Facebook has gone to the birds - and the dogs, and the cats, and many other creatures that swim, creep or crawl.
More and more animal rescue groups are using Facebook and other social media to get homes and assistance for animals.
Companion Parrots Re-Homed (CPR), the rescue arm of Parrot University in Pineville, has hosted a Facebook page for about a year. CPR accepts parrots from unwanted, emergency or crisis situations and seeks to find permanent homes for them.
CPR's Facebook page was created by Lindsay Boardman, a 26-year-old part-time employee who started as a volunteer. She has two birds of her own and decided to put her technology skills to work helping find homes for homeless birds.
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"I'm part of the Google generation. I've used Internet search engines since middle school. If I want to know anything I just Google it," said Boardman.
"We feature our birds on Facebook. It's a way to spark interest, to bring folks to the store to meet the birds in person. We also encourage positive energy from our users, and we love to hear success stories and happy endings. Facebook incites enthusiasm."
Though Boardman can't directly connect any bird adoptions with a particular Facebook user, she says folks have come to Parrot University after reading about the organization online. Currently CPR's Facebook page has 310 followers, meaning all the updates Boardman publishes gets sent to their personal newsfeed each time they log on to Facebook.
Paula Randolph, a CPR volunteer who now lives in Florida, oversees the Facebook contents. She also compiles and edits the group's online newsletter, distributed to more than 1,000 people each month.
Mint Hill resident Linda Cummins has been involved in greyhound rescue for a number of years and has fostered dozens of dogs. Her rescue group, Greyhound Friends of North Carolina, has a Facebook page, and Cummins regularly visits and interacts with a number of forums and Yahoo groups dedicated to the breed.
She testifies to the power of the Web having recently adopted one of her foster dogs online to a home in New Jersey.
"Several weeks ago I got a 2-year-old black and white greyhound named Flurry. She came from Oklahoma and she was very shy. I posted her picture on the forum Greytalk.com and in two days I had someone in New Jersey interested in her," Cummins said.
"We checked the lady's references, got her approved and she drove to Mint Hill to pick her up."
Jennifer Gordon, head of Carolina Water Fowl Rescue, has a page for the nonprofit and also for several of the animals that live there. When the aviary collapsed under snow last December, a Facebook appeal brought in donations from across the country. And a special bird got his own Facebook page.
"Maramalade (Marmaladecrows@aol.com), a rooster, got his own page because he was injured when our aviary collapsed under snow. Folks wanted to know how he was doing. They follow him on Facebook now and he gets actual fan mail, which is pretty bizarre," Gordon said.
A Facebook posting was all it took for a small dog to find a foster home.
"We had an older Chihuahua named Pepito who was at our facility with his sister because their owner had died. When Pepito's sister also died, he was not doing well in the shelter and needed a home. Through Facebook, he's now in a foster home, watching TV on the couch and enjoying life...," said Knapp.