Finding the right dog for you is all about finding the right personality. Much like screening a potential romantic interest or sizing up a new friend, you need to establish that they’ll jive with your habits, quirks and approach to life. Are they a couch potato or do they love to get in a run? Do they live for cuddles or are they more of a loner? Are they fun and feisty or mellow and relaxed? These are the questions to answer before welcoming a dog into your family.
That’s why one Florida animal shelter has come up with a unique way to emphasize the differences in their adoptable dogs. The Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando started sorting its dogs into Hogwarts Houses from the “Harry Potter” franchise to give potential adoptees better insight to the pups’ personalities. And they’re calling it “Pawgwarts,” of course.
In the “Harry Potter” world, there are four Hogwarts Houses with distinct characteristics. Gryffindors are brave and heroic. Slytherins are determined and resourceful. Hufflepuffs are kind and loyal. Ravenclaws are intelligent and witty. The dogs are sorted according to which House’s characteristics best represent their traits, which is meant to encourage potential dog parents to focus on dogs’ temperament rather than focusing on specific breeds.
“Our animal behaviorist, Diane Andersen, (and Harry Potter guru), created a test using toys that represent different qualities of each house,” Stephen Bardy, executive director of Pet Alliance Orlando, told The Dodo. “The dogs are tested individually similar to the Sorting Hat process in the novels. In our case, the dog’s choice of toy indicates his house, not the Sorting Hat—but we do have one on hand.”
— Pet Alliance Orlando (@petallianceGO) October 26, 2017
After dogs are sorted, they get a special “Pawgwarts” House banner for their kennels, so potential adopters know what house they belong to.
“The idea has created a lot of buzz and definitely an increase in walk-in traffic,” Bardy said. “We only implemented it a couple weeks ago but we are trending higher on adoptions over this time last year.”
Hopefully “Pawgwarts” helps more dogs to get adopted from the shelter—and maybe create some canine “Harry Potter” fans in the process!