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A Blanket For Every Body

on January 22, 2012

Sandee and Rob were taking the pugs out for a walk in the city one day.  They came across a homeless man sleeping on the street next to the back of a building.

“Why is that man sleeping there?” Olive asked.

“Because he’s homeless honey,” Sandee said.

“What do you mean?” Java asked.

“Well, he could have many reasons why he doesn’t have a home or any place to live in,” Rob said.

“What about his mama and papa?” Java asked.

“I don’t know,” Sandee said,

“Let’s ask him,” Olive said and started to walk toward the man.

“No honey, let him sleep,” Rob said as he tugged on her leash toward him, “he might not want to be woken up.  You don’t like it.”

“Yea,” Olive said and they all went on the rest of their walk.

As they walked away from the man, Olive kept turning around to see if he woke up.  They got to the car and all the way home, Olive asked question after question about homeless people.  Java asked some and Fosse just listened in.

“It gets cold at night mama, why didn’t he have a blanket?” Olive asked as they walked into the house.

“He probably doesn’t have any money to even buy a cheap one or couldn’t find one in a dumpster or something,” Sandee said.

This puzzled Olive and bothered her at the same time.  Rob took the boys into the backyard to play catch and Sandee just watched TV.

It was bedtime and everyone feel asleep fast because of the earlier walk; except Olive. She was so bothered by that man not having a blanket, she just kept tossing and rolling around and couldn’t sleep. She knew what would cure this problem.  She quietly put her coat and shoes on, grabbed the quilt off of her bed and dragged it out the door in the middle of the night.  Olive had an excellent memory and downtown wasn’t to far.  The tall bright street lights made it easy to find the building the man was sleeping against earlier.  As Olive dragged herself and the quilt toward the area, she was hoping he was still there.  As she approached the building, she noticed a man sitting up with is back against the wall.  She carefully walked up to him, making sure not to surprise or scare him.

“Um hello?” Olive said, “um sir, were you sleeping here earlier today?”

The man didn’t say anything and never looked at her.

“Um sir,” she said again.

“What do you want?!” he grumbled.

This scared Olive,  “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to bother you,” her voice quivered, “it’s cold out here and wanted you to have my quilt.  I walked by you earlier today and saw you didn’t have one to sleep with.”

She piled it in front of her and pushed it closer to him, but made sure not to get to close.

“I’m sorry if I…” she said as she started to cry and went on her way home.

The homeless man felt bad for barking at her. “Wait,” he said gently.

Olive turned around.  “You came all the way down here, this late, to give me this?”

“Yes,” she started, “I couldn’t sleep. It bothered me to learn about homeless people and the fact that you didn’t have a blanket to sleep with.”

“Oh my,” he said and started to cry.

“Oh no, please don’t cry,” she said and walked to him, “it’s not supposed to make you cry.”

“I’m sorry I was harsh with you,” he said, “I’m used to people either being mean to me or taking my stuff.  So I have to be like that to protect myself.  Little girl, you are out way to late and your parents are going to worry to death about you.”

“Oh I don’t live to far from here,” she said.

“My name is Sam,” he said.

“I’m Olive,” she said.

“Well Olive, this is the nicest thing a stranger has ever done for me since I’ve been homeless,” he said.

“But, we’re not strangers, we’re friends,” she said and smiled bit.

“Well, ok friend, you really need to go home before someone wakes up and you’re not in your bed and calls the police,” he said and pushed her away from him.

“Why would they call the cops?” she asked.

“Thinking maybe you were kidnapped,” he said.

“But I’m a pug, not a kid,” she said and giggled.

The sun started to come out a little and Sam kept encouraging her to go home.  Rob got up and went to the kitchen to start coffee.  He noticed the bad door open a crack and was alarmed right away. He ran to every room to make sure all was ok, but when he got to Olive’s room, no Olive.

“Sandee!” he hollered.

She scrambled out of bed, “what’s wrong?” she asked.

“Olive, Olive! Where are you?” he hollered as he ran upstairs and downstairs looking for her.

“Rob what’s wrong?!” she asked in a panic.

“Olive’s gone!” he screamed.

“What?” Java and Fosse said at the same time.

