Social media vigil for sled dogs found in Whistler

Wade Shaw sets up a Facebook page for people around the world to take part in a live vigil being held for the sled dogs found dead in Whistler.

  • Apr. 26, 2011 4:00 p.m.
Two dogs enjoy a break overlooking the Columbia Valley.

Two dogs enjoy a break overlooking the Columbia Valley.

A former Invermere resident stepped up to help people who will be a part of a Facebook vigil on April 23 to honour the 100 sled dogs that were found shot in Whistler.

Organized by Wade Shaw, The Howl Heard Round the World vigil was set up as a way for people who could not attend a live vigil to still be a part of it and join the group in spirit.

“It is personal to me because when I moved from Colorado to Texas I gave up my dogs to a sled dog operation in Leadville Colorado. The dogs did not take to it so I went back and got them,” Shaw said.

“After learning of the culling, the thought of anyone shooting my two guys in the face and throwing them in a mass grave gave me chills and I knew I had to act, to do something.”

Shaw explained that the way the Facebook event came about was a bit strange.

“I went to North Van to start looking for work and started getting involved with advocate pages including the one starting the vigils on Facebook. One day in February while hiking on Cypress Mountain I was taking pictures of the dogs in the snow overlooking Vancouver. The idea just popped into my head. I had been an administrator on a virtual event for Facebook called Facebook Fridays. Wear red to support the troops and that grew to about 100 attendees. So I wrote and edited and created the page. Trying to keep it simple and accurate, and struggled with and got flack for calling it the Great Canadian Sled Dog Massacre.”

After putting up the pictures of his own dogs the site started at about 1000 hits per day.

Like many things with the Internet the event went viral and before the day ended people in South Africa, Sweden, the UK and one on the Capital Grounds in Washington D.C. were all on board according to Shaw.

In his eyes people all around the world are seeing an increase in animal cruelty awareness and Facebook seems to be becoming a way to spread the word for causes and for people who are taking action and not just talking.

“I was stunned at the rate of growth at first, now I see the true potential for the social network, for helping others, for exposing truth around the world, to think globally and then act locally.”