With the number of pets killed yearly in animal shelters, using the internet to promote the cats and dogs in need of a home should be a top priority for shelters and rescues alike.
Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram can go a long way in getting the word out there that a cat or dog is running out of time and will soon be killed if a home isn’t found. Unfortunately, those who live on social media don’t realize there’s a large percentage of the population that doesn’t approve of sharing their lives and photos with the rest of the world. They avoid Facebook like the plague, don’t understand the meaning of hash tags on Twitter and have no desire to constantly post or keep up with posted photos on Instagram.
In the end, this can hurt shelters and rescues, many of whom only post animals on their Facebook page or on their online website. The problem comes from people who don’t know which rescues operate in their area, and instead turn to sources like freebie ads and Craigslist (which can prove deadly if you meet up with the wrong person). As for animal shelters having their own page on county government sites, many people don’t connect “pets” with “government,” despite a high percentage of shelters operated under city or county leadership.
It’s time to think like the average person looking to adopt a new pet into the family. That person is going to use a search engine and enter “I want to adopt a new pet,” or a similar phrase. Several options will pop up, with the ones listed below being the top sites. I’m not sure how many of these are worldwide, but most cover the U.S. and Canada.
- Petfinder https://www.petfinder.com/pet-adoption/
- Petango http://www.petango.com/
- Rescue Me http://www.rescueme.org/
- Adopt a Pet http://www.adoptapet.com/
- PetHarbor http://www.petharbor.com/
With any of these sites, all a prospective pet parent has to do is enter their zip code or their city and state, and information and a photo of registered adoptable pets will pop up. Not only are these sites user friendly to both adopters and those trying to place a pet, they give a totally different platform that benefits everyone. Shelter or rescue volunteers can work on these pet adoption sites in much the same way they do now in “sharing” shelter pets on social media. The world is full of animal advocates ready to help. It’s time to educate them on new ways to get life-saving results.
PetHarbor goes the extra mile, listing available dogs and cats, puppies and kittens, sheep and horses, parakeets and hamsters. Their pets come from local animal shelters, SPCA, Humane Society, county or city Animal Control, and many private animal-welfare organizations. PetHarbor even has a section for lost and found pets.
Most of these sites offer tips in the selection of a pet, pet care and success stories. Petango is the first adoptable search service that offers real-time updates of adoptable pets in shelters, and are partnered with thousands of animal welfare locations across North America.
The idea for this article came after several of my shelter articles were unpublished by Examiner, where I write about cats and dogs. The reason was not having two linked sources. What this means is there has to be two URL’s to find the pet. The Facebook thread can count as one. An adoption website would provide the other URL. This sounds petty, until I began checking shelters, and found the majority don’t use an pet adoption website to further advertise a cat or dog needing a forever home.
We need to share this article with shelters and rescues, with the hope they’ll decide to start listing their adoptable pets on a pet adoption website. There’s no such thing as too much exposure, and it can often mean the difference between life and death. It’s just one more way we can be the voice for the animals in need of a forever home.
Do any of the readers have experience with using one or more of these pet adoption services? Please leave a comment if you have a preference or if I’ve left out another service that should be listed here.
It would help PoC and rescue animals if you made a short comment using Facebook below – thanks in advance.