A multi-site feasibility assessment of implementing a best-practices meet-and-greet intervention in animal shelters in the United States

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Animal shelters must incorporate empirically validated programs to increase life-saving measures; however, altering existing protocols is often a challenge. The current study assessed the feasibility of nine animal shelters within the United States to replicate a validated procedure for introducing an adoptable dog with a potential adopter (i.e., “meet-and-greet”) following an educational session. Each of the shelters were first entered into the “baseline” condition, where introduction between adoptable dogs and potential adopters were as usual. After a varying number of months, each shelter entered into the “experimental” phase, where staff and volunteers were taught best practices for a meet-and-greet using lecture, demonstration, and role-play. Data on the likelihood of adoption following a meet-and-greet were collected with automated equipment installed in meet-and-greet areas. Data on feasibility and treatment integrity were collected with questionnaires administered to volunteers and staff followed by a focus group. We found that a single educational session was insufficient to alter the meet-and-greet protocol; challenges included not remembering the procedure, opposing opinions of volunteers and staff, lack of resources, and a procedural drift effect in which the protocol was significantly altered across time. In turn, no animal shelters increased their dog adoptions in the “experimental” phase. New research is needed to develop effective educational programs to encourage animal shelters to incorporate empirical findings into their protocols.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104
JournalAnimals
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2020

Keywords

  • Adoption
  • Animal shelter
  • Behavior
  • Dog
  • Feasibility
  • Focus group
  • Intervention
  • Meet-and-greet
  • Multiple baseline design
  • Treatment integrity

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