SARGE’S GOES DIGITAL And That Has Made All the Difference
[Submitted by Sally Mackert]
Some of us, myself included, can often be seen wrinkling our noses and dropping our chins at the mention of “this glorious digital age we’re living in.” Ever overloading inboxes, always changing addresses, never ceasing junk mail and on and on. “What,” we ask, “ever happened to the 30 cent stamp, the laptop writing desk, communicating images by Kodachrome and thoughts ‘by hand’ on pretty papers?”
We digital age cynics may be hard-hearted when it comes to the Internet, but we can be quickly reduced to babbling believers when we learn how effectively it can speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. The people at Sarge’s know what I mean…
Our Website is Our Speakerphone
Randi Pollack, owner of Web Showcase and longtime Sarge’s volunteer, developed the organization’s website back in 2005 and has witnessed the power of digitized words and images on a daily basis ever since. “The Internet,” says Randi, “allows us to showcase animals front and center, because they’re the ones we’re doing this for.” And, the speed with which this “showcasing” is done is all the better for Sarge’s – more dogs and cats off to forever homes more quickly, making room for more rescues from the county shelter; more foster homes ready to accept those rescues; thus, more adoptable animals ready to find forever homes sooner.
With a growing number of hits over time (over 10,000 in July alone), the Sarge's Animal Rescue Foundation website (sargeandfriends.org) has been a necessary means of attracting potential adopters since its inception. “But when we began using an online database in 2006,” Pollack explains, “our message went viral, and the increased adoption numbers show it.” With that database, a photo and accompanying descriptive copy from a Sarge’s volunteer can go from the website on to ishelters.com, then on to rescuegroups. org and, from there to all adoption sites on the Internet, nationwide, faster than you can say “Take me home with you, please.”
In 2008, Sarge’s Adoption Coordinator Michael Ritter estimated that 2/3 of Sarge’s canine adoptions were the direct result of access to their website or to another very popular website, petfinder.com. Just four years later now, the numbers have risen – to nearly 85% of our dogs and more than 50% of our cats having been adopted because of an introduction via the Internet, primarily at sargesandfriends.org, petfinder.com.
Just like “numbers don’t lie,” pictures are sometimes “worth a thousand words.” This shot tells the story of Sarge’s in this digital age better than any copy can do… the story of Clyde, a Redbone Hound adopted by someone in Watertown, MA earlier this year after his photo and a video appeared on petfinder.com. Clyde hitched a ride on one of our transports going North, was greeted by his new person and has been in his forever home ever since.