Social Media Star of the Week: @tedthestoner
It started when @tedthestoner aka Jitendra Sharma got a request to help recover a follower’s pet in Delhi. Jitendra, 26, posted a story via his page. Days later, the owner DM-ed to thank him for sharing as it helped find his dog. “That’s when I realised social media can make a difference,” he shares how he unknowingly started his adoption drive in 2017-2018. Today, his page, along with a secondary official page @tedthestoner2.0 (409k followers), has managed to enable over 17k adoptions including dogs, cats, rabbits and guinea pigs.
He’s gone from getting 10-20 requests a day to over 1,000 a day. “The best part is when owners send pictures with the newest member of their family,” smiles the creator who has one rule: Asking people why they are giving the pet up, and dissuades them if possible.
All for indie breeds
The biggest problem the Mumbai boy, who started from a Facebook page before switching to Instagram in 2014, faces? Indie breeds adoptions. “When I put a post about adopting a pure-bred, I get 1000s of DMs within minutes. But with indie breeds, I’ve had to post three-four times,” he says, adding that there’s a misunderstanding that indie dogs aren’t suitable for homes.
“Whenever you use social media for a good cause, some people will have issues,” he says. Like last year, when breeder groups on WhatsApp and Facebook put posts accusing him of charging for adoptions. But he follows a fairly transparent process – posting a story with the number of the person reaching out for help. After that, the two take it forward.
He’s also in contact with celebrities, who often repost his stories, which helps spread the word. His big moment was when he went to follow Virat Kohli, the day the cricketer made his Instagram debut, he found the ‘follow back’ option instead. “I’ve now spoken to him thrice thanks to Anushka, who’s even helped out with a doctor’s number when someone had a medical emergency and people like her, Raftaar, Vishal Dadlani, etc, aren’t doing this for fame,” he says.
“The funny part is that we aren’t really saving the pet’s life, but the life of the person adopting him/her. We get a lot of messages from people with mental health issues telling us how much better they feel with a pet around,” he concludes.
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From HT Brunch, February 14, 2021
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