February 17, 2017

K9to5: Contactually Makes Connections with Animals


The minute you walk into our offices here in downtown DC, it's pretty clear that we're animal-lovers. Most likely you're greeted by one of the resident dogs and nearly everyone is a pet owner or a lover from afar of our office hounds. Dogs have been a part of the Contactually family since Day 1, when our founders Tony and Zvi were bringing their pups Tucker and Astro to the early stage Contactually meetings.

We currently have 6 dogs that are regulars in the office, and average about 3 pups a day. Having dogs in the office is an awesome benefit, not only for stress relief and entertainment, but for employees who don't need to worry about rushing home to let the dog out or finding a dog walker.

It was a pretty easy leap for us to do our community outreach partnered up with the Humane Rescue Alliance of DC and last week we got to go over there and so some of the 'heavy' lifting at the shelter

Contactually and the animals:

I foster through City Dogs Rescue, which is another great DC animal welfare organization that rescues dogs and cats from high-kill shelters in VA, SC, NC, and WVA. They are 100% foster based, and really rely on volunteers to allow them to scoop up animals who are next in line for euthanization and bringing them to DC to be adopted.

Being able to bring a dog to work provided me with a unique opportunity to foster a dog. A lot of dogs who are in search of their forever homes suffer from separation anxiety and really benefit from spending time in social environments (like our office) instead of sitting at home alone all day. I've fostered Sherwin, a 2 year old boxer mix, for the past 6 months, and I've seen him completely blossom and overcome a lot of issues. He is on his way to his forever home soon, and I'm very happy for him!

Contactually [?]'s animals

Clearly, I feel strongly about shelter animals looking for their forever homes and when this program was recommended to be me by the operations manager at TrackMaven (another startup in DC), it felt like a natural fit for the Contactually team. The idea of the program is have community members sponsor an animal or two by fundraising enough money to pay for the length of their stay at the HRA, which is super important considering how long some of the older animals can end up being at the shelter before being adopted.

[caption id="attachment_7831" align="aligncenter" width="1024"] Meet Barkley![/caption]

Our initial goal, set by the Humane Rescue Alliance, was $450, which would sponsor 3 shelter animals. We hit that goal in about 45 minutes (which caused my small heart to grow two sizes). Never ones to settle, we continued to raise (and hit!) our goals. Our final fundraising figure was $2,100, which was enough to sponsor 14 animals! We were able to provide 9 dogs, 4 cats, and a bunny with the funds they need for medical care, food, and creature comforts they need while they wait for their forever homes.

Visiting the Shelter

Last week, we had 17 folks from Contactually go to the shelter to learn more about the efforts of the Humane Rescue Alliance, make toys for the dogs and cats, and then actually get to distribute those toys to the animals waiting for their forever homes there. We made over 70 toys, which seems like a lot, but in the busy months, HRA can take in up to 100 animals a day, so they go through toys quickly! The toys were a blast to make, and of course we got competitive with how many we could make. Simply, we tore donated tee shirts up into strips and braided them together to create tug toys for the pups. They love them!

[caption id="attachment_7830" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Creating our tee-shirt dog toys.[/caption]

Once the toys were made, we headed into the shelter where we got to meet all of the dogs, give them their toys and then we headed to Kitty City where we read to all the cats - it puts them right to sleep! The hardest part was deciding which animals we would get to sponsor, I think we all fell in love with a few...

What's next?

Contactually plans to continue our involvement with the Humane Rescue Alliance through the K9-5 program. Our office is located just a couple miles from the New York Ave shelter, where many of DC's homeless animals pass through intake. Once a month, a handful of Contactually folks will use their lunch hour to head to the shelter to provide socialization and exercise for these pups.

In the short-term, we are sharing the animals that we sponsored who are still looking for their homes! Out of 14, 5 have already gone home. Take a look at who's available here