Friday, February 3, 2012

Spread That Social Media News: You May Adopt a Pet!

Several friends of mine tirelessly post on Facebook about dogs and cats that need a home. They are scattered around the U.S. …New Jersey, Ohio, Texas, California, Missouri.  A few are involved with shelters, volunteering their time. Some posts are desperate; the animal is on the list to be euthanized with not much time left.

I read these posts, however I don’t respond very often. One day, I did comment on one and said “This little guy is cute. BTW, I just got a rescue dog.” My friend's reply exclaimed surprise because she didn’t think anyone was reading her posts and expressed delight in my finding a furry friend. I assured her that what she was doing was important and to keep doing it.

And I can justify that statement.

In October, a friend, Jim, shared a post on Facebook from one of his friends; a photo of a small dog in a cage. I was traveling at the time and quite busy. I commented “He’s a great little dog” and didn’t think more about it.

A couple weeks later and back home from my travels, Jim posted another photo of the same dog. I happened to see it and comment “he’s really cute”; this time Jim strongly urged me to call the vet where the dog was staying.

The next day, Tuesday, I called and discovered that the dog’s previous owner brought him to an animal shelter and was turned away because they were full. A concerned shelter employee brought the dog to a vet that sometimes takes in animals.  The only details retained were the dog’s name. So there he lived, in a cage in the waiting area with a sign pleading for someone to adopt him.  Thankfully on the weekends he went home with a staff member.

The following day, I was there, a 90 mile drive. Nervously, I entered and told a staff member who I was.  She said to go ahead and open the cage. I bent down and two front paws immediately went around my neck.

Guess who came home with me?

Would this young dog, who I describe as a terrier mix that looks like he stuck his paw in an electrical outlet, have found a home without the power of social media behind him? Gizmo, while he does like to stick his paw on the keyboard when he’s sitting in my lap, has no clue what Facebook is; if he did, he’d probably be thanking Mark Zuckerberg for its existence.

Facebook and other social networks quickly get information out that wasn’t possible ten years ago. In this particular case, someone I didn’t even know initiated the communication and Jim, as good hearted as he is, spread the word further.

Here’s the point. Anything you post does get seen. You may not see comments on it, however people are reading. And what you’ve posted may be shared, opening up the message to a whole new audience. News where people can help in a particular situation can travel quite far in a short period of time. And some people who aren’t in a position to help resolve the cause or issue will do their part by sharing the information to others who perhaps can.

Social media is a great way to get the word out when someone or something (like Gizmo) is in need.

Let’s go back to the days before the internet, and use my new furry friend as an example. He is turned away at a full-to-capacity shelter and winds up at the local vet. Pet owners who come to his practice see the dog; a few tell some other folks. Someone might even snap a photo, get it developed (you’re snickering now, right?) and pin it up on the lunchroom bulletin board where they work. Perhaps a few phone calls are made.

How many people got the news? A hundred, maybe two hundred?

Now how many people got the news via social media? Possibly thousands, depending on how many shares. It’s possible the vet posted on his page too (if he has one). There could be several chains of communication spreading the word out there.

And the moral of the story? Social Media sharing is often caring.


Anonymous said...

A tale (tail?) with a happy ending!

Shannon Grissom said...

What a heartwarming story and Gizmo is adorable!

Anonymous said...

I didn't know this!!!


Lisa Ladrido said...

What a great story, I am so glad you found each other! I love his name too, perfect!