“What My Online Community Means to Me” – By Lisa Maxwell
Vader is a mutt who came to Austin Pets Alive after being turned in to the shelter and passed over for adoption and by other rescue groups. This is how most dogs arrive in our care. What was different about Vader is that he was living at the Town Lake Animal Center on May 25, 2015, when the flood waters started to rise.
As the water came in, APA staff were desperately trying to move dogs from their kennels to any safe place that would stay above water. Our Marketing Manager posted on Facebook that we needed emergency foster homes and within hours a line of people arrived at the shelter and signed up to be fosters. We had more than 211 foster applications submitted in a single day. More than 80 animals went to foster care that night, and another 60+ went directly into foster homes over the following days as Austin Pets Alive took in animals from other flood-damaged shelters in the area. Facebook was literally a lifesaver that day.
Secondarily, our Facebook post showing the line of foster families stretched across the parking lot was shared 16,900 times and had more than 28,000 “Likes.” This exposure led to coverage in both local and national media, including the Huffington Post and People Magazine, where it was further shared.
Thankfully this led people to donate, which helped us offset the costs of caring for the additional displaced animals we took in after the floods.
Vader was one of the dogs taken home by a foster, who fell for him, and adopted him. Vader is now in his forever home, thanks to floods and Facebook.
Whether it’s posting a plea to raise funds for one of our sick dogs, or promoting one of the many fundraising events we do, we depend on our friends and followers to get the word out.
Our Twitter and Instagram feeds feature foster animals, long-stay dogs, seniors and those with medical issues that might not otherwise have the kind of exposure they need to get adopted. We also have multiple Facebook pages and groups, including those for volunteers (who are a vital part of our organization) and adopters (where they can ask questions, share photos and so forth with other APA adopters.) These smaller communities within our larger community allow us to maintain contact with our constituents and supporters.
Our online community is critically important and directly impacts our ability to save the thousands of dogs and cats that would be otherwise killed. Austin is the largest No-Kill city in the world and has become a model for other cities across the country. None of this would be possible without our friends and followers in the online world.
Want to win a free ticket to BlogathonATX on September 26, 2015?
Send YOUR 500-word essay entitled “What My Online Community Means to Me” to ilene@blogathonATX.com by Monday, August 17th.