A Florida animal rescue hopes their hairy puppers' magical personalities are what leave prospective pet owners spellbound.
"Oh, you may not think I’m pretty, But don’t judge on what you see" is a line spoken by the enchanted Sorting Hat in the Harry Potter series that places first-year Hogwarts students into groups called houses -- and it may as well be a motto for the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando.
Like the Sorting Hat, the animal rescue thinks it's what's on the inside that counts. Instead of using a breed card, the shelter assigns the dogs to one of the four Hogwarts houses: Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Slytherin or Ravenclaw.
The dogs start in "Pawgwarts," a Hogwarts house for dogs. A behavior specialist then helps them find their house, assessing each dog using toys and by observing their style of play.
Each house is associated with particular characteristics, but the real goal is to treat each dog as an individual.
"We wanted to do something where people would focus more on the dog's personality traits rather than what breed they perceive the dog to be," executive director Stephen Bardy told "Today."
He said that about 1,800 pets are surrendered in Orlando each year due to issues with landlords or apartment management refusing to accept certain dog breeds. Plus, without a doggie DNA test, breed assessments are often inaccurate.
The shelter stopped using breed cards altogether, "Today" reported.
"For us, this is about recognizing the individual dog and not a breed," Bardy told "Today."
"Today" reported Bardy's description of each house: "Gryffindor pups value bravery and courage and are typically more athletic than other dogs, explains Bardy. Slytherin are pack leaders who show ambition and are cunning, while Ravenclaw are more intelligent, problem-solving dogs. And Hufflepuffs are loyal, patient dogs who wag their tail at everyone they meet."
More than 50,000 people have already taken the online sorting quiz to find out which house would suit their dog, Bardy told "Today."
"So we know this is resonating with people -- not just adopters in our shelters, but around the world," Bardy added.
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