Local animal shelter wins grant from app _lowres

Screen image provided by Companion Animal Alliance -- The Companion Animal Alliance of Baton Rouge won a $1,000 grant from Dogly, a photo sharing app designed to promote animal rescue and adoption. This is one of the winning images.

The Companion Animal Alliance of Baton Rouge won a $1,000 grant from Dogly, a photo-sharing app designed to promote animal rescue and adoption, said Karen Navarre, of The Number 29, a media relations firm.

Last month, CAA won the grant by getting the most “loves.” Dogly allows users to post photos, customized with text and drawing tools, of adoptable or adopted pets. Those photos are then uploaded to the rescue group’s account and can be shared with and “loved” by other users.

CAA’s posts got the most “loves” in June, said Paula Shaw, assistant director of CAA. The money will go into the general fund to help with the costs of caring for rescues and getting them ready for adoption, Shaw said.

“As anyone that works in a nonprofit animal organization can tell you, every penny counts,” Shaw said in an email. “Every animal in the shelter has their cage cleaned and sanitized every day. They are fed and watered, and seen by a veterinarian to address any medical needs. To be made ready for adoption, they are spayed or neutered, fully vaccinated, dewormed and microchipped. All of that takes a great deal of money, which is why we so appreciate this grant.”

Shaw said social media has changed the outlook for many rescue groups like CAA, providing free publicity and a convenient way to spread the word about pets available for adoption, and the Dogly contest turned out to be a pleasant surprise.

“It has confirmed just how much support we didn’t know we had,” Shaw said. “It was a wonderful morale booster for our staff, volunteers and fosters and came at a wonderful time. The summer is the hardest time of year for us, as this is the time when we take in the most animals.

“CAA had a rocky start when it first started operating the municipal shelter in August 2011, which included a fair amount of negative media attention. To go from that to winning something like this is truly a testament to how far we have come and the dedication of the board and staff of CAA to the animals.”

Social media users are already posting and sharing pet photos, Navarre said, but with Dogly, they can help make an impact on animal welfare in their communities by doing so.

“Approximately 65 percent of the animals that enter shelters annually are euthanized due to a lack of space and resources,” said Emma Schachner, a researcher at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine who adopted a CAA pet and made the organization aware of the app and the contest. “Dogly is a fun and easy way for anyone to make a difference for their local shelter, even if you can’t personally rescue a cat or dog.”

Dogly was launched in December 2014, according to a news release from the company. Through Dogly’s partnership with the Petfinder Foundation and alliance with Petfinder.com, users can search more than 10,000 shelters and rescue organizations around the country to select a shelter to benefit. There is no cost to play for users and adoption groups. The more loves a user’s photo gets, the more loves he or she “donates” to his or her specified shelter. Shelters can also create Dogly profiles and add to their total when their own posts of adoptable dogs get loves.

Users can post photos of dogs in more than a dozen different categories.

Dogly’s panel of Executive Creative Dogs, which includes social media dog influencers like @TheVelvetBurritos and @iheartmiles, recognize four exceptionally creative photos each month that exemplify the “being Dogly” spirit. Each photo is featured on one of the ECD’s high-profile social media accounts, and a $500 Dogly Do Good grant will be donated in the name of the photo’s creator to the shelter in his/her Dogly profile. Creators can be either individuals or shelters.

Dogly is available through Apple’s App Store and Google Play.

The Dogly app was created by former media executive Jane Turner and her daughter — and partner in rescue — Cory Turner.