‘Puppy Pumps’ at Lawrence BP station offer a new way to give back to Lawrence Humane Society

photo by: Austin Hornbostel/Journal-World

Since the beginning of June, two gas pumps at the BP gas station at 3020 Iowa St. have been converted into "Puppy Pumps," with two cents per gallon of each sale donated to the Lawrence Humane Society.

There’s been a subtle change at the BP gas station at 3020 Iowa St., but it’s one that could ultimately have a much more noticeable impact for the Lawrence Humane Society.

Since June 1, pumps 11 and 12 at the gas station have been converted into “Puppy Pumps” in partnership with the Humane Society. They’re the first of their kind in Lawrence, and a portion of their sales — two cents per gallon — will go directly toward supporting the Humane Society in quarterly payments.

While these may be the first Puppy Pumps in Lawrence, they aren’t the first ones in the surrounding area. Haag Oil Company owns the Iowa Street BP station along with 10 other stations throughout northeastern Kansas, and its first Puppy Pumps were actually installed at a couple of stations in Topeka in the past year and a half or so.

It was actually the oil company that reached out to the Lawrence Humane Society about the partnership in the first place. Carrie Miller, a buyer for Haag Oil, said that decision was based off of the success of its existing Puppy Pumps in Topeka, which she said have generated upward of $14,000 in donations for Topeka’s Helping Hands Humane Society in the year or so since that partnership began.

“We know by our track record here in Topeka they’ve done amazing, and we all share that love for animals,” Miller told the Journal-World. “And together, it’s a collaborative effort.”

This will be the only Puppy Pump location in Lawrence for the time being, in large part because it’s Haag Oil’s only station here. But Miller said the company’s always looking for opportunities like this one that serve as a chance to give back to the community.

It also helps when there’s excitement about the partnership coming from folks like Ashley Nusser, the manager at the station. Nusser told the Journal-World the station wouldn’t be charging extra at those pumps, but she expects the donations to add up quickly.

“We love the fur babies and love what the Lawrence Humane Society does for them and our community,” Nusser said.

How much money the pumps in Lawrence ultimately generate will depend on how the community shows up, one leader with the Humane Society told the Journal-World. Elina Alterman, the Humane Society’s director of development and communications, said she’d hesitate to use the Topeka stations as a one-to-one example for predicting that, simply because there are so many factors — from proximity to convenience — that play into where folks stop to fill up their gas tanks.

Nevertheless, Alterman expects the partnership will be a great supplement to the other donations supporting the Humane Society — even if at face value, a few cents may not seem like much coming from one transaction.

“We say in a lot of our messaging that every donation is meaningful, and we encourage folks to donate the amount that’s meaningful to them,” Alterman said. “And we mean that. That’s not lip service. We really mean that every single donation is meaningful. It takes all of us.”

As an added bonus, Alterman said the Puppy Pumps can be a different way to help support the Humane Society for folks who may not have the means to make a traditional donation. She said often, gas is a necessary expense for folks to get around, and choosing to fill up at the Puppy Pump can turn into a win-win.

The partnership comes at an especially fortuitous time, Alterman said, because the rate of dog adoptions has been decreasing both at the Lawrence Humane Society and across the country, all while strays in need of a permanent home continue coming into shelters.

Alterman said the money generated by the Puppy Pumps will go toward expenses related to medical care for the roughly 5,000 animals the Humane Society serves each year, and also toward supporting the human staff members who help take care of them.

“We are so fortunate to have a great staff, and so much of the work that goes on is dependent on these very incredible human beings, so the money that is raised from these will go toward making sure we can keep having such a great staff that serves all of our animals,” Alterman said.


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