Using Petfinder 101

Groups on Petfinder

Grammy the sheep is just one of many animals listed in the "Barnyard" category on Petfinder.
Grammy the sheep is just one of many animals listed in the "Barnyard" category on Petfinder.
Image courtesy Petfinder

Breed-specific Rescues

As the name implies, breed-specific rescues accept only animals of their designated breed. Many will accept them regardless of their age, physical condition or veterinary needs. These groups are usually "no kill." They take in animals of their breed from animal shelters as well as owner surrenders.

Other Groups

In addition to the formal rescue groups and shelters, there are Petfinder listings for veterinarians' offices and vet schools that routinely rescue unwanted animals, as well as a few small groups started and run by children.

Beyond Dogs and Cats

Similar to "breed rescue," there are special rescues for animals other than dogs and cats. There are horse rescue groups and ferret rescue groups, bird rescue groups and reptile rescue groups. You can even find a pig on Petfinder. Though there are fewer of these groups on Petfinder, their numbers are growing.

How Groups Use Petfinder

Different groups may overlap and, in an ideal scenario, they work together. Rescue groups not only use Petfinder to place their pets, but to communicate with each other and to surf shelters for animals they feel they can help.

Breed enthusiasts frequently search Petfinder looking for their breed in municipal shelters; the rescue group often takes these animals, making room for other animals at the shelter. The pictures posted on Petfinder allow breed specialists to locate and save dogs that they never would have known about otherwise.

In regions where effective spay/neuter programs have reduced the number of available animals needing homes, Petfinder enables local groups to find adoptable homeless animals in areas that still need assistance. These animals travel with the help of volunteers and transport companies to places where there is higher demand. Using Petfinder allows a rescue group in Vermont to save an unwanted dog in South Carolina.

Once a group is issued a site, it's a simple matter to add their information and begin uploading pets. To post a pet on Petfinder, a member must log in to the administration page using his or her shelter ID and password. Once in, the member can upload a new pet, as well as change or modify the listing of existing animals.

Putting in the pet's description. Putting in the pet's description.
Putting in the pet's description.
Image courtesy Petfinder

The "Add New Pet" page has pulldown menus for breed, age, size and gender as well as check boxes for veterinary and training status and adoption restrictions. Petfinder allows a maximum of two breeds, three pictures and one video for each pet. However, the narrative portion can include a more extensive biography, as well as adoption and contact info for the group.

With practice, a member can easily upload a new pet in just a few minutes. This is important because spare time is scarce for rescue workers and time is usually of the essence for the animals.

The "Add New Pet" page The "Add New Pet" page
The "Add New Pet" page
Image courtesy Petfinder

Rescue groups can track the number of hits each animal gets or can break down interest by breed. They can search for new volunteers or edit their homepage. Everything is user-friendly and does not require any knowledge of HTML or programming. When an animal is adopted, administrators can change its status to "adopted," thereby adding it to their list of "Happy Tails."