OSSIPEE - Helping homeless animals get the care and nourishment they deserve is now only a point and click away.
Monday marked the start of New Hampshire PetSave's Homeless Pet Awareness Week. The organization and its 12 member pet shelters across the state are promoting online donations through nhpetsave.org. Once on the home page, supporters can choose an animal shelter of their choice and link to a page to set a donation amount.
Last Wednesday, Gov. Maggie Hassan, the owner of a dog adopted from the New Hampshire SPCA in Stratham, helped New Hampshire PetSave representatives - and their pets - kick off the event with an official proclamation. While the two-day online event is focused on March 21-22, donors are welcome to use the website, which is up and running, any time. The link to choose a donation lists a variety of levels: $15 to cover vaccinations and up to $100 for neutering/spaying of a cat or dog. Donors also have the option of listing any amount.
Locally, the directors and staff at the Ossipee-based Lakes Region Humane Society, nicknamed "the little shelter with the big heart," have embraced social media and the Internet to expand the organization's reach. LRHS board President Mardy Fulgham Monday said the shelter has nearly recouped the $500 it committed to join New Hampshire PetSave through online donations. In a pleasant surprise Monday, Fulgham said a woman arrived at the shelter to donate $200, saying she had received the LRHS email regarding this week's donation drive, but since she doesn't use the Internet that much, she chose to drop off the check personally. Fulgham was pleased the email alert through Constant Contact sent to 854 supporters was attracting attention. The shelter has expanded its presence on social media sites including Facebook.
Joining New Hampshire PetSave has been great for networking as well, she said. Through another PetSave member, Fulgham learned that WalMart, at its Raymond distribution center, donates its out-of-date dog biscuits to animal shelters. She's looking to drive out with her pickup truck and obtain some doggie treats for the shelter. In the future, she said, networking can be used to match available dogs with potential owners who are looking for a particular breed or size.
At the launch in Concord last week, New Hampshire PetSave Founder Anita Burroughs said this was the first collaborative effort by the state's largest animal shelters of its kind. She said that with more than 7,000 registered nonprofit groups in the state, it is becoming more important for nonprofits to work together to put their cause in the spotlight and to become proficient at online fundraising and reaching new supporters through the power of social media.
Supporters can learn more about New Hampshire PetSave on their website, NHPetSave.org, on Facebook, Twitter, and on Pinterest and YouTube.