There's good news for those who would like to adopt a pet but find visiting a shelter to be an emotionally draining experience. Now, thanks to a Web site, they can start their search online and make a considered decision. Plus, they can find more prospective pets to choose from than they would by visiting a single shelter.
Using Petfinder.com, a person can search for a pet from the comfort of his or her own home. He or she simply types in search criteria and a zip code, then back comes a list of pets matching those criteria. The available pets closest to the person's home will be at the top of the list.
There are more than 240,000 adoptable pets available on the Web site at any one time. The Petfinder.com Foundation, a separate entity and a public charity, was established in 2003 to assist animal welfare organizations in time of need.
Today, more than 11,500 adoption organizations post the pets on Petfinder. Each one of these agencies has a home page on the site. Each pet has a page of its own as well, with a description and photos. The shelters and rescue group members can now also add videos of their adoptable pets.
In 2006, Animal Planet acquired Petfinder.com, and the site became part of Discovery Digital Media. So popular is Petfinder.com that Animal Planet decided to create a new series all about animal adoptions. Airing on Mondays at 8 p.m., "Petfinder" matches shelter animals with families searching for their perfect pet. Whether the adoptee is a pig, a pug or a python, the Petfinder co-hosts and trainers help families (and viewers, too) understand the essential elements of figuring out just what pet will be right for them.Petfinder.com is free to adopters and to the pet adoption groups that post on the site. Adoption fees may be charged by the adoption groups. However, pets adopted from shelters and rescue groups often come with benefits that make that adoption fee a real bargain. The site also includes a library of pet-related information, videos, forums, a volunteer database and classifieds.