Sadly, many dogs spend a lot of time at a shelter because there is not enough information about them in order to help them get adopted. Sweet dogs are often judged simply by how they act in a shelter.
Potential adopters often like to know exactly how dogs will react in a household setting. While nothing can be said for certain, the No-Kill Los Angeles shelter started a program called Slumber Buddies. This program allows volunteers to find out how a dog will act in a home.
What is the Slumber Buddies Program?
Many volunteers don’t have time to foster dogs, but the Slumber Buddies program allows them to take a dog only for a night or a weekend. They are given all the supplies needed for a doggy sleepover, so the dogs can have an exciting night away from the shelter.
During these sleepovers, the volunteers get a chance to learn more about the adoptable dogs. More specifically, they can learn how a dog will act in a home environment. Plus, they can learn specifics about the dog’s behavior, such as whether or not they get along with cats, how much exercise they need, and how affectionate they are. Throughout the experience, the volunteers need to take notes on all these different aspects.
How Can This Benefit a Shelter Dog?
By having this additional information for shelter dogs, it can actually help them to get adopted. Many of the dogs that participated in this program found their forever homes not long after. This program actually benefits dogs in many other ways beyond just that though.
The shelter environment can often be stressful for dogs. These sleepovers allow the dogs to get out of the shelter for a bit in order to enjoy the comfort of a real home. This can help them to act more like themselves and to understand that not all humans are bad.
During their sleepovers, these dogs can explore new things and learn what it’s really like to be with a new family. Of course, it’s sad for both the dog and human when the sleepover comes to an end, but the information gained from that visit allows the dogs to find a permanent home much faster.
Even if things don’t go smoothly with the dog during a sleepover, something can still be learned from it. For example, one volunteer had a dog that was too scared to even climb up the stairs to their apartment. Therefore, they quickly learned that this dog would do best in a home without stairs. It’s better to learn those things early on than to find them out after they’re already adopted.
Since this program began, there has been so much positive feedback. Lots of dogs have found their perfect families thanks to the kind volunteers that have had sleepovers with them.
Marie Curie was a gray Pit Bull Terrier mix. When she had a sleepover with a volunteer, she felt at home almost right away. She was very well-behaved in a household setting, which led the volunteer to believe that Marie Curie had been in a home before. The day after the volunteer posted the notes from the sleepover, Marie Curie was adopted!
Paisley and Chukkis were two other dogs that had successful experiences with the Slumber Buddies program. There were lots of things that were unclear about them, so potential adopters were unsure if they would be a good fit for their homes or not.
Paisley was very well-behaved during her sleepover, and her temporary family learned that she was good around cats. Therefore, after Paisley’s exciting weekend, she got adopted by a family that had cats in their household.
Chukkis was always very nervous at the shelter, so he would often bark, which would scare off potential adopters. So, during his sleepover, his true personality came out. They learned that he was very friendly and loved to play fetch. Therefore, a family with a young daughter and another rescue dog came to adopt him. So, he now gets to play fetch all the time!
Having a sleepover with a shelter dog might seem like such a simple event, but it can change a dog’s life. You could give them a weekend they’ll never forget, and they’ll find their forever home even sooner! So, even if you can’t always foster a dog, consider spending time with them just for the weekend.
Featured Image: Screenshot, bestfriends.org