Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Day 456

I met Sonic today. Sonic is a search and rescue dog. He is a member of an elite Search Dog Foundation rescue team. The Search Dog Foundation has sent dogs to Katrina. They were there in the aftermath of 9/11. Now this organization is sending teams to Japan to help with the rescue efforts there. One of my veterinary hospital clients is sponsoring Sonic and in appreciation, Sonic's handlers brought him to the hospital today to meet the staff and explain how search and rescue dogs are trained. I was just there to photograph the event, but I was just as impressed with Sonic as everybody else. These search and rescue dogs are absolutely amazing. They all go through a grueling two year training program and must perform absolutely flawlessly before they are certified for rescue operations. Dogs like Sonic can climb up and down vertical fire engine ladders to reach people trapped on upper floors of buildings. They are trained to respond to their handlers commands from as far as 100 yards away. When they are working, they are not distracted by cats or squirrels. Part of their training involves placing tasty hot dogs and Taco Bell take out meals nearby during a search exercise and seeing if the smell of food broke their concentration. It doesn't. If you need help, you can only hope that one of these amazing dogs is nearby. Have you guys ever hear the search dog's creed? It's worth repeating. "If you are ever buried under a ton of rubble, trapped where no one can find you, or caught in the aftermath of a storm, I promise to sniff you out. I promise to go about my work with a wagging tail and a hero's heart. I promise to ignore all the fascinating smells out there and concentrate on finding you. I promise to never give up." I only spent an hour or so with Sonic this afternoon, but that was enough to convince me that he would never give up.

In addition to meeting Sonic, I had a meeting with another client about how to use social media more effectively. All my clients seem to want to climb on the Facebook and Twitter bandwagon lately. Everybody has heard stories about how someone has managed to double their sales using social media, but nobody seems to be able to replicate these success stories themselves. I have an interesting perspective on social media, since I am a relatively recent convert. I'm a quick learner though and I've already discovered a few things that have helped my own business. As I tried to explain viral marketing to my client, I kept returning to one theme over and over again: nothing ever goes viral if it isn't interesting! Most bloggers I know have already adopted the "content is king" mantra. It's hard to explain the importance of continual, fresh, interesting and relevant content to a group of people who are stressed out and overworked already, however. "How are we going to have the time to do all this stuff," they wondered. I felt like says that if Sonic could find someone in a fifty foot tall pile of rubble, then surely you ought to be able to put up something new and interesting on your Facebook page every day. Sonic is my new hero.

Dalmatian of the Day

Watch of the Day