What is Secret Paws?
Secret Paws is a name/gift exchange where you are assigned a Secret Paw to send clues and gifts throughout the entire year. They try to guess who is sending to them. In the meantime, a Secret Paw has your name in which they in turn send you clues and gifts while you try to discover their identity. It is loads of fun but it requires ~COMMITMENT~. If you are not comfortable with the word ~COMMITMENT~ , Secret Paws is not for you. THIS IS A YEAR LONG PROGRAM SO PLEASE PLAN TO STICK WITH IT ALL YEAR - NOT JUST A FEW MONTHS.
Secret Paws is for Dogs, Cats and Rainbow Bridge pawticipants. You can play Secret Paws as a family or if you have individual profiles, you can have a Secret Paw for each profile but you must meet the monetary requirements for EACH profile.
If you do not want to send/receive gifts or mail – you can sign up for the free VIRTUAL SECRET PAWS and exchange e-mails, e-cards, letters etc.
This year we have Group Leaders that can assist you with questions and concerns. You will be assigned a Group Leader and that will be your contact for the year. Group Leaders are:
And we can't forget Hannah Banana - who is not a group leader this year, but she created the Secret paws group!
If you are looking for some gift ideas, check out this journal with links to our DS friends' companies and other businesses who will ship anonymously for you: http://www.doggyspace.com/journal/87912
Please note that you will have to mention when ordering that the gift is for Doggyspace Secret Paws to ensure that it is sent anonymously!
DOGGYSPACE SECRET PAW GROUP REQUIREMENTS
· You must be at least 18 years of age to participate as there is a monetary requirement to play.
· You understand that you are providing your personal information and it will be released to another individual. Secret Paw Leaders are not liable for any misuse of your personal information.
· You cannot change your profile number
· You must have an active Doggyspace account for the past 3 months (if you delete your account, you will automatically be removed from the program).
Sign up for the 2013 Secret paws Season will be open from December 27, 2012 through January 5, 2013
If you currently do not meet the minimum age requirement of at least 18 years of age or your account is less than 3 months old, you may have the opportunity apply later in the year, once you meet the requirements.
Having active journals is mandatory for participating in this program. If you're new to Doggyspace, please note that you must have at least 5 posts in order to join SP. This online journal is a great place for the SP who is spoiling you to find out who you are and what you like or dislike (do you like treats? are you allergic to specific foods?). It also provides a place for you to publicly thank your SP when the packages/cards start rolling in. Remember it is always more fun if your Secret Paw writes frequent journals. **WE ARE AWARE THAT SOME DOGGYSPACE USERS HAVE DIFFICULTY POSTING JOURNALS. IF THIS IS YOUR SITUATION, REMEMBER THAT YOU CAN ALWAYS E-MAIL TO THANK YOUR PAW**
Anonymous Email Address:
You must set up an anonymous email address such as the free ones from Hotmail or Yahoo so you can contact your SP buddy without giving away your identity. Make sure to check the account regularly. You might want to consider having that account’s mail forwarded to your regular email account so you don't miss anything. If you do this, don't forget to reply from your anonymous account when corresponding with your paw!
Once you have been assigned a Secret Paw, please send them a quick note to say hello (from your anonymous email address) so they know they've been paired. You will have 2 weeks from the date your assignment was sent to you to make contact with your Secret paw. If you have not contacted them in 2 weeks, you will be contacted by your group leader to determine why no contact has been made.
Keep in mind that the fun of a Secret Paw event is to have fun with a person who shares a common interest with you (love of animals & Doggyspace). There is a method to the madness of matching up all participants and you only get one match. Complaints about your secret paw of the "I'd rather not have a paw who..." variety are a quick way to have yourself removed from the event. If you feel you have a valid reason to request a rematch, feel free to email your Group Leader. Please remember though that you cannot pick and choose your secret paw and we will not hesitate to remove anyone who appears to be missing the point of a Secret Paw exchange.
What To Give:
Toys and treats and pet-related items are great but not the only thing you are limited to sending. Lots of participants also like to send their paw gift certificates, name a star in honor of their Paw and other special ideas. Just remember that not everyone can have all types of treats and toys. It's a good idea to get to know your paw by reading the responses to their questionnaire and their journal entries. If you're still stumped, ask your paw what specific things they like. You can always ask your Group Leader for help too. We've seen lots of neat packages and will be more than happy to make suggestions.
***If you will be gifting items from your stash they MUST be in brand new condition.***
Number or Frequency of Gifts:
The minimum amount to spend for Secret Paws is either $30.00 or $60.00 US. This does not include the value of your time if you make something or any postage costs.
We find that this allows you to send several small packages throughout the year, as well as to occasionally tuck something small in with your monthly card.
Establishing the amount should make it clear to all what a fair commitment should be, and no one should expect more, or less.
You may send packages as you wish this year. Here is a reminder of the major holidays in 2013:
February 14 - Valentine's Day
March 17 - St. Patrick's Day
March 31 - Easter
May 12 - Mother's Day
June 16 - Father's Day
July 1 - Canada Day (for those w/ a Canadian paw)
July 4 - Independence Day
Sept 14 - Yom Kippur
October 31 - Halloween
November 28 - Thanksgiving
November 28-December 5 - Hannukah
December 25 - Christmas
However, sending something snail mail to your paw once every other month is absolutely required (except in the 'only holidays option') and a really great way to keep the exchange fun and exciting. Post cards, letters and cards are great, inexpensive ways to stay in touch with your paw and to provide them with clues.
Purchasing delivery confirmation for packages is a great idea. It's less than $1 at the post office or free when you use click and ship at the USPS website.
You will have the choice this year of choosing how actively, you would like to play Secret Paws, you can choose from three options.
