Yes, we’ve got a thing for dogs, but the Sidewalk Dog pack also digs meeting the humans that make up our dog-lovin’ community. Learning about how you paired up with your better (canine) half, discovering what you love to do with and for your dogs, and hearing tales of how you help out four-legged friends in need — these are the conversations that make us wag.
At the Banfield pet adoption event earlier this fall, we met 9-year-old Drew Beckstrand from Corcoran, and we had to share his story.
Almost a year ago, Drew founded Leashes of Love, an organization that collects brand new leashes to send home with rescue dogs once they are adopted.
Like many fourth graders, Drew has a lot of interests: he plays baseball and the guitar, skis in the winter, and loves dogs. His first pup, Manny, was his “best pal,” and after he passed away, Drew said, “I waited a really long time for Lola!,” the little Yorkie his family first fostered, and then adopted (without asking Dad!).
When Drew was 8, his school held their annual Small Business Day event. Kids interested in participating create a business plan, apply for a license, and upon acceptance, sell their product or service to other kids and teachers.
Drew and his family had been following the story of a sweet senior dog named Dixie from Mutts & More Animal Rescue. He decided that his small biz idea would be to sell snowcones, and Drew raised $65 for for medication for Dixie that day. And that was all it took to inspire him to find a way to continue to help dogs waiting at rescues and shelters.
Drew realized that there’s something all dogs need, and it was something he could help get for them: a leash! And not just any leash, but a brand new one that could go with them to their new forever homes.
Drew reached out to the community and started raising money. He’s sold t-shirts and bracelets and collected donations at pet adoptions and other community events. He’s got a GoFundMe campaign. He’s even gathered friends to march in parades to advertise his organization. When we asked him how a kid his age can do all this, Drew confessed, “Well, my mom drives me everywhere!” Great staff choice, buddy!
And this hands-on kid doesn’t just mail a check — Drew buys the leashes and delivers them to the rescues himself. Between Mutts & More and Secondhand Hounds, he has donated over 50 leashes, and hopes to add more rescues to his list. When asked about his goal, the young entrepreneur said, “I’m trying to get to 200. And then I’ll do 100 more!”
He intends to keep working on Leashes of Love, but his volunteerism doesn’t end there. He’s on the kid advisory board of Simon Says Give, which raises money for kids’ birthday celebrations when their families don’t have enough. Drew also packs meals for Feed My Starving Children, he’s been a Salvation Army bell ringer, and earlier this month, he was invited to participate in Minnesota’s National We Day events.
Seems like a lot, but he keeps it simple. When asked how he would encourage other kids to get started in volunteering, Drew advised, “Just find something you really care about. Then ask an adult for help!”
Know a kid who’s doing something for dogs that’s worth yappin’ about? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org!