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Necklaces, living room furniture and... adoptable pets? It's true — all these things are now available through Overstock.com.
On Friday the online retail company known for selling surplus merchandise at discount prices launched a pet adoption section to help find homes for shelter animals. The website contains 200,000 profiles for adoptable cats, dogs, reptiles, birds, horses, pigs, chickens, rabbits and even two alpacas named Tito and Marco.
Chairman and CEO Patrick M. Byrne told us it was "one of the best ideas of my life."
It came to him back in November while he was practicing yoga.
"I realized we have built some really world-class technology," he says, "and it just suddenly occurred to me in a moment of inspiration, 'Gee, we could apply the same thing to animals around the country in shelters.'"
Some of the inspiration for the project comes from what Byrne described as "the happiest years of my life." He lived on a farm in Vermont with horses, and remembers "learning at that point that animals are not objects."
Once the idea took hold, his team got to work developing the technology that pulls in data feeds from 6,000 shelters in the United States. (The company doesn't work with puppy mills or breeders, Byrne stressed.) When an animal is registered on a participating shelter's website, that information — its picture, age, description and more — appears in Overstock's pet adoption search as well.
Shelters can participate by calling the site's customer service line, 800-843-2446, and an agent there will talk them through the process for joining.
"Most likely they don't have to do any extra work," Byrne says. "As far as the shelters are concerned, they just keep doing what they're doing — it's all getting sucked into our site too."
It may seem strange that an online retail company would venture into the pet adoption arena, but this actually isn't the first public service undertaking for the company. In 2001, Overstock started a program called Worldstock, which sells fair trade products from around the world. Then, after the recession in 2008, it launched Main Street Revolution, which offers items made by American businesses with fewer than 20 employees.
So what are you waiting for? Time to get searching!
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