Rescue has changed a lot since I pulled my first shelter dog a decade ago. There was no Facebook or YouTube to spread the word. I plastered posters at the local coffee shops, preached to fellow obedience club members (tough crowd, that one), and emailed photos to as many friends, family and Yahoo groups as possible.
I remember the birth of Petfinder; the idea that you could search for a shelter dog based on age, gender, size and personality, all from the convenience of your computer was exciting. That was the extent of social media.
Today, more than a million people have viewed "Fiona's Amazing Story" in less than a week. The video documents the discovery of a blind, dirty dog cowering in a trash pile and her dramatic, tail-wagging transformation. Combining the rescue footage with Avril Lavigne's emotionally wrought single, "I'm With You," was brilliant.
While critics might say it's just a commercial for the rescue, Hope for Paws, to get donations, I say, yes, it is. What's wrong with that? They also need people to care about strays and do something about it, like foster parent. Until rescues are put out of business because every dog has a home, there's nothing wrong with showing the public what they do and why help is so desperately needed and appreciated.
Julia Kamysz Lane, contributing editor at The Bark, is the author of multiple New Orleans travel guides, including Frommer’sNew Orleans Day by Day (3rd Edition). Her work has also appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Poets and Writers and Publishers Weekly.