Welcome to my Blog, established to promote the mission of the National Dog Week Movement born in 1928 and my book that chronicles the life and times of its Founder, Captain William Lewis Judy.  To learn more, see ABOUT.

Thanks to all for sharing the link to my blog with so many on Facebook…it is really helping to spread the word about some great projects…I’ve approached a local Rotarian about soliciting the support of local lodging establishments in his area.  If you would like to use the letter I used as a template, please contact me at pst39crd@aol.com.

The first seven days of May is officially Be Kind to Animals Week and National Pet Week and while it’s a nice thought, I think it’s a safe bet that most of my readers honor them the other fifty-one weeks of the year, too.

But it’s a great opportunity to introduce the month with some real simple and effective ways people across the nation are especially kind to our companion animals.  One such endeavor is the Covers for Critters Project organized by my friend who works under the name of  Willie Wonka (named in memory of a beloved white poodle). If you are an advocate for animals you really should friend Willie on Facebook and “LIKE” the SitStayHeel and Project Pets pages, too, helping in the effort to revolutionize the American Shelter System and address America’s issues surrounding pet overpopulation. (You’ll love the photos of Willie’s rescued lab-mix, Jazz, too).

With the guidance of Willie, Brenda Yohman Frick has taken up the challenge to promote Covers for Critters, helping other animal-lovers across the United States to get involved. Brenda, who resides in Pennsylvania, shares her life with fiancé, Ric and two rescues, Hanna, a 6-year-old Great Pyrenees/Yellow Lab mix and Rachel a 3-year-old Black Lab. Somewhere along the way in her efforts to help animals in need, she connected with Willie through Facebook. Brenda can’t recall the circumstances but says, “I knew God sent Willie Wonka to me for a reason.”

Willie Wonka's dog Jazz taking a rest from working on behalf of the Cause for the Paws

Here, Brenda talks to me about her work on behalf of Covers for Critters:

How did you become involved with this project? One of our local hotels was doing a complete top-to-bottom remodel and they were throwing everything out. It was during this time that Willie posted a story about Pender County in North Carolina,  having so many dogs sleeping outside on bare concrete in the dead of winter.

A plea was put out on Facebook for doghouses and that need was met but they were still on bare concrete. It was then that I told Willie how I had come to be in possession of all these blankets and if I had their address I would mail some boxes of blankets to them for the dogs. One thing lead to another and as I got blankets, I would ask Willie for more addresses. So far I have sent out 7 boxes of blankets to 4 different states, NC, TN, FL and GA. That was around 5 months ago and the rest is history. It was Willie who prompted me to go “public” with it and enlist the help of every animal advocate out there and the response has been tremendous!

Is this being done in an organized way in other parts of the country? To my knowledge, this exact type of program hasn’t been done before. The hotels/motels that I have visited have been very receptive to the idea especially when I mention all of the positive publicity they will receive. Facebook is such a powerful tool and who doesn’t like getting recognition for doing something nice? I really don’t have a story of any unsuccessful “hunts.”I would love to see a major chain of hotels proud to announce that they donate all of their unwanted blankets to Covers for Critters. I can’t see why they wouldn’t be willing to donate, especially if one would happen to mention that their competitor down the street is doing it. 

Where do all these blankets go and how do they get there? We urge volunteers to donate to their local shelter/rescue first and when blankets need to go elsewhere they can contact Willie for an address of a needy shelter/rescue. Right now, I’m paying for shipping my blankets out of my own pocket. Eventually, I’ll ask the hotels that donate the blankets if they would like to donate money to help offset the cost of shipping. I can send a large box of 5-6 blankets for around $15.00. I know 5-6 blankets doesn’t sound like very many but remember that these are hotel blankets they are all full size or larger. Most were queen/king size. The nice Velour ones that won’t fray if you cut them, so they can be cut smaller to use in cat crates too and they launder beautifully.  I get my boxes from Sheetz, I like the Sub Roll boxes because they are thick cardboard and can stand up to the rigors of shipment, I also mail them USPS First Class or what some people call Parcel Post. This is the most economical way.

How many blankets have you collected? To date I have collected and mailed over 50 blankets. Now, let’s think about this for a minute…….let’s say half of the blankets were King size and let’s say that each one of those was cut in half, that would give you 50 blankets in addition to the 25 blankets that weren’t cut in half! That’s a lot of warm dogs and cats. I’m also thinking that in the future I want to hold a “blanket drive” at my property. Maybe serve hot dogs and lemonade and have everyone from the community drop off their unwanted blankets.

Brenda takes to the road....

 Cherisa Lamb from Ohio adds, “I worked for a rescue when I was 18 and I was working as a maid at a hotel and I learned how well the two (blankets and animal welfare) went together. It’s pretty easy. I call the various hotels and ask for their head of housekeeping. I explain what I want them for and make arrangements to come in and pick them up whenever they are getting rid of them. You don’t get them every day of course but once every 3 months per hotel you can get some. I have also gotten them from offices where doctors still use sheets and blankets on their exam tables. And thrift stores who throw out damaged donations.”

Willie Wonka says this project is, “simple, direct and cheap. No drama, just results…” adding that Project Pets-Spay Neuter, Love will pay for the mailing of blankets if needed. 

Willie would like to give Andy, the General Manager of the Falls Creek, PA Clarion a special thank you. Because of Andy’s generous participation, Willie’s organization has posted the chain on their Facebook Wall, and even called to thank him personally. Willie says that if a lodging is truly pet-friendly, they should have no trouble with this concept. A special thanks is also extended to Jo Burchfield, the President and supporter of (PetProjectSNL) for all her contributions.

Personally, I love this project. It’s good for recycling, good for the pets and the hotel and motel chains  receive some positive press, too! Make a copy of this post to bring to the manager of a lodging establishment. Tell them we’ll make sure their good deeds are known.

On my next post, I’ll talk about bags for cats, Kongs (for canines) and Mats4Mutts, and the Pet Postcard Project. Thanks to Willie, Brenda and Cherisa for sharing their experiences! Have a great week….and please feel free to contact me with your “pet project.”