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How Pet Businesses Are Using Social Media to Support Their Black Communities

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There has been much conversation these past weeks about how pet businesses are responding on social media to the death of George Floyd, the resulting protests and calls for criminal justice reform, and racism in this country. In a thoughtful and (mostly) respectful thread in the PETS+ Facebook Community group, owners discussed the reasons they have taken a stand on their business social media pages.

Barbara Johnston Horrobin and Angela DeHetre Smutny of Swanky Paws Pet Spa in Lawrenceville, GA, posted this:

DeHetre Smutny explains how the post came about.

“I saw a post from a local business that said they were taking a stand. If they lost business from it, that was a price they were willing to pay. I sent the post to Barbara and said I think we should do this. She called me and said she was glad we were on the same page.

“I feel so helpless in this whole situation and that anything I do won’t matter, but that shouldn’t stop us from doing everything in our power to effect change. We vote. We contact our elected officials. We spend our dollars where we think they do the most good. We need to be OK with being uncomfortable.”

Tara Robertson of PupStars Pet Care in Chicago, IL, shared this on her business page:

“Really we just wanted to pause all the fun. The current times are not fun for anyone, and we all need to press pause and be willing to listen and gain a better understanding of what’s going on around the world and how people feel, so we can all contribute for the better and seek the best solutions together.”

Shelly Gonzales of Arch City Boarding in St. Louis, MO, shared what she posted to her business page:

In the comments, she included links to resources and organizations for providing such assistance.

“I just felt like I owed it to my clients to say something. Silence only benefits the oppressor,” she says.

Shane Somerville of Paddywack in Mill Creek, WA, has posted several times on the topic, including this show of support:

She shared her thoughts on posting and the issue itself.

“We’ve made some pretty clear statements because while this is a topic I’ve felt strongly about personally for a long time, the time is now to make sure that the Black members of our store family, and our community as a whole, know that we see them, hear them and stand with them as allies of the Black Lives Matter movement. We throughly reject racism, as well as bigotry of any kind, and hate will find no home here. Our world is made better only when we stand together, united against hatred and working together to accomplish change, and no change is needed right now more than this.”

Not all pet business owners felt comfortable posting on this topic from their business Facebook pages, instead opting to use their personal pages to make statements or to keep conversations offline altogether.

Pamela Mitchell is the Editor-in-Chief of PETS+. She works from her home office in Houston, TX, with Ty the Boston Terrier as her assistant.

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