Every year over 7 million pets find themselves in shelters in the U.S. Shelter staff are tasked with finding each and every adoptable pet a home, and some are coming up with clever ways to get the job done!
Many shelters use social media to spread pictures and videos, but West Memphis Animal Shelter has taken a wild, crazy, incredibly creative route in getting the word out about their adoptable pets! Adoption and Rescue Coordinator Trent Stacey is making sure that the videos he puts out on the WMAS Facebook page are getting viewed, getting shared, and getting pets out of the shelter!
Trent’s approach puts an eye-catching spin on the videos usually shared by a shelter! His antics earn several views for every pup or kitty who is featured! Trent tells iHeartDogs,
“I try to make them as silly and crazy and attention-grabbing as we can, and I think we usually accomplish that.”
It’s not unusual at the West Memphis Animal Shelter to see Trent dressed as a shark, or witch, or “Trent Ga-Ga” and snuggling up with a pooch or two! The idea for these outrageous videos came from shelter volunteer Christy Carter, who suggested that Trent try costumes to draw more attention to the shelter pets.
“She just started going crazy buying every kind of dog costume, and then all of a sudden she said ‘Instead of just dressing up the dogs, I want you to start wearing stuff!’
“Of course, I have no shame, and I am really never embarrassed. So, I said, ‘You give me anything and pick out whatever you want me to wear. I’ll wear anything!’ She’s coming up with some crazy ideas!”
Kerry Facello, the shelter’s director, provides ideas and storylines, and volunteer Christy brings along costumes and holiday-related themes! Their creative minds and Trent’s willingness to help his homeless pals has put him in some interesting clothes and situations, but they’ll tell you it’s worth it to find these pets homes.
“Usually every animal leaves. We get a lot of views and a lot of shares and it does really seem to get the animals out of here faster. People will call and say, ‘I saw this dog on this video with Trent in a shark costume.’ It has helped a lot.
“James Bond just recently did a shark week video. He was adopted because of that video. The woman who adopted him was a shark week fan and was just obsessed with him. His adoption was finalized today, actually. A lot of the dogs get pulled by rescues – the videos are shared all over.
“We do a ton of dog and cat sad videos trying to get them out. But people after a while will say ‘Can you please do another costume video? You haven’t done any in a week!’”
Each featured animal gets a lot of attention from rescues, potential homes, and some will get several applications to adopt. It’s Trent’s love for animals that has him doing backflips in crazy costumes to get them noticed.
“I started doing animal rescue in 2002. I did hair for 20 years until I decided that animals had always been my passion. I’ve been involved in rescue for about 16 years. I’ve rescued dogs and cats, to llamas and pot-bellied pigs, and you name it! I even have a pigeon in my office with a broken wing named after me – T.J., Trent Jr. I’ve rescued a lot of things but I just really love rescuing dogs and cats. That’s my real passion.”
These videos and the other good work done by shelter staff are earning a lot of attention. The shelter’s Facebook page has over 33,000 followers – the city of West Memphis has a population of about 26,000. To compare, another shelter in a city of over 2 million has only 36,000 followers – but they don’t have a Trent. The attention is making a difference for these pets.
“I would do pretty much anything to save a dog or cat’s life.”