On the Road Again…to Shelters in NC, GA, AL, MS, TN, and KY
I just can’t wait to get on the road again.
At this moment in history, so many shelters are in crisis. And not just in the south, although things are undoubtedly worse there than anywhere. Which is why I can’t wait to get down there to help in any way we can.
Ever since my first visit to a shelter in North Carolina five years ago, I’ve been looking for ways to help. It was a turning point in my life. Until then I’d been in rescue – fostering, volunteering, writing. But seeing that shelter crammed with heartworm positive pitbulls, kittens stacked in crates in the hallways, and large dogs living outside in the elements, my heart broke open.
It shouldn’t be this way. And it doesn’t have to be this way.
I still believe the same thing I said after that first trip south—the problem doesn’t exist because people don’t care, but because they don’t know.
Fixing any problem starts with acknowledging it and owning it. Shelter dogs belong not to a shelter, but to the community that funds that shelter (or doesn’t have a shelter).
Many of the shelters we visit are county and/or city municipal shelters. Too often, the people in those municipalities do not know what is happening in the shelter funded by their tax dollars. Once they know the situation, if they don’t like it, it’s up to them to get involved and demand their tax dollars be spent differently.
But what about the rest of us? How can we help?
Use what you’ve got.
If you’ve got TIME:
Learn about the situation. Follow our tours and listen to the stories and then share those stories anywhere you can – with people via social media, with people you know who live in the places we visit, with influencers and folks who have the ability to amplify the message.
I keep saying that we just need a bigger microphone, you can help us get one.
Volunteer with us. We have work you can do from wherever you are with whatever amount of time you can spare. We can also connect you with a shelters that would welcome the help of a virtual volunteer.
If you’ve got MONEY:
Use it wisely to help struggling shelters and rescues. On our website, you can read stories of the shelters we visit and find links to Amazon or chewy wishlists, vet office contact information, and donation pages. (Note: often it is smarter to donate needed supplies or pay vet bills, rather than sending money to municipal shelters, that way you know where your money goes.)
Donate to Who Will Let the Dogs Out. We use money donated to take supplies to every shelter and rescue we visit. We also use that money to give Instagrants which are gifts of resources that can help save lives, but fall outside of the regular budget of a municipal shelter. We are 100% volunteer run, so every penny you give goes to helping the dogs and sharing their stories.
If you’ve got IDEAS:
Share them. We are always on the lookout for clever ideas for fundraising, shelter programs, canine enrichment, and community engagement and we collect them to share with all our shelter partners. If you’ve got a great idea, send it to me and we’ll add it to our Resource Guide.
Start your own initiative. If you’ve got a great idea for helping in any way, act on it. When I first discovered the situation and wanted to help, I wasn’t sure what I could do beyond fostering until I realized that I could use my writing ability to shine a light on this problem. Everyone has something they can bring to solving this problem.
Together with Nancy, who uses her photography skills to save lives, we will spend another week on the road starting this Monday.
I can’t wait to meet the heroes on the front lines working to save lives. Every trip I come away tired, but inspired by the people we meet – Animal Control Officers, shelter staff, volunteers, people who are sacrificing so much to save dogs. The long hours driving, crappy hotels, hurried meals, and not enough sleep is worth the opportunity to make a difference.
I never know what will come of each trip – who will hear our stories and be moved to act. It feels a bit like planting seeds of hope. And hope can be a powerful seed.
Please follow along next week with us to North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Kentucky. You can help us plant. You can be a part of the solution.
If you’d like to support us on this tour, consider donating on the website or shopping our shelter tour list.
Until each one has a home,
If you want to learn more, be sure to subscribe to this blog. And help us spread the word by sharing this post with others. Visit our website to learn more.
You can also help raise awareness by following/commenting/sharing us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Tik Tok, and the Who Will Let the Dogs Out podcast.
Learn more about what is happening in our southern shelters and rescues in the book, One Hundred Dogs & Counting: One Woman, Ten Thousand Miles, and a Journey Into the Heart of Shelters and Rescues (Pegasus Books, 2020). It’s the story of a challenging foster dog who inspired me to travel south to find out where all the dogs were coming from. It tells the story of how Who Will Let the Dogs Out began. Find it anywhere books are sold. A portion of the proceeds of every book sold go to help unwanted animals in the south.
For more information on any of our projects, to talk about rescue in your neck of the woods, or become a WWLDO volunteer, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
And for links to everything WWLDO check out our Linktree.