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Do you like dogs? Do you like shirts? We’ve got a club for you. Former Dallas firefighter Jim Scano created a unique way to support dog rescues across the nation with the Dog Rescue Shirt Club, a monthly subscription service that sends out high-quality t-shirts that support different dog rescues from around the country. For $20 a month, members get an original t-shirt and the proceeds go to the rescue service featured that month. We asked Jim a few questions about his awesome new business.
What gave you the idea to found the Dog Rescue Shirt Club?
While working as a firefighter/paramedic with Dallas Fire-Rescue in 2011, I was looking to develop a way for firefighters to exchange shirts. It’s common in that industry that fire stations have shirts that represent their particular station and a lot of people like collecting those shirts. After discussing this with a good friend of mine, he told me about subscription services and that’s when I knew it was a home run. I started Firehouse Shirt Club in 2011 and since then we’ve given tens of thousands of dollars back to fire stations across the country. Having such success with Firehouse Shirt Club and my love for dogs, it made complete sense to me to use this same platform to help dog rescues.
How has the club been received by the general public?
Since featuring our very first shirt in November of 2016, we’ve been very well received by the public. Once people realize that this is a fun way to give back and support not just one but many rescues across the country, they love it. Our fan base and memberships are growing every day. I love to see this because the more we grow, the more we can give.
How do rescues find you? Do you find them?
Right now since we’re relatively new and not many rescues know us, we’re spending a lot of time reaching out to rescues, inviting them to be featured in the club. Once we explain how it works, they’re on board. They love the fact that we handle everything. There is no work or cost for the rescue.
Have you always had a passion for dogs?
Dogs have always been a huge part of my life. When I was a kid we raised miniature Cocker Spaniels. Many of the great memories I have of growing up include our family dogs. These days I find myself watching my two kids grow and enjoy many of the same special times with dogs as I did. I’ve also come to realize the incredible need these dog rescues have and want to give back.
Does your past as a Dallas firefighter influence your business goals now?
Absolutely. While serving the public as a firefighter/paramedic in Dallas and McKinney, I really came to realize just how blessed my family’s life really is. And when I say “family”, I also mean my dogs. I know it sounds cliché, but I really do get a tremendous amount of satisfaction in helping people and teaching people. Running a business that gives back is one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done. Being in a position to take even just a little bit of the financial burden off the men and women that run dog rescues across the country is a great feeling. Then adding to that, I’m able to create jobs for people as we grow right here within our company and within our community…that’s as good as it gets for me.
What do you hope to see the club do in the future?
My dream is to continue to grow our membership base so that we will someday be in a position to make very large donations to dog rescues. The kind of donations that can impact a rescue for years to come.
How did Tundra become a part of your family?
In early 2009 I was assigned to Rescue 20 in Dallas with my partner. A very heavy storm had just past through as we returned back to the station after a medical run. We parked the ambulance on the driveway to re-fuel and as soon as we got out we heard the whining of a puppy. There are some residential homes just to the South of the station so we initially figured the noise was coming from there. As we walked around looking for the cause of the sound, we narrowed it down to a small area which just so happened to be the bed of the pickup truck of one of our fellow firemen. When we looked in, we found this very small ball of black fur that was a puppy.
He was completely drenched and sopping wet. Having been around dogs all my life, I knew this little guy couldn’t have been more than 5-6 weeks old. Someone had apparently dropped him there in hopes that some softy like myself would take care of him. I brought him into the station and cared for him that night. We didn’t really have protocol for animals being abandoned at the station so I took him home the next morning with full intentions of finding him a permanent home, but you know how that story typically ends. The Toyota Tundra he was found in proved to be the perfect name. Tundra has been an exceptional addition to the family and one of the kindest dogs you’ll ever meet. People always say rescue dogs know when they’ve been rescued and I couldn’t agree more.