Thursday, July 19, 2018

Toys for Shelter Dogs – How One Arizona Businessman Makes a Difference!

As the owner of a pet waste removal company, people often ask me why I got into the business. I usually just say that I love dogs and I saw a great business opportunity in a niche market. But truth be told, I was simply burnt out of working for other people and had declared that “I would rather pick up dog s*** for a living than do this anymore!”. Never one to be all bark and no bite, I followed through with my declaration and began building my business.

Certainly, I had plenty of doubters when I got into this business and I was constantly questioned. Thankfully, my sarcastic attitude and a desire to prove them all wrong got me through it...

Why would you want to do that?”
Yes, Susan, I’ve always dreamt of picking up dog poop for a living.

Ugh, the smell must be horrible! How do you do it?”
Yes, Wendy, it’s dog poop and it smells bad. I use a scooper and a bucket.

Do you really think you can make money doing something that I MAKE my kids do?”
No, Bob, I just want to relive my childhood when my dad MADE me do it too.

I started off with a small handful of customers on the weekends which brought in a little bit of extra money to help out with the bills. Even as my number of customers began to grow, I honestly wasn’t sure if it would ever be more than a part-time side job to supplement my income. But word continued to spread and within a year of starting the business, it was already time to make the leap to full-time. It is safe to say that I severely underestimated the demand for this type of service!

Now with a thriving business underway, I find myself in a great position to give back to the furry friends who helped me get to where I am today. There are so many dogs in shelters, rescues, and foster homes that just need a loving family to call their own and I want to help them all! I began using some of the company profits to purchase toys and treats for the dogs at Maricopa County Animal Care and Control. I remember being so excited about purchasing 150 dog-friendly tennis balls and bringing them to the dogs!

 As I walked through the facility, handing out a ball to each dog in their kennel, I realized that I would not have enough. There were over 300 dogs being housed at this one facility alone! It was then and there that I realized that I had to do more.

Having spent the last year building a network of animal lovers, I knew  I had a platform to make a bigger difference. This is when I started the Poodini Pals Toy Drive. I asked my customers to donate any toys, treats, blankets, leashes, or other supplies that could help the dogs feel more comfortable in the shelter and ultimately give them a better chance of being adopted. My customers answered the call and I quickly collected several trash bags worth of supplies.

I began contacting local businesses to see if I could put up a poster and leave a donation bin. Fortunately enough, several businesses jumped at the opportunity to help my cause. Word began to spread and there was a flood of donations coming in. 

At my next visit to the shelter, I had a full truck load of supplies with me!

If you would like to support Mike's efforts, please contact him at to see how you can help!

Thanks to the love and generosity of so many compassionate people, I have been able to continue to supply the shelter with much needed supplies on a regular basis. Though managing the toy drive can be quite laborious at times, if it helps even one dog to be adopted, then it is totally worth it! I feel very fortunate to be able to help and honestly wish that I could do more.

Dogs have been good to me, and I can only hope to be just as good to them!

Mike Casten
Dog lover and owner of Poodini Pet Waste Removal
Poo happens...We make it disappear! Visit us at

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