By Julia Williams
I first heard about the wonderful non-profit charity called Operation Blankets of Love (OBOL) while watching an episode of Pit Boss on Animal Planet. I’ve since learned a little more about them and wanted to share with you what they do. Why? Because Operation Blankets of Love is a lifesaver (literally) for shelter animals in need, and they have inspired me to help too.
Imagine being a shelter dog and having to lie on the hard, cold cement floors, or a shelter cat stuck in a steel cage with nothing soft to lie upon. It’s an uncomfortable existence to say the least, and one no creature should ever have to endure. Yet many of our nation’s homeless animals do have to endure it, because shelters go through thousands of blankets and towels every month, and rely on donations to replenish their supply.
This is where Operation Blankets of Love comes in – since their inception in January of 2008, they have collected and distributed more than 200,000 blankets, comforters, towels and other soft bedding to Southern California homeless pets in shelters, rescue groups, sanctuaries, and foster groups. OBOL is a great help to cash-strapped shelters to be sure, but let me tell you how they save lives too.
While it’s obvious that lying on a blanket instead of a cold cement floor would be much warmer and cozier for the animal, it actually goes a lot deeper. Studies have shown that when shelter animals are given blankets and comforters, their behavior changes dramatically. Instead of cowering in a corner or lying there depressed and dejected, they perk up, wag their tails and engage with potential adopters.
Having soft bedding makes the shelter dogs and cats more relaxed and they feel happier, safer and more secure. This is critical, because being calm and comfortable in a more home-like setting increases an animal’s chances of being adopted! The blankets also provide immense relief to older, arthritic animals who might otherwise have to lie on a cold floor. Puppies and kittens have soft bedding to snuggle into, and the soft blankets soothe sick or injured animals, which helps them recover faster.
Now that you can see how a simple blanket can make such a big difference to a homeless pet, don’t you want to be a lifesaver too? I know I sure do. Operation Blankets of Love helps the homeless pets in California, but you can do something similar where you live. It can be as simple as donating bedding items to your local shelter, or you can take it a step further and host a “blanket drive” at work, school, social club, the pet store or your child’s next birthday party. You can be the inspiration other animal lovers need to step forward, and together you can make shelter animals more comfortable and help to save their lives too!
More about Operation Blankets of Love
OBOL works with more than 512 rescue groups and 30 City and County animal shelters in California. OBOL conducts pet education programs for grades K—12, youth and civic groups. They also coordinate unique pet adoption events to help shelter animals find their forever homes as well as provide a venue for collecting blankets and other comfort items. As an Emergency Response team, OBOL partners with the Red Cross and other organizations to help animals displaced by natural disasters. OBOL exists in part because “every day is a disaster for a homeless pet.”
I’m so glad to know that organizations such as Operation Blankets of Love exist, and plan to join them in helping to save lives by making shelter dogs and cats more comfortable.
Photo: Tess, by Susan Kers
Read more articles by Julia Williams
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