In fact, there is a whole new world out there of animals tweeting their way into people lives. My discovery of this trend happened when I discovered several conversations taking place - not by humans, but by tweeting dogs. Those that know me accept I'm barking mad (which I'd like to add is perfectly normal when you have a creative brain ; ), so when I discovered the pack of tweeting dogs I got rather excited. I immediately had a light bulb moment in my head and I knew I had to contact a special individual that came to mind, to see if I could assist them in setting up their very own Twitter account...
Let me introduce you to Nelson
With a few treats up my sleeve in preparation to a negative response, I asked Nelson what he thought about the idea of becoming an official Service tweeter. Relieved at his enthusiasm, I had nothing to worry about as (being a dog) he got rather excited (like they do, tongue out, panting and darting all over the place). He quite literally jumped at the chance and so our journey began. I set up his account (@Nelson_FireDog) and with him, have watched his followers grow steadily. There is an immense interest from a vast range of people, other dogs, animal lovers, animal shelters, organisations, and other Service dogs. The best part is, they are all happily engaging with Nelson on a regular basis and assisting him by retweeting his safety messages. Just by having Nelson's presence on Twitter, his messages are reaching not just Cornwall or the UK, but other countries far and wide who have a real interest to stay in touch and find out what he's up to.
I totally understand that not everyone will get how a dog can be on Twitter and what all the fuss is about and that's fine. There is no right or wrong way about using social media and everyone is entitled to their opinion. Some like the serious type of communications and others like a little bit of fun mixed into the day. To be able to offer a choice is proving to work extremely well and benefit a whole new group of individuals that may not have followed otherwise.
The discovery and meeting new friends
Since training Nelson on the wonderful world of Twitter, I'm pleased to report he has taken to it pawsomely! He has made lots of new friends and has discovered he is the first UK Fire Investigation Dog on Twitter, which is quite an achievement - something I'm sure will be short lived when other fire and rescue services catch on.
Once Nelson's account was set up, it wasn't long before my two Greyhounds; Brew and Hex wanted their own Twitter account so they could join in the fun and record their lives and things they get up to. So I set them up and they are now tweeting jointly as @TheCauldrons. Slowly they have started to gather their own unique group of friends and are enjoying engaging, sharing information and photos to other Greyhounds, dogs, humans and any other individual that wants to follow along. As they are brother and sister you will often find them teasing each other and and taking it in turns to tweet about their activities - usually about who's turn it is on the bed!
Meeting Spaniel Harry
One evening, I caught the tail end of a conversation with a tweeter called Harry (@SpanielHarry), who kept making me laugh and was an author of a book I wanted to purchase called "Help my dogs on Twitter". I noticed that Harry also did interviews on his blog, so Nelson, the Cauldrons and me started to follow. I began to prepare an email asking Harry if he'd like to interview Nelson on his role of being an FI dog, but before I could finish it, my phone whistled telling me I had a new Twitter interaction; to my surprise it was Harry:
Since that day we met electronically, the interview has been shared (link at the bottom of this page) and a competition held, where a random follower was selected as soon as Nelson reached 999 followers. The prize was Harry's book (which he kindly donated) and pawtographs of them both for the lucky winner, who was @rosieposiepuppy that lives in New York City. Thanks to Harry and all of Nelsons new found friends, he now has 1,290 followers.
So here we are today; Wednesday 20 February, the day when Nelson and Harry finally got to meet at Torpoint Community Fire Station to have their photos taken to support their amazing story. I'll let you see for yourself how their friendship unfolded. A great time was had by all, memories were made and they now have a bond that will last a lifetime. Special thanks to Heather and Bob for allowing Harry to be there, Spaniel Meg and her owners who travelled up to meet the pair and my very supportive Martian who is never far away.
Photos of Nelson and Harry's Grand Day Out
Cornwall Council Press Release - How to make friends and influence people - Twitter according to Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service Fire Investigation Dog