Making Life More “Bearable” through Animal Welfare

In Native American cultures, the “four leggeds” are revered. Understandably, however, compared to meeting the immediate need for food, shelter and healthcare, caring for reservation animals is often not a priority for reservation families facing extreme poverty. This is why we started the ROAR program – Rescue Operation for Animals of the Reservation.

Making Life Bearable - OPP Animal Clinic - Jesse and Friends-2014Through ROAR, we support immediate and long-term needs related to animal welfare, education and community health risk. In 2013, we maintained partnerships with animal welfare providers on 14 Native American reservations, benefiting more than 72,500 animals. These partners feed, rescue and rehabilitate injured, sick or orphaned animals and strays. They conduct spay/neuter clinics and community education on proper animal care. Many of them operate shelters and facilitate or transport pets for adoption on or off the reservations. Their work also reduces community health risk related to rabies, animal bites and disease.

When our partners like Andrea Goodman at the Oglala Pet Project (OPP) host an animal welfare clinic, the turnout is huge! In just two days at their April 5-6 clinic, OPP gave Native American families access to spay/neuter for 119 pets – at little to no cost. The Oglala Pet Project is a 100% volunteer-driven nonprofit organization located on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. After the event, Andrea said:

Thanks to all of my team who worked so hard today and to all of our community members who brought your animals in!  We love clinic days and making a difference in our community families!

Our organization also partners with animal welfare philanthropists such as the Build-A-Bear Workshop Bear Hugs Foundation headquartered in St. Louis, MO. By working together, we are enabling the reservation animal welfare groups to care for more animals. Build-A-Bear’s recent grant benefits animals of the reservation and the providers who care for them – like the Oglala Pet Project spay/neuter clinic! (Read more about this in our recent press release.)

The Build-A-Bear Workshop Bear Hugs Foundation is committed to making life more bearable for children, families and pets in need of a helping paw. With the sale of each full-sized Bearemy’s Kennel Pals© friend – a collection of Build‑A‑Bear Workshop© plush dogs – Build-A-Bear donates one dollar to domestic pet programs including local animal shelters, stray rescue and rehabilitation organizations, and pet education programs around the country. These funds are available to qualified non-profits in the U.S. and Canada. To learn more, visit


**Moderator Note:  In 2016, we changed the name of our ROAR animal welfare program to Reservation Animal Rescue (RAR).

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