LONGVIEW, Texas (KETK) – What do you get when you mix Shark Week, the Storm Area 51 internet craze, and animals in need of homes?
You get the Longview Animal Care and Adoption Center, the animal shelter operated by the City of Longview.
Specifically, you get the facility’s Facebook page, which takes the serious work of trying to find good homes for animals in need and drops in a heaping helping of fun and creativity.
For instance, we all know Shark Week, right? That one week a year we all gather around our TVs, computers or digital devices to get cozy with sharks of all kinds.
Well, this is Shark Week at Longview Animal Care and Adoption Center:
(Honestly, who wouldn’t want to meet one of those adorable “sharks” in the water?)
Then there was (is? Is it still on?) the Storm Area 51 craze, started as a Facebook event, supposedly set for September 20-22, in which some 2 million people have signed up to, well, storm Area 51 and release the aliens rumored to be held there.
(Pro-tip: Don’t storm Area 51. The Air Force is waiting for you, and they’ve got no sense of humor. What they do have is planes with guns. And bombs. And nukes. Yes, kids, they can get all of you.)
Longview Animal Care and Adoption Center has a much safer, and much cuter, alternative:
A July 20 post kicked off several days of a #stormtheshelter adoption promotion campaign at the facility, which included photos and videos of animals, staff, volunteers, and visitors in various versions of alien garb, as well as discounted adoption prices that were “out of this world.”
(Granted, the cats don’t look very happy with their other-worldly accessories, but, well, cats gonna cat.)
The posts were nothing unusual for Longview Animal Care. The facility’s Facebook page is replete with just such fun ways to bring public awareness to the animals needing homes.
But then it went viral.
Buzzfeed, that font of all things internet, came across the post and put it on Twitter.
The video has garnered 47.7K views so far. More importantly, it drove traffic to Longview Animal Care’s Facebook page, and to the shelter itself.
A post on the City of Longview’s website says the Facebook entry got more than 144,000 reactions, comments, and shares and reached more than 3.1 million users on Facebook by the afternoon of Monday, July 22. It was shared on numerous news sites including the Houston Chronicle and featured on newscasts across the country.
“We thought it would be cute, but we didn’t expect anything like this,” Animal Services Manager Chris Kemper in the city’s web post. “We got to a point where we were running out of animals in the back to bring up.”
The attention resulted in a spike in adoptions, which is always a good thing. And it showcased just how much the people who work and volunteer at such facilities love what they do.
It’s important work. Far too many animals, even here in critter-crazy East Texas, are neglected, abused, and abandoned. They need people to rescue, care for, and love them. And those people are found in animal shelters across East Texas.
Need a cause? Support a shelter. Need a companion? Adopt a pet.
And give a big paws-up to the folks working so hard to bring people and pets together while bringing smiles and happiness to a world so badly in need of them.
When you’re having a “ruff” day, these folks have “goat” your back.