While some have criticized Pokémon GO trainers for wasting too much time playing the mobile game, naysayers may be interested to learn that many Pokémon GO players have decided to play the game in the name of charity. Pokémon GO players may be trying to "catch 'em all," but many are also using the time playing the viral app to raise money for Walk For A Dog, an organization that partners donors with local animal shelters and rescue groups. Pokémon trainers can download the organization's WoofTrax app to their phone and run it concurrently with their Pokemon GO application. The app tracks how far a user walks each day; the more miles tracked, the more money donated to local animal shelters and rescue groups.
The Pokémon GO phenomenon has had some unexpected positive effects regarding physical fitness for users. Many have praised the application for giving people incentive to get outside and moving. However, getting more steps in each day can also mean providing local animal shelters with much-needed funds. The organization Walk For A Dog is funded by sponsorships and advertisers. The more people walking for a cause, the more money raised for the designated organizations.
With many people committed to being the best Pokémon trainer out there, more people are getting outside and making rounds around the neighborhood in a bid to catch an elusive Pikachu. However, those wanting to put even more purpose in their Pokémon training can add the WoofTrax app to their phone and track their steps. Sponsors will then donate money to area animal shelters with amounts increasing the more steps that each user takes. Therefore, a Pokemon trainer can hatch their 10m egg while also raising money for their local shelter.
Walk For A Dog says that they have had such active Pokémon trainers that their app has experienced some issues with its impact meter. However, the organization notes that despite taking longer-than-normal to load, all walks are being tracked.
"Due to a tremendous increase in the number of new users and walks—thanks to so many Pokémon GO users taking their dogs and the Walk for a Dog app with them on their walks—the Impact tab may take longer than usual to update your walk information. A heart next to your Walk on the history screen of the app indicates that your walk has been successfully registered on our systems. The Impact tab will be updated as soon as possible. Thanks for your patience and support!"
Multiple shelters are using the Pokémon craze to their advantage and note that all of the "Pokémon dogs" are also up for adoption. Therefore, with more citizen and dog interaction, the groups are hoping to see a spike in dog adoption as Pokémon players and dogs from the shelter make a connection.
In addition to animal shelters, many museums and educational facilities are also encouraging Pokémon players to come by their locations and learn more about their facilities. Some park rangers at the National Mall are already taking advantage of the influx of Pokémon users by offering guided tours specifically for the game players. The Daily Beast reports that these rangers are giving users the educational tour of the museum while also offering time for game play along the way when rare Pokémon appear.
"Park rangers at the National Mall and a few other sites in the National Park Service system are offering ranger-led tours that leave time for participants to play the game. Whether they will succeed in maintaining a healthy balance has yet to be seen, but there is every reason to be optimistic."
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