by Terrance V. Mc Arthur
It started with a dog. Many stories do. This time, a stray dog inspired a service that benefits both animals and people.
In August 2010, Spotty limped onto Janine Gallyer’s property, an old rope tied around his neck as a collar. Obviously hurting, the dog shied away from human touch. “I [knew I] needed to gain his trust so that his injuries could be tended to; at least to get that tattered and worn rope off his neck,” says Janine.
Blankets and food won over Spotty, and with veterinary care, he improved, and won Janine’s heart. Adding a larger dog to her family was costly, “Getting started with an unexpected addition to our already big group of furkids was definitely adding up at the register.” A doghouse, bed, food bowls, and jacket all cost money, and Gallyer thought of all the rescue shelters, foster parents, and adopting families and their expenses. Was there something she could do, a way to help?
Janine thought she “would try to find a way…by doing something like making handmade items. Maybe everyone who loves animals, loves to sew, knit and crochet could help make jackets, beds or toys to give to rescues, foster and forever homes.” Spot’s Gift House was born.
Now, she says, “We are a few crafty gals working to bring both our love of animals and our love of creating together to help. Our hope… to become more than a few.”
Janine’s core group of six makes blankets, crochets sweaters, harnesses, and collars, and concocts delicious, nutritious, homemade treats.
For a while, some of these crafts and delicacies were offered for sale on the group’s website, but she didn’t want this to be a money-raising operation. She admits, “I’ve got a business, and that was enough. We’re not a business, and we don’t want to be a non-profit. We’re a no-profit.”
Now, all the products of their efforts are given to the rescue groups for distribution. Says Janine, “We like to donate directly, or make things to put up for bid in auctions.”Completed projects are dropped off at some of the centers in cardboard collection boxes that look like doghouses. The next step planned by the group is to make wooden collection boxes.
To keep it fun, and to keep it from being work, Janine says, “The group has a monthly meet-up online: get together, say hello, trade ideas.”
Since the program is still small in scale, a select few rescue organizations have been chosen as partners.
• Animal Rescue of Fresno— www.arf-fresno.com
• Animal Compassion Team— www.animalcompassionteam.com
• Noah’s Friends Animal Sanctuary— www.noahandfriends.org
• Never-E-Nuff Acres Horse Rescue and Sanctuary— www.neverenuffacres.org
As Spot’s Gift House starts to grow, more groups can be added. One of the dreams Janine has is to enlist the help of groups of crafters and treat-makers. “One day,” she says, “there might be senior groups, convalescent hospitals, and church auxiliaries knitting and crocheting to help Spot.”
You can help Spot’s Gift House. Make something a new pet would need, something a family wouldn’t have to buy if you used your talents to help them. Go to the Spot’s Gift House website, sign up for the newsletter, and print out a donation tag that says “This gift has been made and donated by ___________ in honor of Spot. Thank you for loving an animal in need.” Take your crafts or baked goods to one of the collection points, put it in the box, and know that an animal will soon be sleeping better. You’ll sleep better, too.
What about Spotty? What happened to him? Janine says Spotty’s doing just fine, thank you, and “he’s here to stay. He’s a part of the family, now.”
It started with a dog. It ends with love.