• December 27, 2014

Old soles to get new life

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Posted: Friday, May 30, 2014 4:30 am

The end of June can’t come soon enough for Killeen reside Heather Drake, because that’s when she gets her garage back.

Drake, a volunteer and dog foster for The School of Wags, turned her garage into a shoe storage center for the nonprofit organization dedicated to rescuing and re-homing large-breed dogs, primarily mastiffs, in March.

“Whenever I can help them, I do,” Drake said. “They needed a place to store the shoes, and I didn’t hesitate to offer up my garage.”

The group started its shoe drive in March to raise funds for their rescue dogs while benefiting micro-enterprise ventures in developing nations, specifically Haiti, and keeping old shoes out of local landfills.

The group collected 1,350 pairs of shoes and will be paid 40 cents per pound, which translates into $3,000, if they reach their goal of 7,500 pairs.

“You can help by donating gently worn, used shoes at our drop-off locations or contacting us for a pick-up,” said Kathryn Leisinger, the “Dean of Wags,” adding that since the bags are weighed, the heavier the shoes donated, like combat boots, the better. “In the U.S. alone, about 630 million pairs of shoes are thrown away per year. The materials used to manufacture a pair of shoes are created from chemical compounds that will create health hazards if left to disintegrate openly or in landfills.”

Although the drive was supposed to end today, Leisinger said she received a 45-day extension to meet their quota.

“The money we raise will benefit giant-breed rescue dogs from our community — with half of the funds going to medical care, food and health needs and half of the funds going toward a sanctuary for unadoptable dogs and an adoption facility for our adoptable dogs,” she said. “You’ll be able to visit what your shoes help and help impoverished people.”

Waggers are accepting shoes of any kind, to include flip-flops, house shoes, boots, bowling, running, track, wrestling, dress, disco and military boots in any size.

Each bag of 25 pairs of shoes will immunize one mastiff, two bags of shoes will feed a mastiff for a month and six bags of shoes will spay or neuter one mastiff.

“Keeping shoes out of landfills while helping people in developing nations support their families and raising money for our rescued giant breed dogs is a triple win, not only for our rescue and local community, but for another nation in need,” she said. “That should make everyone feel good.”

For more information, call 254-681-4090 or go to www.schoolofwags.com.

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