Florida Shelter Boosts Dog Adoptions With Help From Harry Potter

A Florida shelter has turned to Harry Potter to increase its adoption rate for dogs, and there's something magical about their clever campaign.

It all started when staffers at Pet Alliance Orlando noticed that would-be dog parents were gravitating towards popular breeds.

Seeking to center that interest instead around the pups' charming personalities, the team's resident animal behavioralist (and Harry Potter nerd) hit on a novel strategy that sorted dogs into one of the four Hogwarts Houses: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, and, yes, Slytherin (even good boys, it appears, break evil from time to time).

While it might appear on the surface to be a cutesy marketing gimmick, the shelter has actually developed a fairly sophisticated testing protocol that slots woofers into their respective house based on their personality type and, more interestingly, their choice of toys.

In an interview with The Dodo, the nonprofit's executive director, Stephen Bardy, revealed that the assorted toys the dogs choose from embody qualities commonly associated with a particular house (Gryffindors, for instance, are brave and chivalrous, Hufflepuffs hardworking and fair, Ravenclaws intelligent and witty, and Slytherins cunning and resourceful).

“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.”

Once the dogs have been assigned to a house, their kennel is accessorized with a special banner to let potential adopters know what kind of temperament they have.

To date, the shelter has assigned more than 40 puppers to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry houses that populate the Potter franchise.

Helping extend the campaign beyond its local footprint is an online quiz that dog owners can take to see how their dog might fare.

And according to Bardy, the sorting hat for dogs concept has had its desired effect, driving viral buzz, foot traffic, and, most importantly, the number of adoptions higher.

"We want to start a national conversation about dog personality rather than dog breed," Bardy said. "That is our ultimate goal and we think this is a fun and universal way for people to start talking!"

For now, the concept is limited only to doggos, but employees with Pet Alliance Orlando hope to cast something similar for cats. Until then, we'll have to be content with the LOL-grade snap below!

What's your favorite Potter house? Share it in the comments below!