Photography by Weston Carls
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You’d be hard-pressed to find a dog lover in Austin who doesn’t think this city is a prime place for canine companionship. There are plenty of trails, hikes, restaurants, shops, and even offices that allow pets (on and off leash). But even in a place where dogs come as a close second behind humans, there is still a growing number of dogs who need a home. Not to mention a number of humans who would love to own a dog, but are restricted from it because of financial or time constraints. This was a problem realized by Catelyn Silapachai and partner Melissa Massello DuBeau, two avid dog lovers (greyhounds in particular), who became eager to find a solution. After many hours spent at dog shelters brainstorming, the 1Dog1Hour nonprofit organization was born.
At 1Dog1Hour, the mission is simple: devote one hour of your time to walk one dog. If you have more time to walk more dogs, then do so, but there is no commitment, no pressure, and no schedule you have to follow.
“We realize life can be crazy busy with work, school, gym, dates, all of the above,” Silapachai said. “Our hope is for people to realize that it just takes one hour in a week, in a month, to change a dog’s life positively.” Plus, there are plenty of calories to burn and memories to be made by walking a dog as your workout or on a date. But you always have the option to hang out with a dog solo if you’re looking for one-on-one quiet time. We found it to be incredibly soothing, and our new canine friends Donner and Blitzen seemed to have a good time, too.
“Our hope is for people to realize that it just takes one hour in a week, in a month, to change a dog’s life positively.”
“I’ve heard that any human interaction a shelter dog experiences greatly increases his or her chances of being adopted,” DuBeau said. “Every little bit contributes to finding these dogs a good home.” They believe in the old saying, “A tired dog is a good dog,” so by giving little bit of your time, you could make a big change to an otherwise helpless pet’s life. All it takes is one lunch break, one workout session, just one hour of your time to head over to your closest shelter and volunteer.