Anuska & the Power of Social Media
This photo is one of the first I ever saw of my Anuska, then called Getares, named after the beach near which she was found. I was tagged in this photo on Facebook, so it popped up on my timeline when I was, like I so often am, mindlessly browsing my Facebook updates.
A friend had found this dog, presumably hit by a car and left for dead in a hole by the roadside. He didn’t know what to do. He had been in touch with the volunteers from the local council pound, but they had neither the funds nor the capacity to help her. Bringing her to the overcrowded pound in her situation would have added insult to injury. So he decided to foster the dog temporarily and turn to his Facebook friends for help.
When Anuska was found, she was in a bad state. Her front leg was broken in 3 places and it shocks me now to see how thin she really was, just over 6 months ago. I was angered by the dismissive attitude people in Spain often have towards dogs, in particular hunting dogs like Anuska (I will go into this more in a future post). The anger fueled my desire to help – especially as despite her ordeal she was still trying to smile…
€500. That’s how much was needed to pay for the operation to insert a pin into Anuska’s leg to fix the fractures, and any veterinary aftercare. No matter how much I wanted to, I couldn’t just cough up €500, so for the second time since Anuska’s rescue, her fate was to be decided by the power of social media.
I set up a crowdfunding campaign on indiegogo. For those of you not familiar with crowdfunding or indiegogo, crowdfunding is the process of funding a specific project or cause through contributions from a large number of people, usually via the internet. Indiegogo is one of the platforms facilitating this, but there are plenty of others doing the same, such as JustGiving and Kickstarter. If you are interested in setting up a crowdfunding campaign, like I did, but you don’t know which platform to use, Wikipedia provide a pretty good comparison article.
In order for a crowdfunding campaign to be a success, you need to spread the word. I shared the hell out of my campaign via Facebook, twitter and email (I even got my other rescue dog, Skippy, involved. Cuteness adds extra power to social media…) and it paid off.
Just past midnight, within 24 hours of setting it up, the campaign not only reached its goal – it exceeded it! I raised €530 in one afternoon!
Anuska could be saved!
Bearing in mind I had not even met the canine subject, I could not wait to visit my friend to tell him the good news. On the way there I bought a token gift for this very lucky dog, to celebrate the start of happier times in her life. I had no intention of actually taking her home…but I did. The short version is: I met her, she loved me, I loved her. Sometimes that is all that’s needed.
Tragically, Anuska’s story is one of millions and not all of them have a happy ending. It is undeniable, though, that social media is an increasingly powerful tool for both individuals and rescue organisations trying to re-home abandoned dogs and cats. Without the opportunities provided nowadays through the different social media platforms, Anuska for one would almost certainly have lost her leg and possibly her life. Arguably, the flip side of this phenomenon is that it is also easier for people to dismiss their pets by putting them up for sale, or worse, offering them for free, ready for them to be taken in by people who could be up to all sorts of no good. Personally I think the benefits outweigh the negatives, purely because I believe if people want to abandon, they will do so regardless.
What do you think? I would be interested to hear your views on this subject and any other comments below.