|Use your Facebook to connect with shelter pets
Social media is another tool to help pets find permanent homes
By: Mickey Zeldes
Are you a Facebook user? It’s amazing how many people are using social media to stay in contact and share their lives with their friends and acquaintances.
It’s a fairly recent phenomenon, and I have to admit I’m a bit in the dark about it all. But what I do know is it’s proving to be a wonderful way to promote adoption animals and our events.
Have your quota of animals? Not in the market for another? Afraid to volunteer at the shelter for fear that you will be sucked in by a pair of pleading brown eyes? You can still help by sharing our posts through Facebook and our Web site. I believe someone out there knows someone who is looking for a pet just like one waiting for a home in our shelter. Similar to the dating game, it’s not what you know but who you know to help connect you with the right person – or in our case, companion animal.
I was surprised (and told I shouldn’t be) when a photo of some of our pups was posted and, in just the time it took to refresh the page, two people had already liked it. We post flyers about particular animals for adoption you can print out and put up on community bulletin boards, like at work or where you shop. You can also share them on your wall and send them via email to all your contacts. Think of the number of people reached in just a few hours. Become a fan of the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter’s Facebook page and help extend our network.
We also promote our events and classes on both our Facebook page and Web site, so you can help us get the word out. Know someone with a rabbit? Tell them about our upcoming Bunny Basics adult education class on March 13 with SaveABunny founder Marcy Schaaf. Know someone with children in grades 3-6? Let them know about our spring break animal camp, “Fur, Fun, and Animals 2”, March 26-28. Work with those with financial needs? Inform your clients about our free cat, and low-cost dog, spay and neuter program. And let everyone you know that lives in Rohnert Park and Cotati about our goal to microchip 500 pets – free.
Social media is not just the way of the future – it’s the way to spread information now. Unlike print ads, which have to be sent in several days in advance so they’re already dated when they appear, using Facebook is instant and current. In some ways that is scary – we take a picture of an animal being adopted and before he even reaches the car, let alone his new home, hundreds of people have sent congratulations and good wishes. We need to harness that energy and connectivity to help our animals move into homes faster. Won’t you “fan” us and help make that happen?
Upcoming events: Free microchips extended – until we do 500 animals. Come in during any of our open hours (Wednesday 1-6:30 p.m.; Thursday, Friday and Saturday 1-5:30 p.m.; and Sunday 1-4:30 p.m.) with your dogs and cats – no appointment necessary. Offer for residents of Rohnert Park and Cotati only (proof of residency required).
Bunny Day: Meet the Bunny Event, second Saturday of each month (next is March 9), 1-5 p.m. Meet our adoptable rabbits, have your care questions answered by our knowledgeable rabbit volunteers, bring your rabbit for a free nail trim and support our small animals by shopping our Bunny Boutique for fresh hay, treats and toys.
Animal Talk: Series of adult-ed programs – next is Bunny Basics, with Marcy Schaaf, founder of SaveABunny, Wednesday, March 13, from 6:30-8 p.m., $10 per person. Register by calling 584-1582 during the shelter’s open hours.
Mickey Zeldes is the supervisor at the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter. She can be contacted at email@example.com.