Unique pet adoption marketing may help local shelter win national award

Girl Scouts helped make bags for shelter animals to take to their new homes. CONTRIBUTED

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Girl Scouts helped make bags for shelter animals to take to their new homes. CONTRIBUTED

Organizers of a local animal shelter believes their initiatives to get animals adopted during the holiday season will earn it a large cash prize.

The Greene County Animal Care and Control Shelter entered the Helen Woodward Animal Center Home 4 the Holidays Rescue Center Contest in an effort to win $25,000.

The prize money will go to the shelter that did the most creative, innovative things to get their animals adopted during the holiday season. Shelters all over the country have entered the competition.

“It’s a pretty awesome, awesome, awesome thing that could go a long way for our spay-neuter program, for our adoption program,” said Julie Holmes-Taylor, the director of the Greene County Animal Care and Control Center. “I hope we win. I’m hoping we did enough.”

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A family poses with the dog they adopted from the Greene County Animal Care and Control shelter. The shelter entered a contest to see what shelter could adopt out the most pets during the holiday season. CONTRIBUTED

A family poses with the dog they adopted from the Greene County Animal Care and Control shelter. The shelter entered a contest to see what shelter could adopt out the most pets during the holiday season. CONTRIBUTED

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A family poses with the dog they adopted from the Greene County Animal Care and Control shelter. The shelter entered a contest to see what shelter could adopt out the most pets during the holiday season. CONTRIBUTED

Holmes-Taylor said she and her team created specialized videos, did virtual meet and greets and other activities to get pets out of the shelter and into a home. The shelter set up a “pet studio” where potential adopters could meet the pet and see how they play.

“We did a lot of hands-on meet the pet videos, where we talked about their personalities and stuff,” she said.

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The local Girl Scout troop put together and decorated adoption bags with food, leashes, collars, toys and other supplies to get a pet started. The girl scouts also picked an animal and wrote a letter to Santa from their point of view. These letters were posted online, Holmes-Taylor said.

“It was the cutest thing we have ever done,” Holmes-Taylor said. “They said stuff like ‘all I want for Christmas is a new home and to get out of here.’”

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A letter to Santa written by Girl Scouts on behalf of a Greene County shelter animal. CONTRIBUTED

A letter to Santa written by Girl Scouts on behalf of a Greene County shelter animal. CONTRIBUTED

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A letter to Santa written by Girl Scouts on behalf of a Greene County shelter animal. CONTRIBUTED

There was also an area business that stepped up and paid the adoption fees for a few animals.

Nearly a hundred pets were adopted from October to January, Holmes-Taylor said. That is fewer than were adopted this time last year, Holmes-Taylor said, but the shelter has seen far fewer animals in 2020 than in previous years.

Holmes-Taylor said in a normal year, there would be a bunch of people in and out of the shelter. They also would have been doing adoption events at pet stores and Rural King, but the county shut those types of events down, she said.

“We rely heavily on donations to care for the animals. None of this money would go back to the government,” Holmes-Taylor said. “Every penny counts for us. It is going directly to help animals.”

Holmes-Taylor said the average person can help the animal shelter by following them on Facebook and liking and sharing their posts. The Greene County Animal Care and Control Shelter also has an Amazon wish list that people can send items to the shelter from. Amazon shoppers can also choose Greene County Animal Care and Control as their charity on Amazon Smiles.

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