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That shared love builds trust within a group of near-strangers. Rase used to travel three hours so her fiancé’s mother could watch Lucy. She didn’t trust anyone else. Now the protective parent needs to drive only 20 minutes to drop off Lucy with one of her siblings.
“That’s a crazy thing for me,” she said.
Finding pet friends online
Just as Facebook has allowed Grandma to better connect with her tech-savvy grandchildren, the social network has had an integral role in bringing dog families together.
Several times a year, Eileen Hill helps plan play dates for her black lab, Millie, and two of the dog’s siblings, Teeny and Stanley. It’s like a “Mommy and Me” group, she said.
Initially, Hill connected with the litter’s other black lab owners on Facebook after tagging photos of their dogs. Facebook made it easy to share pictures and reach out to each other on a daily basis.
“We’re crazy dog people,” said Hill, of Lake Elmo.
The women turn to each other for clues on how to fix an upset dog stomach. They support each other on anniversaries of former pet passings. They come together over advocacy issues dealing with animal mistreatment.
“It’s a friendship like no other I’ve ever had,” Hill said.
By her estimation, Fadal said, only a small percentage of pet owners are actively exploring their dog’s family tree. But with rescue groups active on Facebook and other social media, it’s getting easier to track down a dog sibling. Some owners even set up Facebook profiles for their dogs.
“I think it’s going to be this viral thing,” Fadal said.
Facebook helped the group of pit bull-mix adopters organize and plan the reunion in north Minneapolis. Within hours of leaving the party, they were back on Facebook, sharing photos and chatting about their dogs. For Berg, who hosted the reunion at her house, there’s nothing like seeing Sonny playing tug-of-war with her sisters.
“We want the best for them,” she said. “I think her being with her litter mates is the best for her. It’s her family.”
Morgan Mercer is a University of Minnesota student reporter on assignment for the Star Tribune.