HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WPDE) - More and more, social media is becoming a part of our daily lives. To capitalize on its reach, Horry County's Animal Care Center started a Facebook fan page about six months ago to promote adoptions. The page serves as an inexpensive and effective way for the center to meet its goal of finding more animals homes and reunite lost pets with their owners.
Nearly two weeks ago, Odie, an American Bulldog mix officially joined the Lee family. The transition has been smooth, and owner Homer Lee says he's brought plenty of love.
"Walked into the shelter and he was the only one not barking, and he stole my heart that day. Went in, walked him, and it was all over with," explains Lee. "We prefer shelter animals. They're older, a lot of them are more mature. They've handled a lot in life, and they know how to deal with people."
Lee sent HCACC pictures of Odie enjoying his first weekend with the family playing with his favorite toy, the water sprinkler. They posted it on Facebook along with a few other dogs who found forever homes. The move is a way to reach more people and show the animals enjoying life beyond the cages they were in before.
"This is a very inexpensive way to reach a lot more people, a lot faster, and it seems to be working," says Kelly Bonome, HCACC Operations Manager.
Social media is also helping them reunite lost pets with their owners. "We have staff that checks Craigslist at least once or twice a day. And we encourage people to email us a picture, because a picture is worth a thousand words and makes it better to identify one animal versus another," adds Bonome. "It's really a joy to watch the animal's reaction. You know if it's the right one, if this is their owner, because the animal's already going to start looking up and jumping and carrying on. It's a wonderful thing to see a pet and its owner reunited."
She says posting picture of adoptable dogs is allowing them to reach an audience beyond county lines. "Because they're being able to be see online and different venues, we have a lot of people from areas where they've had long term spay/neuter programs or different laws and so they don't have homeless pets."
As for Lee, he encourages everyone to consider adopting a pet from the shelter. "We've had bad days. My wife has had bad days, and it's amazing what an animal can bring out of a person. They know when we're hurting and having bad, and they'll cuddle right up. It's been great."