The Love/Hate Relationship of Social Media and Rescue

Oh, the double-edged sword of Facebook. Rescuers know it well – what started as a brilliant method for sharing dogs in need and utilizing well-meaning volunteers has effectively become what many of us will consider the biggest thorn in our sides. This is a long read, so get comfortable.

Facebook – social media in general, really – is responsible for the lives of thousands of animals that would have never made it out of the shelter alive. Suddenly, low-budget shelters with no ability to share photos and information of the dogs in their facilities gained a free platform to spread the word about their strays and adoptables. Animals started finding rescues and adopters from all over, just because somebody saw their picture on Facebook and decided to help. Groups were formed for transport coordination, breed rescues, etc. and folks really jumped on the bandwagon to help the animals. I mean really jumped on the bandwagon.

I know I’m looking a gift horse in the mouth. Facebook is wonderful; Facebook users, not always so. What was once such a blessing has turned into chaos and frustration. Many rescuers, myself included, have started avoiding social media altogether due to the pandemonium it creates.

At one point (I’ve worked very hard to rectify this situation), you could look at my personal Facebook page and legitimately think I was a dog. There were no pictures of me – just dogs! Dogs, dogs, dogs! Not even my dogs, but dogs of every make and model all across the country that somebody, somewhere thought I needed to be aware of. Fortunately for me, I do have a social life and employers, and I would rather them see pretty little ol’ me on my Facebook, not some hound dog in Florida.

I digress… There is a right and a wrong way to use social media for the benefit of everyone – rescues and dogs alike. Unfortunately, many people have come to see social media as a way to feel needed and important. They have a purpose in life, even if it’s just sitting on their couch tagging everyone in kingdom come in a shelter dog’s picture. That, my friends, is the wrong way. And below, I have explained this in more detail, as well as things you can do to actually help your local shelter dogs and rescues.

Things You Need To Stop Doing:

1. Crosspost Crosspost Crosspost!

If your Facebook name includes “Crossposter” or “Xposter” or anything similar, don’t request to be my friend. I’m going to deny it. Why? Because I really don’t want to get fifty notifications a day from you, tagging my name on pictures and sharing dogs on my wall. That’s my Facebook page! For me! Plus, chances are, I already know about the dog if it’s the type of dog I rescue. It’s probably been emailed to me five times by 10 a.m., the shelter has probably already called me themselves to ask for my help, and I do check all the shelter pages myself.

Another issue I have with rampant crossposting – it scatters the information to the wind. Every thread has a different set of comments and nobody ever checks the original thread for updates. I’ve all but ceased posting updates on dogs on Facebook because nobody pays attention. Also – if I’m rescuing a dog, letting everyone know the status on Facebook is not my first priority. Believe it or not, coordinating with the shelter and local volunteers personally is my priority. And my guess is, any other serious rescuer trying to help that dog is probably doing the exact same thing, so they don’t need to see it on Facebook either.

Crossposting these days does little more than create absolute hysteria surrounding shelter animals. It feeds off the over-emotional users who aren’t checking the facts before posting, and frankly it’s making our lives (rescuers and shelter workers) more difficult. Panic does not solve problems, coordination and action does.

2. “I wish I could help, but…”

Stop, stop, stop. STOP. If you can’t help, cool. We get it. But there is absolutely no point in posting, “I wish I could help, but I’m 1,000 miles away,” or “I wish I could help, but I have five dogs already.” If you can’t help, that’s fine, but stop cluttering threads with your sentiment. I can look at a thread for a shelter dog with forty-something comments, and not one single one will actually be offering to help – they’re all just crossposters tagging names and people saying, “Oh my, look at that baby, what an angel, I wish I could help.” You’re just trying to make yourself feel better about not helping, and nobody needs to see that.

Well, those comments sure are helpful.

Similarly, stop finding dogs in shelters that are a five hour’s drive from you, and posting, “I’ll take this baby but I can’t drive.” What a HUGE help you are. Unless that comment is followed by, “But I’ll pay to have the dog boarded and transported to me,” you just need to stay out of it. Frankly, I think that any group who relies on the word of some rando on Facebook committing to adopting a dog and pulls that dog under that assumption is just asking for a world of trouble. I’ve done it once, and lo’ and behold, guess who got stuck with a dog? Mmmhm. Fortunately for that dog, I don’t back out on my commitments and she came into my own rescue program. Not every rescue abides by those same standards, however (and that is a blog for another day).

