Putting my love for dogs to good use

“Some people are amazing with children. They have the ability to make an instant connection–and the children feel it. Stephanie has that relationship with dogs. They gravitate towards her because they are drawn to her. I think she’s part canine.” – testimonial from my friend, M. on my dog sitting site.

I’ve always had a special relationship with dogs. Our first dog, Samson, was a German Shepherd who was around before I was. Even though he was the temperamental first child, and didn’t like people invading his space, he was always nice to me. He’d even let me pull his tail, and play with his food while he ate.

Our next dog, Snowball, was a Great Pyrenees who was not the sharpest tool in the shed, but she was a sweetie. She never mastered the art of being housebroken so she was only allowed in the kitchen. I would often lie down on the cold, linoleum floor with her and rub her belly for hours.

Then we got Carmela–the dog love of my life. From day one we had an incredible and indescribable bond. She understood me in a way no human ever could. She was our family dog, but really, she was mine and I was hers.

Even though I’m not ready to get another dog and probably won’t be for a while, I know my connection with dogs and my ability to understand and help them is far from over.

So here are some of the ways I’m putting my love for dogs to good use:

  • I volunteer weekly at the local animal shelter. Though my job as a greeter isn’t directly related to helping the animals, I am donating my time and doing my best to entice (guilt) visitors into taking an animal home.

Animal shelter dogs

  • I post a weekly picture/bio on Instagram. Since I visit the dogs at the shelter every week anyway, I take a picture of one of the dogs and post a brief bio about them on my Instagram account. If I can help get a dog to a good home, then it’s well worth it.

Shelter dogs

  • I donate items to the shelter. When Carmela passed away I packed up all of her unused dog food, treats, and medicine and gave them to the animal shelter. They were so grateful to have it, especially the expensive medications Carm was taking towards the end, and I was happy to donate it to dogs in need. I’m also going to start using the money I would normally spend on her treats and put it towards items they could really use at the shelter.
  • I babysit for dogs. I’ve really missed having a dog around, and since I’m not ready to get another one yet I thought dog sitting would be a good way to hang out with dogs and get paid for it. Plus it’s great piece-of-mind for the owners because the dogs are not sitting in a cage all day like they would be at a kennel. I give the dogs lots of love, and text the owners with daily pictures/updates.

Dog sitting

  • I take part in fundraising events. The animal shelter where I volunteer at often has fundraisers through various local businesses. For example this week at Flatbread Company if you dine-in/take-out they will donate a portion of the proceeds to the shelter. They are also raffling baskets of goodies to raise more money for the shelter as well.

Even though these are small things they still make a difference. I think a lot of people get deterred from helping out a cause because they can’t make a big financial contribution. I know that I held this mentality for many years, but there are a ton of ways you can help. You can donate your time, resources, or simply opt to buy your dinner at a local restaurant that week. Look up your favorite cause or shelter and find out all the ways you can get involved. I bet there are more options than you think.

What cause are you passionate about? What are you doing to help?

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