Although our project originally began as a result of our Sophomore “Feed A Need: Innovation Project”, the idea was originally inspired by my second visit to the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah. During our visit, we volunteered in the dog area, Dogtown, and by the end of our shift we had decided to do a “sleepover” with one of the dogs. This dog was named Toofers and he was an older “kitchen dog”. As soon as we checked him out and took him back to our cottage on the sanctuary property, he instantly curled up on a blue blanket that they had given us in order to take a nap. So, when the opportunity arose, I immediately thought about how great it would be if other shelter animals could have the comfort of a warm blanket to curl up on and make their wait for a permanent home more enjoyable.
Once we settled on our idea, it was time to begin planning and setting our goals, step-by-step. I contacted the NKLA Adoption Center in West Los Angeles run by Best Friends Animal Society and they quickly accepted the blankets and unexpectedly offered to provide us with a short tour of the facility when we delivered the blankets. For the next week we prepared our donation containers to deliver to local businesses and set up our social media accounts.
Making the Blankets
I then visited a local discount fabric store where we were able to get ten yards of fleece at $4.98 per yard. Once the fleece was purchased, we began to employ the help of our friends to cut, tie, and hand-sew the best friends logo onto eight out of ten of the blankets. This process took about 7-8 hours with the combined effort of four people. Check out the video below to learn how we made the no-sew fleece blankets:
Visiting the Adoption Center
After finishing all of the blankets, we finally had the chance to visit the adoption center and it was more than we could ever imagine. When you walk in you immediately see some of the cats in the window and the main lobby area has a comforting and safe feel that is so unique to animal shelters. The staff instantly greets you and welcomes you to the center while willingly answering any questions or offering to show you to the different areas. The volunteers are around walking the dogs and each animal area provides a clean and stunning environment that allows you to take in your surroundings and get a good view of all of the animals available for adoption.
When we had the chance to spend some time with the cats, a white cat with tabby patches named Gretel was quick to greet us as she perched near the glass and began to meow. After ensuring the doors were closed we let her out and let her roam around the room as she adjusted to the new people. She quickly warmed up to us and we couldn’t help but fall in love with her calm demeanor and love for human affection and interaction. Although she showed no interest in returning to her condo, we did eventually have to move on to visit some of the other animals so I carefully picked her up and set her back down inside of her cat condo. After washing our hands, we then moved downstairs to the dogs where we got to see the variety of dogs awaiting their forever homes. several volunteers were taking dogs out on walks and we couldn’t help but fall in love with a few.
Overall, our visit to the NKLA Adoption Center was more than we could ever imagine. The open, welcoming atmosphere makes visitors feel relaxed and not rushed to pick our their perfect companion. It is easy to see that both the dogs and cats were well socialized and cared for and that each animal’s area was clean and provided toys, bedding, and other comforting items. The staff was phenomenal and well-prepared to answer any questions or help you find out more about the different adoptable pets. So, if you are in the Los Angeles (or even Orange County area) and you are looking for a dog or cat to adopt, definitely stop by the NKLA Adoption Center located in West Los Angeles or the Best Friends Pet Adoption Center in Mission Hills. For those in southern Utah, check out the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary outside of Kanab, Utah where it all began and if you can’t adopt, volunteer for a day in one of their animal areas. Thank you to the staff at the NKLA Adoption Center and if you would like to make a direct donation, please click here.
Although uncertain right now, we hope to continue this project and donate blankets (or other toys/supplies) to even more shelters. This project required a fairly significant amount of planning, work and time, but despite these commitments, the benefit and affect that these blankets have on the lives of shelter pets was well worth the effort. So, even if we can only complete a dozen blankets once or twice a year, undoubtedly those blankets will be put to excellent use and loved by many animals. Hopefully, every small effort to support Best Friends Animal Society, their network partners, and other rescues/shelters across the nation will bring about a time with “No More Homeless Pets” and help achieve their goal of:
“Save Them All”