Xbox & Bethesda donate $10K to animal care charity in honor of Fallout 4's Dogmeat

Xbox and Bethesda made a combined donation to the Montgomery County Humane Society in honor of River, whom Fallout 4's Dogmeat was based on.


Fairly recently, we had a pretty bittersweet story regarding the passing of River, the German Shepherd that Fallout 4’s Dogmeat companion was based on. While it was sad, it was also awe-inspiring how the real-life doggo inspired the behaviors and reactions of Dogmeat in the game, making the bond between the player and the dog in the game feel that much more real. Well, Xbox and Bethesda recently came together to better honor River. They’ve made a $10,000 donation to an animal care organization and encourage others to donate as well.

It was recently that Xbox revealed its combined donation to the Montgomerey County Humane Society in honor of River, as further confirmed by MoCo Human Society itself. River was a German Shepherd that played a huge part in the development of Fallout 4, often an attendee at the studio where the staff’s interaction with her helped shape the development and behavior of Dogmeat. It was in late June that River passed away, as shared by her person, former Fallout 4 developer, and studio director at CAPY, Joel Burgess.

It’s a very cool thing on Xbox and Bethesda’s part to say the least, and perhaps more importantly is not just that they made the donation themselves, but also encourage others to donate as well. They even provided directions on where to go to help out if one feels so inclined. For its part, Montgomery County Humane Society is a good, 100 percent privately-owned organization dedicated to eliminating animal homelessness, providing care, adopting pets out to people, and providing education and further resources to aid in pet care and rescue.

With the donation, River is further cemented and immortalized through more than just Fallout 4 and the donation in her name should go on to aid in other animals hopefully finding a forever home. We’ll still always remember her fondly every time we give Dogmeat the good pets for aiding us in taking out a Feral Ghoul or Super Mutant, though.

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TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

From The Chatty
    • reply
      July 9, 2021 8:56 AM

      Using MS's market cap @ 2 trillion as a net worth, this is the equivalent of someone with a 100K in life savings donating $0.0005

      Break out the party hats I guess.

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        July 9, 2021 9:29 AM

        It's $10K no one was twisting Xbox's arm to donate and will go to do a lot of good at the place it went to tho. Sure, it's a drop in the pan to Microsoft, but it's a lot to a non-profit that needs anything it can get to keep its mission moving.

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          July 9, 2021 9:33 AM

          Yeah. Evil faceless corporations can sometimes do good things. Doesn't mean we should give them a pass for other shitty practices, but I appreciate that they've done this.

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          July 9, 2021 9:33 AM

          Nah, it's a performative gesture, that apparently works. Microsoft will write this off and probably doesn't pay proper taxes anyway, but corporate bootlicking is the american way I guess.

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            July 9, 2021 9:47 AM

            From Microsoft's perspective (or yours) maybe. To MoCo Humane Society, it's the possibility of around 555 doses of heartworm medication, 222 identity chips, 2,500 pounds of food, etc. Resisting unchecked pessimism is also a way.

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              July 9, 2021 12:09 PM

              MoCo has their financials posted. They’re not hurting for money in the slightest. They’ve somehow increased assets by 2 million in 4 years.

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                July 9, 2021 12:50 PM

                Oh, well then that makes the extra $10k it didn't suddenly have for resources a moment ago irrelevant somehow. lol

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        July 9, 2021 9:35 AM

        You know that having a $2T cap doesn't mean you have $2T sitting in the bank, right?

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          July 9, 2021 9:39 AM

          Yes, so let's use their cash on hand in 2020 @ $139B instead for equivalency.

          For a person with 100K in their bank, this amounts to: $0.007

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            July 9, 2021 11:00 AM

            They should make a Dogmeat T-shirt (in-game) and sell it with all proceeds going to animal charity.

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              July 9, 2021 12:13 PM

              This would be an excellent gesture. FO4 sold 13+ million copies. At 40 bucks a copy (averaged down to account for sales) that’s 520M. Somehow with creation club that revenue was more like 2 billion. I didn’t even know there was paid content for creation club because FO4 left such a bad taste in my mouth for it’s departure from fallout’s whole approach.

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            July 9, 2021 1:09 PM

            You have a valid point but let's not pretend that 10k doesn't have real-world impact. That's the ultimate point of doing this. Could they do more? Should they? Different discussion I think--perhaps this was done by a group within the company that had a certain budget. For something like this they at least deserve a note on a gaming website.

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              July 9, 2021 1:25 PM

              "Microsoft matches each employee’s donations of money, products, and time to nonprofits, up to $15,000 a year."
              So much more could have been done with this if that's the case. Like a national campaign for humane societies, not the one down the street in Maryland (I can't determine if River was from this shelter, but she looks pretty purebred so probably not?). Bethesda alone has 400+ employees.

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                July 9, 2021 2:47 PM

                The company organizes various causes/campaigns like that internally as part of the seasonal giving campaign depending on the nature of the world at the time (ex more racial justice initiatives and covid related initiatives were part of the program this year) and as well as throughout the year in various other forms (ex the announcement of the $1500 bonus included a suggestion to donate and make sure you get Microsoft to match it). In general though the purpose of that policy is not to have Microsoft direct employee donations to particular corporate approved or suggested sources. It's to allow employees to volunteer and donate to whatever causes are most important to them (and encourage other employees to do the same) and have Microsoft support whatever cause that is. That doesn't preclude some part of the company from choosing to make a direct donation to a cause that's of particular importance to them and doesn't stop any employee from then seeing that as a reminder/opportunity to make a similar donation that the company will match.

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            July 9, 2021 2:29 PM

            I'm pretty sure you'd be making the same critique if the amount was equivalent to $10 for a normal person but you wouldn't be criticizing an individual for only donating $10

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              July 9, 2021 2:30 PM

              I might if they made a twitter post about it.

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                July 9, 2021 2:40 PM

                I suspect publicizing one's charitable work is a better way to encourage others in society to be charitable than to have everyone do it silently and anonymously.

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      July 9, 2021 10:05 AM

      MS giving employees a $1,500 bonus for dealing with covid shit

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