The internet's collective plan to storm Area 51 in September may or may not pan out — but the viral moment has already done some good, helping 22 dogs find their forever homes at an animal shelter in Oklahoma.
On Friday, Oklahoma City Animal Welfare events coordinator Natalie Winfree dressed up three of the shelter's most photogenic (and cooperative) pups in tinfoil hats in hopes of raising awareness for the organization's cause.
"Come storm our shelter," read Winfree's now-viral post on the shelter's Facebook page. "We have great animals ready to protect you from the Area 51 aliens. Adoption isn't that far out of this world! #Stormtheshelter"
The adorable photos were soon shared over 8,400 times on Facebook, before crossing over to Reddit and Twitter where they gained even more positive support. Now, news outlets across the country, including CNN and CBS News, are sharing the local story.
Winfree, who spoke with Mashable on the phone from a weekend adoption event on Saturday, says she always tries to latch onto viral moments to help out her furry friends, but has never had a post do this well.
"I feel really humble, and I feel like I've actually done some good," says Winfree. "We had 22 adoptions yesterday, which is fairly high for a week day. Adoptions start everyday at noon, so I haven't seen today's results yet, but it does seem to have helped a little bit."
Of the animals featured in the #Stormtheshelter photos, Winfree says only two have been adopted thus far: Sam, the tin foil-hatted puppy, and an unnamed kitten, who sported a tinfoil collar for the shoot.
The other two extraterrestrial enthusiasts, Piper (a three-year-old Pointer and Boxer mix) and Lady (a three-year-old Lab and Shepherd mix), are still up for adoption at Oklahoma City Animal Welfare.
Image: courtesy of oklahoma city animal welfare
Winfree says folks in the area can help out her cause by stopping by the shelter, but hopes internet dwellers all over will be newly inspired by her post to support their local shelters.
"I had no idea it was going to be this popular," notes Winfree. "This has got to be my best one. Now, I'm just hoping I can keep up with what's trending."