Social media has become a lifesaver for homeless animals around the globe. A picture, a post and a share on various social media outlets has helped network countless pets to a rescue or forever home. Unfortunately, too many groups must resort to blurry photos that make it harder to help. Now, there’s a new app – Pose A Pet – that makes better pet rescue photos a snap.
“Each year, millions of pets die for the simple reason that they do not have a home,” says Jennifer Whaley of Fetch Portraits. “Good pictures go a long way to help save the lives of these pets and move them out of high kill shelters or out of no kill shelters, which opens up space for more pets. Good technology, photos and networking will go a long way to change the statistics.”
Whaley knows quite a bit about taking photos of homeless pets. A pet photography business had always been a dream of her father’s. She had been helping her dad launch that business when he became sick and died. When she decided to go out on her own, her first photos to build her portfolio were of shelter dogs at Chicago Canine Rescue.
Capturing homeless pets
“They gave me a key to the shelter and let me go to work. I struggled through the first 6 months or so by using treats and the few noises I’m able to make myself. It was really hard to get their attention, competing with all the other things going on in the shelter.” says Whaley. “So, I made a necklace full of noisemakers. It worked so well I still use the same one, 1,500 rescues later. Although this was a solution for me, I thought there had to be a better way.”
Her better way is a smart phone app called Pose A Pet. While it works great for taking photos of any pet – including your family cat or dog – where this iPhone app really shines is the other features that enable you to network. You can create flyers and post on Facebook and Twitter (and soon on Pinterest and Flicker as well).
Pose A Pet
“We’ve actually taken Pose A Pet up a notch to enable rescues to easily network their pets needing homes,” says Whaley. “We’ve also launched Photos to the Rescue, a new website that aggregates all of the Pose A Pet fliers by state and region and allows people to sign up for daily updates in their area.”
While photography and animal rescue are Whaley’s passion, she and Jeff Everett (her partner in life, crime and all things entrepreneurial) also run several other web-based ventures. Social media and networking in the small business community have been instrumental as they’ve built those companies, much like they are in animal rescue.
There is a free version of Pose A Pet that will allow you to choose from four sound effects, create a flyer and post on social media with the logo in the photo. However, you won’t be able to save that photo to your camera roll. The premium version is $1.99 and offers a choice of 20 photographer tested sounds. You can also create and save pictures and flyers to social media and your camera roll and share without the Pose A Pet logo for free.
“After working with rescues to photograph dogs, I had thought about a laundry list of all the things a rescue needs to do in order to get a dog ready to be adopted out,” says Whaley. “’Take award winning photo, create an eye-catching flyer and share on social media’ could all be checked off. This makes it so easy for anyone from animal control to transports to rescues to snap a good photo and network away.”
Supporting pet rescue
Along with creating the Photos to the Rescue site, Whaley says they’ll be doing more to highlight rescues. Each month, a different rescue will be featured on the Blog for Photos to the Rescue. During July, the featured organization will be The Puppy Mill Project, an advocacy group that educates the public on the connection between puppy mills and the dogs sold in pet stores, on the Internet and in newspaper ads.
“I think the rescues will love this because they rely so much on social media to save lives and find homes for the animals in their care,” says Cari Meyers, founder of The Puppy Mill Project. “This is a brilliant way to give everyone access at the click of a button and is a win-win situation for everyone, especially the animals.”
Whaley and Everett are already working on an updated version of the app to help animal rescue even more. An Android version is also in the works and should be ready soon. Purchasing the premium version helps them continue to work on upgrades and creating better ways to network pets in need.
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