Mike Casteen, left, of Poodini Pet Waste Removal in Gilbert, and Paul Tolani of Pet Planet in Ahwatukee have teamed up to collect toys, food and other items for Maricopa County Animal Care and Control shelter dogs.

Mike Casteen of Gilbert and Rebecca and Paul Tolani of Ahwatukee have a couple things in common: They both own pet-related businesses and they both love the clientele their businesses cater to.

So, after Casteen told the Tolanis about the toy drive to benefit Maricopa County Animal Care and Control shelter dogs, it’s not surprising they jumped in.

Casteen owns Poodini Pet Waste Removal, a company that he resurrected in January 2017 to provide weekly or bi-weekly pet waste removal.  This includes cleaning up the waste, hauling it away, and treating the yard with a sanitizing/deodorizing treatment.

The Tolanis own Pet Planet Ahwatukee in Mountainside Plaza, which sells a wide range of pet food along with toys and other supplies for furry family members.

Pet Planet promised to match item for item and it didn’t take long for the two businesses to raise two truckloads of donations for the shelter.

“I started the drive in June of this year,” Casteen said. “Initially, I was simply trying to collect donations from my customers in order to help out the shelters where we adopted our dogs.

“But word began to spread and several local businesses wanted to help out,” he added. “I seized the opportunity and turned it into a full-blown toy drive for the dogs.”

He said most of the donations come from “everyday people who love animals and want to help.”

“Some donate old blankets and things they already have around the house while others purchase brand new items to donate,” he said.  

Since Pet Planet has been a customer of his and have cross-promoted over the last 18 months, Casteen figured Paul Tolani might be interested in the drive.

He was right.

“When I told him about the toy drive, he was excited to help out and really stepped up by offering to match donations,” Casteen said.

Both businesses are collecting much-needed items, including toys, blankets, leashes, food and treats.

“These items aid the staff and volunteers in properly caring for the dogs in their facilities, thus giving them a better chance to be adopted,” Casteen explained.

Currently, both the east and west adoption centers are overcrowded and in need of supplies.

The Poodini Pals Toy Drive is an ongoing fundraiser in which donated items are collected, sorted, and then delivered to the shelters.

Casteen said he is heartened by the response both he and the Tolanis have been getting to the drive and is hoping more people open their hearts, wallets or storage areas to help out.

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