“The back door was open a crack,” Rob started as he opened it and went to the back yard.

“I’ll call 911,” Sandee said as she picked up the phone.

At that moment, there was a knock at the front door.  Sandee hung up before she dialed and ran to the door. She opened it and Olive was standing there with Sam watching from the sidewalk. Sandee snatched Olive up.

“Olive!’ she said and hugged her tight, “where were you?  What happened?  “Who’s that man? Did he hurt you?”

“No, no!” Olive stated, “that’s my friend Sam and he made sure I came home safely.”

“Thank you sir,” Sandee hollered to Sam and he went back to his spot.

Everyone else came into the living room and Sandee sat Olive on the floor.

“Shame on you!” Sandee started, “how dare you leave this house without us!”

Olive hung her head in shame.

“Yea Olive, not cool,” Fosse said with disappointment in his voice.

Olive started to say something and Rob stopped her. “Nothing from you young lady!”

“We were scared to death and almost called the police to report you missing,” Sandee continued and started to cry, “I don’t care what your reason was or what you thought you were trying to do. We’ve told you about strangers and danger on the street.  Someone could have hurt you; that man could have hurt you.  You are grounded for a month!”

“I’m so sorry,” Olive said softly.

“Go to your room now!” Rob said.

Olive went to her room, shut the door and started to cry and whimper.

Hours went by and the crying stopped.  Rob went to work, Sandee did stuff around the house and the boys played in the backyard.  Olive used the time to her advantage and wrote a letter to explain herself:

Mama, Papa, Java, and Fosse.  I am so sorry I did what I did and made you worry.

I didn’t mean to make you mad at me.  But it made me sad that the man we saw that day didn’t have a blanket to sleep with.  And since I live in a nice house with a Mama and Papa who love me, I wanted him to have one. So I took mine and gave it to him.  He said it was the nicest thing a stranger did and now we are friends.  I am sorry, but now Sam can be warm at night. I just wish I had food for him.

She put ink all over her paw and stamped the bottom of the letter, folded it up and pushed it under her door, into the hallway when she hear Sandee walk by her room.  She picked up the note and went to the living room to read it.  She softened more from being angry earlier and thought that’s just like Olive to do that; always thinking of others and how she can help.

“We will talk after dinner,” Sandee said out loud and Olive heard.

The went really slow for Olive.  Eventually she smelled dinner being cooked.

“Olive, dinner!” Sandee hollered.

She went barreling to the dining room.  Pot Roast, mashed potatoes, green beans and salad.  Well, Pot Roast, green beans and potatoes were a blend in dog food for the pugs and mama and papa ate the real stuff.  It was yummy for all.  After dinner was done and the table was cleared, everyone sat at the table to talk.

“I understand what you did,” Sandee started, “but how you did it was wrong.”

“We’ve told you so many times about not talking to strangers unless mama or I are with you,” Rob said, “and you went out by yourself after dark.  Which is the most dangerous time to be out.”

“There are a lot of people that may hurt you out at that time,” Sandee continued.

“But he was really nice to me and made sure I got home safely,” Olive pleaded.

“Well, you got lucky,” Sandee said.

“And so did we,” Fosse blurted out.

“But,” Olive started to cry, “the man didn’t have a blanket and probably was hungry and, and, and.”  She started to cry hysterically and gasping for air.  Rob and Sandee never saw Olive get this worked up over anything before; this really affected her badly.

“They call those people that live on the street, homeless,” Rob said.

“They don’t have a home?” Java asked.

“Nope,” Fosse added.

“Can we have Sam over for dinner and make his tummy happy?” Olive asked with a hopeful look on her face.

“No honey,” Sandee started, “we don’t know him and what happened.”

“Well..” Olive started.

“How about we go to the downtown homeless shelter and find out about volunteering,” Sandee suggested.

“There’s a shelter for Sam?” Olive asked.

“It’s for all the homeless people out there,” Rob added.

“What?” Olive asked in astonishment.

“We’ll go there tomorrow and people will explain more there,” Sandee said, “but you’re still grounded for a week.”

Olive smiled because Mama had said a month when she was upset.

The next day, Rob went to work and Sandee took all pugs with her to the homeless shelter.  They were greeted by a friendly woman named Elaine seated at the front desk.