3. “Someone NEEDS to save this dog!”

This one really, really irritates me. Unless that someone is you, keep your dang mouth shut. Because, at that point, you are taking it upon yourself to place responsibility on others beside yourself, and that, my friend, is a load of B.S. If you’re not willing to get off your butt and do something yourself, don’t you ever expect someone else to do it. That’s about all I have to say about that one… pretty self-explanatory.


Things You Should Do More:

1. Donate

Whether I agree with rescues pulling based on pledges and sponsorship or not, the fact is that many do. Especially with dogs in the South, where heartworm disease is rampant, many rescues can’t afford to take dogs whose vet bills will run in the multiples of hundreds. The adoption fees will never cover the treatment, and that’s a surefire way to run a rescue into the ground – take dogs you can’t afford. However, when dogs get pledges and sponsorships, doors open. That money can go toward vetting and/or transportation (since many northern groups use professional transportation services) and it actually can be the difference to whether or not a dog lives or dies. We all have little things we spend money on that we don’t need – if forgoing that daily latte´ means you can donate twenty bucks a week to getting shelter dogs out and to rescue, why wouldn’t you?

2. Get Off Your Butt

Seriously. Get off your butt and out from behind the computer. FOSTER. It’s not that hard, really – I promise. Even if you’re just a temporary foster that holds animals for transport, you’re saving two lives – the animal you’re taking home and the animal filling its space at the shelter. Most rescues cover all expenses for fosters, and anything they don’t cover is tax-deductible. You’ve all seen that meme that floats around Facebook with the cute dog that says, “I’m Alive – Because I Had A Foster Home.” It’s as simple as that. Fostering saves lives, more than anything else.

If you genuinely cannot foster, there are still other ways to help. Drive for transports, evaluate dogs in your local animal shelter, or take pictures of their available animals. Become a general volunteer for the rescue of your choice and call references, help with data entry, do home visits, help at local events. The folks who run rescues have jobs, lives, families, and a million things to do that actually have nothing to do with rescue, on top of what rescue responsibilities they have. You have no idea how wonderfully helpful it is to have somebody help us with the little things.

3. Utilize your skills/time

Finally, we all have skills. A lot of rescues could really benefit from those skills. If you’re good with a computer, web design, graphic design, etc., offer to help build a rescue’s website or design a snazzy logo for them. I am sooo lucky that I have both a graphic and a web designer on my board, and because of them my rescue’s stuff looks pretty bomb-ass, if I may be so bold. Not all rescues are that lucky, however, and they definitely don’t have the budget to pay someone to do it. If you’re a good photographer with a decent camera, offer to take pictures of foster dogs or dogs in shelters. A picture is worth a thousand words, we know, and it’s proven than better pictures get animals adopted faster.

Your skills could really be used for just about anything. If you’re an accountant or a bookkeeper, offer to help with records. If you like to sew, make collars or beds that can be donated to shelter dogs or sold at events. Two of my volunteers make tutus in their spare time for us to sell – TUTUS! The list goes on!

tl;dr – Social media is not your platform for affirming self-worth in the rescue world. If you really want to help, do something more constructive than creating mass hysteria and begging for 11th hour rescue.

121 thoughts on “The Love/Hate Relationship of Social Media and Rescue

  1. Marcie Garn June 12, 2014 / 10:40 am

    Oh Heather, how well this is done! There are days I feel I will lose my mind if I see one more “oh I wish I could help” or the infamous “someone”… Thank you for putting those thought in print!!! And thank you for all you do for the animals ❤

  2. donnataylor90293 June 13, 2014 / 12:21 pm

    This is probably the most honest, true blog I have read in a very long time. Everything you said in here was spot on. One more thing.. Please do not start the we need to get this guy put 10 minutes after he was brought in. Wait until he/she becomes available. Great job!

  3. Janis Jackson June 17, 2014 / 11:20 am

    I am so glad there are people like you in this world. People who give. People who say the truth.
    I have always wondered why anyone could take on the commitment of fostering a dog? I imagined it to be hard work and frustrating. I’m not up to the task but I do what I can…
    I foster kittens. Not just any kittens but the ones that have been raised by feral mothers until almost the point of no return. I can turn them around and get them into forever homes. Its a gift I have and I don’t feel overwhelmed doing it. Its a joy and a process and , little yorkie helps me mother them back into the world of dogs and humans.

