Social Networking & Pet Adoption: How to Help Save Lives

With the holiday season just behind us, I’m sure there are many pets out there with new homes to start the New Year out in. Many animals are given loving homes every year thanks to the internet, which has made pet adoption simple. I just adopted a pet online myself and found it quite easy to do with all the information available.

According to the American Humane Society, 9.6 million animals are put to sleep in the U.S. every year. When I first read this statistic, I couldn’t believe it. One factor reportedly contributing to animal euthanasia is our inclination to buy pets from pet stores and breeders.

Over the past five years, the amount of breeders in the U.S. has risen 20%. Breeders often underestimate the amount of puppies in a litter and the dogs not bought from the breeder often end up in a shelter. This only contributes to the overpopulation. And many pet stores generally get their dogs from puppy mills, where dogs are forced to live out their lives in small cages and breed litters at an unhealthy rate.

(Kudos to the Traverse City PetSmart store for working with A.C.Paw to find new homes for sheltered animals.)

With the growing popularity of online social networking, it only makes sense that pet adoption would become a part of it.

PetDex is a social network focused on online pet adoptions. Anyone can browse pet profiles, search for pets and shelters, and read articles on certain breeds so you can find just the right addition to your family. PetDex even displays the “Pet of the Week” on its homepage to make sure pets that have been up for adoption longer get the attention they deserve and a fair shot at being adopted.

Dogpile is a search engine with social networking tools to help connect future pet owners with adoptable animals.

Dogpile provides information about adopting pets based on the type, breed, and location and pulls information from Petfinder.com (another pet adoption website) and displays it on Facebook and Myspace pages. Dogpile is also a metasearch engine that combines search results from Google, Yahoo, Windows Live Search, and Ask. Once you put in what you are looking for, and tell it to “Go Fetch,” your bundle of joy is one step closer to you. Easy as that!

There are plenty of websites that assist in the pet adoption process, including Petfinder.com, Adoptapet.com, and Nextdaypets.com. Most of these types of websites let you find your pet by breed, type, size, age, gender, and location. They generally even give tips on how to find the right pet for you, taking care of your pet, and what to expect after the adoption process is completed.

So, if you are one of the people out there that didn’t happen to get a pet over the holiday season and are contemplating getting a little (or big) addition to the family, you may want to consider beginning your search online. You can adopt the pet online or search for a shelter in your area.

Just remember, the next time you see those cute little puppies in the pet store window, adopting a pet from a shelter or rescue, whether it’s online or not, is the most humane option. Let’s give these animals the fair shot at life they deserve! And don’t forget to spay or neuter your new pet to help stop the overpopulation problem.