The other day my Mom and I were talking about all the shelter pets on Facebook and how we wish we could help all of them and how heartbreaking it is. There are so many of them that need homes. My Mom said to me, “I feel like I’m helping in some small way just by sharing their pics.” Yes!!! That really reconfirmed for me that yes pet blogging and social media networking does help pets in need! This sparked my idea for this post, How an Everyday Facebook User Can Help Shelter Pets.
According to the ASPCA, “Approximately 7.6 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year.” There are about 13,600 independent community animal shelters nationwide that rely on donations, foster parents, volunteers, and adopters. With a small or non-existent budget, social media has really been a game changer with getting the word out. Pet rescues and shelters are using social media to post about adoptable pets, lost pets, and to share their message with a much broader audience. All of that social media hype is because of everyday users like you and I.
One Person is All It Takes To Start
Just like the conversation I mentioned above, there’s too many pets that need homes and rescuing. It’s overwhelming to think about it as just one person. You CAN make a difference but realize that you can’t help them all by yourself. That’s where the power of social media comes in. Check out this story about Nico, who was labeled dangerous in an LA shelter but ended up with a FURever home in Indiana thanks to one person starting to share his story. One person snowballs into hundreds and possibly thousands on Facebook. We don’t all have time to volunteer in a shelter. We don’t all necessarily have the money to donate all of the time. Educating and sharing these stories with others IS a way to help and volunteer your time. I love this quote because I think it sums up social media/pet blogging perfectly:
Follow Rescues and Shelters You Believe In
Pick a cause or group that you believe in and follow them on their social media accounts. I have a special place in my heart for Chihuahuas. Obviously. Like I mentioned in the first tip, I can’t help them all but I can help some. I follow a couple of different Chihuahua rescues and shelters. I started doing a daily post on my Facebook page for the “Irresistible Pet” of the day where I share one Chihuahua that needs a FURever home. For my local blog, Hampton Roads Dog Blog, I work with the Norfolk SPCA (a local shelter) to spotlight one family friendly adoptable dog of the week.
Like and Comment on Pics from Rescues and Shelters
I’ve read some debatable content from rescue workers that say not to like and comment on their Facebook pics unless you can actually help. I’ve even seen a few rescue groups I was following berate their followers for “only” liking the pics and not sharing them. Yes, sharing would be ideal so that ALL of your friends see the pic. However, on Facebook anytime you like or comment, it appears in your activity stream which means your friends might see it. Plus, Facebook works from user engagement. Meaning, the more likes/comments, AND shares a photo receives, the more exposure it gets. So, yes “liking” a pic IS helping!
Share Photos on Your Timeline
I want to preface this by saying, it’s ok to be selective in what dogs or cats you share on your timeline. Actually, it’s better that you are and share things that are relevant to your cause and audience. Nobody wants that friend that posts 100 times a day. I know I would seriously consider our Facebook friendship! Sometimes just the simple act of sharing a photo can help someone reunite with their lost pet, find a FURever home, or provide a pet with a surgery or procedure they need. This article, When dogs are lost, anxious owners find eager help on social media, tells how an owner was reunited with her dog with the help of a Facebook page and hashtag campaign, #whereswalita.
Craft for Shelters, started by Sew Doggystyle, is another way social media is helping pets.
Start Your Own Facebook Page or Pet Blog
Want to do more than just like and share pics to your personal Facebook page? It doesn’t cost a penny to start a Facebook Page, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest. Heck, you can even start a pet blog for free! A great example is PoundWishes, which was started by 12 year old McKenzi Taylor. Since launching in March 2014, PoundWishes has granted more than 150 PoundWishes including surgeries to repair broken limbs, medication for skin conditions and caring rehabilitation from the effects of abuse.
If there’s a cause you believe in, use social media to get the word out! There is a niche for everyone and you have a unique voice and outlook on the topic. I learned (and keep learning!) a lot from the free BlogPaws Community. I also started attending the yearly BlogPaws conference and that has really taken my pet blogging career to the next level!
I never thought I would be considered a pet blogger if you would have told me that five years ago. Chuy came into my life and changed the way I look at everything. I always call him my little inspiration because he really did push me to go after my dreams and come out of my shell. It’s because of Chuy that I started Irresistible Pets and our local blog, Hampton Roads Dog Blog.
Now it’s your turn! Leave a comment below and tell us how you use social media and/or pet blogging to help pets in need.