By Andy Corbley
The persuasive words of an 8-year old written in crayon cracked open the hearts of potential dog adopters to empty the kennel crates of a local shelter.
Their hand-written personalized notes resulted in skyrocketing adoption rates for the pooches least likely to get adopted in the Virginia capital.
No human could resist a plea like, “If you do adopt me, I hope I will brighten up your Sundays like the sun. You’ll be my Sunday Special, and I hope I’ll be yours!”
Kensey Jones, a second-grade teacher at St. Michael’s Episcopal church in Richmond, is also a volunteer at Richmond Animal Care and Control. She needed to come up with an idea for a writing assignment, and had the idea to try and boost adoption rates by giving the dogs their own advocacy voice.
“The idea just came to me to connect persuasive writing with these adoptable pets that need a forever home,” Jones told the Washington Post, adding that it was “a way that I could make their writing real for [the students], and actually make an impact on the world and our Richmond community.”
She pitched the idea to the shelter’s manager Christie Peters, who thought it was wonderful. This particular shelter sees a high adoption rate of about 3 weeks. Animals with medical problems can take much longer, and face being euthanized if the problem is serious enough.
According to Jones, the kids nearly cheered at the news that their new assignment would be focused on helping 23 dogs and 1 cat get adopted.
“Hi, my name is Cody. I would love to be adopted,” one student wrote. “I would like a loving, caring family with a big fenced-in yard. Please be my owner!”
This kind of representation, pinned in colorful drawings and letters to the animals’ crates, was a huge success, and 21 of the 24 hard-to-adopt animals found new homes before long.
“All dogs deserve a loving home,” a St. Michael’s second-grader Danielle Petrosk, told the Post. “I am so very happy to be able to help neglected animals find great forever families.”