Shelter Management

Line ‘Em Up For Canine Kisses

A kissing booth – the canine kind – can be a great way to get some love and raise some funds for your shelter.

The booth can be constructed easily and inexpensively from cardboard, and is great for adoption events, fundraisers – and Valentine’s Day, of course!

The Humane Society of Southern Arizona (HSSAZ) built a booth for an Adore-A-Bull adoption event in May, 2012, and generously shared these instructions to help you build one of your own.

Building the Booth

All the materials you’ll need can be found easily, including at most art and office supply stores:

  • Tri-fold display cardboard (the kind used in kids’ science projects)
  • 3 pieces of foam core board
  • Foam rubber pipe insulation
  • Foam hearts
  • Spray glue
  • Utility knife

And here’s how to put it together:

  • Glue 1 piece of foam core board to each side of the tri-fold cardboard. (Foam core board is like poster board, but thicker, which will help keep your booth sturdy.) HSSAZ used black, but you can use any color you wish.
  • Use a utility knife to cut out a square window in the center of the cardboard. Make sure it’s large enough to comfortably fit your dogs’ heads!
  • For an adorable window design – and more importantly, for canine comfort – frame the cut-out square with foam rubber piping, which has adhesive edges. “I didn’t want the dogs to suffer any pittie paper cuts,” says Dylan Boswell, HSSAZ Marketing and Design Coordinator (and master kissing booth technician). In the photo above you can see that Dylan used the foam rubber piping on both the back and front of the board.
  • Time to decorate! Use a spray adhesive like Super 77 to glue foam hearts all around the board. Any glue will do, but the spray stuff makes assembly quick and easy.
  • As a final touch, you’ll need a “Kissing Booth” sign. You can make it as simple or as creative as you’d like.

Running the Booth

Choose your best smoochers:
How do you know which dogs to choose? “Look for dogs who are particularly drawn to children and always cause giggles wherever they go,” suggests Sara Gromley, HSSAZ Public Relations Coordinator. Also, if you have a therapy dog program, those canines are excellent kissing candidates since they’re used to being affectionate with people in the community. 

Keep shifts short:
In order for both people and dogs working the booth to maintain high spirits, keep shifts short. HSSAZ asked Pet VIP volunteers to sign up for hour-long shifts and leave if they felt that their dogs were no longer having fun. “All three dogs ended up staying past their shift,” says Gromley, who adds, “The dogs are happy as long as you have treats, bedding and towels to clean up slobber.”

Decide about donations:
At HSSAZ’s event the kissing booth was free because it was intended to show people the sweet nature of pit bulls. “It’s a great educational tool and conversation starter!” says Gromley. However, depending on the nature of your event, consider whether a small fee or requested donation in exchange for a smooch might be appropriate.

The Love Keeps Coming

Since building the booth for its original purpose, HSSAZ has also used it for volunteer recruitment events, fundraisers, employee giving fairs and other community gatherings.

 “We’ve gotten so many miles and smiles out of this simple project,” says Gromley.

Photos courtesy of Humane Society of Southern Arizona

Related Links

Plan Ahead: 5 Ways to Rock Valentine’s Day blog

10 Valentine’s Day Campaigns blog

11 Valentine’s Day Promotions blog