Wednesday Zen Moment: Dog ambassadors giving donors extra reasons to open wallet

There’s a long wait list for anyone needing a service dog in Alberta but a new innovative way of raising money using four-legged fundraisers may bring in some much-needed funds.

Dogs With Wings is sending out dogs wearing special coats fitted with contact less payment devices.

The fundraising ambassadors will go to events throughout the city of Edmonton all summer. Anyone want to help are asked to contact the organization via

The goal is to raise awareness via a hashtag #dwwtapdogs as the organization hopes to DITCH the LIST in 2017 campaign and reopen its wait list to new applications by raising $1.5 million!

Demand for service dogs was so overwhelming for the Edmonton organization which trains assistance dogs for Albertans throughout the province that it was forced to cut off its waiting list.

The trained service dogs wearing their vests equipped with payment devices will be able to accept $10 donations via taps using credit cards.

“Since the dogs are the heart and soul of the work that we do, we thought why not have the dogs… be our ambassadors out in the community,” said executive director Doreen Slessor.

Dogs With Wings partnered with ATB Financial on the wearable technology, which consists of a contactless card reader that sits in the dog’s vest pocket.

Payment can be made via credit cards, smart devices or smartphones with a tap sending an automatic $10 donation.

The dollar value can be changed by the handler if someone wants to donate a different amount.

We are in an increasingly cashless society and need to be versatile in the ways people can donate to us,” Slessor said. “We love that our dogs are able to directly help us raise funds as they are at the heart of everything we do.”

The dogs will be out and about at events in the city throughout the summer. The best part is, people will be able to pet the dogs, something that’s not normally allowed with service animals.

The Tap Dogs have a handler with them and the dogs have a contactless payment device… and we invite you to come up to our dogs, pat our dogs, tap our dogs and make a donation,” Slessor said.

There are currently 50 people on the wait list for a trained service dog. It takes two years and costs between $30,000 and $40,000 to train one dog.

Clients lease the service dogs for $1 and Dogs With Wings runs entirely on donations and sponsorships.

“We have people waiting for autism dogs, companion dogs, service dogs – for people with physical disabilities that need a dog to assist them opening doors, picking up objects – also guide dogs,” Slessor said.

The organization gets about two or three requests a week for dogs.

h/t: Dogs With Wings

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Peg Fong is also in recovery from newspapers

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