Gotta walk ’em all! An animal shelter in Muncie, Indiana, caused a buzz online on Tuesday, July 12, when it asked Pokémon Go players to use their daily walks for a doubly good cause: taking pups on much-needed walks.
According to ABC News, Muncie Animal Shelter started a volunteer program called “Pokémon Dogs” on Tuesday after the shelter’s director, Phil Peckinpaugh, said he realized the potential of the app after watching his 6-year-old daughter and 7-year-old nephew playing the popular game.
“I started playing with Ruthie, and it was actually pretty fun,” he said. “Then the other day on my way to work, I notice droves of young people walking around playing this game. I thought, Wouldn’t it be great if all those people were walking with our dogs?”
Peckinpaugh then put together a digital flyer and posted it to the shelter’s Facebook page — and users quickly took notice. At present, the post has been liked more than 9,000 times and shared nearly 27,000 times.
“Trying to Hatch an Egg or Catch Rare Pokemon?” the bright yellow flyer reads. “Come down to the Muncie Animal Shelter to walk one of our dogs while you get your steps in! Just come to the front desk and say you are here for the Pokemon dogs!”
The shelter houses about 75 adoptable dogs, and Peckinpaugh told The Star Press that he and his staff have always encouraged people in the community to come take the dogs for walks anytime.
“I just want our dogs to have stimulation and exercise,” he said. “I didn’t have any ulterior motives; it was an incredibly pure motive. I just wanted our dogs walked. That’s still all I want. I just want people to come and walk our dogs.”
In terms of all the media attention his campaign has garnered, Peckinpaugh told The Star Press that he’s “tickled.”
“I hope that we can retain some volunteers,” he said. “I hope this Pokémon Go isn’t something that lasts a couple weeks. I hope the shelter becomes a hot spot.”
Pokémon Go, which was released on Tuesday, July 5, has already amassed more than 15 million downloads on Apple’s App Store and Google Play.
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