Dog "magazine" to benefit shelter--ever seen one?
July 18, 2008 11:33 AM   Subscribe

I'm thinking of doing a small quarterly publication on caring for dogs (basic training, dealing with behavioral issues, fun things to do with your dog, etc.) to benefit my local animal shelter, and I'm wondering whether I'm reinventing the wheel. Have you ever seen such a thing in your area? If so, please tell me everything you know about it. Also, if you saw something like this at the cash register for $1, proceeds to benefit the shelter, would you buy it? All comments/advice welcome.
posted by HotToddy to Pets & Animals (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Forgot to say that my idea is to cover the costs of publication through advertising, then all sale proceeds would go to the shelter.
posted by HotToddy at 11:34 AM on July 18, 2008

In Seattle we have a glossy, professional publication called CityDog. ( It looks like they do them for all big cities. It's a for-profit enterprise though. We also have a publication that's focussed on rescue and adoption and it is interspersed with the kind of articles you describe, it's a free handout.

Whenever we put out a collection jar in our store for Greyhound rescue, the donations pour in. People almost always put their change in it and it's not uncommon for $1 and even $5 bills to find their way into the fund. My recommendation is when you take the publication to the stores or wherever you're distributing them, give them a donation jar as well, maybe built into the magazine holder itself. Make it easy for people to donate and don't make extra work for the staff where you're distributing and you'll likely get cooperation. It's definitely something I would distribute and promote at my stores if you were in this area.
posted by vito90 at 11:45 AM on July 18, 2008

vito90, what is the name of the publication focused on rescue and adoption? I spend a lot of time in Seattle but I've never seen it. (Actually it was Real Change that gave me this idea in the first place.)
posted by HotToddy at 11:50 AM on July 18, 2008

there are gobs and gobs and gobs of vehicles for this information out there. from national/international magazines to the educational info that's produced by the major national animal welfare org's, i'd offer that you probably would be re-inventing the wheel...

....UNLESS you were able to put a completely local "spin" on it. is there a dogpark in your area? interview some of the folks who go there regularly, asking for "tips" on how to "use" *that specific park* well (e.g. avoid the hole in this stretch of fencing; avoid the saturday morning rat terrier group, unless your dog likes to be bothered by dozens of little dogs, etc.). are there weather conditions which are frequent issues locally - which you could then comment on (e.g. - extreme summer heat/humidity, regular flooding of the XX river, etc.)?

without more detail about what you're considering doing, i'd offer that many people can get virtually everything they need regarding dog care for free on the internet. so, i'd spend some time reflecting on *what* about your publication would make people want to spend money on it. if the main thing is that it's a fundraiser for your local shelter, i think it might behoove you to ask yourself if there is another way -- one that is less time-intensive for your efforts -- for you to achieve your laudable goal.

all that said, please let me not be too discouraging. having worked at a shelter for many years, i can't tell you how touching it is to find out that a member of your community is spending their own time and money to produce something that will raise money for your shelter. so, keep it up -- you have a wonderful, compassionate and noble mission here.
posted by CitizenD at 11:52 AM on July 18, 2008

Muttmatchers Messenger.
posted by vito90 at 11:55 AM on July 18, 2008

Thank you, CitizenD. I know there's a ton of information out there already, but my idea (and feel free to tell me if you still think it's a bad one) was to aim this at the sort of casual dog owner who is not likely to buy a book or get on the internet to read about dog stuff--the sort of person who is frustrated with their dog chewing on things and might be enticed by an article on "Simple Solutions for Dogs Who Chew," and learn to buy some bitter apple spray rather than whacking the dog with a newspaper.
posted by HotToddy at 11:58 AM on July 18, 2008

You might be able to make up little $1-donation coupons, put them out near the register at the pet store, and collect just as much money for the shelter without having to create fresh original content about dog-walking every three months.
posted by box at 12:00 PM on July 18, 2008

You might be able to make up little $1-donation coupons, put them out near the register at the pet store, and collect just as much money for the shelter without having to create fresh original content about dog-walking every three months.

Would the $1 coupons be reimbursed through the store's cash register though? You really, really don't want to make extra work for the staff if you can avoid it. A store would have to ring it in, collect and pay sales tax on it, and if the customer was using a credit card the store has to pay a portion of it as a fee as well. A simple collection jar with your offering attached is the way to go.

HotToddy what city are you in?
posted by vito90 at 12:07 PM on July 18, 2008

I'm near Pullman, Washington.

About the coupon idea: My motivation is not only to raise money, but also to find a way to reach well-meaning but uninformed dog owners to teach them about positive methods of dog training.
posted by HotToddy at 12:17 PM on July 18, 2008

My vet mails something like this to me every so often. It looks like the mailing and magazine are paid for by some Big Pharma or other.

While I would (and do) donate to a shelter, the magazine would have to be much more than the standard "Flea and Tick Season is Here, so Please Neuter and Brush you Dog's Teeth" kind of story.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 12:19 PM on July 18, 2008

Pullman, eh? Normally I would NEVER help someone from Cougar country :)...but for dogs I'll make an exception. I think you need to try and include Seattle in your distribution for one's the second largest dog market in the country behind San Fransisco. Lots of dogs that are ultimately placed in Western Washington come from shelters in Eastern Washington...there isn't enough population out there - I personally know of at least two people who make about a once a month drive east to get dogs that have better chances of finding homes here.

If you do this I'd help if I can. I can personally guarantee you three distribution sites and put you in contact with another 10 or 15 people I know that you can pitch your idea to. If I use what we collect for greyhounds and extrapolate conservatively I might be able to collect $100 a month...I'd even be willing to match offers up to a certain amount. If it's okay with the moderators, don't email me, keep the conversation going here so other people can chime in with suggestions.

One thing you might do is a feature story on a specific rescue organization each issue, whether greyhounds or pit bulls, or bassets. That will incentivize the organizations covered to distribute your publication for you. I also know a woman who makes treats and uses dogs looking for homes as her box label. We're also having adoption days at two of our stores - one in August and one in September. If you can get stuff put together that soon and maybe get over here yourself or identify someone who can represent you in Seattle you are welcome to a booth.
posted by vito90 at 12:36 PM on July 18, 2008

I can't say I know much about their finances, or if they're pulling profit/donating all proceeds to charity or what, but we've got two monthlies (at least, I think they're monthlies) here in the DFW metroplex that sound like similar beasts to what you're thinking of.

They're both available all over the city, at nearly every pet store, vet office, groomer, DIY groomer, etc. I'll flip through them occasionally, but I can't say I make a concerted effort to seek out either of them.

One thing you might do if you want to increase your distribution numbers is make agreements with local pet-sitters, mobile groomers, etc. to have them drop them off with invoices or receipts in exchange for discounted ad-rates. At least then, they'll make it into people's apartments/homes.

If you'd like, I can send you a sample issue of each ('cos I like animals too, and anything to help them find good homes is something I support). Feel free to MeFiMail me.
posted by Ufez Jones at 1:20 PM on July 18, 2008

There's a publication in this area called the Pet Gazette, and when I googled that term I found dozens of similar regional publications with the same name.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:23 PM on July 18, 2008

Awesome, vito90! I'm going to sit back here for a while and see what the hive mind has to say, but I will definitely get together with you on this.

MeMailing you, Ufez. Thanks!

I don't suppose anyone has connections in the printing/publishing business in Washington . . . ?
posted by HotToddy at 2:17 PM on July 18, 2008

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