The director of an animal shelter has decided to "sort" his dog population by Hogwarts houses.
Pet Alliance director Stephen Bardy, in Orlando, Florida, wanted to make sure the dogs he cared for would have a better chance at getting adopted.
Many people think in terms of what breed they want to have and disregard the personality of their furry companions.
Inspired by the popularity of JK Rowling's Harry Potter series, the shelter adapted the houses of the Hogwarts School of Wizardry, and created a quiz to divide the dogs between the four of them. "We use a testing system because the Sorting Hat doesn't really works for dogs, Bardy tells IBTimesUK.
Pet Alliance's "Pawgwarts" has a different way of sorting canines: a dog that can easily adapt to any situation will be a Gryffindog, those who are good at learning tricks belong to Ravenpaw, "loyal" dogs that like to play with others are Hufflefluffs and a dog with the soul of a leader will end up at Slobberin.
The sorting process is completed with each dog getting their own house scarf and banner.
The team had to re-adapt the names of the house to get rid of the reputation they have in the book. Traditionally, brave people are Gryffindors, creative people are Ravenclaws, nice people are Hufflepuffs and cunning ones are Slytherins – aka the meanies.
"People are under the assumption that all dogs are Hufflepuffs or think all Slytherin dogs are mean," Bardy explains.
The kennel wanted to highlight each dog's "unique characteristics and align them with potential owners", says Bardy.
Bardy, a Pottermore-certified Gryffindor, is the happy owner of a Slobberin dog. "True fans understand all the nuances of the Hogwarts houses anyways," he jokes.
A fun aspect of a serious conversation.
Bardy thinks that the "Pawgwarts" system is a "fun way to engage a very serious conversation", which is discrimination over certain breeds of dogs.
Stephen and his team of volunteers came up with the "Pawgwarts" concept to make sure mixed-breed dogs would "get a fair chance" at being adopted by a loving owner.
Dogs should be chosen because of their "love, affection, trainability," not because of their appearance, Bardy says. He aims to teach potential owners to "look at a dog for its dogness" and make the adoption process more responsible.
About 1,800 dogs a year end up at Pet Alliance because they have no place to go, and the adoption process can take longer for dogs who are not from proper popular breed like golden retrievers.
And it seems to be working. Pawgwarts launched four weeks ago, and adoption numbers are already up.
The team sorted about 100 dogs so far over twenty kennels with the different house names and colours.
Bardy adds that more people have come to the kennels than before, to take pictures with the houses' banners and the dogs. More people have been visiting their website as well, going from 10,000 single visitors at the beginning of October to 55,000 by October 30.
But let's give back to Caesar what's his – or in this case – "her's." Bardy concludes that none of this would have been possible if JK Rowling wouldn't have thought of the housing system at Hogwarts. "We're thankful we were the first one that thought of "Pawgwarts," he jokes.
If you're wondering whether your dog would be a Hufflefluff, Ravenpaw, Gryffindog or Slobberin, you can take Pet Alliance's quiz and see for yourself.
Sadly, cats were not really into the Harry Potter thing.