Saturday, January 8, 2011

“He will love you like you’ve never been loved before”

Who wouldn’t stop, just for a minute or two, and read on when seeing a come-on like that in their Facebook news feed, especially when it’s placed next to a beautiful photo of a seemingly medium-sized dog sitting on the grass on a sunny day? A phrase like that is practically a dare to people scrolling through the maze of posts that erupted in their profile since the last time they checked.

You only think you have a great pet/friend/spouse. You haven’t experienced anything like this little dude. 

Adoption pleas like that (and as much as I’d love to give credit where credit is due, I did not bookmark the post, so I cannot tell you the shelter/rescue group responsible for such creativity) warm my soul. They make me want to read more about the pet and what makes them so special in the eyes of the people currently caring for him or her. Wouldn’t you want to know more?

Shoot, I’d go out of my way to look for more posts like that. Posts that showcase everything wonderful a new four-legged friend can add to your life. Heck, I’d even be willing to forward those types of come-ons to other folks I know, unlike the posts that still make up the majority of what I still see online: URGENT!!! WILL DIE TOMORROW! DESPERATELY NEED HELP!! PLEASE SAVE!!  Those are posts that I’m almost certain to never finish reading, let alone pass on.

Know why?

Because the odds are pretty good that if you are reading this, you are someone who has a soft spot for animals, particularly companion animals, because if you’re not, the only other option is that you lost a bet to me and reading this is in lieu of me ever getting my money from you. Mostly, I’m guessing it’s the former.

Same goes for my Facebook friends. Like you, the people I’m friends with on Facebook are people I made an active choice to include in my circle. As such, it’s a pretty safe assumption that I’m not carrying a host of backyard breeding, puppy-torturing, kitten-hating folks on my roster --- and I’m guessing you aren’t, either.

So, while I have absolutely no objection at all to people who forward pet information in an effort to find a forever home for any pet they can, I’m well-past over the not-so-subtle implication that it’s all my fault if the six dogs you just posted, one after another, aren’t all rescued and in a foster home by the end of the day. Especially in a forum like Facebook where the people who are joining your organization’s page or adding you to their “friend” list have clearly already had a whole pitcher of Kool-Aid and are asking for another glass. We get it. We want to help, or are already actively helping in whatever way we are able. So how about dialing the combo-meal-sized dose of guilt back a bit?

Tell me what is wonderful and special about the pet in the photo. Tell me about a physical mark of beauty, an endearing habit or a funny quirk. Use a line from a movie or a song that will encourage me to read more, share more, do more, because it feels good to do so.

It’s what friends do for each other.


jen said...

I have never thought of it this way before, and I have to say I agree with you on this.
I really enjoyed reading this post.
Very well put!

Cat Chat With Caren and Cody (Caren Gittleman) said...

absolutely loved this!!

Cat Chat

Unknown said...

you make some good points

Unknown said...

Hi y'all,

Just hopped by to say hello.

Hawk aka BrownDog

Vicky said...

I appreciate your input, everyone. I really want to see as many adoptable pets find homes as possible and I believe half the argument is made in the opening lines. We wouldn't be here if we didn't really, really dig pets. I just want to see more adoption posts that convey what is wonderful about having one :)

Trixie, Lily, and Sammy-Joe said...

Our Mama sees those WILL DIE IN SIX HOURS posts too and they make her sad... especially because she can't DO anything about those dogs and cats. We like your idea that the warmer, sweeter posts about animals can be forwarded to more people and more likely to find help!

Vicky said...

Trixie, I agree. I know people who refuse to open mail from pet groups because they handle seeing the images of abused or neglected animals. I know that there are organizations who believe the pictures increase donations, but I have to be honest --- I think there's a line between bringing animal issues to people's attention and using horrific photos and situations to boost donations (and page views, in the case of some websites and blogs I've seen).

My personal lines are pretty simple: Don't show pics of suffering if you aren't showing a positive end to the story, and don't play on my guilt/sympathy when you can get better results by showing the positive difference my assistance can make.

AngelPups said...

I love this post! I AM doing everything I can at my own shelter and for my own three dogs and will help in anyway I can! But those "screaming" pleas of guilt remind me of chain letters that tell me something bad will happen to me if I don't forward to 27 people in 3 minutes! It's an invitation to ignore~Great post!

Vicky said...

AngelPups, hearing your support made my night! Thank you for understanding where I'm coming from, especially given your place directly in the shelter/rescue world.

Chain letter --- what a perfect description of how I feel when seeing the posts I spoke of.


Blog Design By Sour Apple Studio © All Rights Reserved.