A few weeks ago, Serena Faber Nelson, the Sydney-based TV producer who pens the dog blog Pretty Fluffy, had an idea that struck a chord.
“Is it just me, or as someone who cares about animals, do you get a little overwhelmed with all of the groups, causes and individuals out there that need your help?” she wrote. “I sometimes get so overwhelmed I start to feel like things are completely hopeless.”
“There are times when I think, if I was more influential … wealthier … better connected … I could make more of a difference. That little voice inside my head tells me no matter how hard I try I’m just one person. And one person can’t make a difference.”
Her words really resonated with me, and reminded me of the countless times I’ve seen those heart-wrenching “to be destroyed tomorrow” shelter dog photos that litter facebook. These days I hide them from my feed because they make me feel so damned helpless. (And I know I’m not the only one.) I also feel tiny and weak when I reflect upon the situation of dogs and cats in the Philippines, my home nation. I send my favorite Philippine rescue group a wee donation monthly, but it still feels like a drop in the bucket.
Serena’s Pretty Fluffy post goes on to invite everyone to ignore that voice that tells us our contributions are insignificant. And invites us to join her in what she calls The 13 Project.
The 13 Project encourages regular folks to commit to 13 acts of kindness towards dogs (or animals in general, if you prefer) before 2013. It can involve dogs you know, dogs you don’t know, organizations that celebrate dogs or make things better for dogs — that part is up for interpretation.
You don’t have to commit to doing something that may not work for your current situation (like pledging to adopt or foster). The whole point is to use the talents and resources available to you to make a difference.
The staff here at Dogster HQ liked the idea so much that we’ve banded together to complete our list of 13. Here’s what we’re pledging to do before the year ends, and we’d love if you told us how you want to do your part in the comments area. (You don’t need to pledge 13 things unless you want to.)
On Team Dogster’s To-Do List:
1. I pledge to back as many small dog-centric business as I can through sites like Kickstarter — So far, I’ve contributed to the Konalu City Lead campaign and the drive to get Four & Sons Dog Magazine into print.
2. I will also up my donation to CARA, the Philippine rescue group I currently support by sponsoring a tripod kitty. Surely there’s a dog on their list I can start supporting, too.
3. Lori, our Community Manager, pledges to increase her annual gifts to her two favorite dog charities, Muttville Senior Dog Rescue and House of Puddles.
4. She also plans to decorate her Christmas Tree with ornaments purchased from charities or other fundraisers that help dogs. (She’s already started collecting these!)
5. Liz, our Assistant Editor, pledges to profile and feature an adoptable pet each day for a week on Dogster in her cuteness column.
6. She will also pen a piece on how walking dogs helped her transition from Los Angeles to San Francisco.
7. Keith, our Associate Editor, will interview and photograph people and pets for our Dogster Heroes series.
8. He also pledges to spend more time around the dogs of friends and fellow Dogster staffers to get more comforable around them (he’s a cat guy who feared dogs as a child).
9. John, our Customer Support Representative, also plans to make a donation to Muttville.
10. He will also make a conscious effort to Like, Tweet and share as many stories and pictures as possible to bring awareness to the good work being done by small dog rescues.
11. Vicky, our Managing Editor, will offer to take her neighbor’s scrappy little terrier out for regular walks.
12. She also pledges to interview Pali at Rocket Dog Rescue (which is just down the street from her) to help spread awareness of her shelter group’s work.
13. Ted, Dogster’s founder and VP of Social at our parent company, SAY Media, plans to write a post on the top 10 reasons to consider adoption when getting your next dog. (His own dog, Moxie, is a rescue.)
What will you do for dogs before 2013? Let us know in the comments below.
We’d love if you joined us in supporting and sharing The 13 Project.