Nonprofit geared up to benefit animal causes

The Thrifty Dog, in a large warehouse on the west side of US 19, a couple of miles north of Cortez Boulevard, offers appliances, furniture, kitchenware, clothes, ceramics, books, toys and more. The Thrifty Dog is a non-profit organized to benefit animal treatment.

Thrifty Dog owner Anthony Loffler was a student at USF St. Pete when he became interested in animal causes. To get involved, he joined and helped organize the Puppy Love Club at USFSP. The Puppy Love Club has volunteers to raise puppies, helpers and members.

In nearby Palmetto, the Southeastern Guide Dogs organization is always looking for volunteers to train young dogs for service helping the blind and disabled. Since Loffler lived off-campus, he was the first student at USFSP to volunteer to foster a puppy for service. That’s when Jennings came into his life, a beautiful golden retriever puppy.

Loffler taught Jennings basic obedience, house manners and socialization. Jennings accompanied Anthony to his classes, club meetings and the coffee shop where he studied. Every month, Anthony and Jennings, along with other volunteers and their dogs, checked in at Southeastern Guide Dogs to advance their training and handle any problems or concerns the volunteers may have had.

Inside the Thrifty Dog thrift and consignment store

The first three volunteers to raise a puppy lived off campus but USFSP has since dedicated the first floor of one dorm for Puppy Love volunteers and helpers. Puppies are now a common sight around the campus and in classrooms.

When Jennings was fourteen months old, Loffler returned her to Southeastern for Guide Dog University, six months of specialized training by certified trainers. It was a bittersweet moment for Loffler, parting with a dog he had come to love but knowing she will be an invaluable asset to someone as a Guide or Service Dog.

After graduation, Loffler, motivated by a desire to end animal abuse in Hernando County, opened the Thrifty Dog Thrift and Consignment store, “A Cause for Paws.” After expenses, 100% of the proceeds will go back to the community for animal causes in line with their mission.

Volunteers, donations and shoppers are always welcome. The Thrifty Dog is at 9017 Commercial Way, Weeki Wachee, FL 34613, 352-701-1107.

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