Shelter Story: How Hundreds of Pets Found a Home

The ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge, in its fifth and final year, has enabled shelters around the country to find homes for hundreds of thousands of pets since 2010. Hosted in partnership with our friends at the ASPCA, it challenges top shelters to be even better and race to save as many lives as they can, improving over their numbers from the previous year.

“If you adopt from an animal shelter, you know you’re giving an animal a second chance at life. And you’re giving an animal a home that they might have never had before,” says JoAnne Jackson, director of operations for the Citizens for Animal Protection (CAP) in Houston.

JoAnn and CAP’s Executive Director, Kappy Muenzer, know a thing or two about helping shelter pets find new homes. Last year, CAP helped hundreds of animals find new families in the ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge. So many, in fact, that they saved 625 more lives than the same time in 2012, and they even won their division.

Even though they’re veterans in the animal welfare world, they challenged themselves and their team to bring new life to the way they ran adoption events. And it worked.

Photo courtesy of Citizens for Animal Protection

“We just were adopting animals left, right, and center,” JoAnn said.

According to Kappy, the shelter tried everything from fun events like only charging $17.76 for adoptions on the Fourth of July and free cats on Mother’s Day and free dogs on Father’s day, to participating in Houston’s Pride Parade, where they passed out 50 percent-off coupons to the crowd. But the most effective events were fee-waived, where animals went to loving homes for no cost (Note: Applicants still went through the same screening process to receive their pets).

This not only helped more animals get into loving homes, but the new pet parents were able to spend the money that would have gone towards adoption on necessary supplies (or even a donation to the shelter!) instead, Kappy said. The no-fee events were underwritten by West Houston Subaru, a local dealership with whom they still partner to this day.

It’s this attitude of creativity and hard work that helps shelters across the country give pets in need another shot at happiness.

“Sometimes we have animals coming in that are injured, sick, neglected. Being able to take these animals in and watch them heal, and then be able to place them in a new home, that to me is the most rewarding.”

P.S. Love animals? Don’t forget to enter the “I Rescued My Pet” contest with an awesome photo of you and your adopted pet for a chance to win a Rachael Ray prize pack worth $400!

[Top image courtesy of Citizens for Animal Protection]

What's Fresh from @RachaelRay

Rachael Ray