Anyone who has read and loved the "Harry Potter" series knows which of the Hogwarts houses they fit into perfectly. You know if you're a Hufflepuff, a Ravenclaw, a Gryffindor or a Slytherin and what it means to you. And if you're unsure, there are even Hogwarts house quizzes you can take online.
So why not give dogs the same kind of magical sorting? That was exactly the inspired thought that came to Stephen Bardy, the executive director of the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando.
"The idea was born from a need for people to see our dogs based on their behavior and personality rather than appearance," Bardy tells PawCulture.
With that, Bardy and his staff, including some mega "Harry Potter" fans, created their own Hogwarts house quiz to place adoptable dogs into their respective Hogwarts houses. Or, in this case, Pawgwarts houses.
The "Harry Potter"-themed initiative, which launched October 1, 2017, has helped the shelter see a 10 percent spike in adoptions.
"The response has been fantastic. For many guests visiting our shelter, there is an instant recognition," Bardy says. "People come in knowing what their personal house is and are so enthusiastic."
Even if you aren't familiar with the beloved series and the Hogwarts house traits, Bardy assures visitors that each kennel has information about the qualities and characteristics represented by each house.
Another thing Bardy notes is that your personal house affiliation doesn't necessarily mean you'll want a dog from the same one.
"I am a Hufflepuff. Using the Pet Alliance Pawgwarts sorting quiz, my Schnauzer, Milo, is Slytherin," he says. "I embrace the qualities of my Slytherin Schnauzer as he is cunning and a clear leader. I am never quite sure what is behind that daring stare of his."
Having an idea of your own Hogwarts house, he adds, gives you a reference point to start talking about who you are as a person and what type of dog would make your ideal companion—so be sure to take a Hogwarts house quiz of your own!
In the weeks following the magical initiative, the Pet Alliance has sorted more than 40 dogs into Hogwarts houses, and hopes that this "bloody brilliant" project and the Hogwarts house traits will continue to encourage potential adopters to look at personality over breed.
By executing a project like this, which does not label breeds, it allows Pet Alliance to eliminate breed discrimination and promote responsible ownership, Bardy explains.
"Nearly 70 percent of dogs are mislabeled based on appearance. There are also many communities that impose breed discrimination practices," he says.
Bardy estimates that by adopting dogs based on personality rather than breed, the number of dogs surrendered just to Pet Alliance will drop by 1,800 annually, 20 percent of the shelter's intake.
No matter if you're a Ravenclaw or a Gryffindor and a dog is a Hufflepuff or Slytherin, what matters is the heart of the dog and your connection with them.
"By focusing on who you are as a person and what you would like in a dog, you make a much better informed decision and an amazing connection that will benefit both the person and the dog," Bardy says.