Above is a picture of my rescue dog Ginger Pye. She is a Ladner's Blackmouth Cur that my family rescued from the Potsdam Humane Society, in Potsdam New York. She's a real diva and my cardiac alert dog. Without ever being trained Ginger is totally in sync with the smallest changes in my blood pressure and heart rate. I have Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia, but because I have Ginger, it doesn't have to control my life. Hundreds of people have alert, comfort, service, or therapy animals. Added to the 5-10 percent of the 3.5 million homeless people in America who have rescued pets of their own, a lot of us here in the US alone have come to depend on our pets for help. We have also come to depend on animal rescue organizations large and small to help protect animals of all descriptions from abuse/abandonment. Yes fiber arts DO play a role in helping people and their pets.
A woman I've come to know through the art of crochet, and consider a friend, Amy Brewer, of Amy B. Stitched recently created a scarf that became an instant smash hit among my Facebook friends who do animal rescue! Within moments of putting the link up to Amy's Meandering Paw Prints scarf on my Facebook page I received orders for SIX scarves because Amy is kind enough to allow us to sell her designs with proper credit. That put the idea into my head to do this charity idea blog. Not unlike Ginger and I, so many people find that they and their pet operate as a team. How much good could we do with this ONE pattern to cheer people on or to keep them warm? One pattern turned into 4 patterns :) A scarf, 2 beanie patterns, and a BLANKET! PLEASE NOTE: ALL of these patterns are Amy Brewer's ORIGINAL patterns including the photographs. Give credit where credit is due when selling. Follow the copyright laws... the photographs are Amy's property and can't be used without permission. Also, the pattern in it's entirety is Amy's hard work.
Amy Brewer is a lovely, thoughtful woman with a real heart to serve others. When I wrote to her to explain the direction I was going with this blog and asked for a few comments from her to which she responded with this biographical sketch: "I remember when I first left the USAF and became a stay at home mommy to my then 1 yo son. Our family income had just been cut in half. I had this varying skill set. I could go out in the civilian world and get a job as a mechanic using my Air Force training. Or I could use my natural home making skills to help off-set our income by making a little money here and there with my stitch work. Fast forward MANY years and I am beginning to design for some major publications. It is EXCITING to get that big paycheck every once in awhile, but once that happens I mostly lose the rights to my designs. Around 2007-ish someone suggested that I begin a blog putting my own patterns out there. I did try selling for a while...but it just didn't feel right. I kept remembering the lean times in my life and made the decision to offer my patterns for free. All of them. Not everyone gets it. But when I see that a young mom is able to sell a few scarves or bowl cozies to add to her family income or that someone is working up my patterns to donate to a local animal rescue fundraiser or making a memorial blanket for someone who is grieving....well....it makes it all worth the while!!"
It takes a lot of time to design and write patterns (and I've tried). I agree with Amy in that giving even at personal cost is more than compensated by a heart full of joy! Therefore, when I thought about my friends who do animal rescue, who volunteer their time to go into HORRID conditions to remove animals from the most vile conditions, people I've met who couldn't get through life as successfully without their service/comfort animal, homeless people who lived for their pets, I knew immediately that Amy Brewer's Meandering Paws series would be an AWESOME charity pattern.
When I went to meet my Ginger Pye for the first time we stood in the foyer of the humane society waiting for the volunteer to bring her out. The foyer was PACKED with people waiting to meet animals, volunteers, cats, ferrets, even a pig in one of the front pens. In walked a young woman with a huge armful of pet snuggles. Of course the Snuggles Project is a great place to start looking for patterns (knit, crochet, sewn) if you are looking to donate pet blankets to a local rescue group. It might be good to call to see if they use/need blankets beforehand. Prior to adopting Ginger our kids used to bring blankets they had made to the Tri-Lakes humane society. They were pretty well overrun with cats and are a no-kill shelter. I thought Amy Brewer's BRAND new Puppy Love afghan, which can be made in many sizes, would be a "purrfect" addition to any shelter. The Puppy Love Afghan would also be a lovely gift to people with service/comfort dogs, and the homeless with pets. Veterans with PTSD often have pets to help them through the hard times. If you aren't sure where to begin start with the Snuggles Project and contact your local pet shelter to see if there is a program for homeless people and their pets to receive blankets.
As spokesperson for Northern Adirondack Hats for Hope Initiative people often wonder if we, up here near the Canadian Border, have homeless people. Yes, we do. They don't necessarily sleep out on the streets in the bitter cold more than likely they will move from house to house staying with friends or family. They have no fixed address and everything... including their pets must be mobile. I often hear very difficult stories of whole families living on the go. Homelessness is a worldwide problem! Pets are very important to families as they offer so much peace of mind. The Meandering Paw Prints scarf and matching hat would be the perfect accessory to give to keep people without a permanent address. Warm, cozy and also a way to show their love for their pets. We can do so much to brighten people's day with these cute hats and scarves. Just something extra special to say we care and we care about your pet too. If you are wondering if the pets get proper food and veterinary care, there are excellent non-profit groups looking out for pets belonging to people without a permanent address. Check out The Street Dog Coalition or Pets of the Homeless. Here in the Northern Adirondack Region I have found that schools are a great place to donate for whole families. School officials know which families are struggling and need a hand providing for their children. It might be a good thing to ask your local school district if donating winter warm items would be acceptable.
Being a shelter volunteer is often a thankless job. They do work that many of us couldn't even if we wanted to. I know these great volunteers rarely hear the word thank you for all that they do to protect animals and their humans. I'm sure that a gift of a Meandering Paw Prints Scarf or Beanie would be greatly appreciated by local shelter volunteers. A small token of appreciation goes a long way. If your local shelter holds fundraisers a Puppy Love Afghan would be a good donation for a raffle or a silent auction. Not sure about your local shelter's bonafides? Check give.org or Charitynavigator.org.. Better to be safe than sorry.
Thank you for reading today and I want to personally thank Amy Brewer of Amy B. Stitched for ALL her amazing hard work on these particular patterns. There are other ways to use these patterns for GOOD. If you think of one... please share it on this blog or with Amy at amysastitchatatime.blogspot.com/. She would be so happy to hear from you!
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**Opinions expressed on blogs about which I write are the opinion of the blog authors and DO NOT necessarily reflect my own opinion.