Social Media for Social Good

Is there anything sweeter than a man in love with his dog? There are several such people in my neighbourhood whom I have had the good fortune to observe.

First, there is the recently retired gentleman with his little Westie. He tells me he originally brought home the dog as a gift to his teenage daughter. Much to his surprise, the puppy immediately bonded to him and showed no interest in playing with the young girl. The two became inseparable. As he looks down at the pretty white canine, now six years old, the love between them is evident. Funnily enough, he’d never lived with a dog before.

Second, there is the quiet man with his two mixed breed dogs, one a shepherd mix, one a boxer. I have seen him around since I started walking Shiva. Never was a man more devoted. He is out there every day, braving the elements. Often he is the only other person I see at six in the morning in the pouring rain. We’ve never spoken – the man seems very shy. But we nod to each other as we pass, an action full of understanding. His dogs are as quiet as he is. I smile as I watch him pause to allow them to check out a bush. His demeanour is all patience. There have been no leash corrections in these dogs’ lives.

Third, and my favourite story, is the cranky old man with his wee chihuahua. Before he brought home the teeny little girl, he didn’t have much to say to anyone. I would see him sitting out in front of his apartment building, glaring at the world. After a few failed attempts to say hello, I started scurrying past, feeling his hard gaze. But then he got a dog. Too little for even the smallest sweaters, he carries her around in his coat to protect her from the cold. He smiles now as I say hello and will even stop to chat. He worries greatly over his dog’s exposed ears. Normally reticent around chihuahuas, I don’t hesitate to give her a little pat. The dog is as sweet as the man has become.

When people scorn the amount of money put into animals, I never know what to say. In harsher economic times, they declare, they would rather give their donor dollars to charities that fight human problems. I understand that. I certainly would never tell someone the life of a dog is more important than the life of her grandmother who died from cancer. We spend our money on things that matter the most.

However, animals are human problems.  Just look at those three stories above. Those four dogs have changed three lives in very meaningful ways. Our pets often fill holes we never realized were empty. By saving an animal, we just may be saving a human life. We never know where that rescued dog may end up.

That’s why when I heard about the Holiday Blogging Event for Pets in Need, created by Two Little Cavaliers, I had to join in to do my part. Naturally, the chance to win some extra cash didn’t hurt either. I encourage you to enter the contest by checking out the other bloggers using the Rafflecopter below. You just never know who’s future rescuer you might be saving.

What animal welfare organization is dear to your heart? If you win the big prize, who will you share your money with?

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

18 thoughts on “Social Media for Social Good

  1. aww, such sweet stories 🙂
    I love how many more people I talk to with a dog – people with and without dogs of their own. A dog can definitely change a life.


  2. Three beautiful relationships. Wonderful examples of how dogs enrich our lives.

    I have internal battles between wanting to give money to animals vs. money for poor, often homeless children. Both are deserving, so I try and spread it out amongst both.


  3. Great stories! I have an older gentleman in my neighborhood with what looks to be a very elderly min-pin and it’s so cute as they walk SOO slowly together around the neighborhood!

    I’d donate the money to the rescue I volunteer for, Starfish to the Sea Animal Rescue… the founder rescues all sorts of animals and seems to rescue small mammals who ultimately turn out to have variety of illnesses/tumors/etc but even the small critters deserve teh best vet care until they are either healed and adopted or cross the bridge. She doesn’t bat an eye at some big vet bills for the tiniest of rescue animals.


  4. Hi Kristine, my dad used to get a little “annoyed” when strangers asked “how much the surgery” for my back was. He’d tell them something like “more than you and I make in a month”. Then he’d watch their faces as they thought about that for a second because my dad could “hear them thinking”, no f&#C!*n way I’d do that. At which point, my dad would chuckle and we’d continue our walk. You’re right, people will spend money on those things that matter the most. My dad reminds himself of that everytime he takes the bus with 74 of his “closest friends”. Silly dad 🙂


  5. Very well-said. I am often so caught up with myself, that I don’t even notice these little things going on around me. We started a dog club at my school, and it’s so interesting because the students that I can’t quite reach, and I can’t get them to care about things in class, will voluntarily stay after school and come to dog club so they can learn how to better take care of their pooch.


  6. What beautiful stories! I too think there is nothing sweeter than a man and his dog. I love the Hubster most in those quiet moments he shares with our dogs.

    I know it’s hard to counter people’s arguments regarding donating to human charities versus animal charities. When I encounter that type of criticism, I usually counter that I’m a dog person through and through. In order to effectively change the world for the better, we must all seek out organizations, volunteer experiences, etc that motivate us and ignite our passion to keep giving back. Dogs do that for me. That being said, there are groups who are helping both. Here in Portland, we have Project Pooch – which rescues dogs and works with kids at youth detention facility to train them until they are ready for adoption. Helping dogs and kids is win-win in my book!


  7. I like to give to a variety of causes and do just that.
    I loved the stories of the old men and their dogs. Thanks for sharing : )


  8. I especially liked your description of the quiet man with his two dogs. I can just imagine how patient he must be and how much he loves those two dogs. I don’t have the patience to sit and wait for Ace every time he stops to sniff a bush. I really should work on that. He waits for me all the time and never complains.


  9. Great stories! I think I might most closely relate to the quiet man and his two mixed breeds. Although having my dogs definitely has made me more social and allows me to interact more with my neighbors. Raising guide dog puppies also gives me an opportunity to talk to strangers about puppy raising and why we need to socialize our puppies.


  10. those are very lovely stories, there is a guy who lives near my place who is constantly out and about with his Cavalier King Charles Spaniel – he loves to chat to people who stop to talk to his dog…. I get the feeling that without the dog he wouldn’t have much social interaction. It is also the fittest, most walked Cavvie I have ever seen!


  11. I’m embarrassed to say I had no idea what a Rafflecopter was until now. Who knew?
    Anyways, great cause. So sorry I didn’t enter when I had the chance, but glad I get to read all the posts anyways. If I won the money I would donate to Minnesota Sheltie Rescue. They did so much for me when Lady was missing. it would be a way of paying it forward to help the next person.


    • I didn’t really know either, not even after using one during K9 Kamp. It took playing around with it yesterday to really understand. Technology and I are reluctant friends. 😛

      It’s not to late! You can still enter to win by using the Rafflecopter and following people on Facebook! The earlier deadline was just for bloggers to get their social media links attached. But you can still win the big prize!


  12. what a fantastic post this is! i love the story about the quiet man with the two dogs. i do not see anyone else out at 5:30 with their dogs when the weather is bad. i wish we had someone like that here–it would make those days a little more bearable.


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