If you’re a dog owner and you’re community-minded, you may not know that you and your pooch have a lot of opportunities waiting out there to help others. Helping Lexington become a better place to live for humans and animals is a wonderful way to bond with your favorite canine pal. First and foremost, before you bring your pet along to any event, call and check with the event organizers to be sure it’s okay. Even events that sound like they would welcome dogs may not necessarily do so; many event organizers prefer you leave your pets at home due to liability and comfort issues. If you get the go-ahead from an organizer, be aware that they may be wrong in telling you to bring your pooch along. In the event that it’s perfectly alright to have your pooch at a charity event, be sure to bring your own leash, collar, water, food and “clean-up kit”, as well a muzzle in case she’s not as excited to be there as you originally anticipated. If you’re physically active, there are a lot of charity walks and 5Ks in Central Kentucky that are dog-friendly. For bigger or highlyactive dogs, it’s a great way to take a stroll together while doing some good in the community. Just be sure you and your dog are physically capable of tackling the challenge. If the weather is too hot or too great a distance, consider letting Fido bow out for the day. The Lexington Humane Society’s Mutt Strut on May 12th is a great place to start. Of course, you don’t have to do the walk to do some good. There are probably a lot of opportunities for you and your dog to help that don’t require jogging the entire 5K. Volunteer to pass out water, hold the stopwatch or just serve as an unofficial cheerleader. Another way that you and your dog can make an impact is to serve as a pet foster parent. Local animal shelters often use foster families as a way to offer animals individualized attention in a home setting, allowing them to become better socialized. You and your dog (or cat!) can provide a great temporary shelter until a family comes along to adopt your foster friend. If that sounds like something you’d like to do, contact a local animal shelter to see what requirements they have. Remember that this is a temporary situation in which you’ll be required to feed, nuture and give love to an animal who will be leaving your home after a time, so make sure that’s a commitment you can make. If you’re having a hard time finding charity events that accomodate pets, reach out to event organizers in advance of their fundraisers. Suggest that you’d like to have your pet at the event. Help organize a pet play area and watering station at their event, and once you’ve got the go-ahead, get the word out to fellow pet owners. I’m sure they’d be equally excited to bring Rover along. Of course, you can always host your own! Invite some of your fellow pet lovers over for a bark and mingle for charity. Do a doggie bake sale to benefit your favorite non-profit; make dog biscuits and human treats to sell (and be sure to make signs to let customers know which is which!) Be sure you’re following the proper channels for setting up your bake sale. You can even incorporate it into a community yard sale for charity. Together, you and your pooch can do some good. Helping Lexington be even more amazing is a great opportunity to spend some time with your dog. And who knows, maybe you’ll meet some fellow pet lovers who will want to set up some puppy playdates. So go on, get waggin’!