Maeve O'Donoghue with two of the dogs that need new homes.

Every dog has its day


Facebook is now being used to save healthy dogs from being put down.
Volunteer Maeve O’Donoghue has harnessed the most powerful weapon – information – and married it to the largest social media community in the world – Facebook – to find foster homes for dogs in Mullingar pound.

“I go in every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and take pictures of all the dogs in the pound,” explains Maeve.

“Then I put them up on Facebook with all their information, their names, their breeds.

“The place is so busy now with people who love dogs and want to help coming in and offering to foster the dogs while a home is found for them.”

The way a pound works is that a dog will be down after five days if it is not claimed by its owner or a new home is found. Dogs surrendered by their owners can be put down straight away.

Fostering the dogs out until rescue homes or new owners can be found extends this period and places the dogs in loving homes while they wait.
Maeve’s Facebook photos and network of foster families have reduced the put-down rate in Westmeath County Council’s Mullingar Dog Pound drop from a 2012 figure of 77 per cent to 37 per cent.

“It was about getting the information out to people. So I approached Sean O’Laoide, the county vet, asking whether he would mind if I created a Facebook page for the pound. He was great and I go in three days a week and get the pictures straight up on Facebook.

“Right now there are only five dogs in the pound – the rest are out with foster families, and the five in the pound are just waiting for their five days to pass so they can be reclaimed by owners. I have already been ringing around and I will have somewhere for them to go by the time their five days are up.”

Foster families are also used for dogs that are unwell or need to have a set of vaccinations before travelling to new homes.

Check out the incredible work being carried out by Maeve, the dog warden and Westmeath County Council’s Dog pound at Maeve’s Facebook page.

Caution, the page contains images of lovely, cuddly dogs and viewers may find themselves falling in love with them and ending up as one of Maeve’s incredible network of foster families.

Search Facebook for ‘Mullingar Dog Shelter’.