HTC & Purina Give Back | Giving Tuesday
This post was sponsored by Just Right by Purina. All Opinions are my Own
When Dustin and I were newly married, living in a small trailer home on the outskirts of our college town, we dreamed about the day we could bring home our first dog. We were THAT couple that oooo’d and ahhh’d at every dog we saw walking by us at the park and we would spend hours researching different breeds online and planning our future life with our future dog.
One day, early into our marriage, we decide to take a drive down to the Idaho Falls Animal Shelter (about 30 minutes away) to see if we could get our “dog fix.” We were told that they were always looking for volunteers to take their dogs for walks and felt like that might be a nice way to spend time with some dogs. We drove down expecting to spend an hour or so there, and ended up spending the whole day there. We LOVED it. We loved being able to spend time with the dogs and feeling like we were doing something helpful with our time.
The next Saturday, we woke up, and decided we would head down to the shelter again to walk some dogs. And the Saturday after that, we drove down again. Before we knew it, we had spent almost every Saturday for a year at the shelter. We came to know and love the Animal Control Officers by name and earned their trust, which allowed us to help them in quarantine with new litters of puppies and kittens. We gave dogs baths and walks and worked with the ones that were too scared to come out of their kennels. While we were skeptical of a city shelter and their policies at first, we came to know that they do everything in their power to keep the animals safe, healthy, and find them new homes. Our love for dogs grew and grew with every passing Saturday and we went from “those dog people” to “THOSE dog people” in the span of a few months. It is because of the IFAS and the ACO’s who let us volunteer so consistnelty that we knew we would bring home our own dog today (and would be prepared for it.)
That is why I am so, so honored and humbled to be partnering with Just Right by Purina today, for Giving Tuesday. If you’ve been around HTC for a while, you’ll know that I’ve been privileged to work with them for the last year and it’s been an amazing partnership. We have been able to feed our dogs kibble that’s completely personalized to them and their needs and create content around our lives as dog parents and owners. When they told me about their plans for our last campaign, I cried. Purina offered to donate $1,000 dollars to the animal organization of my choice and I knew immediately that I wanted my donation to go to the Idaho Falls Animal Shelter.
One of the most powerful and fondest memories we have of volunteering at the IFAS is caring for Jules – the sweetest, friendliest shepherd mix we had ever met. Jules was a bit of a jumper in the kennel (she would seriously jump 3 feet straight in the air like she was on a pogo stick when someone walked by her,) which unfortunately turned off a lot of families who came into the shelter looking for a dog. When you took Jules out to the backyard to play, she calmed right down and just wanted to be pet and loved on. Dustin and I fell in love with her instantly and would have adopted her if we were in a position to do so. Instead, we made it our mission to find her a home and we told every family who came into that shelter for a month straight to meet Jules and to see if she would be a good fit.
We were worried as time went on and no one seemed to be interested in her. We came into the shelter one day and saw that she was no longer in her kennel and found out that the shelter had arranged for her to go to an SPCA in California where she would have a better chance of being adopted. We were sad that we couldn’t find her a home in Idaho but so grateful that she had another chance to find a family in California.
About a month later, Dustin and I found ourselves in San Fransico on a trip facing a bit of a predicament – our car had been broken into overnight and the rear passenger window had been smashed. We drove around for an hour until our insurance found a place that could replace our window, which was going to take another hour to repair. We decide to walk around the city while we waited for the car to be fixed and found ourselves a block away from the San Fransico SPCA. Since we were in the habit of volunteering at the animal shelter, we decided to pop our heads in and see if we could take any dogs for walks while we waited. Low and behold, as we walked through the hall of kennels, we stumbled upon our Jules. She was as happy as could be, sitting on a doggy bed with a toy, and instantly recognized us (which made our hearts so happy.) We got to take her for a walk and found out that she had a family who was in the middle of finishing her adoption paperwork! She was going to a home in just a few days! Our hearts were so, so full.
I am so, so thankful for the opportunities Dustin and I had to volunteer at the IFAS for over a year. We learned so much about dogs and ourselves in that time. We learned to give every dog a chance, and to always give them the benefit of the doubt. We learned to be patient with the dogs that were scarred, and we learned how beautiful it was to watch a dog be given a second chance. We learned of the unconditional love dogs have – that even when their humans and families decided to give them up, they were still capable of loving us, their volunteers. We learned how to read body language and how to understand a dog’s emotions and feelings in certain situations. And, we were able to strengthen our marriage and relationship by always making it a priority to volunteer at the shelter every week. There is something so powerful about watching your spouse spend his free time at the shelter, washing out cages or sitting in the opposite corner of the kennel with a terrified dog who just needs someone to show her kindness.
I am so grateful that I can finally repay the Idaho Falls Animal Shelter in some small way for all the lessons we learned and the opportunities we were given to serve by teaming up with Just Right by Purina and donating $1,000 dollars today, on Giving Tuesday, for the Christmas season. I know how crazy the shelter can get during this time of year, and I know that this donation will help them out in so many ways.
Dustin and I wouldn’t be the people we are (or have the marriage we have or have the little fur family we have) without the volunteering experiences we had in that first year of marriage at the Idaho Falls animal shelter. Not only that, but we knew, without a shadow of a doubt, how serious a choice we were making when we finally decided to bring Rosie home and add her to our family. We learned about the importance of commitment, to each other, and to our dogs and that’s a lesson we’ll forever be grateful for.
So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you, to the Idaho Falls Animal Shelter for everything. And thank you to Just Right by Purina, for allowing us the opportunity to give back to them during this season of giving.
We’d love to hear how you are giving back today in the comments below!