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Millie, the Million-Likes Mutt-i-gree®!

Two Girls and a Puppy Facebook campaign reveals the power of social media in helping shelter pets

It’s a refrain familiar to millions of parents across the globe: “Mommy and Daddy, can we please have a puppy?”

But that timeless question took on a modern twist when two social-media-savvy sisters took their puppy plea to Facebook, earning a million “likes” in a matter of seven hours—and just two days later adopted Millie, an adorable Mutt-i-gree (any dog, cat, puppy or kitten saved by a  shelter or rescue group) from North Shore Animal League America.

It all began on January 15, 2013, when sisters Cadence (12) and Emerson (9) Cordell laid down the virtual gauntlet, asking their father Ryan if 1 million Facebook “likes” could earn them a puppy. The previous summer, the family had lost their beloved 10-year-old dog to cancer and, while Ryan and his wife Evie anticipated getting a dog again at some point, they had planned to wait a little while.

The girls had different plans. So, taking a cue from a similar Facebook post asking for a cat, they proposed the million-likes campaign. Thinking that the girls had no chance of success, Ryan took them up on their challenge. He created a Facebook page called “Two girls and a puppy,” where he posted a photo of his five children (the two girls and their three younger brothers) holding a sign that read, “Hi World! We want a puppy! Our dad said we could get one if we get 1 million likes! He doesn’t think we can do it. So ‘LIKE’ this!”

As most of the world knows by now, Dad lost handily, with the page exceeding its goal several times over and receiving “likes” from across the globe. Puppy fans from as far as Afghanistan and Lebanon to right in the Cordell’s hometown of Mansfield, Mass., clicked away, many leaving comments wishing them luck.

Lesson learned: Never underestimate the power of the puppy...especially when you combine it with the force of Facebook.

Just two days after their Facebook post went viral and they hit their goal, the Cordell family appeared live on that old-school media platform: the television, sharing their story with the team at Good Morning America.

“I knew we have a few hundred friends on Facebook, so I never thought it was possible it would spread so far, or at least not so quickly,” Ryan Cordell told GMA’s Josh Elliot, who posed the question on everyone’s mind: When are you getting the new puppy?

The answer, it turns out, was sooner than they had expected—in fact, that very night. Knowing that the girls had promised their Facebook followers that they’d be getting a dog from a shelter or other rescue group, North Shore Animal League America reached the Cordell family after their appearance on GMA and invited them to visit our Port Washington, NY, campus, home to the world’s largest no-kill shelter.

Just before dark, the seven Cordells arrived at Animal League America. Their hearts were quickly won by the adorable pup, pictured right, whom they named Millie in honor of her million likes.

But the Cordells were determined that Millie wouldn’t be the only Mutt-i-gree saved by their good fortune on Facebook. They created a campaign on crowdfunding platform Indiegogo and posted a request for $1 donations (both on their Facebook page and a new website they created, to go toward Animal League America.

We’d like to congratulate the entire Cordell family on their adoption of Millie, the Million Likes Mutt-i-gree, and thank them for paying it forward by supporting our rescue work!

Are you ready to find your own Millie or Milton? Please click here to learn about pets available for adoption, both at our New York shelter and at a shelter near you.

Three Ways You Can Help Save a Shelter Pet—Even if You Can’t Adopt Just Yet!

Social media provides every animal lover with a perfect platform to help spread the word about the benefits of adopting Mutt-i-grees, the wonderful dogs, cats, puppies and kittens from shelters or rescue groups. Below are five tips on how you can make a difference in the lives of these innocent animals with a click of a button!

1. Create a fundraiser with our free Animal League America tool and share it on your Facebook page.

2. Like us on Facebook and ask your friends to do the same.

3. Share our Facebook stories about animals up for adoption, adoption events and other posts so we can get the word out that adoption is always the right choice!