The twenty-first century has brought many changes to our day-to-day lives. From smartphones and the ubiquitous selfie, dating apps to subscription boxes, technology has changed the way we interact with the world. Social media is changing nearly every industry, shifting the way we perform both daily and one-time functions. One of these inventions is changing the landscape of pet adoption: social media, Instagram, specifically, is bringing shelter dogs into the homes of millions of followers through photographs.
Dog shelters and animal rescues are increasingly turning to social media platforms like Instagram to spread the word of available pet adoptions. Through building these accounts, the shelter is able to reach a broader audience than they may otherwise access. The message does not need to be defined; a shelter may build a profile to raise awareness for animal shelters, preach the “Adopt, Don’t Shop” gospel, or—increasingly— advertise animals up for adoption. This platform and social tool has allowed thousands of animals find their forever homes.
Social media implies distance. If you start an Instagram account for your shelter, most of your followers, likely, will not live near the facility. However, in the age of the Internet, a person can fall in love with a pet several states away. This puts you, the shelter owner or manager, in a difficult position: an adoption can open up space for another stray, but you don’t have the resources to bring the animal yourself. This is where relocation comes in.
Pet relocation is a scary process—you put an animal in the hands of another, disinterested person and hope for the best, right? Fortunately, the twenty-first century has also brought advancements to the world of pet travel. If you want to ship an animal to a forever home, you can do so via an airline’s cargo facility. If you want to bring the animal yourself, you can fly with him in the cabin or as checked baggage. Flight-related pet casualties are decreasing by the year, and many dog shelters provide a shipping option for those unable to visit the facility. If somebody sees an animal on your Instagram, wants to adopt him, but can’t fly out to do the job, shipping is a wonderful option.
If the adopter is interested in flying to your facility to pick up the pet, you want to equip them with the knowledge necessary to have a successful trip home. Pet policies vary by airport and airline, but databases exist to aid the experience. We recommend having a resource on-hand in case an adopter wants to fly the dog home but doesn’t know how to begin the process.
Social media can do more than raise awareness for dog shelters. Building a successful profile can increase your reach, increase adoptions, and have tangible, financial consequences. If you’re worried about the shipping process, check out the ASPCA’s official statement.