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Broadband Helps Connect Families with Their Pets

“Lives literally depend on this.”

by Chris McGovern, Research Development Director
Connected Nation 

May is National Pet Month and, as we close it out, Connected Nation wants to recognize that this year we have more reasons than ever to be grateful for our pets. 

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Just like other aspects of our lives, broadband has changed the way we find and adopt pets. In the past, families could only see a handful of animals available at local shelters or nearby breeders. Now, though, people can search the world to find the perfect pet.

Specialty breeders can advertise their animals for potential adopters across the world to meet, either in person or via video. PetFinder, one of North America’s largest databases of adoptable animals, partners with nearly 14,000 facilities across The United States, Canada, and Mexico to allow families to find just the right pet for them. Those animals now have an exponentially higher chance at getting adopted and finding their forever homes.

Shelters across the country rely on the internet not only to highlight their adoptable animals, but to keep their community informed about what is happening at their local shelter. According to Katie Trennepohl, Deputy Director of Animal Care Services in Indianapolis, Indiana, social media is an excellent tool for communicating with volunteers, informing the community of the facility’s needs, alerting the community about lost animals, and getting the word out about animals that can be adopted or temporarily fostered by local families. 

They provide us companionship when we need to stay at home; they give us an excuse to get outside for walks (while staying six feet apart, of course); they help us deal with the stress, anxiety, and depression that affect so many people during the current pandemic. And many pet owners have the internet to thank for introducing them to their furry (or scaly...or feathered...) best friend.

The ability to submit adoption applications online has also made it easier for residents to bring home the animals that they fall in love with. This is more than just “business as usual” for Trennepohl; considering the emotional bonds that families build with their pets, she says, “Lives literally depend on this.”

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Seamus enjoying a walk

The link between our pets and the internet has a personal one for me as well. Four years ago we lost a beloved black lab. After months of mourning, my family and I set out to find a new furry family member. 

We, of course, turned to the internet, which is where we first saw Seamus, the Great Dane-Saint Bernard mix who would eventually join our family. We saw his photo posted by a shelter more than an hour away from us. Had we not seen him online, we never would have met him, and he never would have joined our family.

Three years and innumerable treats later, we can’t imagine our lives without Seamus, especially now. This is just one more example of how the internet is changing all of our lives for the better. 

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About Chris McGovern:Chris is the Director of Research Development. He works with Connected Nation staff and external stakeholders to develop research deliverables and provide critical analysis. He uses qualitative and quantitative techniques to interpret data, formulate reports, and make substantiated recommendations based on research findings