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. Matchmakers speak with visitors to learn about what they are looking for in a new pet 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.
Thanks to our friends at Austin Subaru, our Matchmakers have now been outfitted with multiple kiosk stations holding iPads that can help improve the effectiveness of the program. These kiosks will allow visitors to sign in when they arrive at APA!’s Town Lake adoption center and for Matchmakers to know when a visitor who is interested in adopting a dog has arrived at the shelter. The iPads are set up to page a Matchmaker when adopters are interested in a large breed dog. With an iPad they are carrying with them, 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 videos of a dog at play or on a home visit away from the shelter, and share notes from daily caregivers regarding the dog’s best qualities. With this type of information at their fingertips, shelter visitors will now be able to learn all about APA!’s dogs without being overwhelmed by the shelter environment.
Thanks to Austin Subaru’s generous support, our Matchmaker team now is better equipped with even more efficient tools to help find ideal homes for each and every dog at our shelter.