  4. catmndu June 17, 2014 / 2:59 pm

    That “someone is you” is my response to the “someone should help” comments. Tagging a post/forwarding an email to someone who will actually DO something is not rescue and stop calling it rescue cuz it ain’t. I have to say my biggest peeve is the person from IL, or CA posting about dogs in GA. Do they not have dogs in their own freaking state that need help? Please stay out of mine….please, please. I do not go looking at states in other regions for dogs in need. Also the person who sends me a dog from TX and when informed I handle GA, TN, AL asks “can you look up groups there and forward to them?” Um no, I can’t but I’m sure Senor Google can tell you…I’m a little busy, you know with the foster dogs and cats and kittens at my place already.

    • Denise Ricketts July 7, 2014 / 1:03 am

      I appreciate you input. However; the reason I tag people in other states an even one in another country is because we all have PUBLIC accounts. My tag and share to one rescuer in Illinois gets out to several THOUSAND people and the same with the rescuer in Australia. Some of those get more shares who, in turn get to PUBLIC accounts. This gets PLEDGES, (from even persons out of the country) Foster offers and Adoption offers as well as Rescues.
      Granted, it gets a Lot of “I wish I could help but”. I don’t bother to crowd a thread with “I wish”.
      I just wanted to clarify the reason why it is valuable to tag and share with people even if they are not IN your state or even country.
      My posts have legitimately provided pledges and adoptions for animals.
      I DO know people in California BTW. I doesn’t matter that i currently live in WV. I used to live in CA. So, I don’t mean “Face Book Know” I KNOW people in California. Thank you.

  5. Ruth A. Kent June 17, 2014 / 6:03 pm

    What a wonderful writer you are, and wonderful piece this is! I’d love to hear your comments on why rescuers have become so nasty to one another. I have a dear friend with a rescue foundation in CA and she has been harassed almost out of her mind with vicious lies and accusations. Now she has to spend so much time protecting her credibility that it takes time away from the really great work she used to do.

    I’d also like to point out that there are states who have a huge concentration of particular breeds and other states who are lacking in both available dogs and particular breeds. In those states where they are overwhelmed with Pit Bulls and Chi’s for example, they could truly benefit from people who are willing to adopt and have a dog transported. Soi Dog is a great example. It’s not always cheap or free, but they are global and in areas of the world where dogs and cats have a much harder time than here. So they do their very best to adopt out to safer places and will attempt to transport to anywhere in the world they feel is safe, and they do very thorough checks. They also try to get the transport costs down as low as possible asking pilots to volunteer, and using donations to pay for fuel, etc. So when I see someone on a thread who seems like they are serious and would really be a good home but are in another state, I send them info about transportation available to adopters or rescues in a rescue to rescue transfer. It’s a VERY complicated process and people need help with it. Having done it myself, I try to help when I can. I do not however advocate cluttering up the threads with speculation or other useless info so try to take it into a PM asap. I don’t think this is wrong. In fact I think in some places in the country and around the globe it is their only hope to find adopters anywhere they can. I would really like to see a more organized approach to transport though. I have tried to inform and raise awareness here in Colorado among rescue groups, but have had no response.

    If you ever need help with something I can do on the computer from home, let me know. I am disabled so cannot get out much. But I can write, make phone calls, and have successfully rescued dogs by calling breed rescues and emailing them, and helping people find transportation. Friend me on facebook, Ruth A. Kent, for my contact info.

    Finally, thank you for doing what you do and doing it so well.


  6. tiggerton June 17, 2014 / 6:21 pm

    This is a fantastic post. Just a quick note on #3. I am a long time graphic and web designer, and have donated my time to several rescue and advocacy organizations in the past. Rescues, if you do use a graphic/web designer – value this donated time! I’ve had more than one rescue spend many hours of my time (in one case, 15 hours of very boring grunt design work and 80 miles of travel to meet in person) and then drop the project by not answering my emails asking for a little bit of data to complete the project. I used to, on a weekly basis, take hundreds of photos and spend about 4+ hours per week editing and sharing them – and the rescue never shared them themselves and perhaps used 1 out of ever 300 on their site… and preferred to use their own despite asking me to keep coming back. So I gave up, as it wasn’t an efficient use of time. I’ve had other very positive experiences too, but have grown very wary about the ones I take on (and adjusted my workflow) as a result of a few cases like these.

