Man on a mission to save pets’ lives
Scott Poore sits on a wooden bench outside an animal shelter and shoots a video for his Facebook page, introducing viewers to Patricia, a 10-year-old terrier mix. The animal advocate, dressed in khaki shorts and a red T-shirt, his beard scruffy, shares the dog’s story.
“She was found living on the streets,” he says. “And when she came into the shelter, her eyes were severely infected.” He closes with a plea to his 50,000-plus Facebook followers to share the video and help the visually impaired dog find a forever home.
It works. Within a few days, Patricia is adopted by a family in Kansas. Sound easy? Well, in many ways, it is. However, there is a lot more work to be done if we’re going to achieve no-kill nationwide by 2025, and getting it done depends on people like Scott.
Through strategic use of his social media presence, he has helped place more than 1,000 once-homeless pets, each of whom averaged a 5-6 month stay at a shelter. In short, a single video posted on Scott’s Facebook page can save a pet’s life within weeks, or even overnight.
Rather than focus on the animals who would be a breeze to promote, Scott concentrates on the ones who have been in the shelter the longest. While Scott acknowledges that shelters do what they can to find homes for difficult-to-place dogs, he goes on to observe: “At some point, they stop, and start focusing on dogs they can find homes for.” It’s these remaining animals — the tough ones to rehome — whom Scott wants to work with.
Scott doesn’t stop with posting an introductory video featuring a pet. He continues to share photos and videos of subsequent visits. In these, he can be seen doing everything from feeding the dog breakfast in bed to bringing the dog ice cream to simply providing what the pet needs most — some good old-fashioned TLC. And he doesn’t quit until the animal in question has been adopted.
The Scott that thousands of Facebook followers and animal lovers know today wasn’t always devoted to saving homeless pets. For 20 years, he worked in corporate America as a commissioned salesperson. “All that mattered to me,” Scott says, “was how much money I could make, what kind of car I drove and where I was going on vacation.”
Then one day, a decade ago, feeling unfulfilled personally and professionally, he left his job as the top salesperson at a medical supply company. “I had one of those moments when it wasn’t really about what I could get,” he says, “but about what I could give.” Looking to fill the void, he volunteered at an animal shelter the next day.
Scott focuses on animals for one simple reason. “There aren’t enough people who are helping the voiceless animals in our communities,” he says. Volunteering at the animal shelter gave him direction. Soon, he was offered a full-time position and during the nearly two-year period that he was employed at the shelter, he became passionate about the animals who had been there the longest. When he wasn’t working, he was shooting promotional videos of the long-term pets. “Those are the ones who motivated me to dedicate my life to animal rescue,” he says.
Three years ago, he left his job to spend seven days a week being a voice for homeless pets in shelters throughout Kansas and Missouri. To fund his efforts, he launched Mission Driven, a clothing and goods company that sells cool T-shirts, tote bags and other merchandise to generate awareness and resources for pets in need. Basically, it’s a Scott-spearheaded endeavor that ultimately specializes in a whole lot of lifesaving.
Scott’s followers faithfully click on his Facebook page to learn the status of the long-term pets whom Scott is featuring. They share support through comments and donations to various shelters, and tag friends who may be interested in adopting a featured pet. “Stay strong, your hero is out there,” wrote one woman. “Prayers she finds a home,” said another. The most common type of comment is variations of “I wish I had room for one more pet.”
In a recent 30-second video, Scott updated his audience about a dog named Samantha Tutu who still hadn’t found a home. In less than 24 hours, the post was shared 700 times. Three days later, she was adopted. Now that’s having an impact.
“For me not to use social media would be such a loss,” Scott says, “because I have a lot of followers who believe in what I’m doing.” And, indeed, Scott’s strength in the animal rescue community is clearly his ability to garner the interest and compassion of so many like-minded people out there. In turn, these good-hearted animal lovers support various online drives in which product donations and funds go directly to shelters.
In one instance a few years ago, after visiting a shelter teeming with dogs sleeping on soiled newspapers, Scott started a campaign to provide a bed for every dog. “That donation drive got so much traction and attention that we raised $25,000 overnight,” he says. Within three days, every pet in every shelter in the entire state of Kansas and half of Missouri was curled up on a new bed. Scott not only saves lives, he enhances them as well.
In his quest to see dogs end up in forever homes, no idea is off-limits. After a Kansas City shelter’s once-a-year adoption promotion, Scott was determined to find homes for the handful of pets who weren’t adopted. His unconventional approach included renting a party bus to showcase the remaining dogs. “Those six dogs were the only ones that mattered to me,” he says.
A staff member accompanied each dog as they visited pet stores, where they were spoiled with treats and even groomed. “Obviously, I wanted to give them a very nice day,” Scott says, “but the purpose was to find them a home.” In true Scott form, every 30 minutes, he shared a video featuring one of the dogs. Two weeks later, all six were in new homes.
Sleeping at the animal shelter
Last summer, Scott dialed it up a notch when he packed the essentials (some clothes, his laptop and even a house plant) and headed to Great Plains SPCA in Merriam, Kansas, where he quite literally moved in. His goal was to find a home for Queen, a pit bull mix who had been living in the shelter for 400 days. Scott vowed to reside there as Queen’s roommate until she was adopted. Just one week later, the four-year-old dog met her new family.
After all that, you’d think Scott would be ready for a break. But no. He doesn’t plan to slow down his heroic efforts to save animals, especially when it comes to those who have lived in the shelter a long time.
Whether he rents another bus to showcase animals in need or simply curls up with a homeless pet friend while he reads to her, one thing is certain: Long-term shelter pets can count on Scott, his followers, their friends and their friends’ friends (since that’s the joy of social media, right?) to help them find their way home. To use Facebook jargon, we give that one big enthusiastic “like.”
This article originally appeared in Best Friends magazine. You can subscribe to the magazine by becoming a Best Friends member.
Photos courtesy of Scott Poore