We're always looking for new ways to share our passion for shelter pets and shelters with the world. In 2012, as part of our partnership with GOOD, we gave GOOD readers a chance to help us spread that message in the form of a Maker Challenge - an opportunity for the GOOD community to offer their ideas for making a difference. We asked GOOD readers to nominate a pet welfare organization to win our $10,000 grant by telling us how that organization goes out of its way to make the world a better place.
The response was amazing. We got hundreds of submissions from readers, many of which included inspiring and incredible stories about organizations dedicated to improving the lives of pets and people. We narrowed it down to 40 submissions, and then let GOOD readers decide the winner.
We got more than 7,000 votes and, even better, we were able to raise awareness of pet welfare as people read the stories of pet welfare organizations all over the country. In the end, readers chose Dogs for the Deaf to win our $10,000 grant.
Dogs for the Deaf (DFD) is a non-profit group that rescues shelter dogs and trains them to help people with special needs. Both hearing dogs and assistance dogs for kids on the autism spectrum are part of DFD's training program, and every personal service dog is matched carefully with its new owner to create a lifelong partnership. Not every dog DFD rescues is a good fit for specialized training, but no dog is ever returned to a shelter - they're all placed in loving homes. DFD has rescued more than 3,000 dogs in their 35 years of operation.
We can't wait to see the difference DFD makes with their $10,000 grant, but we know they're planning to use it train more dogs that can help improve lives. We were glad to help everyone who voted discover and celebrate both DFD and all the other shelters that were part of the challenge.
Working with GOOD readers helped us realize how passionate people can be about pet welfare. Together, we'll continue to show the world how great shelter pets can be.