When I first started DINE back in 2004, I wanted to start a program that would help as many dogs as possible, and support the efforts of all rescues & shelters in my area. I initially began by asking rescues and shelters what the needs were for the dogs. Menands Shelter had a little dog named Thaila who was born with a deformity in her front legs. She did not have weight bearing bones that would enable her to walk but she did the best she could on her elbows. A local vet agreed to perform surgery that had never been performed before, at a reduced cost of $500. I literally begged for money on the street and raised over $100. I had my first fundraiser (a bake sale) and raised an additional $125. Sadly this little girl did not make it, and many people were heartbroken. But there were so many people who tried to give her a well deserved chance...
This was so sad, depressing and distressful that I ultimately decided I needed to be more global in my activities or I would become too overwhelmed with emotion.
DINE's mission became threefold: to purchase and donate essential items to dogs in the care of shelters and rescues; to develop, maintain and distribute a comprehensive list of rescues, shelters and animal welfare organizations in the capital region of upstate New York (which is current!); and to provide education to students about homeless dogs, especially in local shelters and rescues. Through these activities, I hoped to help increase adoption, make dogs' lives more comfortable while they waited for their forever homes and provide community awareness.
DINE held many fundraisers and purchased/donated many Kuranda dog beds and Kong toys as well as veterinary care, special food, treats, blankets, and other items, some of which are still being used today. Although we worked on many projects, locally, we became known as "the bed program."
My husband assembled every dog bed, helped with deliveries, and even took vacation time to go to schools to show kids how to assemble the beds. I worked with elementary schools, Girl Scout troops and others on a variety of projects to help rescue/shelter dogs. Pat Wrisley and Bensons Pet Center helped with our bake sales and Benson's helped us tremendously with our "Kong program." Some of what we did can be found under DINE accomplishments and DINE photos 2008-present although there never seems to be enough time to update the website entirely.
Many thanks go out to all of the kind-hearted individuals and business that helped DINE along the way. Eventually, the amount of work involved was taking a bit of a toll on my health and I was no longer able to keep all three missions going, especially the fundraisers. I dissolved the 501c3 status and stopped taking donations. Sometimes I wish I hadn't done that because there have been so many situations where we could have helped a dog if we had the donations. Either way, everything I do through DINE is 100% volunteer so it is still not for profit.