We've all seen it: The one pet in our shelter or rescue group with a compelling story who captures the media spotlight and garners dozens or hundreds of adoption applications and donations. And while we're all happy for the media superstar, we're also left wondering: What about all the other pets?
One San Francisco Bay Area rescue group, Umbrella of Hope, found itself facing exactly that dilemma when they took in a little Chihuahua puppy they named Fireman.
He'd suffered injuries caused by chemical burns, which damaged his skin and permanently disfigured his ears. It's believed he was tortured. He was also totally adorable, and his story led to a landslide of media and adoption inquiries.
Umbrella of Hope swung into action, seeking to turn Fireman's moment in the spotlight to the benefit not only of the other pets in their organization, but shelter pets everywhere.
Social media consultant René Hoffmann crafted a hashtag, #FiremanSentMe, and a campaign encouraging people to head for their local shelters to find out "your pet's story," and tell them they'd been sent there by the little dog.
The campaign is a hit, with major media outlets including a local TV station and news magazine quickly picking up the adoption message and hashtag. Not only that, but Antioch Animal Services, the shelter that originally found the burned dog, offered to discount adoption fees for anyone who came in and said "Fireman sent me."
"Every pet has a story," Hoffmann said. "And we're hoping people will realize that there isn't just one Fireman -- there are thousands of them. They just need to look!"
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