Shelter pets are joining video calls — making meetings 100% better

© Michigan Animal Rescue League

By Jen Reeder, TODAY

Earlier this week, Tennessee’s Nashville Humane Association hosted meet-and-greets between adoptable dogs and potential adopters. While the animals played, shelter employees answered questions about the pups’ personalities, affinity for kids and medical backgrounds — for the nearly 3,000 people watching on the videoconferencing platform Zoom.

“When you’re faced with not being able to have members of the public in your facility, and you’re not sure how long or when you’re going to be able to do that safely again, you need to innovate,” Becca Morris, director of development and operations, told TODAY. “You have to figure out good ways to find homes for homeless pets. So it’s been a labor of love.”

© Courtesy of the Michigan Animal Rescue League

© Courtesy of Nashville Humane Association   A dog wearing a bow tie smiles at the camera. (Courtesy of Nashville Humane Association)

All of the dogs featured so far on the new Dogs on Zoom program have people applying to adopt them. When the adoptions are finalized, the shelter will provide a curbside pickup to keep the exchange as contact-free as possible.

The adoption fees will also be free, since the Pedigree brand sponsors dogs adopted through the program. Nashville Humane Association was the first beneficiary, but Pedigree is in talks with a number of shelters around the country to schedule virtual adoption events throughout May and into June, according to Craig Neely, vice president of marketing at Mars Petcare.

© Courtesy of Michigan Animal Rescue League   Shelter pets for rent join Zoom meetings (Courtesy of Michigan Animal Rescue League)

“During this time of social distancing and shelter-in-place orders, many people are turning to pets for companionship,” he told TODAY in an email. “The Pedigree brand wanted to help share this new best practice of virtual adoption, making it easy for people to find their new best friend, and for adoptable pets to find their forever homes.”

Scheduled dates include SPCA Florida in Lakeland, Fla. on May 14, 15 and 18; The Little Guild in Cornwall, Conn. on May 19-21; Louisiana SPCA in New Orleans, La. on May 22, 25 and 26; Fairfield Area Humane Society in Lancaster, Ohio on May 27-29; and Dallas Pets Alive in Dallas, Texas on June 1-3.

As new events are confirmed, they’ll be added to the Dogs on Zoom website at The site also offers a free digital toolkit for any shelter interested in creating virtual adoption events.

Of course, adopting a pet is a lifetime commitment. For people who won’t have time to care for a dog once they return to work, there are other ways to help, such as participating in online fundraisers for shelters.

On April 16, the nonprofit Michigan Animal Rescue League in Pontiac, Michigan, launched a videoconferencing fundraiser in which people can “rent” an adoptable dog, cat or kitten to appear in Zoom meetings. A 15-minute cameo garners a $50 donation.

Audrey Blaylock, communications manager, said it’s already proven a success, with pets appearing in business meetings, virtual happy hours and children’s birthday parties.

© Courtesy of Michigan Animal Rescue League   A girl holds a cat during her Zoom birthday party. (Courtesy of Michigan Animal Rescue League)

“Animals just bring people joy, and we wanted to come up with a way to bring a little bit of that joy to all the people who are at home using videoconferencing to stay connected,” she told TODAY. “Not to mention, it’s also a really good cause. All the funds that we’ve raised from the program will directly benefit the animal you’re conferencing with and others like them who are relying on our services.”

Michigan Animal Rescue League has a specific playroom where the pets can just “do their thing” while a camera captures their antics. The animals’ schedules are filling up quickly; the program has already raised over $1,500.

© Courtesy of Michigan Animal Rescue League   A pit bull participates in a Zoom meeting. (Courtesy of Michigan Animal Rescue League)

“Business calls can get a little bit stale after some time, so we see the animal pop up on the screen and everybody’s faces light up,” she said. “Everybody’s smiling. That’s the fun of it.”

Getting creative with fundraising when in-person events are on hold is crucial to the survival of shelters like Michigan Animal Rescue League. Blaylock said canceling the annual "Yappy Hour" fundraiser means the organization must raise an additional $150,000 to meet operating needs. She hopes the online version to be held the first week of June will still be a success to benefit animals in need.

© Courtesy of Michigan Animal Rescue League   A pit bull wears a shower cap after a bath at a shelter. (Courtesy of Michigan Animal Rescue League)

“We’re still here, even during all of this,” she said. “The animals in our care are still receiving the same medical care, love and attention we always provide. We’re very proud to say that.”

See more at: TODAY



BestLife Insider - Health, Lifestyle, Travel and More ...: Shelter pets are joining video calls — making meetings 100% better
Shelter pets are joining video calls — making meetings 100% better
BestLife Insider - Health, Lifestyle, Travel and More ...
Loaded All Posts Not found any posts VIEW ALL Read More Reply Cancel reply Delete By Home PAGES POSTS View All RECOMMENDED FOR YOU LABEL ARCHIVE SEARCH ALL POSTS Not found any post match with your request Back Home Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat January February March April May June July August September October November December Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec just now 1 minute ago $$1$$ minutes ago 1 hour ago $$1$$ hours ago Yesterday $$1$$ days ago $$1$$ weeks ago more than 5 weeks ago Followers Follow THIS PREMIUM CONTENT IS LOCKED STEP 1: Share to a social network STEP 2: Click the link on your social network Copy All Code Select All Code All codes were copied to your clipboard Can not copy the codes / texts, please press [CTRL]+[C] (or CMD+C with Mac) to copy Table of Content