Name: Sydnee Geril

Sponsor: Dr. Josh Grimm 

Category: Community News 

Proposal: Parade of Paws Program

Louisiana has had a major issue with animal homelessness; especially since hurricane Katrina hit and affected large regions of Louisiana. Many shelters have been established in attempt to keep up with the issue, however they have struggled keeping up as well. An example of this is the popular Villalobos shelter for pitbulls in New Orleans featured on the TV series “Pitbulls and Parolees.” The Villalobos shelter is so successful because of the advertisement it gets through social media.

Getting people involved would allow potential adopters to see the animals that are in need of homes in a fun environment without having to visit different shelters. I will focus of different shelters in the Baton Rouge area, focusing on a different shelter each month.

I plan to partner up with the shelters to promote it through different platforms of social media including: Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Snapchat. I will promote the animals in the shelter, the faculty, and volunteers that work there.

I also plan to host an event once a month (or every other month depending on availability) on or near LSU campus. The event would involve different activities including “puppy petting,” giveaways, and group dog walks. This is in effort to engage the community to donate, adopt and gain volunteers.

The event will be live Tweeted, Instagramed, and Snapchatted. Also possibly along with ScribbleLive and Storify. To get the community to interact through social media, the giveaways could be done through platforms like Instagram. Whoever posts a picture and hashtags “#ParadeofPaws” could have the change for being randomly selected for a prize. Another possibility could be whoever likes one of the Parade of Paws pictures on Instagram will be randomly selected for a prize. This could also be applied to Twitter and Facebook. I feel this would be a great way to get the community involved with not only the Parade of Paws social media but also the individual shelters’ media as well.

During the hosted event an enclosed area, or areas will be set up for the community to come and play with, or pet the puppies (and possibly kittens). Group dog walks will also be held. A group of participants and the shelter dogs go on a walk with one or two of the volunteers. Many of the dogs held in shelters spend much of their time in kennels and don’t always get an adequate amount of exercise or human love and interaction, so the walk would be very be beneficial for them.

Puppy petting is a popular event put on by many universities throughout the nation before midterms or finals. Numerous studies have been conducted that show that animals, like dogs or cats, reduce stress levels, blood pressure and anxiety immensely. I fell that hosting this event would not only benefit the shelters, but also the LSU students and surrounding community.

During the event I would also have giveaways, including merchandise advertising the shelter and Parade of Paws. There will also be donation boxes at the events and the proceeds will go to the shelter that is being featured that month. The events will also be heavily advertised and live updated through all of the platforms of social media. I will also create a short video recap of the event, with shots of the animals and participants, and short interview. This will be posted on Facebook, and given to the featured shelter to put on their website.

Parade of Paws would create community involvement by getting not only students, but also outside community members to participate in the monthly events, (possibly even allowing volunteer opportunities for students). The social media aspect would reach even more people.

I feel by promoting the shelter on multiple platforms of social media, paired with the periodic events, more news about the shelters and the homeless animal population in Louisiana in general, would reach the community. This would affect more people to make a difference and donate, or adopt.

I would measure my success by looking at the amount of increase in donations, volunteers, and adoptions each shelter had after their featured month.