Each Friday, the another jennifer blog shares stories of those who incorporate philanthropy into their everyday lives – personally and professionally – in a creative and unique way. If you have a story you’d like to share, please contact Jennifer.
Charmaine Hammond is a speaker, trainer and author based in Alberta Canada. She works mainly with corporations through her company, Hammond International.
Three years ago, Charmaine was giving back to the community through her corporate giving program. They did the normal stuff, donating money and services to nonprofit organizations.
Then, Toby came into Charmaine’s life. Toby is a Chesapeake Bay Retriever that Charmaine and her husband adopted when Toby was 5. As she tells it, Toby made the dog in the movie Marley and Me look like Mother Teresa. He had some challenges, and it seemed like they were constantly working on house repairs due to these challenges.
The solution to the problem with Toby? Get the dog a job! Toby needed to do something with a little more purpose. So, he became a therapy dog. He volunteered at a local hospital and helped reduce stress and anxiety in patients while also helping them socialize more.
And everything really snowballed from there. They wrote a story for Chicken Soup for the Pet Lovers Soul, went on a book tour where Toby “pawtographed” the book, and they donated a portion of the proceeds from book sales and events to charity. (Technically, Charmaine did the writing part, but let’s face it, Toby’s the one that got the spotlight.)
From there, more books about Toby were written and more charity events were planned. Toby was raising money for animal shelters and children’s organizations like a champ. In the process, he showed kids and adults alike that kindness goes a long way. He and Charmaine always encouraged their audience to perform a random act of kindness within 24 hours of meeting them.
At this point, Charmaine tells me, that’s where giving back really became fun. Charmaine and her company have a number of initiatives that help nonprofits and schools wherever they go. It’s part of what they do. And they carry it on for Toby.
Unfortunately, Toby passed away in November. To carry on his mission of kindness, a campaign called Million Acts of Kindness was launched. The goal is to “bring kindness to the forefront in our family, community, workplace, and ultimately, the world.”
Did I mention the motion picture based on Toby’s life yet? Yeah. That’s coming too. Along with a new series of books, including Toby The Pet Therapy Dog Says-Be a Buddy and Not a Bully and Toby and Forever Family, a book about adoption.
So, in honor of Toby, I challenge you to perform a random act of kindness within 24 hours of reading this post. And go ahead and “paw it forward” by sharing this post and encouraging others to do the same.