Monday, June 27, 2011

How Facebook Helps Pets In Need

By Linda Cole

Anyone with a Facebook account understands the addictive nature of this social networking site. It's a place where anyone can go to meet new people (with the proper precautions), get information and find pets that are in need of homes. The site even helps lost pets that have gone through natural disasters get reunited with frantic owners who were searching for them. Facebook is helping to change the plight of pets, one animal at a time.

Natural disasters affect not only the people who experience them directly, but those of us who only witness them via TV reports and now, social media. This year's violent and deadly tornadoes have given new meaning to “keep your eye on the weather.” People who live in tornado prone states aren't taking warnings and watches for granted this year. We can't do anything about the weather, but we can help those affected by it in ways that weren't possible five years ago.

Several days after the Joplin tornado, my Facebook news page was filled with posts from people who’d found pets in a demolished home or wandering aimlessly among the rubble. I also saw a number of posts from pet owners asking if anyone had seen their pet. It struck me then that Facebook had become a sort of “bulletin board” for lost and found. This is not what we see on TV news reports. Oh sure, we get some personal stories, but we don't get the day-to-day activities that go on after a natural disaster. I gladly shared each post I saw hoping it might help reunite pets with their owners. It was my only way of trying to help. But the power of social media cannot be denied, and I know that sharing someone else's post might lead to a person who was able to help in a way I couldn't.

Rescue groups and shelters have also discovered how a social networking site like Facebook can help them reach more people throughout the country. I follow 30 or so rescue sites, and on any given day I see appeals from these groups for pets in overflowing shelters that need forever homes. It may seem like a small thing to simply click “share,” but doing so does have the potential to make a difference. Every now and then, a shelter dog or cat does find a home via Facebook.

Causes you are passionate about are easy to follow on Facebook. As with political influence, when large groups of people who are interested in a particular cause have the opportunity to join together and speak in one voice, people listen. Patrick is an abused pit bull who is lucky to have been found. His story began circulating on Facebook, and as more and more people got involved, outrage turned into action. “Patrick's Law” was started as a grassroots effort to bring about change in pet abuse laws that would make abuse a felony with stricter punishments. Whether or not this grassroots cry for justice has the power to promote change is yet to be seen, but without Facebook it wouldn’t have reached enough people and likely would have died out before it had a chance to get started.

Facebook has given a voice to regular people from around the country to address their concerns about a shelter in their area who may not be in business for the best welfare of the pets in their care. Some no kill facilities have been found to be anything but. The only way we can change how things are done is by passing the word to one person at a time. We do have a powerful voice – if we all speak up together. Pets have no voice, but Facebook is changing that.

The CANIDAE Facebook page is a great place to stay up-to-date on all the news from CANIDAE Natural Pet Food Company. You can find updates on your favorite CANIDAE dog food and treats, sponsored events and more informative articles. It's also a great place to get in touch with the wonderful customer service people at CANIDAE if you have any questions. If you have a kitty, be sure to bookmark the FELIDAE Cat Food Facebook page as well.

With the advent of social networking sites like Facebook, one person can make a difference in the life of a pet – even if that pet is thousands of miles away. A simple “share” gets important information passed along in the hope it will lead to the right person. And sometimes it does. A special deaf dog named Nico was saved because of a picture posted on Facebook.

Photo by Yukari

Read more articles by Linda Cole


  1. Facebook is a super place just for those reasons. It gets the news out about all the animals that need homes right away. I have seen so many animals find homes that were an hour away from death row. It is just awesome.

  2. I missed this (great!) post the first time around, Linda. I just followed the link from Suzanne Alicie's (08/23/11) post, and am glad I did. Facebook and the other social networking sites really are terrific tools for spreading news quickly. And when it comes to saving animals' lives, speed is of the essence. Be well!


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