If I lost my dog in the woods, this is what I’d do….

I lost my dog in the woods of Harriman State Park

Dog lost (and then found) in Harriman State Park, New York.

I had no idea:  there is a network of tracker dog organizations that will (for FREE) come to where you’ve lost your dog, and aggressively and diligently work to find him. 

Dogs Finding Dogs looks like a cool group to call if you’re in this kind of trouble (OR if you’re interested in training your dog for “nose work”).

I hike almost every day, and almost every day I see a poster at a trailhead for a lost dog.  I always wonder, too: did he make it home?  Or is he still out there, wandering, and confused?  Or worse?

Here’s the link to the story of lost dogs in Harriman State Park, with reference to Dogs Finding Dogs, and Find Toto (another search service that delivers automated calls to hundreds of households within the area of your dog’s disappearance).

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How it’s Being Done, Brilliantly: Calgary Humane Society Applies a Little Peer Pressure

Calgary Animal Shelter Loves Their Rescue Shepherd, Tova

Recreate this photo, using lots and lots of people and that ONE, SINGLE DOG you’ve been trying to home!

One week after this photo was posted by Calgary Humane Society, Tova the shepherd was adopted.

And I wonder: is it easier to be a hero if everybody’s watching?  Do dogs that get that extra notice from a lot of people get adopted more quickly?  Or to put it another way, do we want to help more, if we know the thing we’re doing will be noticed for the good deed that it is?

This picture says to me, Here are all the good people who will sleep easier at night knowing Tova is home.

Calgary Humane Society’s Marketing and Social Media Coordinator Shandell Van Hell seemed to know this intuitively when she posed shelter staff and volunteers around Tova:

"It wasn't hard to get everyone gathered -- I just sent an all staff email
asking staff to join us for a photograph with Tova for our website and 
social media avenues.  At that point, staff would have done pretty much 
anything I asked of them if it meant getting Tova adopted!"

She shot the photo purposely leaving a nice clean background (the brick wall) where she could drop in giant text afterwards.  And who wouldn’t love that group picture?  It shows the staff of a shelter that looks fun and welcoming.  The precise opposite of the “territorial” shelter.  The picture went up on the Calgary Humane Society Facebook page.

By involving as many people as possible in this photo, she gives Tova’s social media marketing campaign an added boost: if there are thirty people in a photo, that’s thirty people who might post this picture to their Facebook page, Twitter feed, Pinterest page or blog (I know I did!).  That’s the chance for thirty more exposures to their friends.  (This group picture was shared 247 times).

Tova was adopted from Calgary Humane Society.

Adopted! Tova leaves Calgary Humane Society. Is it any surprise? This picture was posted on Facebook with the message: “Last night, just one day shy of the 300 mark, we finally matched Tova with her forever family. Last night, a lovely woman walked into the shelter, met with Tova, fell in love and will be taking our sweet girl home tonight! A HUGE thank-you to everyone who shared Tova’s story and never stopped believing that her pefect home was out there.”

The next time you’re thinking of using social media marketing for a particular long-term dog or cat, try this:

  • Provoke the hero instinct in potential adopters, and get a crowd that looks like they’d do anything for your dog or cat;
  • Compose the photo with a clean background, enough space to drop in great big text;
  • More people in the photo means more posting and sharing across social media platforms;
  • Put your dog or cat front and center!;
  • Make the textual message, above, as simple, straightforward, “in the moment” as possible.  No bummers.

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I can’t tell you how happy I am for Tova.  Shepherds form a very special, strong bond with their owners and I hate the thought of a shepherd without a person to love and be loyal to.  Shantell, you and CHS are AMAZING.

Stuffed animal plush toy pitbulls based on real-life shelter rescues.  Pocket Pitties, from CharlieDog and Friends

CharlieDog and Friends’ “Pocket Pitties”, plush toy pitbulls based on real-life shelter rescues.

For this post, CharlieDog and Friends is sending Calgary Humane Society a collection of our “Adopt” collar bracelets and Pocket Pitties.

Do you know a shelter that’s doing it brilliantly with an innovative or unique approach to social media marketing for their homeless pets?  Let us know!: info@charliedogandfriends.com

NFL Draft Day, and Why I Care (Kind of).

Pit Bull plush shirt, from CharlieDog and Friends

Red Carpet wear for NFL Draft Day, at Radio City Music Hall. And in case you NEED this shirt: Arggh! It’s not available anymore!

I’m the Chief Everything Officer of CharlieDog and Friends, but I also have another career that I will probably never let go of, and that’s as a sports photographer for The New York Times (and now Sports Illustrated).

And today — although I SWORE I would never shoot “red carpet” — my assignment is to shoot (oh yes) red carpet arrivals at the NFL draft.  So I guess it’s sports.

And it’s about time.  Long after the last whistle blows on the field of an NFL game, and after I’ve filed my pictures for the night and I’ve packed up to go home, I like to watch the players leave the stadium, trickling out toward waiting team buses, either surrounded by their families or solitary, with earbuds in.

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They’re usually dressed exquisitely, in colors that make you think of Easter, or street festivals.  Satins and seersuckers, suits in pale yellow, purple.  All white.  Magic.

NFL Receiver from Baltimore Ravens, Torrey Smith, with his pit bull rescue, Prince.

What’s not to love about Baltimore Ravens’ receiver Torrey Smith, and his rescued pitbull, Prince? From the campaign, “Show Your Soft Side”, to encourage kindness to animals in Baltimore.

So today’s assignment, I don’t mind so much.  Radio City Music Hall. Then back to the dogs.

Adala is a stuffed pitbull plush toy from CharlieDog and Friends, to benefit rescue pets.

