According to Petpedia, over 6 million animals enter animal shelters across the United States each year. At any given time, however, there are about 70 million stray animals on the streets, suffering from heat exhaustion during the summer and freezing from low temperatures during the winter. Only 10%, of the 70 million, enter the shelters according to PETA. This sad reality for many dogs is partly attributed to neglect and abuse by owners and the lack of spaying and neutering. The horrors that these poor dogs endure is beyond what one can even imagine.
Although rescue and adoptions have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, there is more work to be done. The supply of dogs far outpaces the demand for dogs. There is a need for more adopters but, specifically, more fosters. I know, because I am one. Let me tell you a little about me and how I got involved with fostering.
I am in my early twenties. Currently, I am on my gap year before I head to law school at the University of Miami. Before COVID struck, I had plans to travel to Africa to work at an animal rescue and rehabilitation center in South Africa and then head to an island off the coast of Mozambique to help with aspects of environmental law, including the preservation of several island species. Due to COVID, though, my plans changed, and I had to figure out an alternative for my year off. I started working at Alpha Sigma Capital, a blockchain and crypto fund,remotely and decided to try fostering for a month, at most (…good one Jordana). I applied to foster with Rescue Dogs Rock NYC. Rescue Dogs Rock NYC is a not for profit animal rescue founded in 2015. The organization exists solely on donations and relies primarily on fundraising to help animals in need. To learn more about RDR please visit: https://rescuedogsrocknyc.org/
After a tedious review process and official foster approval, I was introduced to an amazing foster coordinator who placed me with the most incredible puppy in an urgent need for an immediate foster. After five weeks with my first foster and saying goodbye (more like see you later… she lives five minutes away from me) I knew that I had found a passion of mine. I started fostering in September 2020, and currently I am on foster #10 and #11 with absolutely no intention of stopping until law school. Fostering has truly changed my life for the better. Additionally, my foster pups have brought all new people into my life. I’ve formed new friendships and have met some of the most phenomenal people. Some fosters come so broken or sick, and it is my job to help them heal and show them the love they always deserved from the very start. Each foster pup has a place in my heart, and when they depart to their forever homes my heart breaks, so theirs doesn’t have to. When one foster leaves for his or her forever home, it just means it’s time to open my heart to the next one that needs my help and TLC. I am their bridge, and although I do not necessarily know where they have come from, I do know with confidence where they are going. Goodbye is the goal.
Fostering has changed my life for the better, and I hope that other people can open their heart and home to the incredible experience of fostering. To see some aspects of my foster experience, follow me on Instagram “unfurgettable_fosters” where you can learn more about the importance of rescues and fostering, as it serves as the backbone of these rescue organizations. Feel free to message me with any questions you may have; I am an open book.
Ok, now that I have talked about me and a little bit about my experience, let’s talk about how I have discovered that, actually, crypto and blockchain can help the dog rescue community in various ways.
Many rescue organizations have started to accept donations in the form of cryptocurrency, which has opened up a new means to receive funding. For instance, Animal Shelter Inc of Sterling now accepts donations in the form of Bitcoin and other crypto currencies. Furthermore, ROLDA, an animal shelter in Romania now accepts Bitcoin to help save stray dogs.
Tokens and Non-Fungible Tokens are two other types of cryptocurrency and blockchain related assets that can be used to improve the dog rescue community as well. In 2018, Airbus’s A³ hosted a crypto fundraiser to help senior dogs, using its public blockchain platform Heritage. Any person who donated directly to Muttville Senior Dog Rescue was issued an exclusive animal token as a receipt of his or her donation. These non-fungible tokens (NFTs) were created using the ERC-721 standard. Token holders could then use their tokens to sponsor or support a rescue dog or even adopt him or her. The advantage of this token system allows for more money to be fundraised; as mentioned in the Forbes article, “It is appalling that out of every $100 raised, a charity usually only gets $95–97, sometimes even less: the rest is pocketed by payment processors.” Through the use of the blockchain fundraising platform and these tokens, shelters and rescue organizations would be able to gain that 3–5% that the processors receive, and put it to good use. Each dollar counts and adds up when it comes to helping rescues.
Where the Dog Goes and Wandering Baby are two other platforms that have incorporated and empowered charity with the use of blockchain technology. Li Chen founded Where the Dog Goes in 2014. Where the Dog Goes is the first city life consumption guide for pet owners in China. The platform gives these pet owners access to material such as information on pet-friendly hotels. Wandering Baby is a donation platform that provides transparent information on stray animals on the Ultrain chain and information on dogs with owners. The platform lists real identity identification information, including traceable data of guardianship. Overall, the platform is used to help improve the lives of stray dog welfare. It is used to simplify the adoption process and support strays in shelters by allowing for the donation of toys and food safely. Each dog has a separate account and donations are recorded in token form.
Lastly, AnimalGo and ProBit release in conjunction with Pawtocol are two other platforms that utilize blockchain technology to enhance the pet rescue community. AnimalGo is a blockchain based pet application that helps to improve and strengthen the pet community. The platform provides owners with pet care assistance and enables pet guardians to analyze their pets to gain information on their present health, conduct an age analysis, listen and provide an emotional analysis of the pet to inform how the animal is feeling, and connect with other members of the community. The platform also includes a token ecosystem. Finally, ProBit release is a program that includes 1000 blockchain dog tags for animal shelter, helping the shelter assist and streamline its critical operations. The blockchain dog tags are the “entry point” to Pawtocol’s advanced pet community. In this community, pet information is loaded on the blockchain, allowing for a primary identification system that gives pet parents rewards in the form of Universal Pet Income (UPI). The blockchain based dog tags will also ensure security measures for a pet beyond the standard microchip; for example, if a dog gets lost, the dog tag will trigger a reward to whoever returns the dog safely. Furthermore, it will help to make vet appointments seamless, as a simple scan of the dog tag will list the pet’s entire medical history. Pawtocol’s mission is to build a “multi-functional platform that can seamlessly integrate into the average pet parent’s daily life, to make crucial pet care decisions easier, reduce the lifetime cost of pet ownership, and ultimately improve the lives of pets everywhere.” In a time of decentralization, this application and platform has the potential to revolutionize transparency and create a unified ecosystem in the pet industry and rescue community.
The advantages of blockchain based technologies and cryptocurrency has the potential to transform the pet industry and rescue community. The future is bright, and the mass adoption of blockchain and cryptocurrency will allow for increased funding, transparency, and rescue welfare.