erin hannigan

Using facebook to get dogs adopted


If you’re reading this blog you’re probably interested in pet photography and saving homeless animals — and about a billion of us are also on facebook — so why not use every possible resource to speed up adoption?  My friend, Erin Hannigan, is not a photographer –she’s a world-class oboist with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra but she is always looking for ways to get dogs adopted.

A couple of years ago she started posting photos of her foster dogs on facebook and because she had a following of music lovers, she tapped in to a whole new market for adoptions.  Most of us have lots of dog lovers as our facebook friends so we see endless (BAD) photos of dogs on the euthanasia list at the local shelter or see photos our friends post. But Erin started doing quick little cell phone videos and cell phone photos of her fosters and TELLING THEIR STORY. People LOVE stories! Now people tune in on a daily basis just to see what the latest foster is up to over at Erin’s place.  And it’s working!  She has so much web traffic that her fosters almost always get adopted before it’s time to place them in the shelter (she fosters Moms with their pups). Music fans (and her personal friends) all over the country have shared the adventures and adopted Erin’s puppies.  It’s a true success story. Here’s Erin with one of her foster pups.

erin hannigan artists for animals dallas

So how can you use social media to help homeless pets?  Maybe a blog?  Or a facebook page talking about your adventures in pet photography?  Or make some cute little videos with your cell phone and post them on YouTube! You don’t have to have professional photos.  But make them clear and uncluttered. Play the cute card. This is just one creative way to help dogs get adopted. She’s now set up a facebook page just for her foster dog stories — so check it out and click LIKE so you’ll get the latest updates!

Saving dogs with a camera | Pit Bull puppies


I have a very talented friend named Erin.  She is a world class musician by day, and by night and weekends she is an animal lover and rescue volunteer extraordinaire.  I’m writing about her because even though she is not a professional photographer, she has found a way to use her photos to save dogs.  She does cell phone photos and videos of the dogs she rescues –and they’re adorable– but recently she has been using her cell phone to tell a story.

A story of two abandoned pit bull puppies. So young that they had to be bottle fed around the clock by Erin and one of her students until they could eat on their own.  When she first started posting their photos on facebook I thought “How clever! Let’s show everyone how cute pibble puppies are!” Now, as the puppies turn 6 weeks old, I’m just shaking my head in amazement. It seems like the whole facebook world has fallen in love with “the girls” and not because of any fancy photography or media exposure –just one very clever, passionate animal lover and her cell phone.  Everyone has seen these two adorable sisters grow from wiggly little spotted THINGS, to lovable, adoptable dogs. And no one who looks at these photos is going to think of them as mean, dangerous, damaged or undesirable.  All because my friend introduced them to the world and let us all watch them grow.

So here’s the beautiful, simple lesson: one person and one cell phone camera can make a huge difference. Not just for two dogs, but for all animal shelters overrun with puppies, and for all families fostering pit bulls and for animal rescue in general.  So don’t get discouraged if your photos don’t look like museum quality art — just tell a story and show the world how much joy there is in saving a dog’s life.  Erin has been nominated as a PET HERO. If she wins, she will donate the money one of her favorite animal rescue charities. Read her story here: https://apps.facebook.com/offerpop/Contest.psp?c=136923&u=29960&a=254553244581393&p=187932427898496&v=Entry&id=409048&rest=1

pet photography saves lives

Erin with puppies then and now

focus on rescue
Pibble sisters at 6 weeks