FLORENCE — Mustang Sally used the Internet to ask Maggie what could be the problem if she is out of breath and her nose is cold.
Maggie replied that she believes it could be her diet, that she needed to get her owner to start using a food with more chicken and less beef.
This is the type of social networking that is now available to pet owners, pet professionals and veterinarians through the new Internet service PawPage.com.
The website is the brainchild of Tuscumbia veterinarian Randall Davis. It was unveiled Thursday night at the Shoals Chamber of Commerce.
“As I did research, there were some types of social networking (like this) on a small scale,” Davis said. “They didn’t go anywhere. There are a lot of forums, but what we are trying to accomplish is something different, a way for professionals to communicate with their clients through their pets.
“Our goal is for people with pets to have individual pages so they can communicate with each other and provide veterinarians an avenue to funnel information to their clients.
“We believe this is a fun, interactive way to do that and to draw attention to the pets.”
David Thornton, director of Tuscumbia Utilities, along with Tuscumbia dentist Jimmy Gardner, are involved in the project with Davis.
“When I first heard about this concept, honestly, I didn’t think it would fly,” Thornton said. “The more I talked with Dr. Davis and thought about it, I changed my mind and thought this just might work. That’s how Facebook got started.”
Thornton said Davis tested the idea on some area veterinarians and they were “excited about the possibilities.”
Davis said he had been toying with the idea for more than a year.
“I know my clients and their pets, and I knew there was a need to be able to get information to them,” Davis said. “It opens up the lines of communications between pet owners and professionals.”
Thornton said the website is like a “Facebook for pets.”
He said there are PawPages, which are for pets and their owners on the website, and PawPlaces, which are for businesses or groups.
“It’s basically, owners’ connection with other pet owners and pet professionals through their pets,” Thornton said.
Davis said on the PawPages, videos and photos of the pets can be downloaded.
“Veterinarians will also be able to discuss diseases or medications or they can do private messaging,” Davis said. “We have several blogs on the site as well as health-related articles and news.”
There is no cost to the users or anyone who sets up a PawPage or a PawPlace.
“People stay on Facebook all the time. Some even have Facebook pages for their pets,” Thornton said. “And since pets are such a big part of people’s everyday lives, I think the website is something that can be useful to the owners.
“It’s something useful, fun and a way for pet owners to show off their pets.”
Tom Smith can be reached at 256-740-5757 or tom.smith@TimesDaily.com.