TAMPA (FOX 13) - From her home outside Chicago, Pamela Kramer writes about animals thousands of miles away.
In December, a dog named Romeo caught her eye. Surrendered to the Hillsborough County Pet Resource Center the week before Christmas, the photo showed Romeo watching as his family left, in front of the sign that warned he could be euthanized at any time.
Says Kramer, "that picture of him in front of the sign that said if you leave your dog here, it can be killed immediately. The wagging tail, like he was looking out at his family. That picture was just heartbreaking."
Romeo was one of dozens of dogs posted nightly on the Rescue Me Tampa Facebook page. Most of the dogs, like Romeo, only have hours to live.
Jess Yingst is on the volunteers who posts photos and updates every night. She says when Kramer wrote about Romeo, he went viral.
Yingst says, "The page was blasted that night. Went crazy! Literally that night we had almost a hundred emails for one dog!"
Romeo had a happy ending. The Humane Society of Tampa Bay pulled him from the shelter, less than two weeks later he was adopted.
Yingst says their Facebook page saves a lot of death row dogs, but when Kramer writes about them, it's even better.
She says,"The pictures catch you, but the story, once you read it, you're like, I've got to go help that dog."
Kramer and Yingst are part of a vast rescue network that spans social media, a network without borders. Any Florida resident can rescue a dog they see on Rescue Me Tampa, but for those out of state, they have to go through a rescue group.
She says their dogs have gone everywhere, "Max went to Alaska. We have a dog in Canada. We have dogs in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, North Carolina. All over. All over the United States."
Pamela Kramer herself used the network to rescue "Lucky," a dog she saw on death row at the Miami-Dade public shelter, nearly 1400 miles away. After posting on Florida Transport on Facebook, within 24 hours "Lucky" had a ride. Five different drivers chauffered him to Atlanta, where Kramer drove to pick him up. She says, "He was in a car for 22 hours total over two days basically with potty breaks."
Countless rides to rescue happen everyday, dogs (and cats) saved by Facebook. While way too many animals are still dying, these women are grateful for the power of social media and how it helps them save lives.
Says Pamela Kramer, "When I find out that an animal has found a home because of one of my stories--sometimes I start crying--because it makes me so happy. To feel that I've played a part in saving a dog's."
Rescue Me Tampa (dogs) https://www.facebook.com/Rescue-Me-Tampa-Shelter-Dogs-250846728289533/?fref=ts
Urgent Cats of Tampa Bay https://www.facebook.com/UrgentCatsOfTampaBay/?fref=ts
Florida Transport https://www.facebook.com/groups/277745538931009/