How you can paw it forward during these troubling times.
The past few weeks (for some countries, months) have been difficult for all of us. As I’m sure many of you know, small businesses and nonprofits are struggling to make ends meet, and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic will be felt for months, if not years, to come. We at Custom Canines Service Dog Academy are using this opportunity to reflect, show gratitude, and think outside the box. CCSDA is fortunate to have countless brilliant volunteers brainstorming effective and creative ways to keep moving forward, and we find solace in knowing all of you big-hearted, dog-loving people have our back. We will get through this together!
Hi everyone, Payton here! I am a puppy raiser, senior trainer, and the social media and marketing coordinator for Custom Canines. We’re so excited and grateful you’re reading our first blog! Woot woot! Through this new platform we hope to educate, have conversations with, and offer helpful tips and tricks to our many supporters in the form of blog posts written by a variety of people passionate about different subjects. Today, I wanted to take some time to show you 6 ways you can support our nonprofit during this pandemic, with AND without spending money.
1. Follow Us on Social Media
Following Custom Canines on Facebook and Instagram is one of the easiest ways you can support our mission, and it doesn’t cost a dime! Social media is the most effective, fastest way for us to share information, updates, and fun content with our supporters. So, if you’re looking for cute dog photos, dog treat recipes, occasional giveaways, or just a good smile please like/follow us on Facebook and Instagram!
2. Engage with Us on Social Media
Social media is an incredible tool for CCSDA, but our goal is to engage with you! This only happens when you also engage with us. Every single interaction with our posts helps more than you know, and allows us the opportunity to continue educating people about service dogs. Unfortunately, the social media algorithms rarely show you posts from accounts you don’t interact with, so PLEASE, give our posts a like, write a comment, or share our posts on your page so we can continue to reach people with our important message!
3. Host a Virtual Fundraiser to Boost Morale with Friends/Family/Coworkers
Isolation, although extremely important right now, can have a negative effect on many people and create a feeling of hopelessness. However, we have been SO inspired by those truly showing up for their friends and family virtually! Whether it’s sending a message to check-in, playing games together virtually, video chatting, or participating in a social media challenge, physically distancing ourselves does not limit our connection to one another. One of the best ways you can boost morale and create a feeling of hope for your staff, coworkers, family and friends is by hosting a virtual fundraiser for our nonprofit. Wouldn’t it be awesome to know you helped a canine hero on their journey and in turn enhanced the life of a disabled individual? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info on how to bring those you love together, virtually!
4. Send our Trainees a Letter
Looking for something to keep your kiddos (or yourself) busy? Why not write one of our pups a letter? Pictures and names of most of our current program dogs can be found on our Facebook page, or you can send us a DM/email for a list of dogs to write to. Your letters can be mailed directly to our facility, and we promise to have our canine heroes respond to your kiddo! Nothing more fun than having a furry friend as your pen pal!
5. Explore our Amazon Wishlist
Our Amazon wishlist is constantly being updated with our current most-needed items, and is a great way to send our volunteers and pups some love. We have something for every price range, and each item makes a huge difference in pushing our mission forward. From dog kibble to hand soap, we have something for everyone!
6. Make a Monetary Donation
Alright guys – real talk. Everyone is struggling right now. Be it mentally, financially, or otherwise, we’re all fighting a difficult battle due to COVID-19. Unfortunately, for nonprofits like Custom Canines, our current battle is a financial one – and we need your help to continue providing newfound independence for those in need through highly-skilled service dogs. This pandemic has left many people scrambling, and donations for CCSDA are trickling in. Please know that every penny you contribute to Custom Canines makes a world of difference, and allows us to continue lifting up those who need it most.
Please know that no matter what, Custom Canines will always be here for our volunteers, our clients, our dogs, and our many supporters. We are a strong group of individuals with huge hearts, big dreams, and loads of work to do. Nothing will stop us from enhancing lives!
This post was written by Payton, who has raised three dogs for Custom Canines. Her passion for dogs, giving back, and photography has only grown during her time puppy raising, training, and managing the social media accounts for CCSDA. Payton has been quoted saying, "service dogs have stolen my heart, humbled me, lit a fire under me to keep learning more, and taught me how to live". She is pictured above with her first two trainees, Laser and Irish.
Pictured above, in order:
Parker: a recent Custom Canines graduate and a product of our in-house breeding program, Parker is now working as a PTSD service dog down in Louisiana.
Padre, Shadow & Frankie: these three siblings are all being raised by long-time CCSDA puppy raisers. Padre and Shadow have both been matched with veterans, and have started placement training!
Whisper: the newest addition to our small breeding program, this golden girl is going to create beautiful puppies that will join our program and go on to help disabled individuals.