Today is International Dog Day, and while we're busy fawning over our four-legged friends, social media services Facebook and Instagram have revealed the most popular dogs in Ireland that feature on their platforms.
Retrievers, cocker spaniels, labradors, collies and huskies are the top dogs on social media, according to the services' data, taken over the last three months - and given the day that's in it, the services have also brought attention to their busy cultures of pet rescue.
There’s been over 12,000 posts and comments about rehoming dogs by 9,500 people in Ireland across Facebook and Instagram, and more than 57,000 people in Ireland are part of Facebook groups dedicated to rehoming dogs.
Over 97,000 people in Ireland have posted more than a quarter of a million times about dogs on Instagram since May - with the popularity of the #adoptdontshop and #rescuedog hashtags bearing witness to the growing conversation around rehoming rescue dogs.
Dogs have been surrendered in increasing numbers by owners since the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, and animal welfare groups have been doubling down on efforts to rehome dogs and raise awareness of the “pandemic puppy” phenomenon.
In the past three months, there have been more than 12,000 posts and comments about rehoming dogs by 9,500 people in Ireland across Facebook and Instagram.
There has also been a surge in the use of hashtags such as #adoptdontshop, #rescuedog, #rescuedogsofinstagram and #rescuedismyfavoritebreed as people across Ireland support these organisations in rehoming rescue dogs.
Miriam Peters of Wicklow Animal Welfare, says of the phenomenon:
“This year, we have rescued and rehomed hundreds of dogs through Instagram. Alongside the dogs we rescue on a normal basis, we are now inundated with what we term 'Covid surrenders'. It’s heartbreaking for the dogs who have been let down by people.
"As a voluntary organisation, we rely entirely on the goodwill of our supporters."
Melanie Kevelighan, who runs the Dogs Trust Ireland Lost & Found Dogs Group on Facebook, which has more than 14,900 members, said:
"Unfortunately, we’ve recently been experiencing a huge increase in the volume of people contacting us to surrender their dog as Covid-19 restrictions ease. While most of us humans are delighted with the easing of restrictions and the return to ‘normal’ life, not everybody feels the same, especially many of our furry friends.
"We have lots of tips and tricks to help prepare your dog for spending more time in their own company, and to teach them vital skills that they can apply in any situation. To receive your free interactive ‘Life After Lockdown - Bark to Basics’ pack, please sign up via our website.”