Free straw delivered to Richmond residents with outdoor dogs

Free straw delivered to Richmond residents with outdoor dogs
Source: NBC12
Source: NBC12

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Countless animals left out in the cold will soon be facing frigid nights and sub-zero wind chill. Three Richmond businesses are teaming up this weekend to deliver free straw to city residents with dogs who typically live outdoors.

Ever since the new year, cold weather has gripped the city of Richmond. That's why dog owner Keyana Banks says she's been keeping her three pups inside for much longer.

"They've been in the house every night since Thanksgiving," said Banks.

Thankfully, her dogs Modee, Molly, and Lefty are getting more than a helping hand - they're also getting straw.

"We wanted to help bring straw - and in some cases, dog houses - to people in need," said Will Lowrey, volunteer for Gracie's Guardians.

Gracie's Guardians, along with Ring Dog Rescue and Richmond Animal Care and Control, have been delivering straw and brand-new dog crates to canine owners in need, free of charge.

"The reason we do it, unfortunately, is that there's a need for it," said Lowrey. "As we sit here right now, there are dogs all over the greater Richmond area that are sitting out in eight to 10 degrees cold on chains or without straw in their dog houses, and so whether we do it or not, they're going to be dogs out there suffering in the cold."

While the straw is good if your pets are going to be outside, there's still no better substitute that the warmth of a home.

"We're definitely not giving straw to say 'let's keep your dogs out tonight.' We want the dogs to be kept in during the especially cold weather," said Lowrey.

But when Banks' dogs are finally able to go back outside, their kennel will be a little more comfortable in the cold.

"The crate is great, the [straw] is wonderful, and I hope other people utilize it if they need it too, so you don't have your dog out here freezing to death," said Banks.

Keeping even one dog warmer this winter is a goal this organization says is worth fighting for.

"The fact that one or two dogs may be in a house or if they have to be in a dog house a little warmer tonight, that's worth the effort," said Lowrey.

"They were eager to come out and help...because I appreciate it and my dogs definitely appreciate it too," said Banks.

Volunteers say they delivered hay to about 10 homes Friday night, and they'd like to give more.

If you are interested, please email or call 804-622-4200 and give them your full name, address, and the number, age and type of dogs(s) you have.

Richmond Animal Care and Control is working with Gracie's Guardians and Ring Dog Rescue for the straw delivery.

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