When Dallas firefighter Jim Scano decided to create a way for firehouse enthusiasts to collect T-shirts from various fire stations, he wasn’t thinking about dogs. But after the success of the Firehouse Shirt Club, where he raised tens of thousands of dollars to support more than 70 participating firehouses, he realized this same idea could be used to help dog rescues.
“I’ve always been a dog enthusiast, so over the last couple years, I’ve been working to mirror the success I’ve had with Firehouse Shirt Club in a way that would help dog rescues,” Jim says. “We officially launched the Dog Rescue Shirt Club, based in Celina, Texas, in November of 2016 and have seen growth month after month since then.”
The club works by providing members a unique T-shirt every month from a dog rescue somewhere in the country. Members pay $20 a month, and all the proceeds go directly back to the rescue.
“Once a rescue has agreed to participate and be featured in a particular month, they send us whatever artwork they have. We have our printer in Celina create a mock-up for their approval,” Jim says. “If the rescue has a particular slogan, we try to incorporate that into the shirt as well. If they don’t have any artwork, we can help them with their design.”
Once the design is approved, shirts are printed in quantities required to fulfill the orders. Designs are chosen based on uniqueness and history of the rescue, as well as needs of the rescue. To ensure the designs stay unique, each featured T-shirt is used only one time. Once that rescue’s shirt has been featured, it’s retired from the club forever.
In the beginning, Jim would reach out to rescues and explain the club’s goal and ask for their cooperation and participation. These days, he has rescues contacting him requesting to be featured because the club is such an effective way for groups to raise money. Some past featured rescues include the K9 Services German Shepherd Rescue in Florida, Carolina Hearts Aussie Rescue in North Carolina and Astasia’s Angels in Texas.
Thanks to its supporters, the Dog Rescue Shirt Club has been able to raise and donate close to $5,000 in the past 12 months to rescues across the country. Jim’s love for dogs and his desire to help those in need are the club’s driving force.
“Although I’m not involved in rescue dogs on a professional level, I have raised dogs all my life. Several of those were from rescues,” he says. “I’ve also fostered dogs until they were placed in their forever homes.” Jim believes the Dog Rescue Shirt Club could easily get to the point where the group is raising and donating thousands of dollars each month to featured rescues.
“Our subscribers love what we do and the high-quality T-shirts they receive,” he says. “They enjoy knowing that a portion of their membership goes back directly to the featured rescue.”
Editor’s note: This article appeared in Dogster magazine. Have you seen the new Dogster print magazine in stores? Or in the waiting room of your vet’s office? Subscribe now to get Dogster magazine delivered straight to you!
Award-winning writer and editor Audrey Pavia is a former managing editor of Dog Fancy magazine and editor of the AKC Gazette. She is the author of The Labrador Retriever Handbook (Barrons) and has written extensively on horses as well as other pets. She shares her home with two rescue dogs, Candy and Mookie.
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