Last week, I stood on the tarmac in Springfield, Missouri, watching a plane depart for Connecticut with nearly 70 dogs surrendered by commercial dog breeders. This lifesaving transport was BISSELL Pet Foundation’s second partnership with National Mill Dog Rescue to deliver puppies and dogs to animal shelters.
I am sure you are wondering why BPF, an advocate for animal shelters and homeless pets, is transporting surrendered pets from commercial breeders. It is all part of our advocacy work to end pet homelessness at a time when shelters across the country are full.
These dogs and puppies were airlifted to New England, where there is more room. The best way to address this systemic issue of overcrowding is through adoption. The problem is that some people still don’t visit their local animal shelter when considering adding a pet to their family. Our partnership with National Mill Dog Rescue can change that.
In order for people to think of animal shelters first, they must be compelled to walk through the door. We know shelters have great pets to offer, but only some people are convinced. The dogs on this transport garnered a great deal of media—who doesn’t love a fuzzy puppy or a smiling Frenchie? While some of these dogs can be regularly found in animal shelters, it can be rare to find a Bernadoodle or Klee Kai. Their presence will draw in people who have never considered their animal shelter for adoption.
Once these potential adopters get through the doors, their perception will change. Data shows that foot traffic drastically increases in shelters when a transport of this nature occurs. The best part is dogs already in the shelter will get a chance at adoption too. In fact, we will be tracking that data with Connecticut Humane Society, MSPCA-Angell, Dakin Humane Society and Potter League for Animals.
These little dogs will find homes quickly, but so will the other dogs in the shelter. Adopters looking for a small dog cannot be forced to take a large dog, but once they are in the shelter, they will be able to see all of the pets waiting to be adopted. The crisis facing our animal shelters can be solved if communities rely on the shelter to source pets. As an industry, we must show them that there are all kinds of dogs available to them through the shelter system.
This type of transport is a win for everyone involved. With BPF’s national partner network, we can continue to support National Mill Dog Rescue and help more shelters receive high-profile transports to help their communities rethink local animal shelters. Now all pets in the shelter are exposed to more families.
We can create a solution to the crisis facing our nation’s animal shelters by making them the place communities rely upon to find family pets. But, first, we must show our communities that all kinds of dogs are available to them through the shelter system.