I’m a pretty big animal fanatic with a cat blog and three rescue cats. I’ve tried to do my part for animals in need by fostering, having brought 20 cats and kittens into my home. Sadly, after the adoption of my third cat, fostering stopped being an option. She was one jealous kitty and started acting out if I brought any other cat over. Let’s just say the apartment started smelling less than lovely. Sigh.
Since fostering is out of the question for me and I don’t have thousands of dollars to donate, a new free app called ResQwalk is letting me do a little something each day I can feel good about to help the animals in my favorite rescues and shelters.
ResQwalk enables cash- and time-strapped animal lovers like me to raise money for our favorite rescue groups just by walking! Currently it’s only available for iPhone users, but the outcry from Android users has been so great that it’s planning to have an app by September.
In the few weeks since the app was released, 800+ rescue groups and shelters representing cats, dogs, horses and even rabbits nationwide have signed up. Groups of all sizes in the U.S. and Canada are encouraged to apply to be on the app by going to www.resqwalk.com to sign up (a button is at the bottom of the page). I normally walk for City Critters, the small New York City rescue group where I adopted my cats and used to foster. The app allows users to select from any of the rescues signed up to walk for at any time, so you’re never locked in and can spread the love (and money!).
Each week a pool of donation money is put up for grabs for all the rescue groups. At first, funds were provided by ResQwalk’s Indiegogo campaign, which raised $21,000, but corporate sponsors are starting to step in. Animal groups get a portion of the pool based on the number of people who walked for them and how far they walked in a given week. The amount a group can raise in a given week varies greatly based on how many organizations get their members walking that particular week. So far participants have walked 58,000-plus miles — that’s twice around the Earth!
I was particularly excited about ResQwalk because it benefits all animals, not just one particular species, and it tracks how much you are walking in a given week, month, or year. Talk about motivation!
Let’s go on a recent with ResQwalk I did going to the dentist’s office:
Here I am outside my apartment selecting the ResQwalk app on my iPhone. You can see at the bottom of the screen the multiple rescue groups I’ve selected that I can walk for at any given time. In addition to City Critters, I’ve selected my friend’s rescue group, Kitten Associates; The Beagle Freedom Project, as they save Beagles and other animals from laboratories; Blind Cat Rescue Sanctuary, because I’ve been there and love that they care for blind cats; and Tabby’s Place, a NJ-based cat shelter I’ve visited, which takes in some very hard cases. (And yes, that’s the Weather Kitty app you see on my screen. I picked the Lil Bub theme. I’m not ashamed. Okay, maybe just a little.)
Momentarily forgetting I was writing for Catster, I selected the Beagle Freedom Project to walk for. I tapped the Beagle Freedom icon and it went to the center of my screen indicating that’s who I would be walking for, and I was off!
There’s not too much to say about the photo above other than I now realize that this dress makes me look three to four months pregnant. Good to know. Not the optimal way to find out.
The app works using GPS, so I can’t cheat and sit on my bed and just shake my iPhone vigorously (not that I would have ever tried that or anything … ahem). This also means it won’t work on a treadmill. Sorry!
When I arrived at the dentist’s office, I hit "Walk Finished" and was able to see how far I’d walked (1.04 miles). Then my favorite part: Bragging. You can tweet or send a message directly to Facebook letting everyone know how far you walked to save animals. You can even customize the message and encourage others to get involved by adding the ResQwalk URL.
The moment I entered the dentist’s office and saw all the glistening metal instruments awaiting me, I decided I should probably walk a little bit more for the animals. My dentist does not concur.
You’d think the dentist was the roughest part of my day, but no. The moment I got home, my cats, Kip and Petie, wanted to see my stats. So demanding and nosey those two ÔÇô- I’m amazed they didn’t send me back outside!
If you love animals, there isn’t an easier way to help them and yourself. Go to www.resqwalk.com and download the app. The animals and I thank you. Plus, you’ll end up feeling better emotionally and physically.
Sandra Defeo, the executive director of the Humane Society of New York, appreciates the app for what it can do for people as much as for animals, saying, "I really like ResQwalk because it helps rescue animals, but it’s also great for you. All day long it makes you more conscious of how much walking you are doing — and for a really good cause."
Read about more apps for cats:
Read stories of rescue and love on Catster:
About the author: Tamar Arslanian is a singleton living in New York City with her cats Kip, Petie, and Haddie. She writes about cats, relationships and life in the Big Apple on her nationally recognized blog, I HAVE CAT. Her biggest secret? She didn’t grow up with animals (unless you count goldfish and a hamster). When she finally got her first cat, she was in her early 30s and it was all thanks to a man she was dating at the time. Follow Tamar on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.