If you hate Facebook I can’t say I blame you but before you write the most popular platform for social media off completely let me tell you that without Facebook, Dog Rescue doesn’t exist in its current form. Lilith was found through Facebook when she ran away. Hundreds, yes, hundreds, of posts go out each year about lost dogs and every Facebook user is another set of eyes out there who can spot a missing pet.
But it goes deeper than that. There are a half-dozen or so members of a local rescue group who read through Craig’s List and the local Lost and Found sites online looking for people who are giving away dogs and cats. Why? Because some of these people who are trying to get rid of pets are actually trying to get rid of animals they found, and we in Rescue try to reunite the owners with their lost pets. There are people online who “flip” dogs and cats but taking free pets and then selling them. You do not want to know what happens to those who aren’t sold quickly. There are people who try to start backyard breeding factories and we find those too. Dog Fighters hate us with a passion because when we hear about someone looking for Pitbulls, and they’ve been looking before, red flags go up. Nearly every activity that Rescue does gets cranked via social media.
I can’t remember when it happened, but one day the call went out, as it often does. This wasn’t a lost dog, or a bake sale, or the photo of someone dumping a dog on the side of the road (yes, that has happened, yes, more than once) but something different. A local vet was trying to get a “No tether” ordinance pass and was slated to speak at the Lowndes County Commissioners meeting. Show up, and wear gray! I went and bought a gray turtleneck and went to the meeting.
It was awesome.
I counted one hundred people there wearing gray. It was standing room only and the County Commissioners were clearly stunned. For every person standing, or sitting, in that room, they were looking at ten more who wanted to be there. That’s 1,000 votes. Elections could be lost by that amount. Or won. But clearly this was not something they expected and just as clearly, this was something they could ill afford to ignore.
The vet spoke her mind and very eloquently made her case against keeping dogs chained. How it is it to live a life that way, with just a few feet of freedom, outside in the rain and the cold, never to know the love and comfort of a family. It makes dogs aggressive and it makes them psychotic. They don’t get to socialize and they feel isolated and abandoned. A woman was killed by a dog that finally lost its mind and broke its chain. You could see it in their faces. They had never ever considered it. They looked around and saw standing room only, and nearly everyone wearing gray.
The ordinance was passed.
It isn’t perfect and getting it enforced is another matter. But now we have people saying out loud, “Dogs are not lawn ornaments.” And other people are listening.
Unite with fellow animal lovers and go out and do this. Make a stand, get people involved, and stand up in public and speak the truth as you know it. Social media gets a nod here for helping with the win, certainly, but people who wanted to make a difference showed up, and the government listened.
Unchain your heart, unchain your dog, and get involved.