In this journey as a canine lifestyle blogger, I have met a lot of fellow business owners at various networking meetings and events, who have started unique companies based on their own passions and professional skills. Through networking and coffee outings, I have become friends with some very awesome fellow entrepreneurs, including author, artist, and illustrator Stacey Montgomery, who is the founder of Stacey M Design.
Stacey creates products and journals that “encourage kids to think about how beautiful they are inside and out” and she frequently offers events that promote the idea of giving back to our community through service projects. When I came across Stacey’s most recent event titled “Let’s Make Dog Blankets” for one of our local animal shelters, I immediately RSVPd - and then realized it was just for kids!
After she sent me the sign-up sheet and I realized my mistake, I could not help but have a hearty laugh at myself for RSVPing to an event for children. Every once in a while my inner child comes bubbling out, like when I ran at top speed to go meet Dug the dog while at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. So instead of attending as a participant, I offered to help her assist the children and help them make their no-sew blankets.
On the day of the event, Stacey had two sessions for the kids to attend and there were approximately seven to eight children in each group. It was exciting to see that all of the people who had RSVPd were there despite the fact that we received several inches of snow that day.
I was honored that Stacey asked me to say a few words about why the blankets were important and how they would benefit the dogs in the shelters. As someone who writes and speaks to adults about dogs, it was fun for me to be able to shift gears and talk to the kids directly. I explained about how dogs end up in shelters, how shelters can often seem scary, cold, and loud, and that the blankets would be warm, cozy and offer both emotional and physical comfort while they waited for their forever homes.
Each child chose their own fleece from an assortment of options and listened intently as we gave them instructions on how to create their own no-sew blanket. All of them received assistance from their parents and it was heartwarming to see the love and care that the kids put into their creations, carefully cutting each side of the fleece into strips that they could then tie into knots.
The best part of the day was when each child wrote a letter to the dog who would receive the blanket. Some of the kids were too little to read and write, so their parents did the writing while their child dictated the message. All of the messages were so sweet and loving that it once again made my own heart happy as I thought about this next generation of animal lovers that are being raised right now.
Last week Stacey took the blankets and notes over to the Naperville Humane Society to be donated and many of the kids and their parents also attended. The humane society volunteers brought one adult dog and two young puppies out to receive their gifts, and it was amazing for the kids to be able to actually see and touch the dogs that they were helping. Once again, it made my own heart very happy to see these young dog lovers learning about shelter dogs and the fact that not every dog is in a happy, forever home. Perhaps the best thing about that trip was that there were very few dogs at the humane society on that day, and there is nothing better than a shelter with open kennels because the dogs have been adopted into forever homes.
If you have human children or grandkids, I highly recommend you check out Stacey M Design at https://staceymdesign.com/ and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/staceymdesign/. She offers guided journals, notebooks, and a variety of other products, and you can choose features that match your own child’s unique skin-tone, hair, and eye color. If you live in the Aurora, Illinois area, you can also check out her upcoming service projects for children and other events. Although they are not always dog related, they will still teach your kids about compassion, service to others, feeling confident, and learning to love themselves for who they are. Those are all traits that will ultimately benefit everyone these very cool kids meet in the future, whether human or canine.