*multimedia packaging by Ben Henschel
1992 East graduate Scott Poore’s first thought of pets isn’t a Hallmark card of a perfectly groomed, four-pound, golden lab puppy with a perfectly wrapped, red bow on its head, peeking out of a gift box. When Poore thinks of a man’s best friend, his first thought is the mixed mutt in the back kennel at the shelter. Following the thought of the picture-imperfect pup, he thinks, ‘How can I help?’
With the idea of giving back to the community, Poore traded his steady income, “normal person job,” for the doghouse.
With a compelling devotion for dogs, Poore decided that animal shelters were the ideal place to start. Only after quitting his job and signing the papers to be a volunteer at Great Plains SPCA, a local animal shelter, Poore started to live like the giving person he was aiming to be.
Poore noticed that at every animal shelter, there was always the orphan dog who has coined the “she’s shy and doesn’t like other dogs” excuse.
“I became obsessed with figuring out what’s right with [the shy] dog,” Poore said. “And that animal at every shelter is what lit the fire in me.”
Poore began filling all of his free time by volunteering — consequently, he was at dog shelters up to 50 hours a week, and eventually decided to start working at the shelter.
“He’s always connected on a different level with the dogs,” Great Plains employee Meagan Hundley said. “He can see it from their perspective.”
After two years of working part-time and volunteering at the shelter, Poore returned to his day job — although he loved the shelters, he needed to maintain a regular salary. He had the idea to design a simple t-shirt with “KC” inside a dog paw and sell it in the hopes of making a profit he could donate to Great Plains as a going-away present.
“A friend of mine said, ‘You need to turn this into an actual business,’” Poore said. “And I’m really glad he did.”
Poore expanded from the simple design, to an online clothing store. After hiring someone to help create a name, he pulled the words “mission” and “driven” from two different ideas, and soon realized they were the epitome of him.
“I realized, I’m mission-driven.” Poore said.
Naturally, he called his new company Mission Driven.
After the business took off, Poore decided to make Mission Driven and dogs his only priority, left his day job again — this time for good — and was back to volunteering 50 hours per week.
(*video by Scott Poore, YouTube )
Poore’s goal was initially taking care of dogs by walking them, feeding them and cuddling them, but things changed when he decided to help Queen, a small, chestnut-colored pit bull mix — although her breed was never confirmed due to her being a stray.
According to Poore, Queen had recently reached the heartbreaking anniversary of 400 days as a sheltered dog, so he thought it was time to be inspired. She was nearing the state of ‘unadoptable’ because she was apprehensive toward other dogs — Poore knew it was his job to step in.
Poore had the idea to move into Queen’s kennel, in the hopes that a potential family would hear about her. Seven nights later, Poore’s idea had caught the attention of the news, and after learning about Queen’s story, her new parents were ready to adopt.
Despite working with new dogs each day, there’s one dog that Poore won’t ever assist with family finding. Poore’s own dog and ’son,’ Leo, a curly-haired golden furred dog was found by Poore himself, tied up to a tree at Great Plains at 6 a.m.
When he found him that morning, he knew Leo would be in his life for a long time. Leo has a sleepover with a new dog daily as Poore brings a new furry friend into their home every night.
“He takes the dogs away from here into his home, which is their favorite thing.” Hundley said.
To Poore, dogs are like people, and to Leo, every dog is his friend.
If a dog is timid or shy of people— which is common in homeless dogs — Leo will do the work for Poore, by welcoming the dog with a warm puppy cuddle.
(*video by Scott Poore, YouTube)
“[Poore] always has a soft spot for our older dogs,” Great Plains employee Morgan Carl said. “I’d be walking through [the shelter] and look in and see Scott snuggled up next to a dog.”
Poore strives to help new furry friends everyday, simultaneously completing his own original mission along the way.
“After two years, I learned so much,” Poore said. “My heart and soul was in this place.”