White Dog Wonderful World Wednesday.
White Dog has noticed that many in the Blogworld proudly carry the FreeKibble Link Badge on their sidebars. But how many know that this site which has donated over 470 million pieces of kibble to shelter dogs and cats is the brainchild of a 14-year-old from Bend, Oregon?
In 2007, inspired by an online game called Freerice.com (which rewards correct answers to general information questions with rice to help end world hunger), Mimi Ausland developed the concept of FreeKibble.com to help animals. She created a sister site, FeeKibbleKat.com which feeds shelter cats. Mimi’s expectations were not high; she had only one goal in mind: “I wanted to feed some of the animals at the Humane Society of Central Oregon, where I volunteer.” She expected friends, family, and her community to play.
In April, 2008, FreeKibble.com went live and within three months 1000 people were playing daily. Today, 53,000 play FreeKibble.com daily while another 47,000 test their knowledge at FreeKibbleKats.com. There are people from 137 countries who play. Since it’s inception, over 357 TONS of food has been donated.
Mimi still writes all of the questions used on both sites and says her biggest thrill is seeing the food delivered to the animals. “It makes me realize how much of a difference FreeKibble.com is making, especially when I see the faces of the animals we are helping,” she says. And this is not all Mimi does for shelter animals. Last summer, she spearheaded a letter-writing campaign to the President urging the creation of a national adopt-a-shelter-pet day. She has also created the FreeKibble.com Foundation, which encourages kids to get involved with shelter animals. Further down the road she hopes to open her own animal sanctuary.
“So many animals need our help,” Mimi says, “The smallest things, whether it is opening a lemonade stand and donating the proceeds to a shelter or playing FreeKibble.com can make the biggest difference.”
White Dog, The Other White Dog, Another White Dog, and Still Another White Dog think that as long as there are people, especially the next generations, who care as passionately as Mimi does that we have plenty of reason to hope and to believe the World is a Wonderful Place.
Excerpted from Karen Asp’s article, Food Network, in March/April 2011 Best Friends magazine.