Speed Queen gives Best Friends pets royal treatment

Rabbit on pile of laundry in front of Speed Queen washing machines
The company supports the animals with donated funds and machines to keep mountains of laundry clean.
By John Polis

If you take care of animals, you know there’s going to be laundry, and it’s going to be dirty. It’s a daily and never-ending task for Best Friends staff and volunteers to keep the animals’ bedding clean, dry and comfortable at the Sanctuary and locations around the country.

Speed Queen is supporting Best Friends’ lifesaving work with a donation of funds as well as washers and dryers designed specifically for cleaning pet laundry. Not only are they Best Friends’ official laundry partner, but people from the company have made trips to volunteer at the Sanctuary. Plus, they launched a program to honor (and give free washers and dryers to) people who foster pets in their communities. They wanted to do more than donate funds as a corporate sponsor of Best Friends, and they most certainly have.

Keeping things clean at the Sanctuary

When Speed Queen manufactured a special dryer designed to handle pet hair that our furry friends leave behind, supporting an organization dedicated to pets made perfect sense. That led to a group of Speed Queen employees traveling to Best Friends Animal Sanctuary to experience the work firsthand.

They volunteered for a week, spending time with dogs, cats, horses, pigs and bunnies. They cleaned kennels and other areas, took cats on stroller rides, and walked dogs. And some even took animals on overnight sleepovers. Above all, they took in the Best Friends spirit of kindness, which sent them all home with expanded knowledge of animal welfare and an invigorated drive for lifesaving.

[If you want to help a shelter dog, take one home for a sleepover]

“We’re delighted to help in a way that contributes to Best Friends saving more animals,” says Cody Masluk, Speed Queen vice president of North America residential. “The synergy between Speed Queen products and the need for cleanliness at the Sanctuary not only makes the jobs of caregivers a bit easier, but also helps the animals in a very direct way.”

Real-life foster fur heroes

As part of the partnership, Speed Queen has also honored people in animal welfare around the country through a collaborative program called Foster Fur Heroes.

The initiative involves donating washers and dryers to make the daily laundry chores of foster volunteers a little easier. Speed Queen is shining the spotlight on everyday animal welfare heroes who help countless pets in their communities by giving them a soft place to land and supporting their healing in a home environment.

Annie Housel of Dallas is one of those foster fur heroes. Six years ago, she saw a plea online that an area shelter was taking care of a pregnant dog. Annie decided to dive in and take on the big job of fostering the family.

Soon, 13 puppies arrived, and when the mama dog got sick, Annie had to bottle-feed the newborns. All the puppies survived, and since then, Annie’s house has become the place “where doggie miracles happen.” She has worked with Dallas Dog ever since, fostering a steady stream of animals.

To Annie, it’s all about staying positive. Even when there’s a bleak outlook for a particular animal, she pushes forward. “Even when everything is against you, you still have to try,” she says. “Even if you only foster once, you’ve saved two animals — the one you foster and the space for another.”

Her optimism is, indeed, contagious. Not only are the Speed Queen foster fur heroes doing much-needed work in their communities, but they’re also an inspiration to others to volunteer and do the same.

Washers, dryers in full use

Today, donated Speed Queen commercial-quality washers and dryers are in place at multiple areas around Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, the Best Friends Roadhouse and Mercantile, and Best Friends in Utah.

Keala Richter works in the Bunny House at the Sanctuary, and that role comes with keeping the laundry running all day long. She especially appreciates how the Speed Queen washers and dryers help. They are designed to better handle the age-old problem of pet hair and other debris that clings to dirty laundry.

[Bunny with a head tilt gets second chance at Best Friends]

“Before we got these new machines, our old ones broke easily because of all the hay that got on the blankets,” she says. “But the new dryers filter all that out.”

Partnerships between organizations are born not only out of a recognition of shared goals but also out of authentic connection to the mission. By visiting the Sanctuary, the folks from Speed Queen were able to experience Best Friends’ lifesaving work in an up-close, personal way that would have been impossible without making the trek to Kanab.

“We didn’t just want to write a check, put a logo on our website, and that would be it,” says Randy Radtke of Wisconsin-based Alliance Laundry products, Speed Queen’s parent company. “We went in search of an animal welfare organization that shared our values.” It appears that search has been an unqualified success.

Meet all our partners

Check out the brands who have committed to supporting Best Friends and our work to bring the country to no-kill by 2025.

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