A heavily pregnant dog was taken in by a shelter on a Native American reservation, but when the dog gave birth to nine puppies, they realized they were unprepared to properly care for the large family. They reached out to Homeward Animal Shelter in Fargo, North Dakota, for help.
“We were contacted when the puppies were around a week old and were asked if we could rescue them and find a foster family for them,” says Heather Klefstad, special events and PR coordinator for Homeward Animal Shelter.
When they became 8 weeks old, they were ready to be put up for adoption. “Four of the puppies were pending adoption right away and went home soon after coming to the shelter,” says Klefstad. But five puppies remained, along with the mother, and there were no potential adopters on the horizon.
So the shelter began thinking out of the box. They came up with an unusual idea: a puppy parade. Everyone loves a parade and everyone loves puppies; how could it fail?
The “parade” would be a day of puppy love for businesses in the area. The rescue organization would bringthe dogs to various companies for some cuddle time for employees and to raise awareness about these dogs needing homes.
“People always talk about how they want to work in a place where they can be surrounded by puppies and kitties, and we thought we’d bring the fun to them!” says Klefstad.
To get the ball rolling, Homeward Animal Shelter posted a notice on its Facebook page asking businesses to email them if they were interested in booking a spot on the Puppy Parade.
“Everyone loved it! We got a great response and couldn’t fit all the businesses in that wanted to participate,” says Klefstad. “Our hope was to engage the community in our mission and get exposure for the puppies that were up for adoption as well as all the animals in our shelter who are awaiting their forever homes.”
For a half hour of puppy playtime, businesses were asked to make a $50 donation to the shelter to help them care for more animals in the area. They were asked to donate $100 for an hour stop. “Some businesses generously donated well over the amounts,” says Klefstad. “Not only was it great exposure to get the puppies adopted but great awareness in general about the shelter and what we do for the community.”
The Puppy Parade made seven stops to local businesses and employees loved it. “Talk about a morale booster! The employees were full of giddy excitement upon our arrival and it was so fun to see them light up as they laughed and played with the pups,” says Klefstad. “There’s no doubt about it, puppies are good for the soul. You could tell they made for a much needed and much welcome office break for all.”
The puppies had an eventful day, meeting and playing with all kinds of new people. By mid-afternoon they were all tuckered out, says Klefstad, and they took a nap during one of the stops. “The employees there were happy to snuggle with the sleepy little pups as they took their afternoon siesta,” she says. “Their batteries were recharged quickly after their nap and they were full of energy for the rest of the stops.”
All the puppies were adopted soon after the Puppy Parade. The mom, Kushina, didn’t go home as quickly as her puppies, but she did have a lot of interest in her. Klefstad reports that she is currently pending adoption and is set to go home with her new family imminently.
The community loved the event, and they’re asking if the shelter will it again. “Many of the offices reached out about volunteering opportunities and how they can help, which is fantastic, says Klefstad. “We rely on the community to keep our doors open so that we can continue our mission: Rescue. Shelter. Protect. Rehome.
For those who can’t adopt, there are other ways to help out Homeward Animal Shelter, including donating, volunteering or fostering.
The response was so great, the shelter has plans to do another parade. They also plan on doing a Kitty Caravan as well.