    So when taking on a web/graphics professional volunteer, be prepared to spend a *little* bit of time on the project to provide information, and be committed to finish the project out if a volunteer is donating their time. Remember that we might be donating our time to a bunch of different organizations, in addition to our daily jobs or businesses. I am very, very wary of taking on new pro-bono design projects based on how many rescues I’ve come across that haven’t committed to finishing a project and left me high-and-dry with work I can’t recycle. I absolutely respect how busy rescues are, and that the priority is the health and safety of the animals, and I try to reduce any work on your side as much as I possibly can, but I also can’t finish my work for the rescue without a bit of input or way to upload what you’re asking for (or whatever the blocker is) 🙂 Mutual respect of each other’s time? I will be dedicated and provide you top-notch work on a continual basis!

  7. Ruthie Augustein June 19, 2014 / 11:36 am

    Love this…I have taken in very aggressive rescues. One had rage fits and after trying for a year and half with his rages they started coming almost every hour day and night I had him humanely euthanized while I held him. I got to hug him for the first time. I was called a dog killer by those who would never consider letting a dog like him in their home.I love Facebook for getting word out. But too many people are trying to become some Internet hero but few really get their hands dirty.

    • Jen Fealko December 29, 2014 / 1:05 pm

      I love this comment. I have had these very same sentiments numerous times. Nothing irks me more than the person who sits back and judges without knowing what is really going on. Don’t condemn me for TRYING when you wouldn’t lift a finger for that same dog I just had to euthanize for legitimate reasons. It’s not a fun place to be .. to take dogs that you know may not make it … to know that you may be their very last stop on a very bad train ride. My last rescue was a dog that NO ONE else could take on. She was old, she was sick, she was frail. I heard all the excuses of why they couldn’t. Guess what? I have kids. I have other pets. I knew NOTHING about her. I didn’t even get to meet her until she came to my house to stay. We MADE it work. We gave it our all. After just over a year of giving it everything we had, we had to give up. She was just too old, too frail. She couldn’t make a come back like we had hoped for. Sure, maybe there was some miracle treatment somewhere out there that would help her for a bit … but we decided that she had a great year with us, being loved, getting to travel and go camping, and the best thing we could do was let her go with dignity, not shuffle her around like a herd of cattle in hopes that something would help her. I was at complete peace with my decision. Sure as the sun shines, some “well intentioned” FB user decided to PM me and condemn me for my choice to euthanize her … a dog that had NO chance at a life if it wasn’t for me. She was slated for euth the day her stray hold was up. I about blew a gasket. She was MY dog, in every sense of the word, I sat with her day and night, I had to feed and medicate her every few hours for MONTHS. I had to work her legs and make her walk. When she took a downhill turn, I had to CARRY her 75 pound (still emaciated) ass out the door to potty. I had to hold her up so she could eat standing up. I bawled my eyes out the day she was put to sleep, more so than I had for a dog that I had raised since a puppy. I felt like I had failed her, all because of some random FB user I had never met who decided to be an asshole. Then I realized something – they had NO clue. I was making the most selfless choice I could. I didn’t want to let her go. But she had NO quality of life anymore. She was in pain. She barely ate. No amount of pain meds seemed to help. She couldn’t walk anymore. She couldn’t even stand up to eat or potty, I had to HOLD HER while she pottied so she wouldn’t fall. I did it for weeks, hoping that she would somehow make some miraculous turn around. But she didn’t. She couldn’t. Her body was just too old. She was at least 12 years old the day she died. She weighed 40 pounds when she came to me and even after gaining 30+ pounds, she was still skin and bone, she should have weighed over 100 pounds. Until they are willing to take on the same cases we’ve dealt with, they have NO room to judge. Bravo to you, for taking on a dog no one else would, for sticking it out for far longer than most would ever consider, and for doing the humane thing and giving him a dignified death. Sometimes, that is the BEST we can do, let them go so they can finally be at peace, with love, dignity and respect.