“Hello, may I help you?” she asked.

“Yes, my name is Sandee and this is Fosse, Java and Olive and we’d like information about volunteering,” Sandee said.

“Wow, this is exciting!” Elaine exclaimed, “we never get this many people in at once to help us.  Well, here’s our sign up sheet letting you know when and where we need help. And what is involved with each project.  Here’s some forms that tell you more about our shelter, events and the one fundraiser we have for the rest of the year.”

“Hey Elaine, what’s up here?” Rosie asked.

“These are new potential volunteers,” Elaine said.

“Hi, I’m Rosie the head of fundraising,” she said, “how about I give you a tour.”

They walk around the entire building; kitchen, first aid room, laundry area, beds, and lounge.  Olive noticed a beautiful, tall dog with a black muzzle, tan body with large white areas.

“Oh is that your dog?” Olive asked Rosie.

“No, she’s one of our homeless dogs,” Rosie said.

“Dogs are homeless too?” Fosse and Java asked at the same time.

“Yes, there a hundred reasons why pets become homeless,” Rosie continued, “she just showed up in this area a few years ago.  And when no one claimed her after a while, we just made her the center’s mascot.  Her name is Chloe.”

Olive walked right up to Chloe and gave her a huge hug.  “Awwwww,” everyone said at the same time.

“I don’t know why someone did what they did, but I love you,” Olive said to Chloe.

“Thank you,” Chloe said and bowed her head.

“Ok guys, let’s go sign up for days and times,” Sandee said.

They went back to the front desk, Sandee filled out the paperwork and they went home with a bag of fliers and other papers.

“Mama, can we go this way?” Olive pointed to the back alley.

“But the car’s the other way,” Sandee said.

“I wanna see if something’s there,” she said and started to walk to the alley.

“Olive wait up,” Sandee said.

Olive ran to the alley and was happy to see Sam sitting in the same place as before. She ran up to him and jumped on his lap and gave him a lot of kisses.

“Olive!” he exclaimed in joy.

Sandee and the boys came running toward them.

“Mama, this is Sam,” Olive said.

Sam stood up and extended his hand.  They shook hands and he extended his hand to Fosse and Java as well.

“Sam this is Mama, Fosse and Java,” she said.

“Please call me Sandee, it’s nice to meet you,” Sandee said.

“Oh no, it’s very nice to meet all of you,” he said, “Olive told me a lot about her family when I made sure she got home safely the other night.”

“I, we all want to thank you for doing that,” Sandee said.

“Yep, thanks,” Java said.

Sandee looked at the spot where Sam was sitting and noticed Olive’s quilt there and smiled. Now she understood where her bedding went and why.

“Whaccha doing here?” Sam asked Olive.

“We’ve just signed up to volunteer at the homeless shelter,” Olive said.
“Really?” Sam asked in astonishment.

“I have a feeling it had everything to do with you,” Sandee said to him softly.

She noticed several tears fall down his cheek.  “And thank you so much for making sure she got home safely.”

“No problem,” he said, “no stranger has ever been even a little nice to me on the street here.  It shows me that there are still good people out there.  And pugs.”

“How did you become homeless?” Fosse asked.

“Now Fosse, that’s none of our business,” Sandee said.

“No it’s ok,” Sam started, “to many people don’t care to ask or even stop and talk to me.  I was in the Army for a long time and when I came home, I tried to get a job. Besides training me on fighting in the field, I trained to fix cars and other things. I got a job at a big car company for a while and then let me go because they hired younger people to pay them less and fired all the older people.  I couldn’t find another job, couldn’t pay my rest then my car got taken away.”

“What about your family?” Olive asked.

“My parents passed away a while ago and the rest of them live in different states,” Sam said, “I don’t really know them well enough to call and ask for help.”

“How come you’re sleeping out here?” Java asked.

“I guess I’m to embarrassed to ask for help,” Sam said, “wow, no one’s ever asked me and I’ve never thought about it.”

Olive got real close to Sam and hugged him around the neck, “will you please go in the shelter and eat and sleep?”

“Sure,” he said looking at the pleading look in here eyes.

