Due to overbreeding and irresponsible breeding, there are more dogs in local shelters and rescues than ever before. Many families love to adopt an animal that needs a good home, but still there are many that want a purebred dog from a responsible breeder. This leaves shelters constantly in need of adoptive and foster families for the pets in their care, and sometimes they need to get creative to attract those families.
Lee County Humane Society in Alabama launched their new initiative last week that they are hoping will drum up a lot of potential pet parents. ‘Selfie September,’ as the event is being called, is off to a great start already. The humane society has already awarded one free adoption and they had more than 20 selfies posted on their social media page last week. They’ve also seen an increase in potential adoptive families stopping by this week.
Administrative and volunteer coordinator for the humane society, Emily Bowling, said that the idea came from the shelters director TJ McCullough. He was searching for a creative way to invite community members to spend time with the animals at the shelter and to raise awareness for animal adoption. The event encourages community members to visit the shelter throughout the month of September and take a selfie with their favorite animal(s).
The pictures are posted to the Lee County Humane Society’s social media pages using the hashtag #LCHselfies. At the end of each week, the animal with the most likes via Facebook and Instagram will receive a free adoption that is open to anyone in the area. Bowling says that when McCullough gets an idea, she gets really excited about it. She says the shelter even went out and bought a bunch of selfie sticks for the occasion.
She also says that the employees at the shelter are extremely excited about Selfie September and they’ve been tracking their hashtag. They are seeing that people in the area are using it and having a lot of fun with it. Bowling said some foster families have even been using the hashtag with their foster pets at home, which has been great because it shows off not only the animals at the shelter, but all the animals that are currently waiting to be adopted.
The social media response to the selfies has been great. The posts have received a lot of comments and the selfies have been shared numerous times as well. Bowling said last week they had 8 people share a selfie on their page on Thursday alone, which is a lot of Facebook action for a small humane society. This event has drawn attention to animals and the Lee County Humane Society. It’s also drawn a lot of attention from young people who frequent social media. Hopefully those young people will spread the word about the shelter and maybe even volunteer there one day.
Social media likes are tallied every weekend and the pet that is in the lead receives a free adoption, which Bowling says usually costs between $105 and $125. All adoptions from the shelter include a microchip, spay and neutering, 30 days of pet health insurance, one free veterinary visit, eight free obedience classes for dogs, one free grooming session, FIV testing for cats, heartworm testing, and all standard vaccinations.
I don’t know about the humane society in your area, but animals from our local humane society do not come with that many freebies. They have their shots, they are spayed or neutered, and they have a microchip, but they don’t get free obedience classes or vet visits. All of those added benefits would certainly spur me to adopt an animal before paying the high cost of a purebred and all of those extra fees on top of it.