Does your town need a dog park? Is your local animal shelter in need of funding? If you have an idea that could make life better for the pets in your area, the Better Way Project could help make it a reality.

Recently launched by Canyon Creek Ranch, a line of natural pet food, the Better Way Project is an online community where ideas can be submitted, shared and potentially brought to life.

Canyon Creek Ranch has committed a minimum of $200,000 to complete eight pet-friendly projects across the nation. Whether it’s creating a mobile vet clinic for underserved communities or starting an online network for lost pets, the initiative is currently accepting ideas from the public.

volunteers at Greenwood Urban Wetland ParkIn addition to providing funding, Canyon Creek Ranch will also work to provide volunteers and product donations, depending on the scope of the project.

“What makes the Better Way Project brilliant is that it’s not just shelters — this is something anybody can participate in,” said Nikki Moustaki, a pet expert and animal trainer who’s helping spread the word about the initiative. “People might have a great idea but just not know how to implement it.”

Canyon Creek Ranch has already completed three such projects: adding dog-friendly features to a public park in Orlando, Fla.; making a monetary donation to a dog therapy program in Iowa City, Iowa; and renovating the cat area of a shelter in Salem, Mass.

To submit your own idea, visit the Better Way Project website and write a detailed description of your proposal, explaining how it’ll help pets in your community. Be sure to also include a link to a video or up to five photos illustrating your project.

All submissions have to earn at least 100 points to be considered by the Better Way Project Team. Pet lovers can show their support for an idea by clicking a "Support" button and sharing the project idea via a social media widget.

Below you can watch a video about a recently completed Better Way Project at the Northeast Animal Shelter.

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Laura Moss writes about a variety of topics with a focus on animals, science, language and culture. But she mostly writes about cats.

New initiative looks to pet lovers for ideas to improve animals' lives
The Better Way project has committed $200,000 to bringing user-submitted projects to life in pet-loving communities across the nation.