Cowboy’s dream of becoming a police dog is going to come true.
In just three days, the Southampton Animal Shelter raised $3,000 with the help of a GoFundMe campaign to cover the cost of a training program through Universal K9, a police dog training facility in San Antonio, Texas.
The total cost of the program is $6,000, but the shelter had found a sponsor that would match every dollar raised, up to $3,000, towards Cowboy’s tuition. Fifty people contributed to the campaign.
Cowboy and another dog from the shelter, Buffy, are scheduled to be driven down to the Lone Star State on Thursday by two shelter staff members, according to Ms. McEntee.
Ms. McEntee, who had set up the GoFundMe campaign for Cowboy on Friday, had explained that the money needed to be raised within a week because the program starts in the next few weeks, and it would take a few days to transport the dogs to the school.
After the campaign reached its goal Monday afternoon, Ms. McEntee said she was crying “happy tears,” explaining that this opportunity would change Cowboy’s life, as the five-year-old canine has been living at the shelter for three years.
“The support from our community was outstanding,” Ms. McEntee said. “We are lucky to have such great friends. Thank you to everyone who donated to Cowboy’s K9 police fund—you have helped change a shelter dog’s life.”
Jonathan McCann, president of the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation’s board of directors, said he was “extremely grateful to the numerous supporters who chose to help a long-term shelter dog find a valuable path in life.”
“Although SASF offers the best of care and companionship to the shelter animals, to give them an opportunity for a life outside of their present confines is the highest reward,” Mr. McCann said.
Now that pit bulls are being trained to become police dogs, the Southampton Animal Shelter plans on sending two of its resident dogs to a training school in Texas—but first they have to raise at least $3,000 for one of them.
The shelter has already found a sponsor to send a dog named Buffy to attend the $6,000 training program through Texas-based Universal K9, but needs to raise money to also send Cowboy, a 5-year-old American Staffordshire terrier mix.
Because the program starts at the end of the month, the shelter has a week to come up with the money, and set up a GoFundMe campaign on Thursday to help, located at https://www.gofundme.com/8eed8n7g. As of late Friday afternoon, more than $600 was donated.
Kate McEntee, chairperson of the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation’s junior committee and a member of its advisory board, explained that while the organization has found a sponsor who will match every dollar raised, up to $3,000, towards Cowboy’s tuition, it still needs help from the community to cover the remaining cost.
“We need the donations to do it,” Ms. McEntee said. “We won’t let him miss out on this opportunity, but we need everyone’s help to do it.”
Cowboy’s program at Universal K9 would train him to detect and track narcotics, as well as teach him “the skills and gain the confidence to become a member of the K9 police force,” Ms. McEntee wrote on the GoFundMe page.
Ms. McEntee said this is the “opportunity of a lifetime” for Cowboy. He has been living in the Southampton Animal Shelter in Hampton Bays for three years, having come from the ASPCA in New York City. “Ever since he was a baby, he’s known shelter life,” Ms. McEntee said. “I’m so excited for this opportunity. This will change his life.”