  8. Angela Roberts June 19, 2014 / 10:49 pm

    Thank you so much for this enlightening and honest post. I cannot tell you, as a rather new arrival to social media an animal rescue/assistance, how much it grates to see people sending “prayers” and “I wish I could help!” and “somebody help!” screeching and hand wringing. It might make them feel better, but sheesh…it has nothing to do with helping in any practical sense. I mean, why bother? I don’t want to read or be exposed to people who do frigging nothing except try to make themselves feel better by doing nothing. Thanks for all you do!

  9. Kimberly Fentress Adams June 21, 2014 / 3:00 pm

    I understand what you’re saying about the completely useless comments that well-meaning people post, however I disagree about the usefulness of social media and rescue. I’ve seen thousands of dollars raised through social media sites, I’ve seen thousands of dogs and fosters/new families united via social media, lost dogs reunited with their families via social media, and dogs pulled from kill shelters through social media. So regardless of the irritating, self-fulfilling posts and the petty arguments that take place by those who need to get a life, social media is a powerful tool that when used properly, can move mountains, take down governments and can save the lives of many homeless, injured, and/or abandoned animals. We’ve got to take the good with the bad, even when we’re donating our physical time (sometimes we have to deal with jerks in face-to-face environments, as well…that’s just life!) to rescue.

    • Denise Ricketts July 7, 2014 / 1:06 am

      Thank you. I have learned to speed read in order to “summarize” pledges.

  10. Nicki Buchheit-Ice June 25, 2014 / 11:49 pm

    This author seems very angry and kinda rude. How do you know the people saying “I wish I could help” didn’t turn around and donate money? If you truly want to help, just do it without bitching about well meaning people! If you want to tell people what helps and doesn’t help then do it a bit nicer maybe?

    • Denise Ricketts July 7, 2014 / 1:32 am

      Agreed. Anger gets you nowhere. And not everyone who donates states. not everyone who pledges pays.

    • Sandra Arnold December 29, 2014 / 11:13 am

      Sometimes I say I wish I could help because I’d like to foster but have one dog that won’t tolerate a strange dog in the house. BUT I know lots of dog people and my posts get to them. Our local ASPCA has benefited greatly from those of us who donate to them, post their dogs and cats…..many many more are rescued now then were before. I also know lots of people in other states, so if someone posts a dog in need in Georgia or Florida I post it…some of these people are in a position to help, donate or drive a dog….so I think you’re underestimating some of us who truly care and are really doing some good on FB with posting animals that need forever homes. I’ve rescued many dogs myself and really had to go looking for them….a lot of people just don’t go out to Adoption centers or look at Petfinders….but if something catches their heart/their attention, they step up. I can surely understand you don’t want people tagging you or posting on your wall, you have enough to do…….but really I think if we have hearts for animals we can help this cause any way we can and for some it’s on FB. I know for sure a couple of animals have been adopted because of my posts.

    • Laurie Garrison January 19, 2015 / 8:27 am

      Me too. Instead of yelling and telling us what not to do she could have to us how to really use social media. I cannot foster with 8 cats and 2 dogs, I am at my limit, nor do I have the funds. So, I help share, comment in the right way because that is all I can do at this time. I have donated money when I can and I have helped one rescue by building her rescue a website, donating the graphics out of my pocket but if this is how angry they are all I can find better things to do with my time. I understand the negative comments I help on Facebook but some can be over looked but this person seems to think not… I have people tell me all of the time be up beat about any article that I write and now I see why because after reading this I went and deleted tons of my friends, shelter and rescue pages. If they don’t want my help fine. That is how she made me feel instead of encouragement in the right way. Goes to show you she is not a good writer.

    • pjslife January 26, 2015 / 7:10 pm

      Agree with your sentiment. How does she know people just want to feel good about themselves and that’s why they do it? My guess is those people love animals and are truly concerned for the animal’s welfare. I don’t believe they’re people sitting behind a screen with a hero complex.

      I don’t respect any non-profit that has such a negative attitude for people in the community. We all know that ‘Someone please save this baby!’ doesn’t actually save the pet. But it’s not that hard to scroll on by to find the status of the dog, and ignore the posts that annoy (for those that get annoyed). Her post just sounds like a bitch-fest and doesn’t do much to inspire people to step forward.

