Dog Tag Art™ travels across the country performing random acts of kindness at animal shelters, donating $10,000, and sponsoring hard-to-adopt animals.
Summer is a time when most entrepreneurs try to squeeze in a vacation and leave work back at the office, but this wasn’t the case for Jack Carrier, the owner of Dog Tag Art out of Asheville, North Carolina. For his summer vacation, he wanted to take a trip, but with a twist.
Carrier decided to take a road trip and stop at animal shelters across the country to perform random acts of kindness. At each shelter, Carrier would sponsor a hard to adopt animal, donate a batch of custom tags, and promote the shelter via Dog Tag Art’s 70,000+ Facebook fans.
By the time Carrier returns to Asheville, he will have driven over 10,000 miles, donated $10,000 in total to the shelters he's visited, and sponsored 20 animals across the country.
A Mission of Giving
Dog Tag Art has donated more than 6,000 custom tags to shelters as part of the company’s Tag Donation Program and mission to “keep best friends together,” but Carrier saw the opportunity to do more.
According to the ASPCA website, 26% of dogs who come to the shelter as strays are returned to their owner. As Carrier points out, if those animals all had proper ID tags, they could be returned to their families much faster, without ever entering the shelter system.
“For the tour, we decided to focus on homeless animals. We want to help the shelters we visit in a way that feels connected, and fun, too, because that’s what Dog Tag Art is all about,” said Carrier.
The trip was dubbed the "To the Rescue Super Hero Tour." Carrier held a kickoff event at Asheville's biggest no-kill shelter, Brother Wolf Animal Rescue, before heading out west with event coordinator, Sarah Gibson, in a custom-wrapped Sprinter van affectionately dubbed the “Taggin’ Wagon,” complete with an engravable tag machine on board.
Sponsoring Animals to Help Save Lives
At Animal Friends in Pittsburgh, PA, a 70 year old non-profit animal resource center, Carrier sponsored a smart, energetic black dog named Radar. Black Dog Syndrome, or BDS as it's known in the shelter world, is a condition where animals with black coats get adopted at much slower rates, and face a higher chance of being euthanized.
Special needs dogs can face similar challenges for adoption. At the Boulder Valley Humane Society, Oso was sponsored by the Dog Tag Art team. Oso had been found on an Indian reservation with a badly deformed and infected leg, which the BVHS veterinary team surgically removed.
At Second Chance in Montrose, Colorado, Carrier sponsored 10-year old Pippi, another special needs dog with three legs, hearing loss and visual impairment. Pippi came to Second Chance when her owner entered a nursing home. After Dog Tag Art paid for Pippi's adoption fee, Karen Rae Shaw, Pippi's foster mom, decided to make it official and adopt Pippi.
“We plan to make the last years of Pippi's life the best ones, and are thankful to Dog Tag Art for taking care of her adoption fee. That freed up money in our budget to get her a backpack so she can tag along on hikes,” said Shaw.
Volunteering at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary
At Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah, Carrier volunteered for three days and blogged about his hands-on experience feeding exotic birds, assisting with dog training, and, of course, scooping poop.
“All in a day’s work,” Carrier said with a laugh.
“Best Friends was a great experience and the work they do there is amazing,” said Carrier.
As the nation’s largest no-kill animal sanctuary, the 175 person team at Best Friend Animal Sanctuary cares for over 1,800 pets on 3,800 acres in the heart of canyon land.
For the last year, Dog Tag Art has been matching customer donations to Best Friends Animal Society at checkout, and has raised close to $2,000 for the organization thus far.
Best Friends Animal Sanctuary co-founder Faith Maloney agreed with Carrier about the importance of proper pet tag identification. Although Best Friends microchips all their cats and dogs, an ID tag is the first line of defense and avoids pets coming to the shelter in the first place.
Dog Tag Art Tags are for Cats Too
“Dog Tag Art tags are for cats, too,” said Carrier. “All pets run the risk of getting lost, including indoor and outdoor cats."
Oreo, a black and white kitty was also sponsored at the Central Oregon Humane Society.
Waiting for Home
While Zazu is still young, senior dogs are often overlooked for adoption, which is why Carrier sponsored Jenkins, a spunky 10-year-old Pointer with “a lot of hike left in him” at the Central Oregon Humane Society in Bend.
“Senior dogs are awesome to adopt because they’ll love you forever and they’re usually a lot more low key than younger dogs,” said Carrier.
Like senior dogs, pit bulls face unique challenges for getting adopted. Stereotypes and breed discrimination put pit bulls at high-risk in shelters, and studies estimate that up to one million pit bulls are euthanized per year.
"Pit bulls get a bad rap, but dogs like Dixie are some of the smartest, sweetest family pets you can find," said Carrier.
Captain Kittles, a brown tabby, was also sponsored. He has a sensitive belly and a special diet, and is looking for a caring home.
"The rescue animals we've sponsored will steal your heart," said Carrier. "We wish that we could take them all home with us, but if we can help them find their loving families by taking care of their adoption fees and helping to share their stories, then we consider our trip a success."
For more information on how to adopt the animals sponsored by Dog Tag Art, please contact the respective shelters.
About Dog Tag Art
Dog Tag Art makes high-quality personalized pet ID tags featuring a sturdy recycled steel core and permanent graphics. Customers can go to dogtagart.com to design their own one-of-a-kind tags using custom text, personal photos or imagery, or select from hundreds of artist-submitted tag designs. Dog Tag Art has been featured on Regis and Kelly, as well as in publication including The New York Post, and Dog Fancy.