Before Matt Nelson had millions of online followers and subscribers, he was just a guy who loved dogs; three years later, he has used his love of canine companions to save the lives of dozens of pups.

When Nelson was just a freshman in college, he started a “We Rate Dogs” Twitter account so he could post pictures of cute dogs and rate them on a 10/10 scale.

That being said, Nelson has given every single dog on his channel a 10/10 rating – “because they’re all better than perfect.”

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“Dogs have always been a part of my life,” Nelson told GoFundMe. “When I was a bored college freshman and wanted to start a new thing, I knew that most people shared this love of dogs with me, so why not create an account that embraced that?”

Since starting with several thousand followers, his Twitter account has accumulated 8 million subscribers.

Some people might settle for internet fame, but as Nelson became more and more familiar with canine friends, he found an opportunity to use his passion project for good.

“In mid-2016, there were four dog – three pugs and an older yellow lab –who always dressed up for the holidays,” says Nelson. “Their owner would make a whole backdrop and dress them up, and she sent me a photo for every holiday.

“Then, I learned that one of them needed a doggie wheelchair. I think he was 12 years old and struggling a little bit. It was $400 or $500 for the wheelchair, so his owner started a GoFundMe.”

Since Nelson figured that his followers were familiar with the sweet pups, he shared the crowdfunding campaign in hopes of helping to raise money for the the wheelchair. Within hours, their followers donated enough money to meet the crowdfunding goal.

Inspired by his followers’ dedication, Nelson continued to share GoFundMe campaigns for the pups on his page – and every single time, his followers helped the campaigns to meet their goals.

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“These were dogs that people weren’t familiar with until they read their stories, but they just attached themselves to it and raised the money,” said Nelson. “In that first year, we shared one with a goal of over $10k – so this was the post where I thought, ‘If we don’t make it, it’s okay’ – but within 24 hours, that goal was hit.”

In 2017, Nelson committed to consistently sharing canine-related crowdfunding goals. To date, he has helped 88 different campaigns meet their goals, raising over $552,000 in donations.

“I’d like to think that if anyone else had this audience, they would do the same. Hopefully I’ve taken it and done the best I’ve could with it, but it’s been wild for sure,” said Nelson.

“If you believe in a cause, I’m sure a quick Google search can get you to where that cause is being elevated. And if you’re really invested in it, you can find a way to get it done.”

(LISTEN to Nelson’s interview below) – Photo by Matt Nelson

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