Meet Ross Alan, the creator of a program designed to change the public's perception of animal shelters in an effort to get pets adopted into loving families. Alan is the CEO of Pet-Peeps PetCam, which allows a pet owner to see his or her beloved Fido or Fluffly 24/7. In order to jump start shelter adoptions, Alan is spearheading a special plan with the company he started in 2009. Once 75 people use a specific hash tag, the shelter or resuce will receive the wifi PetCam free of charge. Alan says this will begin to change the view that shelter pets are damaged goods. He says many people still think shelters are depressing and dirty, which just isn't true.
Since childhood, Alan has enjoyed the companionship of rescue and shelter dogs. Today, he has several dogs adopted from kennels. Unfortnately, many animals aren't so lucky. The numbers are staggering. 60% of all pets in animal shelters are euthanized. In 2013, nearly 2.7 million shelter pets never found a home. Unfortuanaelycked to hear that 60% of all pets in animal shelter are euthanized. In fact, in 2013 nearly 2.7 million shelter pets never found a forever home. With the holidays and many people considering giving a pet as a gift, we wanted to know hear more about Ross Alan and his PetCam program.
Dawn Tongish: The holidays can be a time when people consider giving a pet as a gift. Can you talk about the program you started to help more shelter dogs find homes?
Ross Alan: Giving a pet at holiday time or any other time isn’t like giving somebody a new blender. A pet can’t be blindly bought for someone as a novelty. A pet is a special animal that brings unconditional love to a family or companionship to an elder. The pets at these shelters are desperately in need of a good home and some are fighting the clock just to remain alive. The program we’ve started will greatly help in matching the perfect family with the perfect pet and give a each what they both need in their lives.
DT: It is startling to many people to learn that the majority of animals sent to shelters don't survive. They are euthanized. You are working to change this. Why is this so close to your heart?
RA: As a kid I remember picking out FLOPPY my first dog from a kennel. I saw a friend, a companion and comfort in him from the moment I saw him. I didn’t need some designer dog from a pet shop I just wanted a buddy to play with and at the time I was too young to understand that most of the kennel dogs I saw were on a schedule to be euthanized if not adopted. Floppy stayed my friend for many years and saw me through every childhood disaster without a complaint and unwavering love. Since then I’ve never been without a dog or two or three all adopted from kennels. We all need that special bond with someone and I want to do my part to see that happen for both, a loving family and a pet that deserves that good love.
DT: Why do you think some people are reluctant to adopt a dog or cat from a shelter or rescue organization?
RA: For some reason people think that because a dog or cat is in a shelter that it’s “broken” or “sickly.” True there are many that are but not all and it’s those “broken and sickly” pets that need love the most. It takes a special person to see beyond a pet that was abused or just spent too much time on the streets trying to stay alive and adopt it to give it a new chance at a good life. All it takes is one good lick on the nose from a pet at a kennel to begin a wonderful relationship. There are hundreds and thousands of wanting pets that can’t speak with anything but their eyes to tell you to take them home and they’ll love you for life.
DT: Where did this idea of Pet-Peeps PetCam come from? It seems like an idea that could inspire people to think about adopting from a shelter?
RA: A PetCam at a shelter allows a family to see the rescued pets up for adoption. This is very important because not every pet is suited for every family. The live stream from a shelter that we’re proposing to do on a large scale will allow a family with children to watch an adoptable dog or cat for it’s personality. You wouldn’t want to match a frisky energetic dog that needs lots of exercise with an elder that may be homebound and just needs a loving companion. And you wouldn’t want to pair up a family with several young children with a frail small dog. A PetCam located at a shelter allows potential owners to watch a pet over a period of time to see if they can give that animal the type of home it deserves.
DT: At our house, we have a rescued Shih Tzu and Dash is the best, most loving dog ever! Do you have any adopted or rescued pets that you would like to talk about?
AR: Well you’ve come to the right person to answer that question. Every pet I’ve ever had has been a rescue. Currently I have Roxxii Grace my Rodesian Ridgeback mix that is the love of my life. Don’t tell that to my wife. Roxxii has mastered talking to me with her eyes. We have a special bond so tight that all she needs to do is look at me and somehow her eyes tell me she’s hungry, needs to go out, worried or sick. Roxxii goes everywhere with me when I leave the house. Then there’s Georgia Brindle our Boxer mix. Her name comes from the state that we adopted her from while moving my daughter here to Dallas. We stopped by a rescue just to take a break on the long drive and before we knew it we were traveling home with a new member of our family. Georgia solves all of her issues with her tongue. There is not a situation that Georgia can’t fix with a few licks of love. She’s a real mommas girl and my wife has a bond with her that sometimes makes me jealous. She’s the middle child to this pet trilogy and loved just as much as any of them. Finally there’s LuLu Chuweenie our Dachshund and Chihuahuamix. LuLu is a rescue from one of the rescue shows I attended as a vendor with my PetCams. I sent my wife around the convention hall with flyers to pass out and she came back with LuLu. She fell in love with her the second she saw her and was determined not to leave the show without adopting her. LuLu is 12 lbs of cuteness but a fighter when it comes to defending her dog bone. The other two girls know to stay away from her bone or suffer the wrath of the Chuweenie. We call her our cuddle doll because you can’t sit anywhere without her nestling up next to you wanting and giving love.
DT: What is your wish for pets still in a shelter this holiday, waiting for a loving family?
RA: That’s like asking Santa Claus if he thinks every kid should have a toy. I hope we can empty all the shelters this holiday season with adoptions to good families that need the love of a beautiful dog or cat. We know that’s not going to happen but if we can reduce the amount of pets in need of a home by just a fraction then we’ll have a great start for the new year. If our PetCam program can help those in need of a relationship that is like none other with an eager and sometimes desperate pet then we’ll be so pleased.
DT: Do you think people should go to a breeder and pay hundreds of dollars for a pet?
RA: Absolutely not. Just take a trip to a shelter and see how many beautiful animals are waiting for you to take them home for usually nothing more than a small donation and a hug. I never could see the importance of a designer dog just to be seen with it or prance it around a ring to win a trophy. A pet is an extension of your family and like I said at the beginning of this interview, picking a pet is not like shopping for a new state of the art blender. Our shelters are getting more and more crowded with abused and abandoned pets that only want one thing. Love.
If you'd like to nominate a local resident for a BubbleLife community profile, contact Dawn Tongish at firstname.lastname@example.org or find her on Twitter at @DawnTongish.