When the decision has been made to bring a pet into your home, how do you find the perfect pet? You can check local newspapers, but one of the easiest ways to locate an animal that needs a good home is through Petfinder. An online, searchable database, Petfinder helps to match prospective adoptive families with animals that need loving homes.
How it works. Petfinder has a directory of homeless pets and various pet adoption agencies. The easiest way to find a pet is to use its “Search for a pet” system. It is located on the left side of the website. Select the type of pet you are looking for from the pull-down menu, type in a breed if you desire a specific one, enter your location via ZIP code and then click “search.” A page listing search results will be generated, with the name of the animal, its breed and its location. A picture of the pet is sometimes included. You can click on the name of the animal to be directed to a page with additional information, including contact information for adoption.
Available animals. According to Petfinder, the site has more than 300,000 adoptable animals. Animals available for adoption include cats, dogs, rabbits, horses, birds and even barnyard animals such as pigs. The selection varies, as animals are adopted daily. The site also features more than 13,000 adoption groups. At the top of the homepage, visitors can access, via a pull-down tab, links to animal shelters listed by state or distance.
History. Founded in 1996 by Betsy and Jared Saul, Petfinder began as their New Year’s resolution to help homeless pets. The site went national in 1998. In 2003, the Petfinder.com Foundation was formed, designed to help any animal welfare group when assistance is needed. In 2006, Petfinder was acquired by Discovery Communications Inc. The site expanded, including a reference library, training videos, breed directories, event calendars and interactive fun such as games, message boards and a pet blog. The site has received accolades from "Time" magazine, "Forbes" magazine and "Family PC" magazine.
Beyond adoption. Petfinder provides information and links for pet care, health and training. Site visitors can find data on spaying and neutering, nutrition basics, pet insurance and even age-related health conditions your pet may experience. The training section offers tips for both cats and dogs, including specific sections on litterbox training and common dog problems such as digging. The site is extensive and provides pet owners and prospective pet owners resources for many common pet questions and issues.