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Bothell boy's Facebook pages helps reunite owners with their lost pets
When 11-year-old Chance Hampton saw a “lost dog” sign posted in his local neighborhood in Bothell last April, he decided to do something about it.
That’s how the “I Lost My Dog – Bothell” Facebook page was born. Chance said he wanted to do something for the people in his community to make it easier for them to “find their dogs, or help someone else’s dog find its way home.”
Chance’s parents, Kelly and Jason, fully supported Chance’s idea.
“I thought it was a great idea and I wanted to encourage him to do this. It’s good for him and good for the community,” Kelly said.
Chance and his parents decided that a Facebook page would be the best way to get the word out to people since it’s more community-oriented. He said that the information on his page is gathered from a combination of people posting on the page and other sources, like the local animal shelter.
“We sometimes look on Craigslist and around the neighborhood, finding signs and stuff,” Chance said. “We take a picture and type up the information and post it on the site.”
If someone posts their own information or picture about a lost or found dog on the Facebook page, Chance said that he reposts the information and/or picture so that more people will see it.
To inform people about the Facebook page, Chance and his parents went around their neighborhood passing out fliers with directions explaining how to find and like the page. Some people even offered to help pass out fliers in their own neighborhoods.
“I also got some business cards, and I go to shops and ask if I can put the cards in the shop,” Chance said.
It’s a lot of work, but Chance said it’s pretty easy to handle running the Facebook page with the help of his parents.
“I realized people were surprised that I was 11 and doing this,” he said.
A dog, Spartan, was recently reunited with its family because of Chance's page. The post about Spartan missing was seen by 12,568 people and shared 360 times.
The page, to date, has 569 likes. People who have liked the page can see the posts and share them to spread the word to more people. Chance recalled a post about a lost chocolate lab named Maddy.
“It got over 11,000 views, just on that one dog,” he said.
Jason said that during the summer, Chance wanted to do a Humane Society camp. It was full, but when they found out about Chance’s Facebook page, they made an exception. Jason said this is a good lesson for Chance.
“Sometimes, if you work really hard, you’ll get opportunities that you may not have gotten otherwise,” he said. “In other words, hard work pays off.”
Chance hopes to continue running the Facebook page for as long as possible, and to continue increasing his audience with more likes.
“At first, my goal was to get 500 likes, and now I’m at 569,” he said. “My new goal is to get 1,000.”
Kaylan Lovrovich is a student in the University of Washington Department of Communication News Laboratory.