Three weeks ago, my family adopted a new member. His name is Phelpsy... or something. Though his name seems to change each week, he joins a household of three other animals -- a dog and two cats -- who were also homeless before we found them (or they found us).
Each year, 5 to 7 million animals are put in shelters. Of these furry friends, 60 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats are put down.
To combat this sad statistic, DoSomething.org and AOL have started a 'Pics for Pets' campaign, kicking off today (and going through November). The goal is to increase the number of animal adoptions by encouraging teens to snap photos of pets that need a home.
Rather than pulling on heartstrings to motivate individuals to adopt, Pics for Pets focuses on positive elements to persuade people to save cats, dogs and other creature companions from shelters.
Nigel Barker, world-renowned photographer, host of The Face, and former America's Next Top Model judge, stars in the Pics for Pets Public Service Announcement.
"In classic ads, animals usually look depressed, a little sad. I've never liked that kind of advertising to entice people," said Nigel, in an exclusive interview. "What's refreshing about this campaign, is we're photographing animals at their best moments."
In conjunction with DoSomething.org, Facebook has created an app so teens can share pet pics with their circles of friends. iOs and Android apps can also be utilized to upload photos by visiting Picsforpets.org or simply texting "PETS" to 38383.
Not only does the campaign assist animals, but teens sharing photos have the chance to win a $10,000 scholarship for their altruistic efforts.
Follow Hilary Sheinbaum on Twitter: www.twitter.com/hilary_she