JHS Competes – Pets Win!

In the fall of 2018, Maddie’s Fund announced a new contest for shelters. Titled the “Get ’em Home Challenge”, the idea was for each shelter to come up with the most unique and creative tools to find homes for pets who had been in the shelter for 30 days or more. The contest ran from October 1st to December 31st, with 109 shelters and rescues participating from across the country.

Organizations could compete in three different categories:

  • Most Creative Adoption or Foster Tactic
  • Impact Award
  • Most Creative Program Overall

At the end of the challenge, and amazing 4,974 long-stay dogs and 11,029 cats in shelters throughout the U.S. found homes. At JHS, we had 831 cat and 83 dogs with LOS 30 days+ adopted during the challenge.

JHS is proud to announce that we were awarded the top prize in the Most Creative Program Overall! We also won a $10,000 award from Maddie’s to help us continue our lifesaving work in our community.


The program we developed for the Get Em Home Challenge was one that we still continue and can be replicated in any shelter. It’s called the “Long Stay Task Force” (or LSTF) and is a system of checks and balances to ensure that no animal slips through the cracks. The LSTF is comprised of members of all shelter departments – adoptions, behavior, medical, volunteer, foster, and development.

When a dog or cat reaches 30 days in the shelter, the LSTF protocol begins. This can include updating the website picture or profile, signing up a dog for our “dog day out” program, trying a foster home, providing a veterinary exam, creating a special plan with volunteer support … you name it, we’ll try it! We recently put a cat in a stroller for some extra enrichment and exposure on Facebook. (And – he loved it!)



The LSTF also plans special adoption events. In the fall of 2018, you may remember our JHS Homecoming, JHS Bachelor and Jacksonville’s Silent Night. These events help us to feature our long-stay pets while marketing adoption for all dogs and cats in the building. They are also so much fun!



With this award comes a $10,000 prize from Maddie’s Fund. JHS is elated for this support that will help us provide compassionate care for more than 8,000 animals in 2019 – and get ’em home, thanks to Maddie!


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