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Pup Sleepovers Give Dogs A Break From Shelter Life & Help Them Get Adopted

Written by: Dina Fantegrossi
Dina Fantegrossi is the Assistant Editor and Head Writer for HomeLife Media. Before her career in writing, Dina was a veterinary technician for more than 15 years.Read more
| Published on August 30, 2016

Shelter dogs face a dilemma when it comes to finding the perfect adoptive family. Shelters can be noisy, hectic places, and sometimes it’s hard for adopters to see a pup’s true potential amidst the chaos.

Taking this into account, the staff at LifeLine Animal Project in Atlanta came up with an idea to help some of their longtime residents get noticed – doggy sleepover parties!


Their Dog For A Day program – which allows folks to get to know adoptable dogs outside shelter walls – has been quite successful, so they decided to offer overnight visits. One of the pups at the shelter, a handsome brindle and white Pit Bull named Paul Anka, had been waiting for a family for over 9 months. The staff decided he was the perfect candidate for the sleepover project.

They dressed Paul in an adorably ill-fitting onesie and posted a Facebook video of him romping joyously with a shelter volunteer – also in her jammies. The video caught the attention of the Sayers family who had recently decided they were ready to adopt. John Sayers only had one stipulation for the new family dog – no Pit Bulls. However, when he saw how goofy and gentle Paul Anka was with the volunteer, he decided to give him a chance.


The Sayerses brought Paul home for a no-obligation slumber party with their two young sons. Janna Sayers told The Dodo that within a half-hour, the entire family knew they had found their dog.

“He’s just so sweet. He just slipped right into our family.”


The next morning when a staff member called to check on Paul, the Sayerses asked if they could keep him another night. The following day they announced that they wanted to officially adopt him. After 9 months, Paul had found his dream family – complete with two rough and tumble boys to play with – all thanks to the innovation of the LifeLine staff!


Following Paul’s success story, the shelter dressed more available cuties in their finest PJ’s hoping to get them noticed. Pit Bulls, older dogs, and shy pups sometimes have trouble catching a potential adopter’s attention. This project may be just the boost they need to reach that special somebody out there.

Both the Dog For A Day and the sleepover programs are pressure-free. Anyone can borrow a pup, even if they are not currently able to adopt. Participants are able to enjoy some canine companionship while giving the dog a much-needed break from shelter life. If it results in an adoption – wonderful! If not, the experience has helped the dog build confidence and social skills, and allowed the human to get some puppy love.


If you live in the Atlanta area and would like to take a quiet afternoon hike with a shy senior or have a pillow fight with a Pibble, email I can’t think of a better way to spend a weekend!


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