Text messaging and computers have changed the way people use the English language. While symbols have always been a part of language, words like "emoticon" only entered humankind's lexicon since the late 20th century. Text-based symbols are so widely used that computer programs are now equipped with specialized codes to insert smiley faces, hearts and other symbols with a single keystroke. Unfortunately for animal lovers, paw symbols do not have a special code, and you still need to type out these symbols using a series of characters on your standard computer keyboard.
Type a "<" symbol and a capital "O."
Hit the "Enter" key and type another "<" and "O."
Press the space bar, type two hyphens, and type another capital "O."
Hit the "Enter" key and two one last "<O." The end result is a text-based paw symbol, represented below:
<O <O -- O <O
You can substitute hyphens for the carets if you want thinner talons on your paw, or use a bracket or parenthesis for wider claws. There is no one way to send a paw via text or instant message, so you can adjust any of the symbols for different effects.