With so many sweet doggies in need of a home, rescue shelters are often left wondering what helps a dog find its fur-ever home (sorry). Dreaming of how to find the dogs their ideal family and happy e-fur-after (OK, I'll stop now). Sadly, though, according to some recent research, it appears that people are more concerned about what a dog looks like than anything else when it comes to choosing a pet. In fact, over half of Brits consider a dog's appearance when they are thinking of adopting.
The RSPCA partnered with smartphone brand Huawei to conduct a survey that included 2,000 adults. Sadly, the survey found that potential pets are being overlooked owing to how they look on social media. A fact that is even more grim when you find out that 56 percent of those surveyed would skip over a picture of an animal looking for a home if they didn't think it was cute enough.
So, why the high percentage? Well guys, like a lot of image based issues in modern times, it is down to social media. A survey from iheartdogs.com found that 65 percent of pet owners post about their dogs social media an average of two times per week. And let's talk about insta-famous dogs. With increasing numbers of pet owners choosing to open an Instagram account for their pet and even making money off it: all signs point to it being more about getting likes than saving lives.
Speaking to UNILAD, Dr Samantha Gaines, who is head of companion animals at the RSPCA said that the importance people place on photos has had a particular impact on breeds who typically take longer to find homes. Like, for example, English Bull Terriers, who can take up to 98 days to be rehomed.
Gaines said the new research shows that, in this digital age, photo quality is vital. So in light of this, they partnered with Huawei:
"We go above and beyond to find all the animals in our care a loving, forever home and we want to do our best to show them and their unique characters in the best light. Every pet is an individual with their own personalities and needs and it's so important they find the right home. We've partnered with Huawei to raise awareness about our harder-to-rehome pets and hope their new, pawfect profile pics will help find them their furever homes."
The theory behind this partnership is that, basically, in order to give these dogs their best chance at being rehomed, they need to have top-notch, Instagram-quality photos. Which is so sad because everyone knows it's not what the dog looks like that counts: it's simply about whether you're able to give it the home it needs and deserves.
The RSPCA and Huawei have also got Olympic silver medal gymnast, and owner of his very own rescue dog, Louis Smith on board. Smith made a mini-documentary, The Unadoptables, which highlights what can be done to make sure every dog gets a chance of a happy ending.
It's important to remember that dogs aren't just an accessory. They are living beings who just want to love and be loved. So maybe don't judge a book by its cover, adopt don't shop, and give a lucky dog (or dog) the home they deserve.
You can donate to the RSPCA here