You can find a pet from anywhere

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I admit it, I’ve always been a bit of a geek at heart, growing up with episodes of Star Trek and science fiction novels full of amazing technology that seemed to help society. I’ve always believed that technology can bring us closer as a community and strengthen our social bonds. When classmates in college would argue that technology was causing people to distance themselves from others, I’d point out how Instant Messaging helped me stay in touch with my grandfather and Facebook kept me close with my cousin. I’d talk about the communities that formed on blogging sites and how, because of that, I had friends in Seattle and San Francisco despite living in Cincinnati.

black and white happy dog

Atlas is an adoptable dog near my big brother’s home in Texas.

So when Petfinder was invited to participate in  Pet ‘Net 2012, I was thrilled to be part of a visible discussion about pet adoption — happening on blogs all over the internet! When topics were discussed, I knew exactly what I wanted to blog about: how the Petfinder website and technology have helped me connect with others while helping pets find homes.

The truth is, pet adoption makes me happier than even a dish of dark chocolate mousse can (and I really like dark chocolate mousse.) The thing is, the joy of dark chocolate mousse lasts about five minutes at best – and then there are those extra calories.  But the joy of Petfinder goes on and on, from letting people in on the greatest pet matching site in the world to hearing their happy tails after they’ve found the pets of their dreams. And that’s just the human side of the story. There are also all those pets saved.  Read on for three examples of how I’ve used technology and Petfinder to help friends, relatives and even a bar mate look for pets.

My brother, Chris, lives in El Paso, TX. I live in Silver Spring, MD. You’d think, because of this, that I couldn’t do much a year ago when Chris first started thinking about adopting a dog. You’d be wrong. I brought all my favorite dog training and behavior books to our parents’ home that Christmas for him to borrow and read. I also showed him the Petfinder site and how to look up dogs near him. It was awesome to be able to share something with my brother even though we were states away from each other. We normally only see each other once or twice a year, but because of Petfinder (sappy as I’m sure this sounds) we were able to hang out online and share in a dog search. Not only was I able to help my brother see how he could save a life, but I got some quality time with my big brother.

Not long after starting with Petfinder I went to visit my boyfriend’s dad in New Hampshire. My boyfriend’s stepsister, Thais, and her boyfriend, A.J. also came in from Boston and we got to hang out, play pool and go bowling together. At one point, Thais asked if I knew how to find cats who were polydactyl because she thought those cats were especially cute. My boyfriend gave a little fake groan, told Thais she had no idea what she was in for, then handed me his iPad and declared that he’d head down to play pool with A.J. I showed Thais how to use Petfinder. We looked at cats near her of different ages and with different names. It wasn’t the right time yet for her and A.J. to adopt but Thais assured me that when it was time, she’d definitely use Petfinder to find the perfect pet.

Just the other week, actually the very day that Petfinder announced the release of the new Petfinder mobile site, I was enjoying a post-work happy hour with the aforementioned boyfriend. Another gentleman was sitting at the bar with us and, as tends to happen at that establishment, we struck up a conversation. As always happens in conversations with new friends in DC, he asked what I did for a living. After I explained, he bet me that there wouldn’t be any Mastiffs available for adoption in the area because, he was certain, dogs like that never ended up in shelters and rescues — they could only be found at breeders. I’ve long known that almost any breed can be found on Petfinder so I pulled out my phone and proved him wrong. I then shared a glass of sangria from our pitcher and he asked some intelligent questions about shelters and rescues, and how dogs ended up at them.

Because of the technology that led to the internet, Petfinder is able to exist. Because of Petfinder, my big brother and I got to participate together in his search for a dog. Because of wireless internet, I was able to show Thais potential cats from the comfort of her mom’s couch. Because of smartphones and mobile websites, I was able to not only win a bar bet (always important) but also show someone that the exact breed of dog he wanted to be his pet was available for adoption in our area (far more important than any bar bet). And because of a blogging platform, I’m able to share this with all of you and encourage you to keep using technology to help pets. You don’t have to run up to people in bars, but when friends or relatives mention wanting a pet this holiday season, you can show them how easy it is to find one with their criteria and save a life by adopting.