Shelter Dogs’ Heroine: Mimi Ausland

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For every Michael Vick there are dozens of unheralded, caring heroes and heroines working to improve the lives of shelter animals. This young lady certainly fills the bill as a shelter dog heroine:

Mimi Ausland, founder of freekibble.com

Inspiration: Grade-school student Mimi Ausland had been volunteering at the Humane Society of Central Oregon (HSCO) for a couple of years when she got an idea to help animals by reading freerice.com. The Website fights hunger by donating 20 grains of rice to the UN World Food Program (paid for by the site’s sponsors) for each vocabulary question a visitor answers correctly. Mimi saw how she could help the HSCO in a much bigger way: She would create a Website that donates healthy dog food to the shelter every time someone answered a pet-related trivia question. “I have always loved animals,” she said, “and I wanted to do something bigger to help them, because they really need our help!”

What she did: Mimi was just 11 years old when she started freekibble.com in April 2008. With some help from her parents, she designed the site, found sponsors and drummed up press, which has included appearances on NBC’s Nightly News with Brian Williams and the Today Show. As a result, in just five months she was able to deliver more than 37 million pieces of kibble to nine shelters in Oregon, Florida, Georgia, Illinois and New York. Plus Mimi started freekibblekat.com in June 2008 to help feed hungry felines. “It has gotten very big and has become a big family project,” the now 12-year-old said recently. “My parents are a great help.”

How you can help: Every day you play Bow Wow Trivia on freekibble.com – and Meow Trivia on freekibblekat.com – 10 pieces of kibble will be donated to shelter animals. And help spread the word. The more people play, the more cats and dogs that will be fed.

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