A university colleague once suggested that my wife Anne and I might find therapeutic help by starting a 12-step recovery group called Pets Anonymous. That was the time when we had just added a fourth foster dog to our breed brood, along with a cat and another stray dog who took to camping out in our garage. Ray thought maybe we were falling into a pet addiction profile?
Over the past 10 years, we have been a way station for Golden Retrievers, Labs, Goldendoodles, Labradoodles, a Chow, several Greyhounds (very underrated by many as pets), and one strange low-body beagle mongrel we called “Mr. Stubblefield” who loved me, hated everyone else, and often got inexplicably mad at his right rear foot. He was the garage dog who couldn’t decide whether to stay or go.
The Web Connection
The connection between all these animals and the Web 2.0 media is that most of them came our way through online portals. Just about every animal rescue group has taken to the Web to find permanent or foster homes for the available animals. A very brief, partial listing of these sites includes:
There is even a site for those wanting to rescue older dogs (www.srdogs.com) and several for those wanting to rescue horses like www.indianahorserescue.com. Then of course there are the many breed-specific sites like the Greyhound site of www.fastfriends.org.
A rescue database
To show you how these rescue sites work, let’s take a look at one of the largest and most well-known: Petfinder.com, or the last one on the above bulleted list. This outfit, which is really a kind of Grand Central Station for individual adoption agencies, is the virtual home of some 350,000 dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, reptiles, pigs, and other barnyard animals.
Petfinder is a Discovery Communications company, the same outfit that brings us the Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, TLC, Planet Green, etc. Sounds like a neat group to work for if you’re into animals, or exploring/saving the planet. Petfinder says of itself the following:
“Petfinder is an online, searchable database of animals who need homes. It is also a directory of more than 13,000 animal shelters and adoption organizations across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Organizations maintain their own home pages and available-pet databases.”
The folks at Petfinder and the myriad of other individual adoption sites know that pet lovers have become accustomed to using the Web to find pets that best match their needs. Online searches allow them to access an individual shelter’s Web page and find out what kind of pets they have, what the rules of adoption are, whether they are no-kill shelters, how they take care of their animals, etc., etc.
Petfinder is made up of animal-care professionals and everyday animal-lovers who volunteer for local and national animal welfare organizations and groups. Together, these people maintain active and accurate homeless pet lists, and Petfinder acts as a central database for most of these organizations. It is very much like a one-stop shopping mall for pets online.
Gotta read this one
I’ll close out with the tale of one rescued tail, this one attached to a fawn-and-white Whippet named Dapper
who was jettisoned to the ASPCA because he was ill and his owner didn’t take the time to find out what exactly was wrong. An employee took interest in the dog, however, had him examined and the problem turned out to be minimal. The result? The loving owner writes:
“As the saying toes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. What a gem! Dapper was easily assimilated into my furry family of one Italian Greyhound and three cats – ass rescues. He aced his obedience class and went on to a career as a therapy dog, working with mentally challenged adults and nursing home residents. However, his most important work was with young men and women dying from AIDS-related illnesses. His story of being cast out because of an illness struck home with many. By empathizing with a skinny, old Whippet, they could finally express their own pain and anger.” (http://www.petfinder.com/before-pet-adoption/tale-dapper-dog.html)
What else is there to say other than, “Wow!” Or maybe even (grrrr…) “Bow Wow?”