Monday, May 13, 2013

A Pixel Special Report on The Joy of Animal Rescue & Recognition from Pet Finders

 This is a Pixel Blue Eyes special report! I am so excited to share this good news with all my friends as we continue to prepare for our great adventure of going to Blog Paws 2013 this week!!
Last week, the Blog Paws team told all bloggers who are planning on attending the Blog Paws 2013 Pet Blogging and Social Media Conference, that Pet Finders, the world's largest pet adoption and care website, was having a contest to "adopt" 10 bloggers who are actively involved in or have a passion for helping rescue pets. The 10 bloggers would then be given some great opportunities while at the Blog Paws conference.Bloggers just had to answer some questions that Pet Finders posed to learn a little about what we do.
The two main questions they asked were 1) Explain how you help adoptable pets and pets in need";  and 2) "What inspired you to help pets in need with your blog?" What Mommy Jenny wrote about her work with the Smyth County Animal Shelter is below.

Senior dog Bo was adopted by a wonderful couple!
I volunteer each week at my local shelter. Every weekend I go to the Smyth County Animal Shelter in Marion VA and take pet portraits of all adoptable dogs and cats, working closely with Officer Kristy Moore (an amazing animal advocate) and the wonderful shelter staff. I take my time with each pet, as needed, to help bring out a smile and make them feel more secure as I take their photos. I spend many more hours making adoption posters for each pet, adding extra special touches to make the posters and the animals themselves as appealing as possible. I am co-administrator for the shelter Facebook page, and upload all the posters as they are completed, encouraging our followers to share, cross post and adopt. I regularly contact rescue groups and individuals about certain dogs or cats, such as breed specific rescues, senior rescues and other special cases. I also create funny, charming or emotional posters & cover art for the shelter page, to keep people engaged & interested. It is a constant labor of love that averages around 20-25 hours per week.
My consistent efforts in this have made a remarkable difference in the euthanasia rate at the shelter. When I started doing the photos in July 2012, their euthanasia average percentage per month was around 80%. As of April 2013, the euthanasia percentage was 26%, the lowest it has ever been! These photos, the posters, the networking, the many encouraging posts I do on the shelter Facebook page to show the humanity and heart of the Animal Control officers, have all helped to completely turn the entire community around. The shelter used to be looked upon quite negatively by the community, but now the shelter has an amazing network of local and distant supporters, rescue groups and fans. I see hope where there used to be despair. (The Smyth County Humane Society, which I am a member of, has been wonderfully supportive of all our efforts, helping foster, sharing photos, posting them to Pet Finders and Adopt a Pet, transporting and paying spay/neuter fees when possible.)
The puppy paw I am holding belongs to a beagle pup that was adopted!
I not only post the adoption posters on the Smyth County Animal Shelter Facebook page, I also do periodic blog posts on my "Pixel Blue Eyes: Her Tails of Adventure" blog ( about my efforts, sharing the adoption success stories & photos, telling stories of how my little girl Pixel helps me prepare each week for the photo shoots, and showing the world how easy it is to volunteer and help the animals. It is rewarding beyond anything you could imagine! I often share special needs pet posters on my blog's Facebook page & twitter account as well, because social media is a remarkable tool for helping find homes for pets in need!
One particular case is extra special. A seriously neglected mini schnauzer, visually impaired, and covered in thick fur & mats, was in desperate need of a home and he didn't have much time. I posted his photos & heart-wrenching story on my "Pixel Blue Eyes" blog Facebook page and within a few hours he'd been shared over 300 times. Within 2 days Mr. Schnauzer was adopted by a Pixel Blue Eyes fan, who drove for hours the following Wednesday to adopt his new "boy", who is now named Thumper and living the good life! I have become friends with many of the adopters, so getting updates on lives I've helped save is a tremendous gift!
Sunny really is getting trained by her foster mom in agility.
Our little shelter has had dogs go on to be therapy dogs, agility dogs, and we've brought people together like never before. I am thrilled over the incredible success that 20-25 hours per week of volunteer work has brought about. A million dollars could not make me feel as rich as I do knowing I am helping make a huge difference in the lives of so many animals!
I was inspired to help pets in need personally and with my blog after seeing so many photos of rescued animals in terrible conditions and looking completely hopeless. We've all seen those photos...the dog or cat is sitting or standing slumped over, it's the worst day of their life, they are scared, hungry, abused, dirty, and someone snaps a quick photo or two where you often cannot even see the animal's face. It is terribly sad and distressing to see such suffering. How can any shelter animal get adopted and find a forever loving home if the only photos of them show a forlorn dog with a defeated soul or a cat with a broken spirit? After seeing so many photos of miserable pet in need, I realized that I could offer my photographic skills to my local shelter and see if some great pet portraits would help get some of them adopted. I called the Smyth County Animal Shelter in Marion VA in February 2012. I spoke with Officer Kristy Moore, a wonderful woman who had been working hard for months trying to get a web page and Facebook page running for the shelter. She was trying to do all she could to get the animals there some exposure to increase adoptions, reclamations and rescues of the animals. It seemed my timing was perfect. Shortly after we connected, I had two medical emergencies including emergency surgery at the end of April, but we hit the ground running at the beginning of July, 2012. Our very first week of pet portraits resulted in 6 animals being adopted in a week. Kristy and I were elated, and I did my first blog post about that wonderful first week of success as part of the "Bloggers Unite for Dog Rescue" blog hop on July 23, 2012 (
So my friends, we are incredibly thrilled that our blog was picked as one of the 10 Pet Finder blogs to be "Adopted" at Blog Paws this week! I hope you will take a moment or two to visit the Smyth County Animal Shelter Facebook page. You never know when sharing a photo or even looking at them might mean the difference in the life of a precious homeless pet, or in the life of another person. True love lives and pets are where it's at!


  1. Congratumalations, Pixel, that news has amazings! Your mama works very hard to animal rescue I can sees. I hopes that BlogPaws is fantastic - I wanted to go since I no is even that far away, but it costed a lot of green papers and mama has to work! Take some good photos for us, okays?


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