ADOPT a Shelter Animal - Girl Scout Patch Program
The Humane Rescue Alliance (HRA) serves as a national leader and local champion for all animals. HRA has a long established history of protecting animals, supporting families, and advocating for positive change to create a world where all animals can thrive. HRA cannot do this important work without the support of people in our community who care about animals.
Connecting people with companion animals is an important part of HRA’s work. Girl Scouts can help HRA find homes for pets by understanding the role an animal shelter plays in a community and by helping HRA to promote adoptable animals through their Girl Scout troops, friends, family, schools, neighborhoods, and other community and membership groups.
Daisies, Brownies, Juniors, and Cadettes can now take part in the ADOPT a Shelter Animal patch program!
Become an animal adoption advocate. You can earn an HRA ADOPT a Shelter Animal patch for promoting the benefits of adopting an animal. Help shelter animals find homes by completing at least three of the 12 tasks and/or projects outlined below.
Activities, Projects, Ideas, and More
Complete at least three of the 12 tasks and/or projects outlined below to earn your ADOPT a Shelter Animal patch. Once you finish your three activities, order your patch.
Download the PDF version of the activities, projects, and ideas.
1. Survey Your Friends
Talk to at least 10 friends who share their lives with animals. Find out if their animal companions were adopted from a shelter or other rescue group, purchased from a breeder or a pet store, given to them by a friend or family member, found as a stray, or gotten elsewhere.
Create a graph to share your results. Did you find any surprises? Share your graph and notes with friends, family, and HRA. Forward graphs and results to [email protected] or mail to HRA, education, 71 Oglethorpe Street, N.W. Your research will help HRA understand how pets find their homes.
2. Interested in Genealogy? Mixed Breed Dogs Have It All!
Do your research and find out what attributes are associated with different breeds of dogs. Are there benefits to having a mixed breed dog rather than a particular breed of dog? Shelters are full of mixed-breed dogs exhibiting many awesome qualities.
Have you ever heard of a Black Hill Sheep Dog? Check out Ted, the one and only Black Hill Sheep Dog, originally a “mixed-breed” shelter pup. Black Hill Sheep Dogs are smart like a Border Collie, even-tempered like a Labrador, and outgoing like a poodle. Ted’s breed identification at the shelter was “mixed-breed,” far less intriguing than “Black Hill Sheep Dog.” Create and promote your own super breeds by highlighting several breeds’ best qualities that may be found in a shelter dog.
Check out the many wonderful mixed-breed dogs on HRA’s dog adoption pages. Tracey Stewart’s wonderful book, Do Unto Animals, highlights nine super breeds similar to Ted’s Black Hill Sheepdog pedigree. On page 38 you will find the Everything Bagelhund and the Sad-Eyed Shepherdmush!
3. Get to Know HRA
Check out HRA’s adoption web pages. Be sure to click on the animals under the “Other” category. The animals' bios highlight their character traits and the live-action videos feature their best qualities and personalities.
Watch at least five animals’ videos and identify the animals’ best qualities. Answer the following questions:
- What kind of home do you think each animal will do best with – an active family, a calm senior, someone with another cat or dog? Discuss your findings with your Girl Scout troop.
- Do you believe that the bios, pictures, and videos will help find homes for the animals? Explain your reasoning.
- What else can be done to make the animals more “marketable”?
- How does advertising or promoting animals for adoption make them more desirable?
4. Introduce Others to the Awesome Animals Available for Adoption
Word of mouth is the best form of advertisement. Tell friends and family interested in adopting a cat, dog, gerbil, hamster, bird, or another animal to check out HRA’s adoption webpages as part of their animal adoption journey. If you live with a shelter animal, tell the world!
5. Help HRA Promote the Animals Ready For Their New Homes
Choose an animal, or two, from the adoption webpages. Create a bio from the animal's point of view and send your story to [email protected]. Your first-person story may be included on that animal’s adoption page!
Older Girl Scouts who use social media may consider sharing links to adoptable animals on their own social media platforms. Every "like" and click on a social media post helps to match potential adopters with shelter animals.
6. Unleash Your Creativity
Get creative. Look for new ways to promote shelter animals for adoption. Here are some ideas:
- Make cute “adopt a shelter animal” door hang-tags to share with neighbors.
- Craft “adopt a shelter animal” leashes and bandanas and donate them to the shelter.
- Promote second chances for senior animals by sharing lists of the benefits of adopting an older animal within senior living communities.
- Dispel myths – tell friends and family why black cats bring good luck and how pit bull-type dogs can be smart, goofy, loyal companions.
- Encourage potential adopters to adopt two kittens rather than one.
7. Know the Truth About Those Cute Pet Store Puppies
Research the perilous lives of puppy mill breeding dogs and their offspring. Become familiar with laws prohibiting or regulating the sale of puppy mill puppies in your area. If the laws are weak, consider sharing better laws and the reasons for strengthening local legislation with your local and state legislators.
The Humane Society of the United States’ Stopping Puppy Mills Advocate Guide and the ASPCA’s Puppy Mills 101 may serve as references for an investigation.
Examples of good existing legislation include Oregon, which has some of the more extensive requirements for commercial breeding facilities and is one of the few states that sets a limit on the number of dogs allowed at a facility, and the Maryland law prohibiting the retail sale of dogs and cats at pet stores.
8. Stereotypes Hurt Dogs, Too
Many outlets, including movies and games, only see blocked-headed dogs with wide grins as demonic, lethal threats.
Did you know that most pit bulls are not really a breed called pit bull at all? True pit bulls are a mix of Staffordshire bull terriers, American pit bull terriers, and American Staffordshire terriers. The majority of block-headed dogs in shelters are all mixed-breeds. They may be a little American Staffordshire terrier with a boxer and/or a Labrador retriever or even a beagle or a fox terrier. Most mixed-breed dogs are “best guesses.”
Stereotyping dogs can be hurtful. Create a video, poster, or even a t-shirt design that exposes the pitfalls of promoting breed-specific stereotypes.
Many adopters choose to have their dogs DNA tested. Findings often show that even the biggest, broadest, block-headed dog can have a dachshund, Pekingese, or French bulldog as a long-distant cousin. Those tests go beyond appearances and look for genetic clues to determine a dog’s ancestry.
9. Animals Are Good for Our Health
Sharing a home with an animal companion has many benefits. Animals keep us company when we are lonely, cheer us up when we are sad, and love us unconditionally. Research shows that dogs encourage us to exercise by getting out and walking or playing. Stroking a cat, dog, or rabbit can lower people’s blood pressure.
Investigate the many benefits of living with a companion animal and use those findings to encourage people to adopt a shelter animal. Use your creativity to promote the benefits of living with a companion animal by creating a poster, flyer, or even a video that you can share with others.
10. Share Ideas You Have Regarding Promoting Shelter Adoptions With HRA
Email your ideas to [email protected].
11. Meet Shelter Animals Virtually
Girl Scout troops can sign up for virtual programs to learn more about HRA and the animals waiting for new homes. A virtual visit is a nice prelude to completing any of the projects listed above. Contact [email protected] to set up a virtual meeting.
12. Enjoy a Picture Book That Highlights Animals' Adoptions
Younger Girl Scouts may want to read one of the books below and write a review of the story to be shared with a friend. Readers who like to write may want to write their own story.