By Julia Barnes, News Correspondent
The children ask for a puppy. The parent sets some requirements first, perhaps demanding a week of good behavior, and eventually buys the dog.
It’s an age-old story that one Northeastern professor recently gave a very modern twist.
Ryan Cordell, an assistant professor in the English department, and his wife Evie, told their children they could get a puppy if they got 1 million Facebook likes first.
The Cordell kids took their plea viral with a sign that read, “Hi World. We want a puppy! Our dad said we could get one if we get 1 million likes! He doesn’t think we can do it! So LIKE this!”
Millions of Facebook users answered. Quickly.
Thousands of likes accumulated within minutes. Seven hours later, the children reached their millionth like, and soon became the owners of a new golden retriever/labrador retriever mix named Millie.
The family had a dog before Millie, but it recently passed away and the children were determined to get a new pet, Cordell said. They repeatedly asked their parents for a puppy, only to be disappointed each time.
After seeing the example of another boy on Facebook who received a cat from his father for one thousand likes, Cadence Cordell, 12, decided to do the same, but for one million likes.
“One thousand was too easy, [but] one million seemed unlikely,” said Ryan Cordell, considering he had few Facebook friends.
When Cadence was asked if she thought the feat was possible, even she said, “Honestly, no.”
Cordell studies viral media of the 19th century. Of more modern viral media, he said, “the speed and global reach is pretty impressive.”
He said his family has received a number of messages from people worldwide including soldiers, mothers, and other children alike about the puppy challenge. They appeared on Good Morning America, too.
Now that they have achieved their goal, the Cordell family is reaching out virally for a broader purpose: helping other animals.
“We’re trying to raise some money [for the shelter] where we rescued Millie,” Cordell said. “We’re trying to turn the viral success around and do some good … it’s easy to give a like, it’s harder to give a dollar.”
But what if the kids couldn’t reach 1 million likes? Would they still be puppy-less?
No, Cordell said, he would have brought home a puppy to anyway. And don’t expect any more stories about the Cordell kids taking up a viral challenge in the future.
The puppy contest was a one-time deal, and their dad said, “I’ve already told them they can’t do this for a car.”