1. I would like to be very active – I will contact my Secret Paw at least once a month by snail mail and once a month by e-mail.
2. I would like to be active only on holidays– I will send e-mails and cards only on major holidays and my paw's birthday. *Each e-mail or card MUST include a clue in order to provide your paw with enough clues to guess your identity.
Of course if you'd like to contact your paw more often, you're more than welcome to do so, but your paw may choose to make contact only as described according to their choice of activity level. Remember to use your anonymous email when contacting your paw.
If you're going to be away on vacation for more than 4 days, have an illness or hospitalization, a family emergency, or a computer problem, we understand that you may not want everyone to know but you MUST let your Group Leader know. If you have a computer problem, please have your pawrent make an effort to e-mail your group leader from their work or from a neighbor, friend, or family member's computer. It's an awkward situation when you think your paw may have dropped out of the exchange because you haven't heard from them. Remember to treat your paw as you would like to be treated.
Please remember that keeping in touch with the paw spoiling you is just as important as staying in touch with your spoilee. A quick email to let your paw know that a package has arrived will ease their mind as to whether or not it got lost in the mail, not to mention it's just plain old good manners. A public post to your journal to thank your paw is required within 1 week of receiving your goodies. Part of the fun of Secret Paw is the joy of giving and that includes knowing your gift was received.
If for some reason you are unable to follow through with your responsibility with the program please let us know immediately so that we can find a replacement for you. We realize and completely understand that things come up some times that are totally out of your control which might prevent you from participating but you need to let us know instead of avoiding your paws and your Group Leader. If you stop participating and don't respond to your Group Leader you will be replaced and your name will be added to the banned list for future SP programs.
If you have not had contact from your paw as outlined above, please let your Group Leader know immediately. Do not use your journal to blast your paw. We will try to find out what happened to your paw and if they have flaked we will get you a replacement.
If someone does fail to participate as they agreed we will remove their name from the participation list and replace them with someone else. This means we will need a list of "angels" who are willing to jump in as replacements.
Option 1: To cover pups that had to drop out due to financial hardships (may be long term).
Option 2: An occasional gift to different pups in need (on a rotation basis).
Option 3: A one- time gift.
Changes in Secret Paws/ A Note about Secret Paws for 2013:
Please read and consider before you sign up for the new year:
The 'big divide' in Secret Paws is that some paws are very enthusiastic while others are more laid back. This was consistently an issue in each group leaders' group this year.
Here are our thoughts on this:
1. Because gifts are being sent in the mail, everyone is anxious to hear that their gifts were delivered safely into their paw's paws. Paws put time and money into choosing the gifts, so we think this is understandable.
2. When a paw receives a package, while it is fresh in your mind, it would be easy to take 10 minutes to write a journal letting your paw know that their gift was delivered safely into your paws. Unfortunately, not everyone makes that a top priority and it sometimes leads to disappointment in the sending paw. In your human's life, they most likely would not allow weeks to go by without thanking someone for a gift and Secret Paws should be no
3. That being said, there needs to be a 'balance' between the expectations of those sending and the expectations of those receiving. Sometimes paws get upset b/c they feel their paw's thank you journals are not adequate. Please remember that this is about the spirit of giving and about fun - not so much about a pat on the back. While thanking promptly is the polite thing to do, the Secret paw leaders cannot 'force' anyone to do anything. We want everyone - senders and receivers - to be happy and satisfied. It is our hope that the new guidelines this year and the possibility of being suspended will cause paws to be more thoughtful about the game.
4. We know that things come up unexpectedly. If you find yourself in a situation that prevents you from being a good paw to the friend you are sending to, the kind thing to do is to step out of Secret Paws. When a paw is being a good sender but they are not getting the same in return, it is very easy to become disappointed.
5. Everyone must understand that if you cannot complete one part of your commitment (sending for example) then you must be totally removed from the game. It is not possible to have you receive but not send or vice versa. Secret paws is like a chain - if one link is broken, the whole thing falls apart.
Also the following changes will be in effect for 2013:
Each paw will be offered the chance to change paws every 3 months. No one is required to change as long as both parties involved are happy. This will allow paws a chance at a new Secret Paw if they are unhappy with their paw's participation level. The 3 month changes will take place at the end of the following months: March, June, September. If you find yourself wanting a change, you should message your group leader. Along with this, paws can be 'suspended' or removed from the game if they are not participating according to the guidelines that follow.
1. Must make time to thank you paw in a timely manner. So we have some way to enforce, this will be WITHIN ONE WEEK OF RECEIPT of gift. If you absolutely do not have time to post a journal, then you MUST send a thank you e-mail within one week and then post a journal as soon as you have time. Sending the e-mail does not excuse you from posting a journal. We ask senders and receivers to save these e-mails in a folder in your e-mail account in case a problem or question arises.
2. You must check your e-mail in accordance with the contact level you chose - either MONTHLY or MAJOR HOLIDAYS/BIRTHDAY and reply promptly to e-mails. PROMPTLY in the case of e-mails is considered to be WITHIN THE SAME MONTH.
3. As always, if any situation (illness, computer difficulties, vacation, etc.) arises where you are going to be away for ONE WEEK OR MORE, you must notify your group leader. This will allow them to know what is going on in case your paw might happen to send you a gift in that time period and you do not reply.
This information and much more is explained in greater detail on the sign up sheet.
If you are able to follow the above guidelines, you can sign up for 2013 Secret Paws here:
It's an important one! Please keep in mind that we are volunteering our time to run this event. We all have participated in past Secret Paw events and know how much fun they can be and want to help continue the tradition. This takes an incredible amount of time and effort.
Last Update: 4 months ago
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I just wanted to thank my Secret Paw for all the wonderful ecards they have sent me. I'm such a lucky pup!
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