One dog’s journey to help local shelters encourages community participation.
It’s becoming more common - big-hearted children are making donations to the local shelters with food and treats collected in lieu of gifts at their birthday parties. They are amazing acts of generosity and caring, and they’re a welcome break from the glut of bad news that fills most people’s Facebook feeds. How can you read stories of these great kids and not be inspired? It’s impossible.
With “giving” in mind, we at The Whole Pet began to plan for the first birthday of the Fort Smith shop dog, Ocho. With a full-time job and a large extended family, Ocho doesn’t “want” for much. Maybe he’s a little spoiled and he sometimes shoplifts small treats from our shop, unable to resist the siren call of Happy Howie’s 2” beef burgers. Penchant towards theft aside, Ocho has all his needs met.
That’s why, instead of gifts, we asked our family and customers to help us celebrate Ocho’s big first birthday by donating bags of dog food to the Sebastian County Humane Society. We run a year-round deal that you can buy a 40lb bag of food for the SCHS (or Charleston Dog Shelter!) for $20. The bag usually retails for $31.98, so The Whole Pet kicks in the other $12 for the bag.
Our first step was to create a call to action. Fortunately, Ocho is model material and he is disgustingly photogenic so we created a campaign based on his adorable mug and used it to drum up donations. Initially, our goal was 8 bags because…Ocho. Eight. A little too on the nose? Maybe. But it worked!
Over the course of several weeks the stack grew and grew….it wasn’t long until 8 became 10…which became 20.
Two days before Ocho’s big birthday party we reset our goal - forget 8 bags. That was long past. We wanted to reach 1000lbs of dog food - what a difference that would make! And such a nice, even number, too.
On Saturday, May 27th, we had a party at our Fort Smith store and we conducted our final count. Ocho raised 1160lb (29 bags) of food for the Sebastian County Humane Society and the Charleston Dog Shelter. (Thankfully the shelter had volunteers to help us unload!)
Grand gestures like Ocho’s birthday donation can be high profile but it’s important to remember that we didn’t get there alone. We reached 1100 pounds 40 pounds at time. Each individual donation added to the pile; it was a group effort.
If you decide you would like to help a shelter or rescue in your area remember that you don’t need to break the bank to make a difference. No contribution is too small because added together, the community is capable of big things.
We would like to offer BIG THANKS to everyone who helped to make Ocho’s birthday donation a success. Whether you bought a bag of food, or shared our posts on Facebook, or simply wished us luck in our endeavor - you helped! Going forward into the second half of 2017, we want to remind our local readers that the $20 deal is available year round. In Fort Smith, customers can decide if they want the food to go to Sebastian County or The Charleston Dog Shelter. We would love to hear suggestions for donation recipients in Northwest Arkansas so that we can offer the same deal in our Fayetteville and Springdale locations!