An Animal Shelter Has Been Sorting Its Dogs into Hogwarts Houses

Though gawking at cute animals and taking (and retaking) Hogwarts Sorting Hat quizzes have held an unrelenting duopoly on the way most Americans spend their free time (and business hours) for quite a while now, it wasn’t until the visionaries at Pet Alliance Orlando came along that humankind figured out how to bring these disparate passions together. Icing on the cake—rather, maggots on the haggis/peanut butter on the Kong: it’s for a good cause.

As first reported by The Dodo, via Mental Floss, the Florida-based animal shelter has taken to sorting its dogs into Hogwarts houses. Not just for fun—although there’s no purer joy than seeing the a slobbery smile of a chipper pitty when you tell him he’s won a seat in House Hufflefluff—but to give prospective adopters a better idea about the personality of the pups they may be taking home.

The impetus for the move, per The Dodo’s interview with Pet Alliance Orlando’s executive director Stephen Bardy, was to deter visitors from relying on breed alone in making their adoption decisions. As any seasoned canine lover knows, dogs’ personalities can be as diverse and unpredictable as humans’. Though breed can tell you a few valuable things about a given pooch, it can’t tell you everything you may want or need to know when selecting a new best friend, and this on top of the fact that it winds up proving difficult to designate the breeds of many a shelter mutt anyhow.

So how does the Pet Alliance Orlando sort its four-legged students? As it turns out, on-staff animal behaviorist and affirmed Harry Potter fan Diane Andersen devised a personality test better suited to a pup’s attention span than Pottermore’s 500-question quiz might be. Via toys, physical obstacles, interactions with humans and fellow canines, and monitoring of the dogs’ independent demeanor, the test looks to identify the dominant personality trait in any of its entrants: the bravest and most resilient of the barkers wind up in Gryffindor; the quickest to learn tricks or figure out puzzle games are named Ravenclaw; the most ambitious in tackling new challenges are given to Slytherin; and the friendliest, most affectionate pooches? ‘Puff pride, baby. (The shelter’s website does offer a digital quiz, but that’s more for human fun.)

Not only is a sorted dog gifted with official record of their Hogwarts house, but the corresponding scarf to boot… at least until they chew it to bits, but that’s no sillier a tradition than throwing your hard-earned (and point-pronged) graduation cap into the air.

As you might expect, the stunt has earned the shelter a fair deal of attention, which is likewise good news for the dogs seeking new friends and forever homes. Though the practice was pioneered at Pet Alliance Orlando, we wouldn’t be surprised to see other shelters across the country adopting the task of Hogwarts House sorting to give their own clientele a better appreciation for the personalities of the dogs they’ve come to meet. But even if your local animal shelter doesn’t pick up the habit, it’ll no doubt have staff members on hand able to field questions about any given dog’s sense of character. So be like Hermoine and find out as much as you can learn!

Featured image: Petful/Flickr

More on Harry Potter (and dogs)!

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