As you will have seen my last few blogs were about a rescue mission to save 60 dogs in Romanian who were losing their shelter and faced death on the streets as a result. I have been working flat out on this on Facebook and consequently have had not time for blogging and very little time for Twitter. The whole rescue action was run and organised through a Facebook group “Help Save Anca Florea’s Dogs After Shelter Destroyed”. I was on there daily, doing some posting and sharing but mainly working in the background through PMs helping organise the rescue.
The first amazing success was that we actually managed in a month to save all 60 dogs and all but 6 are now safe in the UK or Germany (the final 6 are due to come to the UK in a few weeks). Through Facebook we found homes and funds to rescue these dogs (around £200-£250 per dog). I never in my wildest dreams thought we would do it and I am so incredibly proud to have played a part in this amazing rescue mission.
The second amazing thing though is the impact it has had on my Klout. I had started to get close to dropping below 60 and had been working hard at Tweeting and Facebooking daily to try to keep my score up. It was tough work and I barely scrapped over 61. Now I have a Klout score over 64. Wow – Klout clearly approves of my dog rescuing work!
It does raise an interesting point about Klout for me. Hard as I had tried to be relevant with my posts around my area of specialisation (pharma and digital / social media) through Twitter it turns out that the real klout is to be had with the animal lovers on Facebook. Clearly by being uber active on Facebook with this group I have had far more impact online than in pharma. I am happy with this though as this actually reflects the offline impact. Much as I would like to have an impact in the pharma social media offline world (e.g. get more consulting projects) it really does not compare to the impact of saving 60 dogs lives. There is something incredibly humbling and at the same time incredibly empowering about saving this many innocent lives. It puts the rest of what I do in perspective. It was far harder work than trying to up my Klout score but so very much more worthwhile.
In my last blog post I wrote about my absolute despair at the situation of 60 rescue dogs in a private shelter in Romania that will lose their home next week. Finding homes for that many dogs in Romania is next to impossible. Their fate however, if homes are not found, is almost certain death on the streets or in the local death shelter. It is faced with this task that I have turned, desperately to social media, to try to save as many of these dogs as possible.
I must be honest I had lost hope as few of people seemed to be responding to Anca’s plea for help. I also wondered how on earth the fate of 60 Romanian rescue dogs could cause even a ripple in social media at a time of so many other huge global crisis such as Ebola or Syria. Some people may say these are “only” dogs – but each one has a name, a personality and lots of love to give. But still they are a drop in the ocean. I truly despaired. My previous post was a true cry of despair, a cry for help from anyone listening.
And some of you did listen. Some of you did start responding, sharing and asking local rescues in your country. All of sudden there is a ray of hope in the sea of despair. We have started getting offers in from people who can take 1 or 2 dogs. A dog’s home in the UK, a foster place in Germany, an adopter in Switzerland, the offers are starting to creep in. I admit that it brings tears to my eyes to see the uptake of my plea for help. It brings me hope. It brings Anca hope – a woman who is a walking zombie she is so depressed and distraught about the fate of her dogs.
It is however still not enough. It is only a small ray of hope and we must make it bigger. We still have 50 dogs looking for a home. Some of them have never lived on the street. Others are so traumatised from their experience in the public shelter that they just cower in their kennels and shake at the sight of people. We cannot let these dogs go back to this horrific fate. These dogs need our help – urgently. At the very least we need to find long term sponsors who will save these traumatised dogs by paying for a private shelter where they are cared for.
Which brings me on to funding. Even when we have found homes for all 60 we still need to pay to make their final travel preparations (e.g. final vaccines for the puppies) and fund the cost of their travel, at €220 per dog. That is a HUGE sum of money. How on earth can a few individuals raise that sort of money?!!
It is looking at what still lays ahead – the impossible task of find more homes in such a short space of time and raising such a huge sum of money – that for me that ray of hope gets smaller. The despair sets in again and I cry. I do not know what else to do but keep begging for more help to pray with all my soul that we can find enough people to open their homes, enough people to give small donations (or a few big ones) and enough people to share this desperate appeal and find more help.
Again I reach out to you. Please help. Please share and donate. And please pray for 60 dogs desperately close to be thrown into a living hell. Please do not let them die in pain and misery.
The other day I listened to a really interesting presentation by Tom Blue, Chief Strategy Officer, American Association of Private Physicians, on the evolution of medicine. He made some fantastic points about how medicine, and the industry surrounding it, has changed over the years. It started with our battle against infectious disease, and the magic bullet approach (which became the blockbusters of yester year), and then evolved into specialisation and compartmentalisation around the different organs. Today we face a new era as our medical understanding has increased and where we understand that a heart ache may not just be related to heart but may be an indication of an overall systemic wide disease. Whereas we have built up an industry based on organ specialisation in fact it is that the GP is closer to the reality – a broad view across organs.
For me this totally resonates and makes total sense. Having been to specialists who focused totally on the organ (in my case the thyroid) it was my own research that led to pinpoint what the actual, systemic cause of my thyroid problems were. Admittedly it probably did not help that my Spanish endocrinologist was a heart-less, disinterested and unprofessional medic but had she had a broader vision she could have told me that in fact the problem with my health lay not in my thyroid but in my immune system.
The industry’s focus on organ speciality has not always had a positive impact on systemic disease like autoimmune disorders. When my mother came down with Churg-Strauss syndrome it took nine specialists to diagnose her as each was focused on their own speciality organ rather than her system as a whole – my GP brother actually diagnosed her sooner over the phone because he had a broader perspective.
When you look at all the specialists we have we do have some broader specialities like oncologist but there are few immunologists focused on auto-immune disorders. Pharma companies also need to move their focus from finding products to treat symptoms to looking for products to tackle the diseases. Cures would be fantastic but in the meantime products that reduce the effects of auto-immune responses (rather that treat the organ being attacked) are greatly needed.
However the healthcare industry is a very conservative industry focused on heavily entrenched ways of doing things – from the medical side as well as the industry side. Just seeing the slow battle of trying to introduce new technology and ways of interacting with patients it would be fair to guess that the change needed in how medicine is practiced and how products are developed will take even longer.
So perhaps rather than grumble at the various pharma websites that provide no interactivity or value I should applaud them for at least having made an effort. The next steps needed for modernisation will be far scarier and will require a huge industry wide shake-up. But who knows – perhaps the big leap required for digital and social media will help shake some of those traditional foundations enough to drive change?