Like a new mother, Morgan Sharman isn’t getting enough sleep these days.
Sharman, a senior liberal arts major at Northern Arizona University, is spending her summer break hosting www.PuppyCamera2009.com, a 24/7 live video documenting eight foster puppies in her care in an effort to find them a home and increase awareness of animal population control.
“As the number of homeless animals grew exponentially with the poor economy, I started to think about how I could help,” Sharman said. “I’ve been bringing home stray animals since I was 3, but this is the first time I’ve shared them with the rest of the world.”
Sharman got the idea of sharing puppy life via the web from a family in California who had set up a web site to keep an eye on their puppies while they were at work. When Sharman saw the interest the web site was garnering, she doggedly put the idea to use in making a difference.
“I was wondering what I could do to benefit animals, and it snowballed into this,” said Sharman, who reports receiving more than 60,000 web site hits within six weeks. “People from Australia, France and Germany are watching. It’s hard to imagine, but watching puppies can be addicting.”
Viewers can enjoy the topsy-turvy lifestyle of puppies at play, view archived photos and videos featuring them, chat about their antics, listen to their chirp-like barking, donate to two no-kill animal shelters, or adopt the Labrador-mix dogs.
PuppyCamera2009, posted through Ustream free video broadcasting, already has raised $1,000 to be split between the Best Friends Animal Society and the Foundation for Animals in Risk, also known as FAIR, an organization where the puppies were left, located near Sharman’s Tucson home.
“I don’t have the means to donate what I’d like to be able to give, but I thought if every person donated a little, it would add up to a lot,” she said. “I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Between taking care of the puppies and the web site, it has been a full-time job. Some days I had to get up at 4:30 a.m. to feed them, but they have just started sleeping through the night.”
Puppies like “Remington” featured on PuppyCamera2009.com are finding love and support from viewers worldwide. Photo by Morgan Sharman
Six of the eight puppies recently were adopted and will be heading to their new homes in about two weeks. Sharman’s family recently adopted puppy “Remington,” adding to their pet parade of one existing dog, two cats and a ferret.
Sharman said she will leave the site up for donations during the school year, but plans to host another litter for adoption next summer.
“I was always the one who brought home stray animals, or the one who found the abandoned quail eggs and helped them hatch,” said Sharman, who at 22 has volunteered at numerous wildlife rescue organizations working with abandoned baby raccoons, possums and lots of baby birds.
“I am hoping I can continue working toward a time when there are no more homeless pets,” said Sharman, adding that her immediate goal is to take a much-needed nap.