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Memphis Animal Services gets creative in hopes of more adopters, fosters and volunteers

<p><span>Outside of Memphis Animal Services’ facility is a fun mural of a dog and a cat on leashes.</span></p>
Outside of Memphis Animal Services’ facility is a fun mural of a dog and a cat on leashes.

With kennels constantly filling and space running thin, Memphis Animal Services has been forced to get creative with their outreach with the goal of having more animals adopted or fostered. The organization is also in need of volunteers to help operate the shelter.

MAS is the municipal animal control and sheltering agency for the city of Memphis. Any pets picked up and brought to the organization will stay for a limited time before being transfered, fostered, adopted or euthanized – although MAS has a goal of becoming a euthanasia-free shelter.

Katie Pemberton, community engagement specialist for Memphis Animal Services, says they try to be creative when it comes to promoting fostering and adoptions in an effort to bring in more people. 

MAS has 76 kennels for adoptable dogs, with another 50 or so for dogs in other stages, such as dogs in bite quarantine. Pemberton says they are almost always at or over capacity with adult dogs, and they need help. 

“Making our foster and adoption promotions creative and fun brings in new people that maybe have never interacted with us before,” Pemberton said. “And, people are the answer. We have to have people, or we’ll never accomplish our goal of saving every healthy, adoptable pet.” 

Pemberton emphasized the dog space situation is dire right now. There are problems that come with full kennels for periods of time at shelters.

“Our staff continues to overextend ourselves, sometimes leading to burnout, and many dogs deteriorate mentally to a point where they can no longer be adopted out,” she explained.

To help stop this from happening, Memphis Animal Services spends a lot of time trying to draw attention to the animals in their care and the need for adopters and fosters. Recently, they promoted an adoption special which offered free adoptions for anyone wearing Memphis Tiger apparel the day after a Tiger basketball win.

In December, they held an adoption event called the 12 Hours of Christmas, where they were open for extended hours with reduced adoption fees of $12 along with a $50 PetSmart gift card with every adoption. Currently, they are offering $20 same-day adoptions for dogs that are already spayed or neutered and ready to go.

Adopting an animal from MAS isn’t the only way to help. Pemberton stressed that they need volunteers to help with dogs and cats, too. She said there are also some marketing and digital programs they need help with. Another way to help is with donations. Memphis Animal Services has an Amazon wish list as well as wish lists from local retailers, like Superlo Foods and Hollywood Feed, to let people know what they need. 

“The number one donation that is the most wanted and also the easiest to find are Pup-Peroni treats,” Pemberton said. “Pup-Peronis are like dollar bills around here. They’re available everywhere, including Amazon and Superlo, but also Target, Walmart, Kroger, and more.” 

Of course, not everyone is ready to be a dog owner as time. Housing and financial constraints can be a challenge for pet parents, especially students. However, through fostering, volunteering, donating or just sharing Memphis Animal Services’ posts on social media, anyone can help the pets in their care.

Outside of Memphis Animal Services’ facility is a fun mural of a dog and a cat on leashes.

A dog available to adopt as of March 16. MAS consistently has a kennel shortage due to excessive amounts of strays and rescues.

Pets with pink or blue card are ready to go home to their new family for just $20.

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