What is this Winter Program you ask? Last year I read about people in Pennsylvania who had begun to deliver straw, toys, and treats to dogs who were being left outside in the cold (usually chained or penned up). I wanted to do the same thing here in Hampton Roads. I contacted Dogs Deserve Better, a nonprofit organization in Smithfield, VA that advocates for chained dogs and I told them my idea. They agreed to donate a ton of toys, treats, dog food, and informational pamphlets to my mission. I received donations of straw from local people and also snagged a few bales from PETA. I put an ad on Craigslist and Facebook stating that anyone who knew of a dog that was being kept outside in the cold could email or call me and I would deliver the supplies to the dog, no questions asked. Check out the article in the Beacon!
Me- “Um, hello someone called and said you had a dog that’s kept outside. Would you like some straw and other supplies?”
Person- Awkwardly stares me.
If I did not receive a call or email, the Mister and I would simply drive around and look for dogs in need. I made the delivery, he drove the getaway car (as he called it). He never let me go alone, and I love him for that. On the occasion where the dog was chained outside but nobody was home, I would leave the supplies by the front door with a note. I learned that the bulk of my deliveries were made to lower income areas and the majority of the dogs I helped were pit bulls or pit bull mixes. Some people became defensive and thought I was going to get them in trouble. I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t afraid sometimes.
I’m not sure if any of the owners actually let their dogs inside last year, but I am hopeful that just one dog slept a little warmer because of me.
Want to help the cold dogs in Hampton Roads this year? Let me know and we can work together! I would love for this campaign to grow and be able to help more animals in need. I usually start at the beginning of December and continue until the weather warms up in early Spring. Or if you know of a dog in need, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.