      Foster dog mama

      • Rachael Tompkins Eley September 2, 2016 / 1:00 pm

        In every single situation where I pulled a dog from a shelter with pledges, not single pledge every came through to the rescue for the dog. Nuff said y’all.

      • PJ September 2, 2016 / 1:29 pm

        Our experience is vastly different. We’ve been successful in people honoring their pledges. Time to look and see what the real issue is.

  11. Lorri Redmon June 29, 2014 / 4:28 pm

    Interesting, very well written and informative, BUT, if I could get off my butt and do something other than repost I would certainly do so, and I ALWAYS check the original post for updates before reposting. I am disabled and usually all I can do is repost. I have fostered, I have volunteered, I have donated, I wish I could do more.

  12. Lisa Little July 13, 2014 / 5:49 pm

    Great Article. I would add if you do start cross posting a dog to rescues PLEASE take the time to check what area that rescue covers. Private messaging dogs in need from California, Texas and yes even Australia to a rescue on the east coast of the US does nothing more then create a lot of posts to wade through to find the dogs in the states the rescue can help. People who do this are literally taking time away from dogs the rescue can be helping when all they have to do is take a moment to check and see what areas the rescue covers. Or use Google to find rescues in the correct state the dog is in.

  13. Amy Carr October 7, 2014 / 11:20 am

    I do some cross-posting, not random, but from certain sites, ones that I donate to. And my hope is that others might also choose to donate; and if not to donate, to volunteer, or adopt or foster. I beg to differ that cross-posting is not effective; I adopted my dog off a cross-post. AND if there were shelters in my area to volunteer at, I would. Also, my page isn’t just to cross-post, I share all forms of petitions and awareness for animal abuse. I think petitions make a difference, and that can be done by spreading the word. That being said, I think you have a bit of a self-righteous attitude in this blog about this subject. If you’re doing what you think is best, great. If others are doing the best they can, great for them. I’m not going to judge them for doing what they can do and are able to in rescue, just because it isn’t what I’m able to or can do.

  14. Debbie Jo Taal Larson December 29, 2014 / 11:22 am

    Dogs & cat’s in rescue are the end result of people not being educated & informed about what it takes to own a pet & WHO to get that pet from. I am a pet groomer & this is where I put my efforts. This needs to even be a subject in schools imo. More people need to put their time into the SOURCE of the problem & it isn’t all pet stores & puppy mills. It’s your next door neighbor breeding their pet to some random dog that happens to be the same breed or some other reed so they can come up with a cute name & make a few bucks. These are the people we need to start ranting on!

  15. MySpyder Web December 29, 2014 / 1:26 pm

    How about no more photos of raped, tortured, dead dogs ! I won’t even read it if there is a photo like that. No more it dies tomorrow if you don’t rescue it. No more this dog is so abused but we will save it to make us feel good. But the poor dog is going to suffer for months & months.

  16. Marjorie R. Asturias December 29, 2014 / 2:22 pm

    Reblogged this on My Life on Automattic and commented:

    If I had a dime for every “SOMEONE SAVE THIS DOG” comment on a post about a stray/abused/neglected/about-to-be-euthanized dog, I could probably build my own animal sanctuary.

  17. Jack Bobeck December 29, 2014 / 2:38 pm

    What has become disturbing in my area, is that the city animal care facility finds foster families who then turn around and automatically call themselves a not for profit rescue and I’m like, whoa, those dogs belong to city care and you are trusted with 1 sole purpose to take care of the dogs on behalf of the city, but yet you operate as a not for profit rescue too. Seems like double dealing and the pets are the ones who get hurt. We donate to a charity that rescues and finds forever homes for dogs 7+ years of age. They are a non profit and this is all they do. Clear objective. So its easy to see how people with big hearts want to use social media to find homes for pets. The alternative is what? Craigslist? Maybe an old BBS server? Compuserve anyone? Take the good with the bad.

  18. disparateinterests December 29, 2014 / 5:58 pm

    I totally agree–&—want to really do something? Flag the breeders posting on Craigslist in the pet section & general for sale, They all deny they are breeders. Your mommy animal has babies, YOU are a breeder. If you have to pay to SELL (REHOMING OR ADOPTING IS NOT WHAT IS HAPPENING), you get smart faster & spay./;neuter your pet. We have to face it that the shelter pets are not coming from hobby breeders breeding for the betterment of their breeds, nor are they coming from puppy mills: they are all coming from backyard breeders.

