

Serious Potterheads and dog lovers alike lost their collective minds when they heard about Hogwarts-like house assignments for the pups at Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando!

In this program, each “house” has assigned core traits that are listed for adopters. For example, a dog who takes to learning obedience cues quickly has the KNOWLEDGE of a Ravenpaw. A small dog who has the determination to climb the agility a-frame possesses the AMBITION of Slobberin house. A dog that embraces new things has the BRAVERY of a Gryffindog. Most dogs possess some of the traits of Hufflefluff, but this house is reserved for only the most affectionate happy-to-know-you dogs because of their FRIENDLINESS.

I gotta know. What Pet Alliance resident Potterhead came up with this idea?

So, it was my idea [Executive Director Stephen Bardy], but I am an average fan of the series. I knew it was a great concept to achieve what we wanted to do, which was to get people talking about personality rather than breed. I did work with two staff that were huge fans of the series to create some of the original games used to assign dogs to houses. I spent about 10 months working on it with some great volunteers, including graphics people that created the images and printed the banners. My staff created a sorting quiz online. We now play with the dogs rather than making them work for their house assignment.

As a good Ravenclaw, I have an itching need to know more. What’s the most populated house at Pawgwarts?

There are an equal number of kennels for each house plus four Pawgwarts kennels. Ideally, a dog is placed into a Pawgwarts kennel before it has been assigned. That said, most dogs have natural Hufflefluff tendencies – you know, the loyalty trait and all! Percentage wise, Gryffindog, Hufflefluff, and Sloberin are around 28-30% with Ravenpaw comprising 12-15% Now, this is not completely scientific.

How many dog owners have taken your online quiz to find out to which doghouse their dog belongs?

More than 110,000. My Molly is a 100% Hufflefluff and my schnauzer, Milo, is definitely a Slobberin.

Pet Alliance just launched a new program, Hound Around Town, where community members can “check out” a pup and spend an afternoon getting them out of the shelter? UM- YES PLZ SIGN ME UP. How many applications have you received thus far?

The beauty of this program is you don’t have to “apply” to participate. You can show up and we allow you to check out a dog. We select the dog based on the type of outing you are planning.

What are some examples of the approved Hound Around Town outings?

Really, the possibilities are endless. We do not want the dog to be off-leash or taken to a dog park. We want the dog to spend quality time with you because dogs LOVE being with people more than anything. Take them for a walk, a hike, to your favorite dog-friendly restaurant, or relax in a park. 

Check out more info about Hound Around Town, Pawgwarts, and Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando!