Pet postcard project delivers for animals in need

Pauline Salzman of Treasure Island, Fla., made and donated this fabric art postcard to the 2012 Pet Postcard Project at the fall International Quilt Festival in Houston. Nearly 1,000 such postcards were sold for $20 each, raising more than $20,000 for Friends For Life, a no-kill animal shelter and adoption agency in Houston. Salzman says this is a little version of a previous larger project of her own dog. She made four postcards of dogs for the fundraiser.

This fabric postcard is one in a set of six created by Sue Bleiweiss of Massachusetts for the Pet Postcard Project, which will continue for the next two years at the Houston festival.

Kaleb Hinkle gets acquainted with his newly adopted dog, Kai, in the family’s Grand Junction backyard.

We quilters love pet projects.

To prove this point, a highly successful one is afoot in Houston, home of the annual International Quilt Festival, billed as the world’s largest quilt show with more than 61,000 attendees this past November.

Quilters worldwide were asked to make and donate fabric postcards with pet themes and designs, which festival-goers could then purchase for $20 each. Proceeds went to Friends For Life, Houston’s only no-kill animal shelter and adoption agency.

The goal was to raise $10,000, but the Pet Postcard Project proved so popular that nearly 1,000 cards — all one-of-a-kind works of art in a 4-inch by 6-inch format — poured into the inaugural event. The final tally was a whopping $20,251.62.

“I am beyond elated at how much money was raised,” says Pokey Bolton, chief creative officer of Quilts Inc., who spearheaded the project. Bolton is an animal lover who recently adopted a dog from the shelter.

“Thanks to the generosity, dedication and tenacity of so many people, we more than doubled that goal,” she says.

The donation translates into thousands of animal lives being improved or saved, according to Friends For Life Director Salise Shuttlesworth.

“Quilters are our heroes,” she says. “I had no idea what a sophisticated, extraordinary art form this is. To see quilters rally around the cause and send gifts borne of their own talent and their love of animals is so inspiring.”

Shuttlesworth gives these examples of what the $20,000 can provide: vaccinations for 4,000 cats and 5,263 dogs, neutering of 363 tom cats, life-saving heartworm treatments for 49 dogs or distribution of 1,000 warm houses for feral cats in colonies all over Houston.

That’s in addition to helping fund the shelter’s operating costs and adoption programs, including one called “Thinking Outside the Shelter” program. That offers financially strapped owners and “foster pet parents” support in the form of pet food and medicines so they can keep the animals in their homes and out of the shelter system.

A festival donation of $1,000 was added to the final tally and announced by Karey Bresenhan, festival founder and director emeritus.

“The results of this project prove to me yet again — even though I already know it — that quilters have the biggest hearts in the world, and I know so many of them are pet lovers and pet advocates,” Bresenhan says. “And we’re still getting cards in the office for next year.”

That’s right, the Pet Postcard Project will continue for the next two years, with donated postcards to be sold in 2013 and 2014. (I’m thinking these may become collectibles.)

This coming year, an invitational exhibit of animal-themed quilts is planned in conjunction with the postcards.

And the year after that, the festival will include a judged show of pet-related quilts, in which prizes will be given.

The dates for International Quilt Festival in Houston for 2013 are Oct. 31–Nov. 3, with preview night Oct. 30 and classes beginning Oct. 28.

For details, go to

This pet project may be Houston-based, yet it hits a bit closer to home for me.

My teenage grandson, along with his parents, recently adopted an 8-month-old “rescue” pup here in Grand Junction. He’s a Chesapeake Bay retriever mix named Kai, and this energetic pooch really enjoys being part of his new family. Kai joins two cats, Sprinkles and Pipsqueak, previously adopted from shelters as well.

For Kai, and all of the other pets who benefit from human intervention, efforts such as this postcard project deserve our stamp of approval.

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