Group boosts dog-adoption rates through social media

Pictures of dogs up for adoption. (My Forever Doggo Instagram pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: Even after being placed in shelters, many stray dogs that once lived on the streets continue to face a rather bleak future until someone comes around to adopt them.

Despite the ever-growing number of rescued strays, adoption rates in shelters nationwide have stagnated, resulting in overcrowding and less-than-suitable conditions at the shelters.

A group of five dog-loving friends decided to change all that by setting-up My Forever Doggo (MFD) as a means to connect shelters dogs to potential adopters through social media.

Set-up in 2018, MFD found that a shelter’s lack of public visibility, low foot traffic, obscure location and unfavourable shelter experiences had contributed to low adoption rates in Klang Valley shelters.

Elisa Khong, MFD co-founder said, “We’re non-discriminatory towards all shelters, and seek to only have as many dogs as possible adopted”.

A dog waiting for its turn to be photographed during a photoshoot. (My Forever Doggo pic)

She explained that compared to displays in pet stores, at dog shelters, it may be difficult to look at each dog individually due to the layout and the sheer number of dogs.

“This is where My Forever Doggo comes in.” Birthed on the belief that every dog deserves a chance to be seen, loved and cared for, the initiative aims to increase awareness on the state of shelter dogs and boost adoption rates.

Partnering with animal rescue pounds all across the Klang Valley, MFD works with volunteer photographers who conduct photoshoots for the dogs, whose photos help to improve their chances of adoption.

Back in 2018, a three-month pilot project saw headshots of individual dogs taken by photographers who then shared them on Facebook and Instagram.

Out of the 47 dogs photographed, nine were adopted, meaning a 19% adoption rate was achieved. This was enough for MFD to be fully launched.

A dog being prepared to look its best for a photoshoot. (My Forever Doggo pic)

Taking a page out of this success story, the photos of shelter dogs are now posted on the organisation’s Instagram page @myforeverdoggo, accompanied by captions detailing each dog’s gender, age and personality.

In doing so, MFD hopes to draw attention to these dogs through attractive photographs and catchy captions.

All dogs currently featured on MFD have been spayed or neutered and vaccinated.

True to its tagline “Adopt Don’t Shop”, MFD encourages potential dog owners to give the dogs at shelters a chance.

Each dog at a shelter holds a unique history, perhaps being a formerly loved pet dog or a victim of vicious abuse.

Regardless of their past, each desperately longs for the same outcome: to be adopted into a good, loving forever home where history won’t repeat itself.

The MFD team cozying up to a dog during a photoshoot at a shelter. (My Forever Doggo pic)

Since its launch, approximately 20% of the dogs featured on @myforeverdoggo have been successfully homed, and the MFD team hopes that many more Malaysians will become aware and more supportive of its mission to provide these dogs loving homes.

“Yes, there may be some dirt on the little fluff upon your first meet – but we see them as diamonds with a little dirt on them,” Khong said.

“Who would pass on a dirty diamond, when all that is needed is a bit of soap and water to unveil the sparkle? We feel like everyone can benefit from our small effort, a win-win-win situation for all parties: the adopter (yourself), the shelter and your forever doggo.”

For those who are interested to home a dog and receive unconditional love, please do contact the team at @myforeverdoggo on Instagram.