There are hamsters, birds, horses, chickens, ducks, snakes, pigs, tortoises -- pretty much any pet you can think of.
Before I found Toby, I was constantly on Petfinder looking at dogs up for adoption, and noticed the drop down menu on the left side of the website gave you a variety of animals to search for - not just dogs and cats.
It took a few minutes to click in my head, but I clearly remember having an "ah ha" moment, and then feeling extremely bad I didn't know about this earlier.
Think about all the hamsters and birds that get purchased, especially for little kids. (I know my first pet somewhere between the ages of 3-5 was a hamster)
Now, imagine that same family going to a shelter and adopting one instead -- the benefits would be remarkable. Parents would be exposing their children at a young age to the power and benefits of adoption, sparking a lifelong connection with the practice.
Going on the Internet to pick the pets they are interested in, then filling out the forms properly and ultimately meeting the pet and taking it home. It's a life lesson that would condition a child to think twice about just walking into a pet store and buying the first hamster they think is cute -- which is similar to what I did in college because I didn't know I could adopt one.
In the process of looking for a dog, I came across Bert and Ernie - two tortoises who were dropped off at the Southhold Animal Shelter operated by the North Folk Animal Welfare League. They were freaking ad-or-able! It was the first time I was adopting a pet, and it was the first time the shelter had tortoises.
I was working for a newspaper at the time and was standing outside on the phone talking to the shelter and someone heard me mention the words "Long Island" and "the Hamptons." When I hung up they asked it if I was going to "the Hamptons" this weekend. I said, "yes." They asked what I was doing, and my answer was, "adopting tortoises."
Help spread the word about pet adoption not just today as part of Petfinder's Adopt the Internet Day, but everyday.
When you are looking for your next small animal, or if you have the space, big animal like a horse, pig or chicken, think about searching the Petfinder database to see if they might have exactly what you're looking for.
Just like you would suggest Petfinder to a friend who is looking for a cat or dog, suggest it to your friend who is looking to add a bird, hamster, snake or duck to their family.
And, don't forget to spread the word today by doing these things:
Donating your Facebook status and photo to an adoptable Petfinder pet. Simply replace your photo with one from the Adopt-the-Internet All-Stars gallery and post one of these messages:
* More than 320,000 pets are waiting for homes on Petfinder.com. Help Petfinder Adopt the Internet today and find forever homes for as many as possible!
* I adopted my pet from Petfinder and now I want to help get this pet adopted! If you want to help pets in need of forever homes, please repost this!
If you have a Twitter handle, share an adoptable Petfinder pet on Twitter with the hashtag #adopttheinternet, and if you have a website add a badge like the one above.
Also, don't forget to take the pledge that you will tell one person about pet adoption on March 15. By pledging, you'll enter for a chance to win one of 10 Pet Hair Eraser® Vacuums from BISSELL.