Due to many different reasons, perfectly good dogs and cats end up on death row in shelters across the United States. People dump their unwanted animals there, erroneously thinking that they will be safe there or will find new homes quickly. Wrong. The truth is, animals brought to most shelters are usually put to sleep soon after arriving there. They aren’t given much time, sometimes only a day or two. Many catch shelter colds and die from sickness if not adopted immediately. This is not the way to treat a loving, loyal companion. Without being saved, these animals have little to no chance of living out their precious lives.
The answer to the problem of animals dying in shelters is to network to get them homes. Good avenues for networking them are Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Google + and other social media sites. By doing this, you are not only increasing the likelihood of the featured animals getting adopted but you bring awareness of the problem of shelters to the public, so that people will be less likely to put their animals in there. How do you do it? Here is a primer in saving lives.
1) Take photos of animals on death row, or use ones posted on the websites of each Animal Control or AC (most counties and cities have them) then post the photo with the contact information of the location, the identification number or name of the animal that needs adopting, and state how urgently the animal needs to be out of this location (immediately, in most cases).
2) Tell your friends online and off to do the same, to take your posts and to share them. Make sure to inform them that it is important to keep your postings short, to the point and with the correct information so there is no mistake in contacting the right people to get that pet saved.
3) Talk to the shelter staff or check the shelter website to know the status of the animal being featured. Has it been adopted? If not, then re-post the same information again, stating that this pet now urgently needs adopting, and to please share the information with others.
Many shelters are on Facebook, and many will post pictures of animals they are currently housing. Not all shelters have the same rules. Some will allow interstate adoption, others won’t. If yours does not allow adoption over state lines, then you must find a licensed rescue to get the pet out of the shelter for you. They can sometimes help arrange transportation to your state, just ask. Rescues and foster homes are usually willing to help private people trying to save an animal, as they all are in business to save lives. Find them online by searching for dog or cat rescues in the area you plan to adopt from.
If you adopt an animal, there is usually a fee to get it out of the shelter, ranging from a few dollars to under $100. It’s a small price to pay for the life you are planning to save. Rescues sometimes can have the fee waived. If you see that the animal is "sponsored", then that means that the "pull fee" is paid for by someone else, and all you must do is fill out a form and if they accept your request for the animal, it’s yours.
You don’t have to house animals in your home to help save pets. Just have the desire to help, and the drive to post their information for the world to see. Be prudent in what you post so you don’t come across as too morbid or pushy. This really turns people off and they won’t help if they’re depressed by all of your posts. Do it in a kind, to-the-point way so the information is presented then follow up later. Try to leave the emotion out of posts, just state facts, if possible (it is hard). Telling others who follow your posts who is "safe" later is always encouraging, making others want to help you more. It only takes a little time, so save lives by helping those who cannot help themselves. Crossposting, that is, sharing these faces is life-saving and really does work. They depend upon us.