(... and any time of the year, actually).
I don’t know about you, but I’m already thinking about what to give my dogs for Christmas. (Coincidentally, my dogs’ birthday is on 28th December. Double celebration!)
That means I’m also thinking about what to give other dogs for Christmas – specifically shelter dogs. Are you the same?
Good thing there are online shops where you can do both (and more), like Loyal.D. :)
“Loyal.D is a socially motivated business that aims to raise awareness on compassion towards animals, and funds to support community animal welfare organisations,” say founders Theresa Sacchi and Aparna Pingali Agrawal.
Both OSCAS animal shelter volunteers who’ve adopted dogs themselves, they reveal that the idea for Loyal.D began around the time of SG50 in 2015. “As long-term residents of Singapore, we wanted to do something to give back to community animal welfare groups,” they recall. And they’ve been making a difference ever since. “We’ve grown organically, on our terms, running a fair online business (with retail partners too) and dedicating our time and effort to helping local shelters.”
They do it in two ways – and how. “While we aim to donate 10 per cent of profits from the sale of our products, in reality, rehabilitating and trying to find homes for shelter dogs is far more valuable. We don’t think we can put a value on that.”
To say that dogs are loyal is an understatement. So if you’re fortunate enough to be a dog owner, you know how devoted they can be.
“Loyal.D was inspired by the age-old trait of honour, bond and faithfulness – loyalty,” Theresa and Aparna admit. “Loyalty is one of the most endearing and admirable traits of a dog, an animal that has bonded with us humans on such a deep level.
“We hope to inspire and educate people on the need to reciprocate this loyalty – from the choices we make to ensure that our dogs and all pets stay healthy and happy, to making sure that they remain part of our family for life,” they add.
“We are constantly learning about living a full life from our dogs, hence our brand line: ‘Loyal.D – Dog nose best’.”
Gifts and stocking stuffers
Loyal pet owners know best too. Theresa and Aparna have carefully chosen all of the products you see on their site, so expect them to be “comfortable, safe and practical”, and to “of course also look good”. Here are a few items that they highly recommend for your donations basket and Christmas list. :)
“We noticed that many people like to accessorise their dogs, so we created bandanas. We find that they’re the most natural item of fabric to adorn your fur friend with that won’t restrict their natural movement.”
#2 Freedom Harness
“This was recommended to us by dog trainers, and we began to use it at the shelter to teach dogs who had never ever been out of the shelter (in some cases their entire life) to walk on a leash.
“We saw a lot of dogs at most shelters in general being walked on collars and slip leashes that were basically choking the dog when not handled correctly. But when we walk them with the harness, we find that the dogs are much less stressed as they feel comfortable – which means you feel comfortable too.
“There is a lot of damage that can be done to a stressed or scared dog with a collar or choke collar, so we trust the harness a lot. After a while we also started bringing in Ruffwear products, and now have one of the best ranges of quality dog harnesses on offer in Singapore.”
#3 Pet Blankie
“Dogs have become part of the furniture at home, so we created the Pet Blankie for sleeping and as a comfortable spot. It can be rolled up and taken anywhere easily, like a mobile bed. It feels familiar and allows them to feel safe, be it at home or the outdoors, for boarding or travelling.
“Our Pet Blankies are made with handloom cotton fabric, easy to care for and reversible. They come in ikat designs, so your pet’s mobile bed will look good as part of your home décor.”
#4 Radical Dog treats
“Food is becoming an increasingly important part of caring for your dogs' health. There’s a galaxy of treats and foods out there, but we want to make sure to find the healthiest of the healthiest. So this year we started importing the antioxidant-rich Radical Dog treats from New Zealand, of which we are the sole distributor. We also hope to expand our healthy treats options for our fur friends.”
#5 The OSCAS 2019 Calendar
“Our Gift for a Cause section also has the OSCAS 2019 Calendar – Be the Change, which we’ve helped design and sponsor again for this year. It’s a great gift, and all proceeds go to support the dogs at OSCAS.”
#6 A Loyal.D tote
Load all of the above (and more) in this bag, which you can conveniently reuse for yourself and your pet. Theresa and Aparna suggest that you order it in advance so you can also personalise it. :)
#7 Make a donation
Through Loyal.D, your purchases can be delivered to animal shelters and animal welfare groups too.
The cool part? The products have been tested on and by their own dogs. “They are our customers after all. Our dogs get to test-walk, sleep and eat anything we find worthy. If we find that it helps them feel more comfortable, then it makes us comfortable – and so it passes our ‘staff test’.”
Spread the love
Volunteering, plus other activities Theresa and Aparna carry out for Loyal.D, give them a chance to achieve and witness some pretty incredible things. Among them:
#1 Marking doggie milestones
“The happiest volunteer moments for us are when we find homes for shelter dogs. To date, we have helped more than 18 dogs find homes over the past three years,” they recount.
“An equally happy moment is when we help a dog gain the confidence to venture outside their kennel and walk on a leash – as to be able to walk on a leash makes that dog more adoptable.”
#2 Stepping into different roles
“We often help by educating school children on responsible pet ownership and compassion towards animals, and by hosting fundraising and adoption activities from time to time.”
#3 Meeting like-minded people
“The best part of our active work with animal welfare groups is the amazing network of fellow animal-loving people we have met in Singapore – some of whom volunteer at OSCAS with us, and others who do what they can to help other animal welfare groups.
“We have also supported Guide Dogs Singapore. It’s another organisation we believe in and will find ways to support.
“This tribe of animal lovers in Singapore keeps us all motivated, as when you all have a common goal, so much more can be achieved.”
Check in for updates
We don’t need an occasion to buy useful things for our pets and shelter dogs. Visit Loyal.D regularly for new offers and activities.
“We are excited and looking forward to 2019, where we hope to continue to provide our customers with better quality and a better range of products to help them and their fur friends lead a happy, active and fun life together.”
You can join in on the fun and share your blessings too. “Contact us if you’d like to adopt, donate, foster, sponsor or volunteer to help shelter dogs! Every little thing goes a long way in making a positive change.”
Catch them at Adopting Furs at Bishan-AMK Park on 25 November 2018, 11am to 6pm; Sentosa Fair Xmas Edition at Woo Bar, W Hotel Sentosa on 29 November 2018, 10am to 4pm; and Aniversity at SPCA (50 Sungei Tengah Road, Singapore 699012) on 06 December 2018, 10am to 1pm.