House rules for dogs are essential, so train your dog to not chew on plants, nibble on electrical outlets or play with phone cords or window treatments -- all of which could injure your pet.read more
Mimi Ausland’s parents never have to nag her to feed the family pooch. Mimi, a 13-year-old seventh grader, takes care of her own dog -- and millions more.
Her Web site, FreeKibble.com combines trivia with charity, helping to feed shelter dogs across the country. Since Mimi began her work in April 2008, FreeKibble.com and a companion site for cats, FreeKibbleKat.com, have provided enough food for an astonishing 1.9 million meals!
How Free Kibble Works
Visit FreeKibble.com, and you’re invited to play Bow Wow Trivia. Mimi and her father research dog-related questions for the game and offer multiple choices that players can click on. Here’s a sample of recent questions:
FreeKibble.com features a different question every day. Each day you play, your participation earns 10 pieces of kibble for a shelter dog. It doesn’t matter if you answer the question correctly or not. Kibble is currently donated to 70 shelters across the United States. The game itself attracts visitors worldwide, from 137 countries so far.
Mimi got the idea from another popular Web site, FreeRice.com, which raises money to feed hungry people through online multiple-choice games involving vocabulary, art and more.
“When we started, we were just planning on feeding our local shelter,” says Mimi, who also volunteers at her local animal shelter. “I’ve always loved animals since I was a little girl, and I wanted to do something more for them somehow.”
Free Kibble has now become a family project. The family found a Web designer to create the site, and now Mimi’s mother makes the whimsical, charming cartoons that appear on the site. Mimi devotes some time each day to important emails, then spends Friday afternoons catching up on her FreeKibble work.
How to Get Started
You might not be ready to feed millions of animals, but your smallest effort will be much appreciated by those who help animals. Here’s our experts’ advice on getting started:
Kim Boatman is a journalist based in Northern California. She is also the managing editor of ExceptionalCanine.com. Boatman's work has appeared in The Miami Herald, the Detroit Free Press and the San Jose Mercury News. She is a lifelong lover of animals, and a frequent contributor to The Dog Daily.
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