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Queen’s students use photography to speed up adoption for shelter animals

Queen’s students put sheltered animals in the spotlight
A group of Queen's students has created a business plan aimed at helping animals in shelters find forever homes faster.

A group of business students has come up with a novel way to help speed up the adoption process for shelter animals and it could prove to be a big help for the Kingston Humane Society. It may have found a new way to market pets up for adoption. It’s all thanks to students at Queen’s University.

As part of a business plan, the students have started taking better pictures of the cats and dogs. Instead of shots of animals in cages, they’re showing them in a better light, with a few props added.

The Kingston Humane Society says it takes in more than 2,000 animals every year. Sometimes the adoption process can be quick, but not always.

“Some of our long-term animals that might be here three, four, or five months. It just depends on the animal and its medical needs. We don’t have a timeline here so we will keep an animal as long as it takes to find their forever home,” the society’s Christie Haaima said.

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Instead of taking the usual pictures of cats and dogs in their pens, the students decided to take the photo shoot to the next level by using a backdrop and props. The plan also relies on social media to get the message out.  It’s all part of a two-week entrepreneurship project where students had to create and market a business.

“We found based on a study in 2015 there was an increase by 150 per cent of cat and dog adoptions for those that had great photos,” business student Evan Kosiner said.

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Their business model — if it were to move beyond a school project —would also include sending a box full of photography tools to shelters across Canada.

“Inside this kit would be a pet toy, camera equipment, lots of toys, maybe a backdrop that shelters can use to take wonderful photos of their pets,” Emily Lowe, another student on the project, said.

They tested their business model on Ella, a cat that has been up for adoption at the Kingston Humane Society the longest. Since the photos were taken, Ella has been adopted.

While the business plan was a project for school, the students hope it could one day become a viable business and help more animals like Ella find homes.

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