Not too long ago I was asked, if I could pick any famous person to have lunch with it, who would it be. My initial response was that I wasn’t interested, I couldn’t think of a celebrity or other public figure that I would want to sit down with. I’ve never considered myself a fan of anyone, so I didn’t really have any interest in something like that. Then it came to me, I knew exactly who I would want to have the opportunity to visit with. Some of you may recognize the name, and others will not. If given the chance, I would pick Theresa Strader, the founder of National Mill Dog Rescue. One small dog changed Theresa’s world, which in turn changed the world of so many dogs. In the world of puppy mill rescues, Theresa is one of the many heroes. She has given so much of herself for what she believes in, and made such a difference in the quest to help puppy mill survivors. She has seen things that I honestly don’t think I could handle. The strength it must take day in and day out. I watch the videos that they post when they off-load new arrivals, and I choke up as each dog is gently taken off the van to begin their new life of freedom. Tears ran down my face as I watched and heard the story of one little dog who had spent all 17 years of his life in a cage at a puppy mill. That little guy did not go through the regular intake process – he went home with one of the volunteers, that night. Months later, I cried again as I read the update on this little guy that said he was happy in his new home. Knowing the difference that National Mill Dog Rescue is making for all the puppy mill survivors, I am pleased to announce that they will receive our next donation. If you don’t already follow them on Facebook, start now – http://www.facebook.com/NationalMillDogRescue. I dare you to watch one of the off-loading videos and not cry.
One of the hardest things we do at EllieBellie Project is picking which rescue gets the next donation. We are still working off of the list of nominees from last year, which narrows it down, but they are all so deserving. In making our decision we found out that one of the rescues on our list has a donor match for Give to the Max Day, which would turn our $300 donation into $600 donation. That organization is Ruff Start Rescue, and they will be receiving our first donation this week. They are a foster home-based organization in Central Minnesota. They take in dogs, cats, and some small animals, as well. They have saved thousands of animals since they started in 2010. They have over 600 volunteers who believe in their vision statement which reads – we strive for a world where every companion animal has a safe and loving forever home.
I am so excited to tell everyone that the EllieBellie Project did very well at the AllBreed Christmas Boutique this past Sunday. So well, that we made enough to make not just one, but TWO donations this week. It didn’t really hit me until after we got home. Charlie & Lena came to greet me when I came in, and as I was petting them I said, “We helped the pups, today.” The tears started to flow, as I finally relaxed and the enormity of what we had accomplished sunk in. It’s a lot of work leading up to an event. There’s planning, preparing, and of course the last minute push to try and get more blankets and bandanas made. I thought of when I started EBP, hoping I could sell 12 quilts that first year so I could make a donation in memory of Ellie. The thought of making enough in one day to make two donations, just overwhelmed me. In that moment I was so grateful – grateful for Pat and his neverending support. Grateful for my family and their encouragement. Grateful to Amanda for the collars she has made. Grateful to Cierra for her graphic design help. Grateful to Jon & Jared for all the times they’ve told me that they are proud of me for what I’m doing – it’s an incredible feeling to hear those words from your children. Grateful to my good friend Kari – Kari, you jumped right in with both feet, and you are always there. You spend your weeknights and weekends sewing. You are amazing and have the biggest heart, and I’ll never be able to thank you enough for believing in me and in EBP. Thank you to all of the people who have supported our mission by purchasing EBP blankets, collars, quilts and bandanas. One of my favorite things to hear at an event is when someone tells me they came to the event because EllieBellie Project was going to be there, and then they share their dog stories with me. I apologize for this super long post, but I wanted to share this with all of you, for without you we wouldn’t be able to help the pups. Thank you!