Adala, our stuffed pitbull plush toy “Pocket Pittie”, comes to you in style! Specially-boxed, in tissue and colorful crinkle paper, labeled “Special Delivery” on the outside of the package. She wears our unique “Adopt” collar bracelet that can be removed and worn by her human.

Need to send a pick-me-up to a dog-loving friend?  CharlieDog and Friends’ plush pitbulls and Pocket Pitties are delivered in style!

Ginger May be a Dunce, But….

Ginger, a SharPei mix and adoptable rescue pet dog, from Granite Hills Animal Care in Granite Hills, Georgia.

Ginger is a SharPei mix, an adoptable dog in Granite Hills, Georgia, and a dunce.

I don’t know Ginger.  I’ll probably never know Ginger, because she’s in Georgia, and I’m in New York.  But, out of all the dog pictures I saw on Facebook and Pinterest this week, Ginger (at Granite Hills Animal Care) is the one that I’ll remember best.

I think it’s because her foster dad put a dunce cap on her with a computer pencil.

I don’t know how you could go past this photo without wondering about the story behind it.  I had to know.  So I read: Last year Ginger got spooked by a retractable leash and ran into the woods for the night.  All night.

Ginger is also a-scared of baths:

"Ginger is being extra clingy this morning. 
 You see. . . Lena got a bath and dip, Rosie got a medicated bath . . .

 Imma thinking that Ginger is thinking that she might possibly be next. . . ."

There are so many photos of gorgeous, sweet, adoptable dogs and cats out there, that the trick is to stop the eye long enough to linger over YOUR dog, and provoke a question. If a straight-ahead photo of your dog doesn’t do it, apply your own touch.

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She hasn’t had much interest, ol’ Ginger, but I feel like I know her.  If I lived in Georgia and were looking for a dog, I would be inclined to ask about Ginger.  I like her.  And you can tell Ginger is well-loved by her foster, because he didn’t hesitate to put a dunce cap on her.

Read more about Ginger on her Adopt-a-pet page.

Andy Mathis is the vet who keeps a Facebook page for Granite Hills Animal Care, here. It’s quite entertaining and worth the befriending.  Shelter Pet Magazine, Andy’s publication, also has a Facebook presence.

CharlieDog and Friends' "Adopt" Collar Bracelets encourage adopting the family dog or cat

CharlieDog and Friends’ “Adopt” Collar Bracelet (“Bella”), is one of twelve Michael Miller print designs.

Don’t you love telling your rescue or adoption story? CharlieDog and Friends has twelve different “Adopt” collar bracelets that, when you wear them, make people ask!  Great as Mother’s Day gifts for ladies with children of the furry persuasion, they’re only $10.00, and we give $3.00 from every bracelet sold to our “Rescue of the Month”. 

Suzy Allman is the Chief Everything Officer of CharlieDog and Friends, a plush toy company dedicated to helping America’s shelter pets go home.  She’s also a sports photographer for The New York Times, where she tries to get the dwindling newspaper readership to pause for more than a second in the Sports section.

Charlie’s Checkbook: Our Plush Pet Gypsy Helps Potsdam Humane Society

Gypsy, a plush Australian Cattle Dog from CharlieDog and Friends, is based on a real-life animal shelter rescue from the Potsdam Humane Society

Our plush Australian Cattle Dog (rescued, of course!) is named Gypsy, after a real-life inspiration living in Upstate New York. This pinteresty photo first appeared on the pet photography blog, Daily Dog Tag; it’s styled and photographed by Alice G Patterson.

CharlieDog and Friends is some pretty purposeful plush toy.  We started our stuffed animal business just to raise money for homeless pets, and now that we have our legs under us*, we’ll be showing you Charlie’s Checkbook every Monday.

We started CharlieDog and Friends with four plush toys: Charlie, Murphy, Gypsy and Clyde, each based on a real-life rescued pet.  The point was to create these toys, try to sell them to raise money for their shelters or rescues, and maybe let people know: it’s OK to rescue your next pet.  It’s even preferable.  If you ask me, it’s the ONLY way to go.

This week we’re signing a nice donation check to Potsdam Humane Society, because the real-life Gypsy, a rescued Australian Cattle Dog, came from this Upstate New York shelter (which, by the way, just boasted that they are, for once, Guinea pig-free, having adopted their last guinea pig out this weekend!)

And we wanted to say: Thank YOU.  This is our dream, and slowly — very slowly — it’s moving ahead,  in the right direction — but not without the help of some very special and generous customers and friends.

A rescued Australian Cattle Dog is the inspiration for our plush australian cattle dog (ASD) named Gypsy, and benefits the Potsdam Humane Society, an animal shelter in Upstate New York.

Gypsy, a rescued Australian Cattle Dog from Potsdam Humane Society in Upstate New York, with her plush toy Gypsy. She’s an agility enthusiast and a wonderful, 100% rescued family pet. Now why on earth would anyone go to a breeder for their next cattle dog?

Do you know someone who’s thinking of bringing home a new family pet, and isn’t sure where that pet is going to come from — but you want a gentle, cuddly way to encourage adoption?  You can send them message by sending it in stuffed animal form.  Just drop by Gypsy’s little corner of the Internet.  Like all CharlieDog pets, she ships in a tissue-wrapped, colorful, crinkly nest of shredded paper, with a hang tag to tell her story and a collar that says all you need to say: “ADOPT”.

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*Why did this take so long?  Well, we’ve made some donations along the way, but mostly we’ve been paying off our start-up costs, which have been lots!  But not unexpected.  We’re just happy we’ve gotten to the point where we can finally begin fulfilling our mission of giving.