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.

TWEET THIS.

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

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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!