What if I told you, that you had the power to transform the thoughts & educate hundreds of thousands of people by just clicking a button on your phone? Would you re-consider your approach to social media?

We all have access to a powerful platform which we can tap into each day and make a difference, this platform is called Instagram.

I first discovered the power of the online world, when I launched an online blog focused on Animal Welfare when I was in high school. I was motivated to make a difference in Australia, after I had found out that roughly 250,000 happy /healthy cats & dogs ended up on death row per year in this country. The numbers truly shocked me and I knew something had to be done about it. However, I was limited to the extent of how I could help as;
a) I was 17 years old and still at school
b) I had no money to donate and save them all
c) I didn’t have land to take in animals and care for them.

So, I launched an online blog + Instagram handle, as I wanted educate as many people about the shocking reality which I had uncovered! If I could feel so motivated to make a difference after hearing about this, imagine how many other people would feel the same way!

The blog/Instagram consisted of pictures of pets available for adoption in local pounds & rescue centres in NSW, which I spent my weekends capturing. It also focused on raising awareness about how animals ended up in death row in the first place.

For those who are reading and curious, there are several factors that contribute to why pets end up on death row, these range from:
1) Unwanted presents (A perfect example is when couples buy pets for each other as presents… then break up. Pleeaaaase stop doing this!).
2) Families moving overseas or re-locating to property where pets aren’t allowed.
3) Backyard Breeders – if you are unfamiliar with this term, its where an unlicensed breeder will sell puppies from a litter to make a quick buck. You will generally come across these baddies on Gumtree.
4) Puppy Mills – the horrible underground business which operates from mass-breeding then selling to pet stores. There are almost over left over dogs here, which end up back at the pound.

Back in the day, a lot of people had no idea about the cruel reality of death row in Australia. The reactions I had from friends, family and online readers was very similar to my first reaction, disappointed and shocked! I truly began to value the power of how many people we can reach online and educate and I wanted to go further with this.

For those who aren’t familiar with Pound Paws, this is a charity that I formed in 2014, as a way to further assist in the re-homing of pets in Australian pounds & rescue centres, as well as educate the Australian public and provide essential tools such as PR / Marketing and Event Fundraising.

We launched online, via the assistance of friends & TheRight.Fit influencers to help spread the word. It was so lovely to see everyone come together and help raise awareness about this charity! Check out some of the influencer posts below (full album can be viewed here).

To tell you a bit more about us, Pound Paws operates via an online search engine, which allows online users to find their dream pet, by searching by the fields of; age, breed, size, sex and lifestyle match. Despite having a super cool website with a unique search engine, majority of our re-home cases will almost always occur via our Instagram handle.

Check out some of our favourite Pound Paws rescue stories below that happened on Instagram:

• This adorable Bulldog family was due to get put down the next day at 2.30pm. I remember this night so clearly, I was sitting on my couch watching television, when I came across this urgent re-home case. I immediately uploaded this image onto social media and was able to successfully find this family up to 8 potential foster carers & 4 rescue groups to care for them. Just by the click of a button (& whilst on the couch with the TV on in the background). Instagram, you amaze me.

• A couple of years ago, this beautiful dog was on death row at Hawkesbury Pound, with only a few hours left till she was due to get put down. I was incredibly emotional throughout this process, as the sense of urgency was real.

I shared her image on @PoundPaws Instagram handle and encouraged our network to tag & share with friends. Moments later, this image had flooded Instagram, with users even uploading it on their own personal accounts to assist in the re-homing process.

It was truly heart-warming to see everyone come together, to help out this poor dog! You can imagine how happy we all were, when a lovely girl called Bree drove several hours to rescue this dog from the pound!

We really do, have so much power if we use the Instagram platform correctly. I hope by reading this blog entry, I inspire you to make a difference and influence your audience in an impactful way to make a positive difference for the world.

If you are interested in getting involved with Pound Paws, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

– Brittany Bloomer
[email protected]