Cameron Shoppach, based in Indiana, has become a social media sensation with over 37,000 Instagram followers, showcasing his unique approach to helping overlooked dogs find homes through playful “dangle tests.” Working at IndyHumane, Shoppach emphasizes that these tests are not pass or fail, aiming to provide potential owners with a glimpse into a dog’s personality beyond brief kennel encounters.
In a recent TikTok video, Shoppach’s struggle to dangle a lively pup named Cactus highlights the playful and endearing nature of his approach. Despite the challenges, Shoppach declares it a “good dangle,” showcasing the authenticity of his interactions with the dogs.
Shoppach, nicknamed the “Dangler in Chief,” left Austin, Texas, eight months ago to join IndyHumane, where his wife works as a veterinarian. He dedicates time to facilitating playgroups and getting to know the dogs, categorizing them as either closed off or “bomb-proof,” referring to dogs with exceptional self-control and adaptability, often seen in service dogs.
Understanding the dogs is a crucial aspect of Shoppach’s role, according to shelter CEO Donna Casamento. With 126 dogs and over 100 cats at the facility, Shoppach’s hands-on approach ensures the animals receive the enrichment they need, increasing the chances of successful adoptions.
One notable success story is Theo, a black pit bull initially terrified of men. Shoppach worked patiently with Theo for several months, gaining his trust through play and eventually introducing the dangle test. Theo’s progress serves as an inspiring example of the positive impact Shoppach’s methods can have on the animals.
The dangle videos, posted mainly on Instagram, have not only drawn the attention of social media users but have also led to approximately 20 adoptions. Additionally, the videos have generated around $5,500 through fundraisers, supporting initiatives like Operation Pitstop, which focuses on spaying and neutering 300 dogs to address the saturation of large bully breeds in the area.
While the playful dangle videos have captured the hearts of viewers, Casamento emphasizes the importance of not attempting such interactions without an established relationship with the dog. She also highlights how Shoppach’s approach has contributed to breaking down stigmas associated with bully breeds, fostering positive perceptions and connections with potential adopters.
For Shoppach, the overwhelming positive response from the public has been a “serotonin boost,” creating a supportive community passionate about his efforts to bring joy and awareness to shelter animals.
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