Social Media and A Dog Named Libre

It’s an election year, so people are either flocking to, or avoiding social media.  Those flocking are taking the time to smell the horrible smelling roses as they troll through venomous political opinions and the increasing flow of memes about Pokemon Go.  Those of us who are avoiding Facebook and Twitter like the plague are doing so as a result of the opinions; we simply don’t want to hear them, and deal with the vitriol of people we work next to on a daily basis.  When it comes to social media at the moment, we’re simply checking things out and signing off.

On July 4, on the East Coast, Pennsylvania specifically, a woman from Speranza Animal Rescue posted a status about a puppy she had found.  She was asking for prayers, as he was in pretty horrific shape, having been abused and neglected by the owners from whom she rescued him.  Another woman had recently happened upon the dog, who was presumed dead, and sent out photos.  She was told to take him directly to the vet’s office to see if anything could be done.  The representative from Speranza Animal Rescue offered to meet her there.

The news was not good, and the puppy needed a miracle.  He was emaciated with each and every bone showing in his back, maggots covered wounds on his skin, and nearly all of his fur had been eaten away by a tremendously horrible case of mange.  The vet was told to do whatever they had to do to save his life, but the vet was doubtful that the puppy was going to make it through the night, and was quoted as saying “he’s going to need a miracle.”  Followers of the Speranza Animal Rescue page waited, with baited breath, and to our surprise, he made it.  He was transferred to a veterinarian’s office in Dillsburg, Pennsylvania where he could truly begin the healing process.

Now, less than a month later, the power of social media is in full effect.  Libre, the bug eyed miracle-as he is affectionately known-is a Pennsylvania superstar and his story has gone viral.  People from all over the country are following his Facebook page to see how the bald, and slowly recovering, Boston Terrier puppy is doing.  For four weeks, followers of his Facebook page have put down their political torches, and their hate speech to watch a miracle in process.

If there is any doubt that social media can use its power for good, Libre is a great example.  Not too long after he was found, the Lancaster County SPCA handed down a ruling that they had no intention of filing charges against the farmer on whose property Libre was found.  They stated that his condition had been exaggerated, and that they saw no cruelty going on within the property.  Shortly after this decision was publicized, people had started a petition, formed a peaceful protest group, and were calling for action in support of a small, abused puppy.

The story is demonstrative of two things.  One, social media isn’t all about how many terrible things we can say about, to, or against each other.  Occasionally, it’s a great way to hear a heartwarming story about a puppy fighting for his life and the people who care for him.  The second thing this story shows is how much of an effect we can have on the world when we all work together.  As a result of the protests, Libre’s mother has been removed from the property where he was found, a Pennsylvania State Senator is working hard to enact legislation, and thousands of dollars’ worth of donations have been received to help pay for his medical care.

Just when people are beginning to think that the status of society can’t get any worse and that people are inherently evil, a story comes along that restores our faith.  This is the softer side of social media, as even people who have been continuously venomous about their opinions in the past, are rallying for this precious sixteen-week old puppy.

With all that is happening in the world today from terrorist attacks and police related fatalities, it’s amazing what one small story can do to refresh what little faith we had in people.  Social media’s true purpose rings out, over the din, and unites a group of people of different ages, races, and having different interests.  Dr. Martin Luther King said, “you cannot drive out darkness with darkness; only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”  If a story about a dog can rally an entire community, maybe we’re not so messed up after all.

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