Pen Pal Program Overview
The ACCT Shelter has a number of dogs who have been waiting longer than others for an adoptive home. These dogs are smart, loving, healthy, behaviorally adoptable dogs who, after spending so long in the shelter environment, may not appear as adoptable. These “long term homeless visitors” are overlooked for a variety of reasons such as the appearance of being depressed, or exhibiting anxiety that can be off-putting to potential adoptive families. Many are mixed blends of dogs that look like pit bull terriers that suffer from myths and stereotypes that betray their true loving individual personalities! The ACCT Life Saving Department’s Pen Pal Program aims to improve the quality of life for these dogs and prioritize their adoption.
The Pen Pal Program pairs dedicated volunteers with specific dogs for one-on-one life skill coaching through enrichment activities such as obedience training and field trips away from the shelter. For example, Pen Pals dogs go on group hikes in the woods, are invited to special off-site activities, and are included in fun photo-shoots by professional photographers that volunteer their talents in support of ACCT Philly’s life saving efforts! Potential adoptive families then work one-on-one with the dog’s Pen Pal volunteer, to ensure a smooth transition into the new home. Pen Pal volunteers also act as a support system for the adoptive family, providing post-adoption support as a continued service in this all important transition. Since its inception in 2009, the Pen Pal Program has helped hundreds of dogs find loving foster, adoptive and rescue placement – including the ones pictured here!
Goals of the Pen Pal Program
- Give long-term resident dogs special one-on-one socialization and enrichment to improve their quality of life while living at the shelter.
- Make long-term resident dogs more adoptable through enhanced socialization and skill training.
- Expand adoption opportunities for long-term residents through creative, consistent, wide-reaching promotion and marketing.
- Ensure successful placements through individualized pre-adoption counseling and post-adoption follow up and support.