‘The Dogfather,’ 13, starts YK animal shelter fundraiser

Over the past six months, 13-year-old Jackson Bowden has fostered no fewer than 16 puppies for the NWT SPCA.

The tireless young volunteer has now started a fundraiser for the SPCA, aiming to raise $3,000 for the Yellowknife-based shelter to purchase collars and harnesses.

“I started [the fundraiser] in school when I had a lot of free time,” Jackson laughed.


His grandma is also involved – she recently supplied jade plants to the cause, which Bowden is selling in return for donations to his fundraiser.

“I think volunteering is important because it helps your community thrive,” he wrote on his GoFundMe page, which is currently at about one-third of its goal.

“I actually started at the SPCA cleaning dishes,” Bowden told Cabin Radio. “Then, just before Christmas, my parents gave the OK that I was allowed to foster dogs. ”

Bowden said it was “busy and hectic,” at first, inviting so many puppies into his home.

“But then, over time, it’s been more snuggling [and] it’s been a lot of fun,” he said.


He’s responsible for cleaning up after the puppies, taking them for walks, and teaching them some basic commands.

“It takes a lot of time and effort, but it’s worth it because you get to end up playing with the dogs, looking after them, and bonding with them,” he said.

“But the hard part at the end is letting them all go.

“I try not to get too attached to them, because I know they’re going to great homes.”


His family usually takes in a puppy on the weekend when everyone is home. The puppies stay anywhere from two days to a month before they are adopted.

Jackson also fostered Leslie. While she didn’t stay long as she didn’t get along with his dog, she is great with kids, car rides, and people – and she’s still available for adoption through the NWT SPCA. Caitlin Cleveland Photography/Photo

Leslie, fostered by Jackson, is great with kids, car rides, and people. Photo: Caitlin Cleveland

Bowden has been chronicling his fostering journey on his Instagram account, where he’s dubbed himself “the Dogfather.”

His bio reads: “Helping pups find their furever home, one snuggle at a time.”