LAWTON, Okla._Lawton Animal Welfare has joined up with an online database in their ongoing effort to help their animals find a "furever home."
Lawton is now among more than 14,000 shelters across North America that partner with Petfinder, one of the largest online, searchable databases for animals. Previously, the shelter relied on Facebook to get the animals noticed, but are hopeful this will generate more attention for the animals that are ready for adoption.
Aside from the size of the pool these pets will be a part of, each animal gets a picture and a special profile written about them that tells about their personality. It's like a dating website, but it matches people with a compatible pet.
Lawton Animal Welfare superintendent Russell Anderson says the goal is always to get the animals adopted.
"Every different platform that I can get that's going to increase it, I'm going to take that step," Anderson said.
On average, most animals are adopted in a week or two, but because people will be able to choose criteria for their perfect companion, Anderson expects the adoption rate to drastically increase.
"We're hoping with Petfinder, with the wider range, that we're going to get 10 times the amount of people that are going to want to come down and fall in love with the one," Anderson said.
Petfinder also comes with some added perks, like a free, 30-day insurance policy for your new pet.
"If they do come down with something, you can take them to the vet and now you're covered," Anderson explained.
Anderson is hopeful this will also help people who may not be able to afford a vet bill for something like kennel cough.
"You take them to the vet, you pay the vet bill, you send them off, and these people will pay you back for the money," Anderson added.
Another perk is the microchipping.
"We may be able to get microchips even cheaper now being a partner with Petfinder," Anderson said.
Anderson says just because you may fall in love with the animal online, they won't be taking reservations.
"You have to physically come down here to the shelter and pick them out, interact with them. You know, just don't come down and say I want this one without even holding them or saying 'hello' yet. Come down and interact with them, that's what we really want," Anderson said.
Petfinder was free to join, and they only have five animals listed for now. They are working to get all the adoptable pet's pictures and profiles on to the website, and those will be cross-posted with Facebook.