Cynthia Peraza of High Rollers Club HRC recently wrote to share how her group’s Instagram Auction site donates dog wheelchairs. She wanted readers of Lessons From A Paralyzed Dog to have another resource when they can’t afford to buy a cart for their paralyzed dog.
Cynthia was modest about everything her group is doing to help disabled pups. But after a few minutes, I knew I was talking with an Instagram marketing genius. Cynthia uses her miraculous networking skills to make each auction wildly successful. High Rollers Club has placed 105 wheelchairs in just two years. Here is their story and how your handicapped dog can apply for a cart.
About my interview with Cynthia
I have to say Cynthia is one of the most unassuming people I have interviewed. You can hear her passion for saving sick dogs in every sentence as she describes the auction process. She makes it sound like her work is simple and something everyone can do.
As someone who has been involved with fundraising for nearly two decades, I want Cynthia to know this isn’t the case. She is truly a special person.
Before I share the interview, here is why you should follow High Rollers Club HRC on Instagram
The group was founded by Cynthia and her dear friend Irene Coyer. The two met through their dedication to the Pug community.
The women worked well together and got their online auction program started. At first it helped Pugs in need of medical care and later it moved into dog wheelchair donations.
Sadly, Irene passed away in early 2018. Cynthia has continued to run High Rollers Club in honor of her Pug loving friend.
She works with the help of two volunteers: Linda at Wheeling Pug Relay USA and Carrie from Vito’s Universe. I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced the power of the Pug community, but they are an amazing group of pet owners.
My interview with Cynthia and how her Instagram auction site donates dog wheelchairs
Q. How did you get so passionate about raising money for dogs in need?
My Pug Portia was diagnosed with Liver shunt when she was 5-months-old. I remember the way the vets at the Emergency hospital made me feel. They didn’t take her back for an exam until I was approved for credit. My dog was at death’s door.
Friends on Instagram reached out to share similar experiences and that’s when Irene and I decided to hold our first auction. It was very successful. We raised $8,000 in two days for dogs at a rescue group.
Our first Instagram auction for a dog wheelchair was for a pug named Dotty. Our second raised funds Emmitt, another pug. We knew Emmitt’s Dad, Paul, wouldn’t accept a donation but people in the Pug community decided to help anyway. The auction raised enough money for Emmitt’s cart in just 90 minutes. We surprised them at their doorstep.
Q. How have you grown High Rollers Club?
We’ve grown naturally. The first year the Instagram auctions raised $35,000 and the second year we raised $70,000.
When a dog is sick or needs a wheelchair, I contact our Instagram followers and everyone I know in the Pug community. I tell them the story or show them a video of the dog and ask for help.
People respond by donating items or services that we can auction off. They range from custom portraits, to dog clothes, and baked goods.
The auctions are held on our Instagram account – Portia the Pug Paw Pal Auction.
Our friends at Wheeling Pugs Relay USA and Grumble Inc. do the networking and advertise the auctions. We also advertise on Portia the Pug.
Then, within a very short period of time, the donations start coming in. We have some great supporters and even a few celebrities who are very generous. The Instagram community is amazing and many keep an eye out for Pals in need of a wheelchair.Then
Q. How do people apply for a donated dog wheelchair?
Pet owners contact me on Instagram through a direct message or by tagging me. I ask them to explain their situation and send me a video of their dog. There is no formal application process, but I informally get verification.
I tell pet owners when their auction is being held and ask them to reach out to their friends and community.
Q. How long does it take for a wheelchair to be delivered?
We work with Walkin’ Wheels at HandicappedPets.com so each dog gets a brand-new cart. We help owners take the correct measurements of their dog so the cart fits perfectly. Then HandicappedPets.com sends the wheelchair to the family within a few days.
We’ve sent carts all over the USA and as far away Sri Lanka, the UK, Germany and Brazil.
You can read how to get in touch with the High Rollers Club HRC in our story: How To Get A Donated Dog Wheelchair For Your Paraplegic Pet.