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Open AccessArticle

A Multi-Site Feasibility Assessment of Implementing a Best-Practices Meet-And-Greet Intervention in Animal Shelters in the United States

1
Animal Welfare Program, Faculty of Land and Food Systems, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada
2
National Canine Research Council, Amenia, NY 12501, USA
3
Department of Animal and Food Sciences, Texas Tech University; Lubbock, TX 79409, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2020, 10(1), 104; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10010104
Received: 19 November 2019 / Revised: 18 December 2019 / Accepted: 6 January 2020 / Published: 8 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Section Companion Animals)
Researchers create and validate interventions to improve life-saving measures in animal shelters; however, if the animal shelters are not capable of integrating these new interventions into their existing procedures, then the benefit of research is lost. Therefore, research is also needed to assess not only the efficacy of the intervention, but also the feasibility of the new intervention for shelters. This study enrolled nine animal shelters in the United States and, using an educational session consisting of a lecture, demonstration, and role-play, encouraged them to update their current meet-and-greet procedure to the established best practice. Results showed that a single educational session was insufficient. The identified challenges included not remembering the procedures, opposing opinions of volunteers and staff, lack of resources, and a procedural drift effect in which the protocol was changed across time. These findings highlight the need for researchers to find useful ways to educate animal shelters, so that new research can be incorporated into shelter protocols and result in maximum life-saving measures of homeless companion animals.
Animal shelters must incorporate empirically validated programs to increase life-saving measures; however, altering existing protocols is often a challenge. The current study assessed the feasibility of nine animal shelters within the United States to replicate a validated procedure for introducing an adoptable dog with a potential adopter (i.e., “meet-and-greet”) following an educational session. Each of the shelters were first entered into the “baseline” condition, where introduction between adoptable dogs and potential adopters were as usual. After a varying number of months, each shelter entered into the “experimental” phase, where staff and volunteers were taught best practices for a meet-and-greet using lecture, demonstration, and role-play. Data on the likelihood of adoption following a meet-and-greet were collected with automated equipment installed in meet-and-greet areas. Data on feasibility and treatment integrity were collected with questionnaires administered to volunteers and staff followed by a focus group. We found that a single educational session was insufficient to alter the meet-and-greet protocol; challenges included not remembering the procedure, opposing opinions of volunteers and staff, lack of resources, and a procedural drift effect in which the protocol was significantly altered across time. In turn, no animal shelters increased their dog adoptions in the “experimental” phase. New research is needed to develop effective educational programs to encourage animal shelters to incorporate empirical findings into their protocols. View Full-Text
Keywords: adoption; animal shelter; behavior; dog; feasibility; focus group; intervention; treatment integrity; meet-and-greet; multiple baseline design adoption; animal shelter; behavior; dog; feasibility; focus group; intervention; treatment integrity; meet-and-greet; multiple baseline design
MDPI and ACS Style

Protopopova, A.; Brown, K.M.; Hall, N.J. A Multi-Site Feasibility Assessment of Implementing a Best-Practices Meet-And-Greet Intervention in Animal Shelters in the United States. Animals 2020, 10, 104.

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