The most difficult part of starting this company was figuring out what causes we wanted to donate to.
Animals in particular always pulled on my heart strings. They're such innocent creatures and only have us humans to stand up for them. After some research I learned that the money donated to helping animals is just a small drop in a very large pool of total charitable donations. Yes all causes are worthy of donations, but I really wanted to help somewhere it would make a big impact; and I believe the causes in the most need are helping animals.
The next step was to figure out which organizations and which animals to work with. Did we want to help domestic animals or larger endangered species? Once again, we went to google and did hours and hours of research to find where we can make the most impact.
What we found is that really both groups of animals need a lot of help. Domestic animals are being tortured, abused, and neglected; while exotic animals are being hunted to extinction; and neither of them are getting the funding and support they need to make significant changes. So, we decided to start helping both types of animals with the hopes of continuously growing and moving on to more and more animals.
When doing our research into domestic animal abuse and injuries we found that most of the large scale animal help organizations, like the ASPCA, only use a small portion to actually help the animals. Instead they use it to fund their lavish salaries and other unnecessary expenses. For example, the CEO of the ASPCA makes $500,000 a year! Imagine how many animals that could have helped. I refuse to donate money to help someones salary reach half a million... in fact, it sickens me just thinking about it.. What I found is that the small local shelters are the ones really struggling. Most of them don't take any salaries or just take enough to barely live off of; a salary that most of us would consider a level of poverty. The average amount spent on each animal in these shelters is $300-$500. Ones that come in with injuries can reach up to $1000 and most of these organizations only ask for $100 for the dog and incur the rest as an expense. They rely solely on our donations to keep their doors open and provide the proper care needed. So I thought I too would start with donating to local shelters.
In order to find the ones who are the most in need I pulled up the finances of every non-profit rescue group in Houston, TX and picked the ones who need the money the most while also spending the majority of their profits on the animals. I found some amazing shelters and truly incredible people who have dedicated their entire lives to helping these animals.
Case by case basis:
We made a list of all the shelters that need our help and watch them regularly. We look for emergency animal situations that need immediate donations and give to them. Thus ensuring we are helping to save the life of an animal in a desperate situation and not funding anything else like salaries etc.
Money that actually makes a difference:
We usually cut donation checks to cover a large amount of the need, ranging from $100 to $500 each time. Sure we could give a bunch of shelters $10, or even $50 donations and say "Oh look we helped 300 animals", but we prefer to truly make a difference in the lives of a few animals then to not help any for the sake of larger numbers. By giving less donations but in larger amounts we're able to help actually pay off the vet bills and save the animals lives instead of just getting large numbers for publicity stunts. Sadly too many companies do the latter... We've seen a lot of companies who helped "1000 kids in Africa", but with their $5 donations they don't actually make a difference.
We're stressing this so much because we believe companies need to be more transparent with the way they distribute their donations.
LARGE ENDANGERED ANIMALS
Next we decided to start looking for large international animal groups and organizations that could really use our help. It turns out that the organizations found us.
PACH -People against canned hunting found us on Instagram when we were currently only helping domestic animals. They explained their cause and why they needed our help. Canned hunting was already a cause we were too familiar and sickened by; but what we didn't know is that barely any money donated to large conservation efforts ever goes to lions. Since they are not in the endangered zone yet people aren't noticing that their numbers are dropping at a drastic alarming rate and that they're only being bred to be hunted. A short, terrifying life. From the moment their born they're put into petting facilities where travelers from all over the world pay money to hold and pet them. What most visitors don't know is that the animals are severely drugged and undergo extreme stress and mental disease for your joy. This is simply put, torture for the cubs. Once they're too old to be pet they get moved to a hunting facility where the worlds elite pay a pretty price to hunt them down and use their heads as trophies for their mantles... Their life is this simple: Birth, chains, drugs, torture, death, piece of furniture.
PACH works with bloodlions.org and lionaid.org to do everything possible to end this cruel way of life for these animals.
We decided to dedicate a whole line to helping this cause. So with each ruby item purchased we donate 5% to blood lions and 5% to lion aid.
Please watch this 2 minute video or go to their websites to learn more.
We hope none of this was too upsetting. We never want to focus on the bad and always want to focus on the good we're doing. Sadly, sometimes we have to share the bad so you can appreciate the good.
Thank you all for your support and stay tuned for some happy rescue stores for our lions and our dogs!!
Paige - founder