Shelter Sorts Adoptable Pets Into Hogwarts Houses, And It's As Cute As You'd Imagine

"It’s a fun ... way to get people to start looking at ending breed discrimination."

When it comes to adopting your future pet, one shelter is trying to prove that you should look beyond the breed, and try to imagine all the magic that can occur between you and your furry friend. Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando has taken a page out of the Harry Potter series and started sorting its animals into one of four kennels in what it's calling "Pawgwarts."

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"It's a fun, lighthearted way to get people to start looking at ending breed discrimination," Stephen Bardy, the shelter's executive director, told People of the campaign — also noting that, since it started in late September, adoptions have increased 10 percent year over year.

Credit: Art Faulkner
Courtesy Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando

"It's about engaging a conversation," Bardy continues. "Instead of 'I want a black lab,' we want to people really think through choosing a pet. 'I love to jog in the morning, so I need a dog that's got good energy.' Or, 'I love to binge watch Stranger Things on the couch, so I need a dog that's quieter and calm. Or, 'My husband had knee surgery, so we want a dog that won't jerk on the leash.' "

By forgetting about breeds, something that limits certain types of dogs — notably those of the bully variety — from being adopted, the campaign instead focuses on the animal's personality. To figure out which house the pet belongs in, a canine behavioral specialist puts them through a qualification that is, per Bardy, "not scientific by any stretch of the imagination" but can explain more about the dog than a breed label ever could. They will be placed in either Gryffindogs (like Gryffindor), Ravenpaw (like Ravenclaw), Hufflefluff (like Hufflepuff), or Slobberin (like Slytherin).

Courtesy Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando
Credit: Art Faulkner

"If it picks up 'sit,' 'stay,' and 'come' quickly or tries to figure out how to escape the play yard, a really crafty, intelligent dog — that's a Ravenpaw," Bardy explains. "Very athletic dogs that like to run tend to fall into Gryffindog. A Slobberin is a dog that'll try anything. He's cunning, ambitious, a natural leader and can climb our A-frame agility structure pretty quickly. And if it loves everybody and just wants to lay on you, it's probably a Hufflefluff."

By spotlighting these factors that determine which house the dog belongs to — and ignoring any negative aspects that might be associated with them — it helps people find only the good in their future four-legged friends. And, as Bardy notes, even those who connotate Slytherin — and therefore Slobberin — with the way it is portrayed in the Harry Potter films.

Credit: Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando

"She left the shelter and I thought, 'Oh, this backfired,'" Bardy explained, recalling a woman who was conflicted over a dog that was placed in that house and her remembering the movies. "Fifteen minutes later, she came back in, very emotional and said, 'I don't know what I was thinking. I'm about to lose a dog I really want.' Even in the movies, each house has core values and at the end of the novels, Harry Potter himself says, 'I would be proud if my son were a Slytherin.'"

We're not sure if this is J.K. Rowling-approved, but it should be.

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