The Silber family has long prided itself on being matchmakers, having spent countless hours walking rescues at local shelters and finding the perfect people to pair them with. But with six dogs of their own already, they weren’t looking for another — until they ran across someone on Facebook hoping to rehome a teeny, wooly-white Pomeranian named MILK with big black eyes and a smile that made bad days completely melt away. They instantly fell in love, brought him home, and then found another perfect home for him — Instagram.
In just over a year, the little rescue dog has racked up thousands and thousands of followers. He’s appeared on TV and in magazines; he’s walked the red carpet at the Emmys and New York Fashion Week and the grass at Major League ballparks.
He never says no to meeting new friends — whether one or a studio full — or trying out a cute new outfit, and he’s undaunted by bright lights and loud noises. “He thoroughly enjoys the attention,” confirms his mom, Laurie Silber. “Not all dogs have the personality for this type of lifestyle, but MILK does.”
MILK was such a natural at making people happy that the Silbers thought they could use his Instagram stardom to bring even more smiles into the world. They decided to use his page to also help other rescues find their forever homes. The tiny dog was a giant success.
In 2019, the family decided to rally around another cause for the holiday season. MILK’s dad is a doctor who is very familiar with the life-changing power of cleft treatment, and the family had all been moved by Smile Train advertisements, so they unanimously decided to raise funds for Smile Train with a campaign they dubbed Spreading Smiles with a Dog and a Dollar.
The goal was simple: get as many people as possible to pay forward the smiles MILK gives them by donating as little as one dollar to Smile Train. The family got the word out on MILK’s Instagram and Facebook pages, and worked with their community to hang signs in local businesses. MILK’s human brothers and sisters also worked with their friends to start fundraisers in local schools.
Like many rescue dogs, MILK’s fundraiser instantly won a special place in people’s hearts. “The more people we informed about Smile Train, the more we learned that people knew someone or had a family member with a cleft,” said Laurie. “Luckily those people were all able to afford cleft treatment on their own, but this campaign let them see firsthand how they can transform the life of someone who can’t.” With support from friends both online and in-person, MILK and his family raised $4,000 for Smile Train by the end of December — that’s as many as 16 lifesaving smiles for people in need!
The family is excited to make Spreading Smiles with a Dog and a Dollar an annual tradition. And it’s not just the smiles they created for others that made it so special. “Fundraising together as a family is one of the most worthwhile things we’ve ever done,” Laurie said. “It can take a lot of effort, but it’s absolutely worth it. We all did our part and we now feel great!”
Though MILK inspired countless smiles last year, his goal is to create even more in 2020. “This year, we hope that MILK can spread his happiness and smiles and touch the lives of as many people as possible because we see how he is loved and how he can really make a difference,” Laurie said.
You, too, can bring smiles to people all over the world just like MILK by making a donation to Smile Train now.
Check out MILK’s Smile Train fundraising page and his Instagram page, @milkpomstar.