Thursday, July 28, 2016

Pokemon Go Saves Lives!

There's a Clefairy on my shoulder! 

Growing up in the 90's, Pokemon was everything among my group of friends. Now, in 2016, as a 31 year old woman, I am ecstatic that I have an excuse to nerd-out over Pokemon Go. Happily, I spend my free time popping over to local parks to catch a few mystical creatures here and there. Unfortunately, not everyone feels the same as I do and lately I have started to get a bit bummed out at the many negative comments regarding this game (mostly from the news stations that sensationalize events that barely relate to the game). I feel that most people who knock it simply have not yet tried the game or are too stubborn to admit that things they may not be into themselves are not all bad. Yes, there have been some reports of people losing all common sense to catch them all, but in the grand scheme of things, this game is adding a lot more good than bad into this world. 

Two nights ago, my husband and I walked over to a local park for our evening walk and now, we have added some Pokemon play into that routine. As we opened the app and headed onto the trail, we realized that dozens of couples and groups of friends were out doing the same. It wasn't long before the groups started interacting and sharing the locations of the wild Magmars and Squirtles. It sounds silly, but we had an amazing time talking with these neighbors who we may or may not see again. The game gave everyone in the park a sense of belonging and inclusion, isn't that one of the things everyone keeps saying we are missing this year? 

Little creatures are saved
after being abandoned in
a park in Houston. 
Of course, the walks and meeting neighbors is a great addition to our lives, but the game itself has helped save dozens of animals. Alongside the stories of people walking into trees, stories of people rescuing abandoned animals have been shared. I have seen and heard many stories of shelters embracing the trend and 'renting' out shelter dogs for Pokemon Go walks. 

Sara Perez and Matthew Teague are among the individuals who have shared their story* of rescuing 27 abandoned little creatures that they stumbled upon in a Houston park while playing Pokemon Go. After loading up the exhausted and sick animals, they reached out to a local Pokemon Go Facebook Group and have now found homes for a few of the rescued animals. 

Austin Animal Center's Pokeparty
(photo from AAC's Facebook)
Two weeks ago, the Austin Animal Center hosted a Pokemon Go Walk, inviting guests to visit the shelter, setting up lures at their Pokestops and offering discounted adoptions to those that snapped a photo of a pet with a Pokemon character. It was a successful day and even had a guest visitor join in on the fun. 

These stories are just a couple of the many, many great stories out there of people now being involved in walking dogs at their local  shelters or taking a moment to help a stray kitten while searching for Charmander (or, ironically, a Meowth).

While Pokemon may seem silly to some, it has added a lot of joy to many people's lives. With the stresses of this election season and the many terrible tragedies around the world, let's celebrate the good that is coming from this popular app. Celebrate the friendships that are being made and of course the many little lives that have been saved! 

Stephanie Conrad
Pet Studio Art | Owner | Artist 

As a silly joke, we started to make 'Adopt them All' Pokemon memes for our
adoptable pets at the Williamson County Regional Animal Shelter
*See story posted on The Dodo