BY JANET McAFEE
Social media is revolutionizing how we find a spouse, a job, a house, and even a pet. As of 2018, there are 2.2 billion Facebook users worldwide, and over 1 billion of them log on daily. This powerful social media platform saves the lives of countless shelter dogs, sending their appealing photos and stories to thousands of prospective owners. Animals that might otherwise be euthanized at public shelters find loving homes and bring joy to their lucky humans.
Magen Arquette, volunteer at the San Bernardino City Shelter, posted the German Shepherd dog with the freckled face on her Facebook page. Foster parents Vanessa Ruggles and Curtis Sweesy fell in love with the dog’s beautiful Facebook photo with a distinctive ring of freckles around his nose. They asked Loving All Animals to sponsor him. I sent a Facebook message asking someone at the shelter to evaluate his temperament and approximate age. A Facebook friend soon reported back, “He’s a sweetheart, gets along with other dogs, about 2 years old”.
With the gait and confidence of a show dog, Mahto pranced into the parking lot and leaped eagerly into our waiting vehicle. For anyone who thinks going into an animal shelter would be sad, there’s nothing like the feeling of joy when you escort a shelter animal on the freedom ride home; rather than becoming another grim shelter statistic, Mahto instinctively now looked forward to an amazing future.
A handsome German Shepherd with perhaps a bit of Akita, this young dog proved to be a sweet loving animal with the demeanor of a playful teddy bear. Curtis, his foster dad, named him Mahto which means “Bear” in Lakota Sioux.
I posted Mahto on Loving All Animals page and my own Facebook page. There was soon a comment from Cathleen Coombs-Stephens, a former co-worker, expressing her interest in the dog. I noted a happy picture of Cathleen’s dog sitting on a couch on her Facebook page, and discovered Elmo Stephens even had his own Facebook page! Cathleen soon arrived for a “meet and greet” with her two sons. Our goodbye tears became tears of joy knowing Mahto was going to a wonderful home.
Cathleen kept us updated on Facebook, “Can you imagine the joy I am experiencing watching Mahto and Elmo play? Mahto is also regularly getting in the kiddy pool. Today was a good day….Right now my son Declan is sitting on Mahto and he’s not even moving!”
Mahto now leads a charmed life, living on a 3/4 acre mountain property. Cathleen reports, “He is highly affectionate. The minute I sit down, Mahto forces his head under my hand for a pet. He learns really fast, and looks to our other dog for guidance. There is a definite camaraderie between the two dogs. The boys, Miles and Declan, adore Mahto because he plays catch and chase with them. We made the best decision to adopt this dog!”
Rescued by Facebook, adopted by Facebook, you can now see Mahto Stephens’ adventures on his own Facebook page, “MahtoNuni Stephens.” Check out Loving All Animals’ Facebook page and website www.lovingallanimals.org to see more adoptable animals. Call us to foster or adopt at (760) 834-7000. When you “Share” a homeless dog on Facebook, you may be creating a happy ending for that precious pup.