Volunteering takes time, something many college students do not have.
However, with the Walk for a Dog app, people can turn their daily routine into cash for animal shelters and rescues.
Lee County Humane Society is currently partnered with Wooftrax, the company who produced the Walk for a Dog app, which encourages owners to walk their dogs to help their local shelter.
The free app, which is available for iPhone and Android, allows users to donate to their local animal shelter by tracking dog walks with their phone’s GPS.
If the user does not have a dog, for instance students who live in dorms, they can walk Cassie, a virtual dog modeled after the CEO’s real dog.
The farther users walk, the more money their local shelter receives.
Emily Bowling, an employee at the Lee County Humane Society, said although some people are using the app to benefit the shelter, she’d like to see more.
“We see a little feedback from it but not as much as we’d like," Bowling said. "We’d really like to encourage people to use it more."
Jennifer Cremerius, marketing director for Wooftrax, said donations from advertisers and sponsors are given to shelters who have active walkers.
“Basically, we work really hard to get donation money from pulling advertisers and sponsors, and then as soon as we have enough that we feel we can distribute effectively to the shelters that have active walkers, people who are regularly and actively using the app, then we’ll distribute donations," Cremerius said.
Bowling said the shelter receives a check of approximately $100 from Wooftrax, which she said could easily increase.
“If more people got involved and more people did it when they were going out for their evening run, that could end up being a lot of money that we are able to devote to a certain program or a certain purpose,” Bowling said.
With more than 100 animals in its care, Bowling said the shelter always needs donations.
"(The Lee County Humane Society) is always in need of dog food, cat food, cat litter, anything like that … It takes a lot to run a shelter like this,” Bowling said. “And it’s not only the food, but it’s the vaccinations, it’s the people that are caring for them. We have to pay them, too. So a lot goes into running a shelter and keeping it afloat and helping out these animals.”
Cremerius said Walk for a Dog allows people to make much-needed donations while promoting other good behaviors, which she said makes the app great.
“You are bonding with your dog, you are exercising, you’re helping your dog exercise and then you are contributing to a shelter or rescue,” Cremerius said. “So it’s just all around a good thing.”
Caroline Hydrick, freshman in psychology who has three Australian shepherds at home, said she would like the app.
"I would most definitely be interested in that," Hydrick said. "Is that a real thing? I'm going to download it."