Hundreds rooting for Ray to find a forever home
By Donna Vickroy email@example.com March 5, 2014 6:20PM
Victoria Koblick, of New Lenox, poses with Ray, the subject of a social media adoption campaign. | Supplied photo
To learn more about Ray, contact Koblick at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit his profile at: www.southsuburbanhumanesociety.org or at his Adopt-a-Pet link: http://www.adoptapet.com/pet/9975175-chicago-heights-illinois-australian-cattle-dog-mix
Updated: April 7, 2014 11:50AM
In the span of a week, a 2-year-old Red Merle Australian Cattle Dog mix has gone from being a homeless shelter dog to a social media phenom.
Ray, a black-and-white canine brought to South Suburban Humane Society in December, now has his picture posted all over Facebook, not to mention the Southland.
You can see his photo on the wall at 5th Quarter Tap in Homewood. Or in Bill Howard’s photography classroom at Lincoln Way West High School. Or at the Oak Lawn Park District. His mug also hangs in a number of offices, including law firms, around the area, too.
His flier has been photographed with adults, children, dogs, even cats.
Ray’s sudden fame is the work of his foster parent, Victoria Koblick, of New Lenox. Determined to find Ray a permanent home, Koblick, who volunteers at the Chicago Heights shelter, decided to use Facebook to reach out to potential adopters.
On Feb. 24, she launched “I’m Rooting for Ray,” an online contest that asked dog lovers to print off an adoption flier she’d made about Ray. Participants were instructed to take a photo of themselves with the flier and then post it, either on Facebook or at a physical place.
“I wasn’t sure if anyone would do it, it seemed like a lot of work,” Koblick said.
But she underestimated the work ethic of animal lovers.
The response was unbelievable, Koblick said. By the contest’s end Feb. 28, more than 130 photos of Ray’s flier were posted. There were more than 150 Facebook shares, as well, she said.
“It’s just been great,” Koblick said. “The word is out. I know we just have to find the perfect match family for him. I know they’re out there.”
The contest even featured a prize: tickets donated by Laugh Factory Chicago.
One winner, picked in a random drawing on the last day of the contest, was supposed to receive two tickets to the Lakeview neighborhood establishment. But when the comedy club’s staff saw the response to Ray’s campaign, they upped the prize to a party package for 10 for the winner.
Amy Johnson, of Chicago, is that winner. But everyone who participated will receive two free tickets to the Laugh Factory.
Seems even the comedy club is Rooting for Ray.
“They’re big dog lovers,” Koblick said.
Koblick said although Ray is only 2, he’s had a traumatic past. SSHS workers believe he was hit by a car, causing his back leg to need treatment. But his original family never had the pins removed. Bone had started to grow around the pins leaving some nerve damage.
She said SSHS investigators told her they’d spent months in 2012 trying to seize the dog after getting numerous calls about him being left outside for hours.
When they finally did get him into their care, she said, they took care of his broken leg and adopted him out to a family in June 2013. Sadly, that family returned him in December.
Koblick said Ray now gets around like a gem.
But like so many animals who’ve experienced trauma, some issues linger. He is afraid of loud noises, for example. And Koblick just learned that he is partially blind.
But for the most part, she said, he is a joy and is getting along well with his foster brother, Rio.
“We all take lots of short walks together around the neighborhood where Ray has been showing off how nicely he walks on a leash,” Koblick said.
“Plus, everyone keeps stopping us to say what a cool looking dog he is.”
Ray has adjusted to his kennel, going there to sleep at night and take naps during the day, she added.
Though her social media campaign was a huge hit, Koblick said, the true measure of its success will come when Ray has a permanent home.