Back in Black spotlights overlooked pets

Back in Black dog and cat adoption event helps one previously overlooked black dog from Good Shepherd Humane Society find a home.
By Denise LeBeau

Diamond, a big black dog, was lucky to wind up at Good Shepherd Humane Society (GSHS) in Arkansas after her person passed away. They would keep her until she found a home. Not only was the sweet senior dog standoffish with other dogs, but she was also shy around people. It’s understandable how she could easily be overlooked by potential adopters for eight months. Luckily Back in Black, a Best Friends adoption promotion, was created to help pets just like Diamond find their forever homes.

This past November was the third year Best Friends offered the Back in Black promotion, and it had the best results to date. With over 130 organizations participating coast to coast, more than 3,000 animals were adopted. The groups were No More Homeless Pets Network partners, organizations that have the same no-kill philosophy as Best Friends. Network partners receive various types of support to help increase their save rate. For Back in Black, partners received customizable flyers, kennel cards, and other collateral, along with information on how to best photograph black animals for the most impact, plus additional opportunities like grants and other incentives.

“Back in Black is really about spreading awareness. There are great animals around the country waiting for homes who could use a little more help in getting adopted,” says Tami Simon, No More Homeless Pets Network events supervisor. “To make the promotion even more successful, this year we held it in November to tie in Black Friday. Over 3,000 adoptions indicate it was a good scheduling decision.”

Diamond the dog was overlooked before Back in BlackBack in Black, an adoption bonanza

GSHS became a Network partner in April 2013. They joined because their shelter manager, Janice Durbin, had been a Best Friends member for a few years and was looking at the website for ways to increase their reach. In addition to receiving the full Back in Black marketing package, they were one of 25 groups picked at random to win $500 for signing up for the promotion.

“We used the money for advertising and to have some of the Back in Black promotional materials professionally printed,” says Janice. “We were also able to reduce our adoption fees to $10 for the pets in the promotion. We saw 17 cats and 21 dogs go home; it was a real spike for our adoptions.”

The increase in their adoptions wasn’t just for black animals, though. The promotion attracted more adopters across the board. Patches, a dog with bilateral hip dysplasia, was adopted because his folks saw the Back in Black advertisements and went to the shelter specifically to take home a special-needs or longtime resident. He wasn’t black, but he’ll need ongoing medical care, and his new folks are willing to do whatever it takes to make him happy and healthy.

Diamond the black dog’s new digs

Judy McClelland saw Diamond’s photo, heard her story, and knew she wanted to bring her home. She had recently lost another dog, leaving her terrier mix Lulu feeling lonely. Judy thought Diamond would be the perfect fit as a playmate for Lulu.

“When I introduced Diamond to Lulu, it was a total transformation,” says Judy. “Diamond got excited, and the two started chasing and playing. I heard she was quiet in the shelter, but she was ready to have fun when she got home.”

Creative adoption promotions are one way Best Friends is taking aim at improving the save rate in shelters across the country. Every homeless pet is a Diamond in the rough ready to shine.

Find out how you can help homeless pets in your area. Click here for volunteer opportunities.

Photos courtesy of Good Shepherd Humane Society


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