At Damien’s Best Dog Toys we support shelters and animal welfare organizations with the donation of quality dog and cat toys.
For those of you who don’t know much about us, our business was created back in November of 2012 and we make handcrafted dog and cat toys in our home in Northern, VT. Our rope toys are made by using traditional knot tying techniques to produce rugged toys that are ideal for playing fetch, tug, or as a reward in positive reinforcement training. Our fleece cat toys are Sallie’s specialty and she can make over 250 of them in a weekend.
Dog and cat toys ready to ship out.
All our toy styles are named after dogs that have been a part of our life and Damien, who passed away in 2014, was the oldest dog in our pack and became the namesake for our company. Damien was a wonderfully mischievous dog who was adopted from North Country Animal League in Morrisville, VT in 1999. He lived an active and full life, often having to assume the role of patient and tolerant “brother” to the many foster dogs that came through our home.
Since Sallie and I are both active with animal rescue (Sallie has been the executive director of North Country Animal League for many years), we were very aware that many animal shelters depend on donations from the public in order to provide day to day services such as food and vet care, and often enrichment items such as toys for the animals are overlooked. Knowing that enrichment activities and toys are just as important to maintaining the health of animals staying in shelters, we decided that we would make dog and cat toys and donate them as a way to help out.
Our initial plan for Damien’s Best Dog Toys was just to send out monthly toy donations to area shelters. But as our donation numbers grew, we decided to shift into sales to support our donations. Participating in local dog events and our Etsy.com shop are our primary method of supporting our donations. However, in 2014 we expanded into a few retail stores in Vermont and, recently, Hound About Town in New Jersey. Because we are able to sell through these different venues, we have been able to continue to donate toys to local animal welfare organizations. As of January 11, 2015 we have donated 497 dog toy and 7262 cat toys. We like to say that at Damien’s Best Dog Toys we are on a mission to ensure that every dog (and cat) gets some play in their day.
But Where Do all These Toys Go?
We have donated thousands of toys over the past couple of years and I will have admit we have not done the best job of sharing information about where the toys end up. But in 2015 we hope to change that.
It is our goal for 2015 to feature at least one donation receiving shelter a month, and since we have some catching up to do we are actually going to feature two organizations for January. The first organization is CanINE Express and the second is Brown County Humane Society.
CanINE Express is our primary partner in distributing our toys to shelters. Every month CanINE Express transport vehicles make a several thousand mile journey from Indiana to the Northeast. CanINE Express gathers dogs from from 14 shelters in Indiana and coordinates and delivers them to 23 different shelters and rescue groups in located throughout the Northeast. The volunteers of CanINE Express have been making this monthly trek since 2004 and have saved thousands of lives because of their tireless efforts.
The volunteers for CanINE Express stop at North Country Animal League on the first Friday of every month to drop off several adoptable dogs so that they can find their new homes in the Vermont countryside. It is at this brief stop that the volunteers also pick up a package of toys from Damien’s Best Dog Toys for a return trip to Indiana where they will be distributed at their debrief meeting. Each month we donate at least 10 dog toys and 250 cat toys to the Indiana shelters.
Cat and dog toys ready to ship out
Spotlight on Brown County Humane Society.
One of those Indiana shelters that receives a couple of our toys every month is Brown County Humane Society located in Nashville, Indiana.
“Brown County was organized in 1966 when several civic minded individuals realized that the animals in Brown County were in need of a voice. For several years they rescued abandoned and abused pets, fostered them in their own homes and worked to find loving permanent homes for these displaced pets.
In 1977 the BCHS leased a building and opened the doors to Brown County’s first animal shelter. This arrangement worked until 1982 when the lease expired. Again the society was back to placing animals in foster homes and working hard to raise money for a permanent animal shelter. In 1986 a generous BCHS member donated 6 acres of centrally located land with a barn to the BCHS and enough money was in the bank to construct a new animal shelter.
The current Animal Shelter opened on January 5, 1987. In 1988, the BCHS was successful in getting an Animal Control Ordinance passed in Brown County. Shortly thereafter the BCHS reached an agreement with the newly formed animal control board to provide a place for animals retained by the animal control officer.
In 1992 the barn was renovated and fencing erected. The BCHS could now provide shelter for abused and homeless large animals.
Exactly 13 years after first opening the current animal shelter, on January 5, 2000, construction on major additions to the shelter began. This renovation included adding additional dog kennels, isolation rooms, a ‘meet a pet’ room and a larger lobby/office area.”(www.bchumane.org/our-history)
Brown County Humane is just one of the many shelters out there that is doing wonderful work housing and adopting out dogs and cats who are in need of loving homes. Sending some dog and cats toys every month is the least that we can do to support their efforts. You can find out more about the work that BCHS is doing by visiting their webpage.
Brown County Shelter
What’s New For DBDT in 2015?
In 2015 we really want to expand our shelter partners and we want to accomplish this task with the help of our friends.
The plan is simple. At the beginning of every month we are going to put out a request to nominate an animal welfare organization to receive a toy donation. We are looking to mostly support 501 (c) 3 organizations. (But will consider start-ups and new coalitions if we can verify their existence). Nominations will be collected through our comment feed, our Facebook page, or through the Contact Us page. Then 10 days after the request for nominations has been posted, we will randomly select an organization to be that month’s winner. We will notify the nominator of their winning suggestion and then put together a package to send out to the winning shelter. The package will contain 2 dog toys and 25 cat toys—approximately a $30.00 value. The donation package will also contain an introduction letter notifying the recipient of the nominator’s name and a little bit about the toys.
It will be fun, like a raffle, and the winner can be your favorite animal welfare organization!
Willamena inspecting the next donation before it leaves.
Are you interested?
We will start the nominations next week. Just look for the Request for Nominations Post next Thursday.
We hope to see you then!
Damien with his one of his toys.
Damien’s Best Dog Toys donates dog and cat toys to area shelters. To date we have donated 497 dog toys and 7262 cat toys. You can support our work by visiting our Etsy.com store and purchasing your very own handmade, rugged, rope toy that is perfect for playing fetch, tug, and positive reinforcement training!