Felicia Messimer – Fur Kids Foundation Media Director and Founder

Felicia is one of three founders of Fur Kids Foundation. She writes blogs, updates website, outreach for Fur Kids Foundation. She was born and raised in Wyoming and is a graduate of the University of Wyoming.  Felicia volunteers with Keep Gilette Beautiful and is the Marketing and Community Relations Specialist for Campbell County Health. She has been named to the Top 40 Under 40 in Wyoming.

So, we sat down with this valued member of our community and asked her a few questions.

Why did you start Fur Kids Foundation?
FKF was started with Mary Melaragno and Sheryl Martin — Cody Friedlan has also been with us from the start and did all the work to help us get our 501(c)3 status (nonprofit). We started FKF because we wanted to help people and their pets afford emergency veterinary care. Mary, Sheryl and I were sitting around one night having a margarita (or two), and we were talking about veterinary care, and how expensive it could be. Mary had put a dog (Morgan) through chemo, and we were talking about the costs. I mentioned that I wouldn’t be able to do that — I’d simply make my dog comfortable, and let her pass when the time was right. We got to chatting about how so many people may not even have those options — some may have to watch their pet suffer, or some may relinquish the pet, or even worse. We also knew that there was a great deal of pets that ended up in shelters because their family couldn’t afford the veterinary care they needed. It made us sad that sometimes people and their pets suffer because they can’t afford care. After that night, we talked about it again and decided to do some research to see if there was a need. We actually spoke with Animal Medical Center, and the staff/vets there said that there were people in the community who could use some help. So, we pulled some other numbers with the University of Wyoming Market Research Center and decided to do it. It’s been a wonderful experience.

I would also like to mention that FKF would not be possible without our volunteers or our supporters/donations. Our volunteers help us plan and execute events, and often bring us ideas for new fundraisers that allow us to raise more money. Volunteers are honestly the lifeblood of our organization — we couldn’t do what we do without them. And, we have some wonderful supporters who are so generous and believe in our mission. We are quite lucky to be in a wonderful community, surrounded by such amazing people.

We also wanted to help people keep their pets healthy by sharing some of the knowledge that we have — we do this with blogs, and by having educational materials available at events, as well as holding some events such as the Scoop the Poop events to help with education.

There is more information on our website:

Felicia has an adorable beagle named Beatrix!

Beatrix, a beagle, came from the City of Gillette/Campbell County Animal Shelter (she was called Butterscotch there). Beatrix since May 9, 2014, and she’s roughly 13 years old now. I firmly believe that you should adopt, not shop, and that people should really keep in mind older dogs when they do adopt — I’ve had shelter dogs for most of my life, and they have been the most wonderful dogs.

Beatrix’ favorite toy
Beatrix loves to play ball — she really loves those small squeaky Kong balls, and also go on walks where she can scent out as many bunnies/birds/squirrels to chase!

Favorite thing about Gillette
I’d have to say my favorite thing about Gillette is how generous people are — with their time, with their money, with their ideas, everything. I was born and raised in Wheatland, Wyoming, and I’ve lived in Anchorage, Alaska and Montclair, NJ/worked in NYC — so, I’ve lived in a variety of places, and been around a diverse group of people. To me, Gillette is very kind, generous, and giving. I frequently see people helping others, doing good things for other people, and the support we’ve received with FKF has been amazing. We are quite lucky to live here.

FKF has partnered with nine businesses that do promotions (http://www.furkidsfoundation.org/promotions.html) that can help us raise money if you use their services or buy from them. I’ll list a few, and then I’ll also mention a new one we just got up today! This way, you can select the one you like the most I use Amazon Smile, Smiths, Wooftrax, and The Honest Kitchen so far. 🙂

1. Amazon Smile (smile.amazon.com) lets you shop on Amazon, and when you check out, .05 is given back to the Foundation (if we’re selected). We’ve received more than $600 since we started it in 2014.

2. If you use our link from BarkBox, we earn $15 from a new subscriber — www.barkbox.com/fkf. There’s also BarkShop, where 10% will come back to FKF: Head to http://ruv.me/BarkShop4Good and enter our code at checkout: FKF

3. Every time you shop at Smiths, and if you’re a Rewards program participant who selects FKF as their nonprofit organization to receive donations in Smith’s online system, we get a percentage of all sales if you swipe your card at participating stores. We’ve received more than $300 since 2015 by doing this.

4. Use the Wooftrax Walk for a Dog mobile application every time you walk your dog, and we receive a donation from Wooftrax.

NEW: Chewy.com. We just signed up with the Chewy.com Rescue Rewards Program, which means that any new customer who orders from Chewy.com using this link, https://www.chewy.com/rp/5715, will help FKF earn $20 for their order. We put a page up here: http://www.furkidsfoundation.org/chewy.html

Petapalooza-What is your favorite part of the event? Pet-A-Palooza is my favorite pet festival in Gillette – and yes, I know it’s the only one. It’s hard to say what my favorite part of the event is because I have a great time every year it’s been held (since 2012!). Pawject Runway, our pet fashion show, is so much fun to see how people dress their pets, but the Small Dog Showdown is also quite entertaining — just to watch all those pups race to their owner is really cute. It’s fun to chat with the vendors and see what they offer our community. And, some of the items on the silent auctions and raffles are fun to look over. I guess, for me, I just love meeting new people and seeing people enjoy spending time with their friends and dogs. It’s also really wonderful to get to meet with families that we’ve helped, or even meet someone who may need some help as well. The entire event is a blast.

Have questions?

We’re here to help! Please don’t hesitate to contact us today!