AAWL offers 'sleep overs' to get to know pets before adopting

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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Remember the fun of slumber parties as a kid, playing and staying up late with your friends?

A unique program that allows shelter dogs and cats to go on "sleep overs" with potential adopters has helped hundreds of homeless pets find the right homes.

The Arizona Animal Welfare League & SPCA, the state's oldest and largest no-kill shelter, created the Slumber Party adoption process in 2013, and has sent over 1,000 dogs and cats home with potential adopters on a trial basis. The program has a 73 percent success rate for slumber party hosts coming back to finalize the adoption.

“It's a great way for families to get to know an animal in that home setting,” says Emilie Sinur of the AAWL.

There is no pressure or commitment to the potential adopter, other than to fill out some simple paperwork and provide good care to the pet. A few days of food and other necessities are provided by the shelter. Calls are made throughout the next few days to see how the slumber party is going and to answer any questions. After a certain amount of time, the adopter can either return the pet or come back to AAWL & SPCA to adopt their new family member.

The innovative approach to adoption was created to help dogs and cats that don't show their true personalities in a shelter environment, explains Judith Gardner, President & CEO of AAWL & SPCA. While the shelter strives to create the most enriching environment possible for animals, it is not the same as a real home, and many times animals are shy or fearful.

"Most people expect that an adoptable dog will happily run to them with his tail wagging and they are disappointed if the dog shows no interest in them or, even worse, acts timid and afraid," Gardner says. "Many cats are very shy when meeting someone new."

"Also, before taking on a huge commitment of a new pet, people are concerned that the new pet might not get along with another pet, or that someone in the family might be allergic to the new pet," she adds. "The slumber party allows potential adopters to be sure the match between people and pet is a good one."

How would you like to take home a pet for the night, or for good? The AAWL has so many animals up for adoption. On Tuesday's Good Morning Arizona, we go to meet one of those pets.

“Dolly” is looking for her forever home. She's only two months old, but has been spayed and has all her shots.

About AAWL & SPCA

The mission of the Arizona Animal Welfare League & SPCA is to end the unnecessary euthanasia of dogs and cats in our community. Founded in 1971, AAWL & SPCA operates the state's oldest and largest no-kill shelter. The nonprofit organization also provides adoption, resource and education programs that improve the quality of life for dogs and cats, and offers support for pet guardians. AAWL & SPCA found homes for more than 4,000 dogs and cats last year. No federal or state funding is received and all revenue is from private donations and fundraising efforts. To find out more, go to www.aawl.org or call 602-273-6852.

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