Unless you've been living under a rock for the last few weeks you’ll have heard of Nintendo's latest augmented reality release, Pokémon Go. It has become so popular that servers have already crashed.
Pokémon Go allows users to walk the blocks of their neighborhood in search of a variety of creatures, as well as leveling up their existing collection, and battling it out in gyms.
It is credited with encouraging hordes of people to leave their homes and wander about in search of imaginary animals. If it's getting people out and about, and interacting with the natural world, it's good in our books!
However, one clever animal shelter has decided that wandering (seemingly) aimlessly isn't quite good enough, and has come up with an ingenious plan: inviting would-be masters to walk its many dogs while they scour the locality for Pokémon.
The staff at the Muncie Animal Shelter in Indiana released this advert via Facebook:
Phil Peckinpaugh, the shelter's director, first noticed the influx of people wandering the streets as he played Pokémon Go with his daughter. Inspired, he was certain that this hive of activity could actually benefit the dogs that inhabit the shelter.
Speaking to BuzzFeed News Peckinpaugh said: "The exercise and stimulation for the dogs is the first priority. If we can get volunteers and adoptions, that's been the number one goal. Always." Already the shelter has seen a huge increase in visitors, as well as volunteers lining up to take the dogs for walks; mission accomplished! Describing the exposure as "epic", Peckinpaugh has noticed that volunteers are sharing their experience all over social media.
If you live nearby, or know someone who does, and you'd like to be involved in walking these gorgeous pups while playing Pokémon, please contact Muncie Animal Shelter on (765) 747-4845, or just pop in. Remember, the idea of this initiative is for the dogs to share the adventure, and volunteers need to remember to take the animals' safety into account with every step.