By Jess Borda
Launched in March 2015, the APA! Matchmaker Program was created to solve a fundamental problem for shelter visitors, how to know which of the dozens of dogs seen in the artificial context of their kennels will fit in their homes? APA! keeps reams of information about each of the dogs and knows from having adopted out approximately 15,000 dogs in the last seven years that dogs’ personalities only really shine away from the shelter. But how do we get that information to visitors and potential adopters?
The Matchmaker Program was designed to match the right dog to the right home, and it is focused on getting the dogs that have the most difficulty finding the right adopter into homes–large breed dogs. By gathering up the extensive information APA! has about each dog and making it available to potential adopters on the spot, the Matchmakers provide a better customer experience for potential adopters. With three full time staff matchmakers and three volunteers, the team is readily available to talk to potential adopters to match a perfect dog with a perfect home. Matchmakers speak with visitors to learn about what they are looking for in a new pet, what their home life is like and what their expectations are for a new dog and then introduce them to the dogs they think will be a good fit for them. Adopters are more satisfied, and the dogs do better too. Fewer are returned, and their stays at the shelter while awaiting a forever home are becoming shorter.
Matchmakers can then share information about a dog in APA! programs that a potential adopter wants to learn more about. They can review medical records, show photos and