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Students launch jewelry company to help save rescue dogs

| Thursday, April 23, 2015

The PartnersPhoto courtesy of Dogs Saving Dogs

When sophomore Declan Feeley and senior Keith Wertsching joined the Society for Entrepreneurship, they had no idea they would later launch Dogs Saving Dogs, a jewelry business that donates 50 percent of its profits to save rescue dogs from being euthanized.

The two founders now work with volunteer-based animal rescue organizations across the country to provide necessities such as food, bedding and medical care to dogs, according to Wertsching. Customers receive one stainless steel charm, shaped like a paw print, for themselves and one for their dog, Wertsching said.

“A lot of people wear jewelry because it says something about them, and I think this portrays a very positive message,” Wertsching said. “This definitely shows people that you are informed, that you care about the rescue mission, and that you like looking good.”

The charm sets, which are sold online and in several local boutiques, suit everybody because their purchase directly benefits animals in need, Feeley said.

“People who buy this jewelry specifically know they are going to help a rescue dog,” Feeley said. “I just want to keep doing what we’re doing with more dogs and more people.”

Their goal is to raise awareness about the unnecessary euthanasia of through jewelry that appeals to a wide audience, Wertsching said.

“We want it to look good, but at the same time, we don’t want it to be tailored to one specific type of person,” Wertsching said. “We want to give everyone the chance to wear something to show support for rescue pets.”

Feeley said his love of animals and passion for entrepreneurship motivated him to launch the company with Wertsching.

“Even if you’re not necessarily adopting a rescue, you definitely have a strong connection with your dog,” Feeley said. “If we went bankrupt tomorrow, we still helped save dogs from being euthanized. We’ve actually done something to help.”

As for donating half the company’s profits to shelters in diverse locations, Feeley said it seemed like the right thing to do.

“We thought, ‘As much as we can possibly give, let’s just give,’” Feeley said. “We have a lot of fun.”

Wertsching said his partnership with Feeley works well because they both remain devoted to expanding the company while prioritizing their charity efforts.

“It’s a very surreal feeling when you’re able to represent something greater than yourself,” Wertsching said. “Every day, we get to wake up and say, ‘What am I going to do to save rescue dogs today?’”

Feeley and Wertsching said they encourage other young entrepreneurs to pursue their passions while remaining realistic.

“There’s always a way for you to start,” Wertsching said. “Entrepreneurship is 10 percent good ideas, 90 percent dealing with when those ideas fall through and 100 percent worth it.”

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About Martha Reilly

Martha is a senior majoring in English literature and political science. She currently serves as Saint Mary's editor but still values the Oxford comma in everyday use.

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