The "Pokémon Go" phenomenon is in full swing, and one Indiana animal shelter has jumped on the craze in a big way by recruiting players to walk the shelter's adoptable dogs.
The idea is the brainchild of Phil Peckinpaugh, director of the Muncie Animal Shelter, who also happens to be an avid Pokémon player. After playing the game with his daughter and watching hoards of people aimlessly roaming the streets in search of eggs, he realized this new craze could be a boon for animals in need of exercise — and maybe even a new home.
The idea is "to combine the new influx of people walking around the city with the shelter’s need for dog walkers," a rep from the shelter told BuzzFeed.
Pokémon Go was just released to the public a few days ago, but already millions of people are walking all over town in search of their prizes. "It would be great if every one of those individuals had one of our dogs with them," Peckinpaugh told the Huffington Post.
Peckinpaugh teamed up with the mayor's office to create the ad pictured above, which has now gone viral on Facebook and Twitter. Within one hour of the ad's release, Pokémon players of all ages had lined up to volunteer.
The ultimate goal of the Muncie Animal Shelter's new program is to help the dogs get some exercise. But if some also happen to find their new forever homes along the way, that's even better.
While the shelter in Muncie is specifically recruiting Pokémon-playing volunteers, almost every animal shelter needs people to help walk adoptable pets. Hit up your local center or try the WoofTrax's Walk for a Dog app, which pairs folks who want to walk dogs with local organizations in need. The folks behind the app are being smart about connecting the dots, making sure the app runs in the background, making it easier for Pokémon players to help dogs along the way.
Sounds like everybody wins.