It all started in 2014 when I (Lisette van Riel) rescued one very special 3-legged dog named Beautie whilst living in Dubai. I was not looking to adopt a dog at the time as we were living in an apartment on the 16th floor, so not the ideal environment for a dog. On a regular basis, I would help out at a dog rescue centre and it was during one of these days that I met Beautie. I felt this instant connection with her. The happiest dog I had ever seen despite having 3 legs. Sadly, because of this fact she was struggling to find a home. After even her foster family could no longer keep her and she was stuck in a crate at the vets, I persuaded my husband to foster her. Within 24 hrs of taking her in, we knew she was here to stay.
Just days after adopting Beautie, I lost my father. Was it coincidence or meant to be? Who knows, but she got me through a very difficult time. She would sit and lick away my tears or just lie in my arms for hours, giving me much needed comfort. We might have rescued her, but she rescued me right back. Dogs have this incredible intuition of knowing how we are feeling and when we need their help. She is my inspiration, motivation, and drive to find a way of doing more for rescue dogs.
After moving back to the UK, I started investigating the local situation regarding rescue dogs and rescue centres. My findings were heartbreaking. The reasons dogs get abandoned vary from understandable ones to outrageous ones like people preferring to spend money on a holiday but do not want to pay for dog boarding. The most upsetting discovery was the sheer number of homeless dogs and the number of dog rescue centres struggling to survive. According to research by Dogs Trust, 130.000 dogs get abandoned in the UK each year. That figure is from a few years ago so who knows how high it currently is and especially how high it will be after COVID.
I knew it was time to see how I could help make a difference. After several brainstorming sessions, I came to the conclusion that there were 2 things I needed to focus on. Raising money for rescue centres and to reduce the number of dogs that end up in rescue centres. And so in July 2020 DoggyLottery was started.
DoggyLottery is a non profit raising money for dog charities through an online lottery. Within a year we raised over £25k for 65 different rescue centres, which I am incredibly proud of. But I knew I could do more. I wanted to find a way of raising even more money and connecting dog lovers who are wanting to help stand up for dogs. This is why I launched DoggyWarriors. Through DoggyWarriors we are able to build a community and continue raise money. People can join by either entering DoggyLottery, buy an item from our webshop or sign up to receive regular news updates.
Lisette & Beautie