Why Facebook Is A Rescue Dog’s (Second) Best Friend

Lori Ennis
by Lori Ennis
While Facebook and social media spent last year taking hit after hit for privacy breaches, fake news and a host of other ills people have with the Internet, animal advocacy groups say that Facebook and social media sites are still a (shelter) dog’s best friend. Second to their humans, of course.

It’s a new age–more people start their day with their social media app of preference than they do the morning paper now, and frankly, you get a whole lot more information in a lot less time doing so. While not all that information is accurate (ahem, fake news) or even necessarily pertinent, we weed through because we’re looking for those dopamine hits.

Which is exactly why animal advocacy groups are so glad to have sites like Facebook and Instagram around. While 2018 brought Facebook to apology after apology for data breaches, hate speech and fake news as well as to hearings in front of the U.S. and European Union governments, animal rescue and advocacy groups think it’s their best weapon in defeating homelessness for animals.

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In an article with CNET, Kymberlie Adams says it’s simple. She’s the social media director of the ASPCA and she says that social media saves lives–there’s so much it lets advocacy groups do that couldn’t happen otherwise.

Stuff like posts about dogs on high-kill shelters going viral and people all over the country trying to save special needs dogs. Before the Internet, and particularly social media sites that share rapidly, those dogs might perish because they simply didn’t have the exposure they needed to get to the right furever home.

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In my own family, we are now parents to a new puppy that we came across from a Facebook Post about K-9 Lifesavers. K-9 Lifesavers is an all-volunteer, approved 501(c)(3), private non-profit rescue group and they depend on social media to get the word out about what they do. They rescue dogs and puppies from high-kill and high-risk shelters in the southeastern United States and help them have very different lives. Though we had been contemplating a puppy since our Golden died last summer, I was randomly looking through Facebook and came across a sweet little face, wondering how in the WORLD that dog could have been on any shelter’s high-kill list. Lo and behold, the rescue was close enough (within 2 hours) for us to go get her and the rest? Happily ever after for us and our sweet girl.

A study done by the ASPCA found that over 75% of shelters and rescue organizations they surveyed said that social media use has increased in the last year and that Facebook was the number one choice for efficacy in adoption increases. Nearly 70% of those surveyed said that social media has definitely increased fundraising opportunities and dollars, and most importantly–special needs and senior dogs have a platform that allows them to shine for the amazing dogs they are and find the perfect homes. A September study by the ASPCA found that 76 percent of the shelters and rescue organizations surveyed say their social media use has increased in the last year, with Facebook being cited as the most effective platform for increasing adoptions. Sixty-six percent said social media had boosted fundraising levels and 56 percent said it’s helped them be more successful with placing senior animals or those with special needs.

And think about it…with over two billion users, and the ease of simply ‘sharing’ a picture–it makes total sense. Not only for adoption but for awareness and advocacy. Olivia Melihov is the director of social media strategy for the ASPCA and said that in 2018, the ASPCA raised $4.5 million using tools available to organizations on Facebook.

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And Facebook is happy to give and help. Paul Youn is the director of charitable giving partnerships with Facebook and says that they are happy to help ensure animals in need are taken care of. They purposely build fundraising tools and features so nonprofits can do just what so many animal advocacy and welfare groups are doing–taking care of animals as best they can.

Best? If you’ve ever been looking to help your local shelter, guess what? You could EASILY do so by hanging out and sharing on social media with them. At the end of the day, we all want what’s best for all animals and if you’re already there on social media anyway? Use Facebook for good and find furry friends furever homes!

Lori Ennis
Lori Ennis

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