  19. Serendipawty January 2, 2015 / 7:06 am

    Great blog. I have also found that it is far too easy for people to set up a page or a group on Facebook and claim to be a rescue. They have no money, no premises and are basically pulling dogs from pounds and putting them straight into fosters with no assessments and no medical checks.

    I have to admit to being guilty of number 3 a few times but have found myself questioning the validity of some of the things I am being asked to share. Even dogs that people claim have been stolen or lost have sometimes had more of a back story to them and have turned out to be the act of a spiteful ex making the work of those trying to help even harder

    A lot of people could do more good on Facebook by educating people but we know that’s not likely to happen when there’s easy money and egos concerned

  20. Serendipawty January 2, 2015 / 7:08 am

    Reblogged this on Adultivity and commented:
    Some very valid points here about the perils of Facebook and animal rescue. I know we’ve all been guilty of at least one of these at some time but this is worth a read just to see things from another angle

  21. Debra Brawner January 13, 2015 / 12:12 am

    This is great in many ways…but…and a big but…in my opinion is the author’s smug attitude toward group/community effort. I do understand that many people post unnecessary things; but how do you know that some of those posters also don’t contribute by donating (I do) and don’t always post it. I see people learning the land of rescue by these shares…I see communities developing of people who truly want to help, and they are not sure how to do so yet.

    All of those people have friends…I have shared things on my page, and found fosters and adopters and transporters for several dogs; not to mention donations many times—simply because some of my friends saw something they knew I believed in and listened–because they knew ME. All roads lead somewhere. Yes, it may mean posts get garbled, etc., but to shame people for having and sharing true emotional connections to rescue is like having a Country Club you are not letting most people join. Some great hearts have been treated so rudely at times, I see them leave the rescue world entirely. How do you know some of those “I wish I could help” posts may not turn into the “I WILL DO IT” next post. It’s called building teams and being inclusive. I’ll add that I totally appreciate everyone in rescue; especially those who go the extra mile and allow other people to learn from them.

    (Oh and yes, I do more than just post and share….but that is how I started getting involved.) Do you understand you are heroes to many people…and they are not trying to annoy you.

    • Linda Martin-Peoples March 17, 2015 / 6:46 am

      Excellent reply. I have been hesitant to even acknowledge rescue posts lately… 😦 even tho I can understand where the author is coming from.

  22. Michelle Miller January 15, 2015 / 1:09 pm

    Thank you so much for posting this…I couldn’t have said (or typed) it better! The only thing missing from this, my pet peeve, with all due respect to prayers and religion, the posts that say “praying.” That sickens me that anyone abuses the word “praying” by using it to ease their conscious while sitting on their butt and doing nothing to actually help. Is anyone really that helpless that they can’t donate, transport, volunteer, something to actually help, all they can seriously do is pray that someone else does it? The relentless crossposters are ruining Facebook and hurting the animals and the rescues trying to actually help. Very few “follow” these people, if you care about animals, you cannot sit there and look at these posts all day, it will burn you out in no time. Last year, we finally had to set our page to not allow posts by others…why? Because of post after post after post on urgent pets in need, yet never so much as an offer of a few dollars to help us help or transport or any help at all. Instead, just burn out for our volunteers who are already maxing their credit cards and practically signing over their pay checks to feed and care for the pets already in the rescue. Those same “crossposters” who relentlessly tag our rescue page, offer no support to our rescue, we have yet to get a single donation from one, have one buy a t-shirt or calendar, or so much as share a fundraiser. Unfortunately, Facebook still allows relentless tagging of pages which is why our rescue is seriously considering deleting our page all together. Facebook needs to change the ability to tag pages and allow pages to block those who abuse tagging. Our rescue needs help in many ways, but sadly we have no problem finding more animals in need than we can possibly help. Crossposters would do so much more good to help with fundraising, food donation drives, etc to enable rescues to help pets. If our rescue could keep the vet and food bills paid, perhaps we could take on more. Thanks again for posting this, so glad to see I am not alone, I feel like I am losing my sanity with Facebook!

