After spending five painful years moving from shelter to shelter, Chester finally got what every dog wants – a loving family went and had Chester adopted.
Since he was just one year old, Chester has been shuffling between shelters all across New York in hopes of finding his forever home. And considering his fun loving and playful personality, getting him placed with a family should have been a cinch. But it wasn’t.
Months turned to years as Chester languished on the cold concrete floors of the animal rescue, growing older (and statistically less likely to be adopted) by the day. There are a number of reasons he may have been overlooked, but the one that seems most likely is also the most unfairly biased.
Chester is a pit bull mix – a breed that often clogs up shelters due to their prolific numbers and the negative stigma that surrounds them. People are often reluctant to adopt a pit bull because they think that they are an inherently aggressive breed, when that is simply not the case. Though Chester is a very sweet, sometimes even timid dog, the fact that he is part pit bull likely gave potential adopters pause.
How Chester Got His Groove Back
With Chester’s age rapidly advancing and with no end in sight, the shelter realized they would have to change their strategy if Chester was to get adopted. So with nothing but a piece of cardboard, a permanent marker, and a Facebook account, the North Fork Animal Welfare League transformed an old, overlooked pit bull into a viral sensation.
Seemingly overnight, Chester’s story was picked up and shared by news outlets all across the country, everyone working hard to find this loving dog a home to match. The Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, The Dodo, Woman’s Day, and other high traffic news sites covered the story and shed some much needed light onto Chester’s situation.
And it worked! After just three days, Chester was on his way to his new home and getting ready to celebrate his first Easter – all thanks to the power of social media.
Unlike Chester, there are thousands of shelter pets in similar positions nationwide without the benefit of viral marketing to help them find a forever home. For that very reason, we are partnering with shelters all across America to help get pets adopted. For more information on our Shelter Outreach Program, or if you are looking to participate, check us out here.