|I'm loving on 14-year-old Lucky, retired search rescue dog|
and constant companion of Charlie Annenberg
Turns out the guy was Charlie Annenberg, vice president of the Annenberg Foundation and his dog was Lucky, a retired search and rescue dog trained by the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation (SDF). Charlie and Lucky were in town to share their films from Explore.org, a project from the Annenberg Foundation that supports humanitarian causes and celebrates the selfless acts of others... including animals.
After loving on handsome Lucky for a few minutes, I noticed Charlie was wearing a "Dog Bless You" t-shirt. "What's that about?" I asked. Charlie said he woke up that morning and had an idea -- actually Lucky inspired the idea -- and since he was at a huge interactive conference, why not pose a challenge to get everyone involved in helping the victims of the disaster in Japan AND help the organization that launched Lucky's search and rescue career too.
Here's what Charlie said:
Charlie challenged SXSW to spread the word and "like" his organization's Dog Bless You page on Facebook. If the goal of 100,000 likes was reached within five days, the Annenberg Foundation would donate $100,000 to the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation (SDF).
Sunday night, March 13, that goal was reached, just a little more than 24 hours after the challenge was issued. Now, six canine search and rescue teams have been deployed to Japan to help the recovery efforts and victims of the earthquake and tsunami. The funds raised will help recruit and train more SDF canine disaster search teams.
|Lucky thoroughly enjoyed hanging out on the grass|
by the river in Austin. Love ya Lucky!
Charlie explained how he and Lucky have traveled the globe, helping people and making films to champion the selfless acts of others. An animal lover, Charlie and one of his assistants created Dog Bless You for people who love animals and believe animals improve the human condition.
Thank you Charlie, Lucky and the rest of your team, and the vast community of supporters and dog lovers who rallied for the cause. Your passion is contagious. As Charlie says, "Sometimes when things are done collectively it's more powerful." And this time, it was 100,000 times more powerful.
Note: Keep up with the progress of the SDF canine search and rescue teams on their Facebook and Twitter pages.