There have recently been a lot of fun things happening around dogs and cats. In particular, adoptable animals are getting special attention. Even OK Go made a video last year using all shelter dogs for their “White Knuckles” song.
Best Friends has saved thousands of dogs using the idea of an invisible dog to represent the forgotten pets at city shelters that face little chance of adoption. They were successful through social media and using various layers of action from people. Actions ranged from making a donation to sponsoring an event to help raise awareness. Their efforts were even picked up by Mashable.
The Humane Society is also placing a friendly face on shelter animals. From YouTube:
The Shelter Pet Project is a public service ad campaign focused on
spreading the word that pets in shelters are wonderful and lovable,
and encouraging potential adopters to consider the shelter as the
first place to find a new best friend.
In addition, some of the most viewed videos on YouTube revolve around animals, particularly cats. Cats are so prominent; a parody agency was created to highlight their importance in advertising.
Where is all this animal emphasis coming from? It’s not just that animals need attention. Humans are naturally drawn to dogs and cats because they remind us of babies and trigger parenting feelings. But, why the emphasis right now? Maybe it’s because the current economic downturn has forced many families to abandon their pets in shelters. When budgets get tight, some people are deciding their pets would be better off with another family. Unfortunately, many of these pets are not adopted. In addition, there is some stigma that shelter pets are not adoptable, that they will inherently have behavior problems. Certainly some do, but the vast majority doesn’t.
As the holidays draw closer and some families consider a new pet, I think shelters are trying to shed any negative connotations and find forever homes for their residents. It’s a logical explanation to see so much recent emphasis on shelter animals.
To close, a photo of my shelter dog who happily spends many of her days under my desk.