If you’ve been following Up on the Woof for the past year, then you know a common theme runs through many of my blog posts; the conviction that one person can make a difference. Maybe you read one or more of these:
They all discuss one thing; how if one person takes action, something is changed. How everyone can do something, because even the smallest, most simple things matter.
The local newspaper here ran an article this week about a man in Akron who started a new website. His name is Drew Auman, and the website is the reGives network. The idea behind reGive is that everyone has stuff they want to get rid of and stuff they need, and nobody these days has any money. On reGive, you can list things to give away or ask for things you need. It’s simple.
I signed up on reGive to check it out, and found three communities in my area to subscribe to. I was subscribed exactly one day, when somebody posted that they want to give their dog away.
When that post appeared in my inbox, those of you who read my blog regularly could probably hear my head exploding in whatever state you’re in. I went completely ape shit…and let me tell you, that’s not pretty.
All I could think of is what a tragedy Craigslist has been for pets across the country. Craigslist rules say you can’t sell an animal on their site, so people started offering them for free. There is literally an army of rescuers around the country that scan their cities on Craigslist every day and flag those messages so they will be removed. (If you still don’t know why it’s absolute disaster for pets to be offered for free, click on the Pets in Danger link at the top of this post.) Dozens of rescuers contacted me after reading that post and asked for a copy of my letter to share.
When I saw the free pet ad appear on reGive, I thought, Oh my God. Here we go again…and there are just not enough hours in the day. Craigslist is already so out of hand with free pets that rescuers are flagging around the clock. So once I calmed down, I shot a message to the person who had listed the dog, explaining exactly what sort of danger they were putting their pet in. Just the way I do for ads on Craigslist. Then I reported the post to the site admin.
Much to my surprise (and delight), I received a reply from Mr. Auman. He said that as soon as he saw the post for the dog it gave him pause, too. So he asked me what my thoughts were, and I told him. After I explained the dangers, I reminded him that it’s his website and he can make the rules. Why doesn’t he just make it a rule that no live animals can be listed on the site? (his rules already (comically) stated “no people”).
Guess what? He liked the idea and he made a rule. That. Freaking. Simple. And you know what else? He named it “Ariel’s rule” because: “[the] site is all about people in this world making a difference and I want everyone to have a say in how this community of people comes together.” Awesome.
Talking to one other person.
How cool is that?!