    • Kay Warner January 15, 2016 / 1:25 pm

      You obviously do not have a personal relationship with Our Savior. If you did you would know the power of prayer! do you when talking to people ask “How are you?” Do you really mean it, do you care how they are? Or is it just common place to say it. If you really want help, then accept the payers. No response needed.

  23. Alexis Firkins January 27, 2015 / 12:28 pm

    Well written Heather – Kudos to you and the great ideas under the “Get off your Bitt” section!! Loved them!

  24. Linda Acevedo March 24, 2015 / 9:36 pm

    Social media is powerful, and can save lives. I actually got to see it a week or two ago. I belong to a husky group, and some of the other members work/foster for a local rescue. This rescue regularly pulls from ACC, and ACC contacts her when they have a husky. Someone posted a dog who was on the euth list for the next morning. I shared to the woman that I know fosters, she contacted the rescue via text message, and the dog was pulled the next morning in the nick of time. She had NOT been notified and this pup (8months) was never posted on the public site. The guy found her on a Facebook page and shared, once. I saw it and passed it on. He literally saved this pup’s life and I told him so. So, sorry honey. I get what you’re saying, but I will continue to quietly share. The more people who see it, the better. I have seen it work.

  25. Bugs & Chilipepper (@Sisfurcats) April 3, 2015 / 2:56 am

    After reading several tweets in a row about cats who turned out to have been euthed DAYS before, I started muting people who continuously RT. After searching for a nearby cat I could have adopted, with no luck, I have started unfollowing. I really wanted that little pirate cat. And then there are the thousands of tweets and RTs and photos from that meatgrinder in NY. We have plenty of cats needing rescue right here in South Jersey.

    There is something wrong when a person spends every waking hour RTing, begging, crying, praying, guilting and insulting. Many owners are at the very limit of what they can afford. I have little tolerance for individuals who adopt cat after cat after cat, then guilt their friends for vet bills when one becomes seriously ill. That’s what insurance is for. There is no shame in euthanizing a beloved pet rather than put it through expensive – or painful and traumatic – veterinary treatment. It is the nature of the relationship that humans will usually outlive their pets. Accept that or don’t adopt.

    I have as many cats,and because of medical bills that is *2*, that I can reasonably afford to vet, and still be able to afford my own food, rent and medical care on disability. I volunteer at a rescue one day a week. I *occasionally* donate, but only to shelters, not to individuals and especially not to hoarders. You know them, they pretend to want to adopt out but nobody is good enough.

    Pictures of abused animals – I report them as violence. Intention doesn’t matter. Fact does.

    Unlike the author of the article, I **am** angry about the ridiculous actions that make it so difficult for rescues to do their jobs.

  26. Kay Warner January 15, 2016 / 1:19 pm

    OK understand yet totally confused. If we don’t share & cross post, how are the dogs going to be seen?? I would never know about the dogs unless someone posted it. And I have learned to share fr the original post.

    • Margaret Sharp May 10, 2016 / 6:58 pm

      Contact actual rescue organizations directly–either in the area where they operate or in regard to a breed they specialize in.

  27. Pat Webb April 23, 2016 / 8:57 pm

    I have seen it all….. I do the transporting (and sometimes rescue) of Dogs & Cats, Our organization has helped place over 5000 animals from West to East coast and South to North, I think the thing I have problems with are the ones that cross post and beg everyone “SOMEONE DO SOMETHING” You are someone, YOU, do something, share, foster, donate…. But there really isn’t any reason to tell someone ELSE (in print) to do something.
    Those of us that can DO.

    • TK Hummel (@marah1115) May 18, 2018 / 1:19 pm

      Thank you Pat. I replied below and I appreciate you being a person who understands and has some compassion.<3 When I used to have enough money I did donate…When I wasn't in such poor health I attended meetings and offered more help now I can't and it hurts and then to have this person write this article and condemn you makes me really feel bad.

  28. TK Hummel (@marah1115) May 18, 2018 / 1:15 pm

    You are entitled to your opinion but NO I don’t think you really DO get it…I am in very poor health and have a very low income so crossposting IS all I CAN do. If you GOT it you wouldn’t write scathing articles condemning those who can’t do “more” thanks for making me feel like crap….

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