WOOSTER, Ohio — TikTok is the most downloaded app in the world, and has more than 800-million active users worldwide. One of them is Joe Kay of Wooster.
Joe's TikTok account has over 287,000 followers and his videos have more than ten million likes.
He's using the social media app to help get animals adopted from the Wayne County Humane Society.
3News Meteorologist Matt Standridge talked to him about how this journey started.
“What made you start thinking, ‘wait, I can start showing off these dogs on TikTok?,’" asked Matt.
“I actually didn't start off with me in the shelter,” Joe explained. “I started off with my rescue dog and those went viral. So then I was like, well, if they they really like the rescue dogs, let me show them where I work.”
Joe says, his videos took off from there.
The story of how he started working at the shelter is one of bravery.
After serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, he went to college. Joe got a 9-to-5 job but found he wasn’t happy.
That’s when he decided to follow his heart.
“Sitting in a cubicle on a computer all day -- I needed something -- I needed change. So I just went to the Humane Society. I didn't think I was going to get hired. I applied and they're like, ‘well, we only have a cleaning spot open.’ I was like, ‘I'll take it.’”
Joe was soon named adoption coordinator. Now, he uses TikTok to spread awareness about the shelter and the animals they rescue, who need permanent homes.
“It's a very stressful place for dogs to be. But I show their process through the shelter. I show us working with them, spending time with them. Getting them ready for adoption and then all the way up to the point, I show them getting adopted.”
Joe’s message is being heard! He’s had people from several states away come to Northeast Ohio to adopt.
“People from Pennsylvania, New York,” says Joe. “I've had someone drive from Florida to come to adopt a dog here in Ohio.
Matt also talked to Joe about his fundraising efforts.
“You also have had some other really cool stories. For example, can you tell me about the air conditioner story? That went out in July?,” asked Matt.
“Yes, it was very, very, very hot.” Joe says, “we're not funded by the county. So the only way we can raise money is either by asking for donations or we put on events.”
“I have never asked for money on TikTok before, so I didn't know what was going to happen.”
Through his gracious TikTok fans, Joe was able to raise $3,000 to purchase a new air conditioning unit.
“It was amazing.“
Joe's most popular video has already been viewed nearly 5 million times!
“One night I was getting ready to leave, and I was like, ‘orange cat, orange cat, orange cat, orange cat, gray cat. I was like, oh that looks kind of funny,’” says Joe. “I said, ‘should I tell him he's been adopted?’ And everyone loved it. It's a hilarious video.”
Nearly a dozen people have come to the shelter hoping to adopt dogs Joe featured on TikTok, along with some cats.
Joe’s handle on TikTok is @adoptingdogs. You can visit the Wayne County Humane Society website for more information about adopting or donating.