JoAnna Lou
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Helping Dogs via Facebook
DogTime helps shelter pets through social networking games.

If you’re a member of the online community, Facebook, chances are you know someone (or perhaps yourself!) who plays games such as Farmville. While these diversions have become known largely as major procrastination tools, DogTime Media has found a way to combine social networking games with the ability to help homeless animals.

Launched last year, DogTime’s apps, Save a Dog and Save a Cat, allow Facebook users to virtually foster pets. Users can search homeless animals at local shelters and choose two dogs and two cats to foster. 

Points are earned by virtually petting and walking the animals, and for inviting other Facebook users to co-foster your pets. For every 2,500 points earned, DogTime donates the financial equivalent of a cup of food to organizations like RescueGroups.org, a non-profit that provides free and low-cost technology services to animal shelters and rescue groups. 

To date almost 400,000 people have installed DogTime’s apps, which have generated over $36,000 in donations from DogTime and its sponsors, Hill’s Science Diet, Frontline and Fresh Step. 

Until now, I’ve resisted any time-sucking Facebook apps, but who can say no to playing a game for a good cause!


JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.

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