Unless you aren’t on Facebook or other social media platforms you’ve likely heard of #GivingTuesday, a special call to action to create a national day of giving during the shopping and spending season. Today is that Tuesday.

I thought about creating a big splash of a promotion for #GivingTuesday. Maybe finding a $10,000 matching donor or going on the radio or television to do an appeal. Instead, I want to do what I like to do and that is to tell you a story. I’ll also let you read the other pleas, the pleas from large non-profits with huge marketing budgets and a big staff that makes it look like it’s easy to ask for and receive money and in-kind donations from donors of all ages, those with very deep pockets, and others squeezing out $10.00 they could put to better use by buying a shovel for the next storm. I’m not from Wisconsin, can you buy a decent shovel for $10.00?

Before I moved to Wisconsin, before I was a grandmother, before I even had this current husband, I had a friend. My friend loved her dog with a love unlike any I had ever seen. I didn’t get it. Dogs were dirty, they licked and jumped and barked. They cost money. So much money. They made messes. I just didn’t get it.

And then I saw my friend with her dog. He was of medium size and so well trained I actually liked him. And what I really liked was my friend when she was around her dog.

Her special canine friend got her through divorce and several moves from Hawaii to the mainland and back. No matter how many losses or disappointments she experienced her boy was there. He was there when she fell in love and when she lived life with an enviable enthusiasm and passion.

This dog, the dog who got me thinking even a little about joining the ranks of dog owners, died last year and I thought my friend might do the same. That unbreakable bond they shared was stronger than most marriages and friendships I’ve witnessed, certainly many in my life.

When I finally listened to my brain injury doctor and agreed to get a dog I thought of my friend. I doubted I could ever have what she had, that must certainly be a once-in-a-lifetime dog. But those two were my role models and I decided to go for it.

In we walked that October Saturday. It wasn’t a pretty place, they could use bright paint and murals and comfortable seating in the visiting rooms. My marketing mind kept seeing what could be, not what was. For all the lack of fancy other places might boast there were positives. A staff who truly cared and some really wonderful dogs including my little Shepherd/Mix.

Before getting involved with NEW PAWSibilities I never knew about rescue dogs and all it takes to get them from the shelter to a home. After we chose our dog it came time to settle up. $300 seemed like a huge amount! Weren’t they a non-profit? Then why weren’t these dogs free?

Now I know that because they want to make sure every dog adopted is healthy and ready to live a wonderful new life, all dogs are appropriately vaccinated, dewormed, heartworm tested, and given flea and tick preventatives. The adoption fee also helps cover any additional medical treatments that may be needed such as respiratory infections, skin conditions, orthopedic consultations, and surgery. The fee also includes spay/neuter of all dogs over six months or a certificate for the surgery at their vet once a dog is six months old. All dogs are microchipped for identification if they are ever lost. All of those combined costs are so much more than $300.00 and that doesn’t even include operating and staff costs. Now I ask, how in the world do they survive with such small adoption fees?

I couldn’t afford the $300.00 that day. I was one of the lucky ones with a credit card. I can’t really afford to have a dog now. They are not an inexpensive friend. But I can’t afford to not have a dog so I shift my budget to make room for this dog who rescued me. As we continue our journey I’m learning that my friend’s dog was certainly special. But he was absolutely not a once-in-a-lifetime dog. Nor is my Coconut. Every dog can be that dog. Dogs have an incomprehensible capacity to love, to be there for their people, to travel around the country and back, to celebrate, to grieve, to just be.

Helping you find your once-in-a-lifetime dog costs money. So much money. The adoption fee doesn’t cover the actual costs spent on the vast majority of these last-chance dogs that come to us from Kentucky. It’s only through donations and other fundraising efforts that we will be able to continue doing what we do.

So, this is where I do my plea. It’s not fancy, there are no deep pocket matching grants, I’m still in my thankfully warm robe with my dog nestled beside me so I am not going on radio or television.

Dogs can be dirty, they may or may not lick and jump and bark. That depends on the breed and the training they do or don’t receive. Yes, they cost money. So much money. They make messes. Even the great ones. Now I get it and hope you get it too.

Today is only one day. We need your help every day in so many ways. But today on #GivingTuesday we are asking you to consider giving so that we can keep bringing in last-chance dogs from the poorest county of Kentucky and giving them the chance to be a once-in-a-lifetime dog. There are many ways to help, but today we are focusing on monetary donations. Thank you for anything you can do. We appreciate you whether you are able to give or not. Please visit https://www.newpawsibilities.com/donate/ to make a donation of any size.