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#Instapuppy: Student uses social media to promote Guiding Eyes organization

Written by Meredith Clarke

Guiding Eye puppy-in-training

Instagram is the epitome of the social media trifecta: selfies, food, and cute animals. Last spring, sophomore Shannon Samuels dosed Ithaca College’s official Instagram account with a heaping helping of the latter in the form of a black-lab puppy named Arthas. She took pictures of him in costumes as if he were an IC student, and the results were a-freaking-dorable.

For those already hatching plots to bring puppies to campus, calm down. Arthas is not Shannon’s dog. Shannon works with Guiding Eyes for the Blind, an organization dedicated to training service dogs for people with disabilities. In addition to being a national nonprofit organization, Guiding Eyes is also a club on IC’s campus, and students volunteer as puppy-raisers for the program. Shannon is one of the club's marketing directors, and a good one at that. She’d seen IC’s Instagram takeovers, in which a selected student has full reign over the college’s official account for a day to show a student’s perspective of the college. She decided to get her organization involved.

“I saw the takeovers and thought that clubs should do it to promote themselves,” she said. “Then I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, we have puppies. We should do it from the perspective of the puppy.’” Arthas is one of many guide dogs being trained by IC students, and now he’s definitely the most famous one.

The Guiding Eyes foundation caught wind of Shannon’s takeover via a tweet posted by IC’s official Twitter account #puppy#takeover. They loved it and offered her a marketing internship with the organization’s national headquarters. Shannon already had three other internships lined up for the summer, so she had to decline. “But the woman who contacted me said that any time I wanted to come visit or have an internship in the future, I could just ask her,” she said.

If only we could all be so lucky.



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