Partnerships, Volunteers Vital to Saving Lives

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Guest Post by Gayle M. Irwin

When Black Dog Animal Rescue began nearly ten years ago, creating awareness and establishing partnerships were key ingredients for the organization’s success. Both took time, and though BDAR is now established and known in Cheyenne, the organization is still making in-roads into other communities.

Staff and volunteers spent several hours in Casper earlier this month during the grand opening of the community’s PetSmart. Building rapport with residents and partnering with PetSmart for dog adoptions helped BDAR’s outreach to a community the group has helped since the beginning. When BDAR started, with a mission to re-home dogs from Wyoming kill-shelters, most animals came from Casper’s Metro Animal Control. BDAR partnered with another group who transported the Metro dogs to Cheyenne, helping save the lives of hundreds of Casper canines. And, though there are a few volunteers and foster homes in Casper for BDAR dogs awaiting adoption, more are needed.

Partnerships are still vital to BDAR nearly a decade after its inception. Whether through businesses like PetSmart in Casper or the numerous Cheyenne supporters for Bark and Wine, or through volunteers at events and those providing foster homes, the organization relies on community support. BDAR wants to reach out to more communities, including Casper, not only bringing awareness about the organization, but also to involve more people in Wyoming communities with the organization. BDAR needs more volunteers, and is hoping Casper residents will come to the rescue, so to speak. The more volunteer foster homes BDAR has, the more dogs the organization can help.

I believe in BDAR’s work and have been a monthly donor as well as a Bark and Wine supporter for several years. Whether I donate proceeds from my book sales or directly donate books for the annual fundraiser, I find great joy in knowing the little bit that I do, pooled with what other supporters and volunteers do, makes a difference in the lives of dogs and cats that come to BDAR. My small part in partnering with BDAR is a piece of the whole pie, but it’s a piece that matters. So does yours.

If you live in Casper and you love animals and want to make a difference, please consider volunteering for BDAR. Foster homes are greatly needed, but there are also other ways to help. If you can foster, that’s wonderful; if you can’t, like me, consider these ideas: monthly donations, fundraisers and adoption events, contributing products for the annual autumn Bark and Wine… Contact BDAR to find out how you can be a part of saving dogs from Wyoming and the surrounding area.

No one person can do everything, but together with BDAR, we can all make a big difference in saving adoptable dogs and cats.

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Gayle M. Irwin is an author, writer, speaker, and animal advocate who lives in Casper. She is the author of inspirational pet books for children and adults as well as a contributor to seven Chicken Soup for the Soul books, including the recently published “The Dog Really Did That?” She writes a weekly pet blog on her website and authors a monthly pet newsletter, which you can sign up for on her website. She is the pet parent of two dogs and two cats, all of whom are rescued animals. She is a BDAR supporter and also supports other animal rescue organizations, contributing a portion of her book sale proceeds to these groups. Learn more about Gayle and her work at