Dogs from shelters aren’t usually the first choice when it comes to organizations looking to train service dogs. But I hope one day that can change: Nearly 4 million dogs are euthanized in shelters every year, and many of those are breeds best known for making wonderful service animals—golden retrievers, labs, German shepherds and the like. (But did you know pit bulls and “mutts” make great service dogs, too?) Here’s another factor worth mentioning: Dogs rescued from shelters know what it means firsthand to be abused and neglected, easing that connection with people in need who have found themselves in similar life circumstances.
As animal lovers know, companion animals often surprise us; they melt hearts, break barriers and make miracles. And as you’ll see, the following dogs do just that. Read on to see how these seven smart canines went from shelter dog to service dog—and now dedicate their lives to making this world a better place.
Have you seen Kickstarter? This amazing crowdfunding site lets you support a variety of creative projects for very little cash. Kickstarters set a financial goal (say, $1,000) and a target deadline. People then start sending donations—and the person behind the campaign gets to keep all that cash (and more) if they hit or exceed their financial goal by their target date. And, of course, if you have an idea for a project of your own, you can launch a campaign on Kickstarter, too!
Though some of the projects can be, ahem, a little bit strange (such as “Pug-let: The First All-Pug Production of Hamlet” and “A Dr. Who Concept Rap Album”—OK, I admit I’d probably watch/listen to both!), the following are actually some really solid ideas and goals I’d like to see come to fruition—some even help animals, too! Just this past Tuesday on Kickstarter, Walkzee, a free online platform that matches shelter dogs needing walks with “dog lovers looking for a walking buddy,” surpassed its $20,000 goal! I look forward to seeing the Walkzee site someday soon. Here are a few more projects that look interesting:
We see so much in the news about our brave men and women in uniform who are deployed overseas. But what about the animals by their side, either at home or abroad? The following nonprofit organizations are doing amazing work to support our servicemen and women, veterans and even active duty dogs:
Mission K9 Rescue: This wonderful organization is dedicated to ensuring military and active duty dogs find a loving home and lifelong care following their retirement. It also funds missions to bring combat working dogs home from Afghanistan and other war-torn countries and reunite them with their handler for a special adoption. It costs around $3,000 to bring a military dog home. Click here for info on the dogs they’re working to bring home today.
Pets for Vets: This amazing organization pairs U.S. military veterans suffering from PTSD with rescued shelter dogs. Pets for Vets matches vets up with great dogs to fit their personality, then brings in dog trainers to get the dog ready for his or her new life and home. Check out these heartwarming photos and adoption stories (note: you may want to keep a tissue handy).
Fostering military pets: When our active duty members get called to serve, sometimes they need a loving home to place their pet until their return. If you are interested in fostering or making a donation to support these animals in need, the following three organizations can help you get started: Dogs on Deployment, Guardian Angels for Soldier’s Pet and PACT for Animals.
Do you know of any other ways we can help military dogs?