Feb 2, 2018 General

Collaborating with Progape, the local animal shelter

Verdant Experiences is just a startup, a small business that opened barely 6 months ago. But, as founders of this business, we knew from day one that we didn’t want to be “yet another business” that only focuses on making profits. We want to be part of our community, and make our own contribution to this community.

So, with this philosophy in mind, we have started our Corporate Social Responsibility program during last January, having several activities in the pipeline for the upcoming months. In this post we are telling you about the first one: collaborating with our local animal shelter, managed by Progape, located in Ourense (Spain), our hometown.

Progape is a nonprofit organization that is in charge of the city animal shelter, and it has a new board of directors (formed by 7 women) that was constituted barely three months ago.

The animal shelter had a series of deficiencies that the new board of directors is addressing, one step at a time, with the help of several volunteers from our community. These volunteers offer their free time and donate their money to help the hundreds of animals that live in this shelter (mostly dogs).

They also get great help from local nonprofit organizations like Peludos Ourense and Asociación Canina La Can. These groups organize events in the area in order to raise awareness and raise money for the animal shelters in the region, Progape among them.

At the beginning of January, we contacted Progape. We visited their animal shelter, talked to them to understand their needs, and spent some time thinking about how could we help. Being a recently created business, unfortunately our current profits don’t give us enough room for a financial contribution, but there is another way of collaborating: with our time and our professional skills.

Therefore, we’ve started a collaboration that consists on:

  1. Free IT consultancy: we help them from a technical point of view, assisting them with the IT needs that they might have.
  2. Free photography service, with our semi-professional photography equipment: 
    1. We go to the shelter to take portraits of the animals, so they can use those pictures on their social networks when they offer them on adoption.
    2. We also go to take pictures at least once a week to their wonderful activity called “Paseos Solidarios” (Solidary dog walks), so they can publish them and raise awareness of the animal shelter in the community.

The Paseos Solidarios are an activity organized by Progape, Peludos Ourense and Asociación Canina La Can. These walks consist on a group of volunteers that go to the animal shelter on certain dates (usually Tuesdays and Thursdays in the afternoon, and Saturdays and Sundays in the morning), where each volunteer gets assigned a dog from the shelter.

During approximately an hour and a half, the volunteers walk with the dogs through a pedestrian trail, so the dogs can relax and have a good time outside the walls of the shelter. There are many dogs that haven’t been outside the shelter for years (yes, years), so these walks are their only chance for being outdoors, playing in the grass, digging in the dirt… That is, these walks are their only chance of experiencing a normal life, even if it’s only for a bit more than an hour every few weeks.

The way their faces change is priceless: it’s shocking to see how their facial expression changes from deep sadness inside the shelter to total happiness outdoors! It’s a extremely rewarding experience, not only for the dogs but also for the volunteers.

Also, these solidary dog walks are being very useful for Progape, because they are raising awareness of the shelter and the hundreds of animals that live inside, and therefore more people are visiting them looking for an animal to adopt or to foster. The board of directors has told us that since the Paseos Solidarios started, both the amount of volunteers and adoptions have increased. Good job!

If you would like to help Progape, you can call them on +34988212939 or email them directly. If you don't speak English, it's better that you email them as not all their collaborators speak English.