A Place for the Pups

May 10, 2019

Our enterprise value of sustainability calls us to focus on environmental responsibility and prevent waste. And that’s just what we’re doing in our Waco Work Tools Distribution Center, distribution center. But who would have thought empty shipping crates could benefit our furry four-legged best friends?

The Waco Work Tools DC has traditionally recycled the wooden shipping crates used to transport work tools to the distribution center located in the Lone Star State where winters can be cold and windy and summers hot and muggy. Earlier this year, Operations Manager Ray Sanders got a call from one of the owners of the building we lease asking if Caterpillar would be willing to donate used shipping crates to protect dogs from inclement weather. In anticipation of a bitter cold snap, community members banded together to build dog houses for those in the community who could not afford them. And Cribs for Canines was born.

Beyond Recycling. 

“At the time Cribs for Canines called, we were recycling the shipping crates in a traditional way – as scrap wood. But donating the intact crates to become dog houses means that with a bit of work, the crates can be not only recycled, but provide protection for dogs who might otherwise be left out in the cold, rain or occasional snow and ice,” says Waco facility Operations Manager Ray Sanders. “It feels really good to be able to contribute to the community and know that these pups are able to sleep better at night.”

The Vision. 

Cribs for Canines mission is to help educate dog owners about how to properly care for their pets to keep the animals in good homes, off the streets and out of animal shelters. The close-knit group of volunteers envisions a day when all area dogs are well cared for. 

Michelle Ann is vice president and one of the founders of Cribs for Canines. “Our goal is to help neighbors take better care of their backyard dogs. Texas law allows people to tether animals outdoors as long as they are provided adequate food and shelter,” says Michelle Ann. “We are not here to report people. We are here to help. Most of the time, people just need gentle education about how to care for their pets. Providing dog houses at no cost helps protect dogs that are fenced or chained outside and lack adequate shelter, but it also opens the door for conversation about how to be a responsible pet owner. And the owners respond very well. They appreciate the help.” 

Indeed, the group’s Facebook page shows lots of happy dogs receiving new houses. 

Getting Started. 

The group was initially started by animal rescuers including Michelle Ann, who were heartbroken at the sight of local neighborhood dogs being kept outside with no shelter and exposed to harsh elements. Members began searching for used dog houses and collecting old blankets and straw to give to dog owners. In January, the group began building shipping crate houses and by February they delivered the first of the dog houses just as winter got underway. 

Built with 2 x 4 roofs to create rain runoff, the doors of the structures have commercial curtains (plastic strips) in place to keep out rain and snow. The houses are painted and include hay or other bedding to help furry occupants stay warm. Other local businesses including Lowe’s and Keller Williams support the cause, donating supplies and paint. The group, currently applying for 501(c)(3) tax exempt status, also receives and appreciates donations from individual members of the community.

 “We’re grateful to everyone including Caterpillar for donations, and of course, to our volunteers who give so much of their time to help this cause,” says Michelle Ann. “We aim for no dog to be left out.”