Sam gathered up his quilt and a few other belongings and headed to the shelter and Sandee took everyone home.

The week went to slow for Olive; they signed up to do a walk around on the weekend. A walk around is where people from the shelter, in a group, go around downtown and pass out food to people who don’t go to the shelter.  Fruit and muffins and bagels get donated from many places to help feed people.  Saturday morning came and Sandee got up at 6am to get Olive and the boys up to get to the shelter by 7am.  Olive was up quick and perky; the boys were sluggish and a challenge to get going.  She went into the kitchen right away and started coffee for Mama.  She didn’t know how to cook so she grabbed muffins from the bottom cupboard and put them on the table.  Sandee came out of the bathroom to smell coffee in the air.  She looked in the bedroom to see Rob still sleeping.  Then she thought she was imagining things.  When she got to the kitchen, she saw a full pot of coffee and the box of muffins on the table.

“Come on Mama, eat and let’s go,” Olive said as she ran in the kitchen to grab the water bowl from the floor.

Sandee poured herself a cup of coffee and giggled.  She’s never seen Olive this excited about anything.

“HEY!” Fosse and Java screamed, “THAT’S COLD.”

“GET UP!” Olive demanded.

Sandee laughed out-loud, “nice work Olive.”

Olive walked back into the kitchen quite proud of what she had just done.  Looked up at Mama and smiled.

“Very nice baby girl,” Sandee said and smiled.

Java and Fosse came to the kitchen drying themselves off.

“Will you fill this up Mama?” Olive asked as she gave the empty water bowl to her.

“Ok, ok, we’re moving,” Fosse said and him and Java sprinted back to their room to get dressed for the day.

“I wasn’t gonna do it again, just thirsty,” Olive said.

“That was funny,” Sandee said.

They got to the shelter and everyone was still sleeping in the bed area.  They went to the kitchen and started helping with breakfast cooking and set up.  It was buffet style food and they helped dish out portions of food.  Men, women, and children came through the line.  They got a choice of hot oatmeal or cold cereal, juice, milk, and a piece of fruit.

“Hi there,” Olive would say, “good morning.  I hope this helps.”

She always had a smile and wouldn’t get one back at times.  Mostly people would smile out of gratefulness of people volunteering and the food they were serving.

“Mama, puppies!” a young voice scream in happiness.

A little girl came running over overjoyed.

“Madison, Madison,” her mother yelled as she ran after her, “no sweetie, you can’t just try to pick up the puppies without asking.”

Madison was trying to pick up and hug Olive and almost falling over.

“Whoa,” Olive said and giggled.

“I’m so sorry, she gets so excited when she sees animals,” Fran said to Sandee, “my name’s Fran.  Maddy, put the puppy down gently.”

“That’s ok, I understand the excitement.” Sandee said and they shook hands, “I’m Sandee; this is Olive, Fosse and Java.  Olive gets that way about things too.”

Madison started petting Java and Java wouldn’t stop licking her.

“Your kisses tickle,” Madison said.

“Java, not so much,” Sandee said, “he loves to lick and lick and lick.  He loves kids.”

They continued to serve food until it was out; everyone in the shelter got fed, including all volunteers.

“Thank you so much for coming at this time,”  Gavin said, “I’m Gavin and I’m in charge of the food donations, prepping and cooking.  No one wants to get up and come here this early.”

“You’re welcome, glad to help,” Sandee said and looked at the drowsy Fosse and Java, “come on troops, let’s go home for a nap.”

“Will we see you again?” Gavin asked.

“Yes, why do you ask?” Sandee asked.

“Many people will volunteer one time and then we don’t’ see them again,” Gavin said.

“Nope, we will be back again later this week,” Sandee said.

They piled into the car and went home.

As soon as they walked into the house, Java and Fosse flopped on the couch and fell asleep right away.  Sandee and Olive sat in comfy chairs and rested. They thought about what they had just done and felt good about it.

“Next time, we’ll ask the boys if they want to help, ok?” Sandee said to Olive.

“Fair enough,” Olive said, “maybe we do some stuff in the afternoon or dinner time.”

Rob got home from work later that afternoon and Olive talked his ear off about volunteering at the shelter.  A few days later, just Sandee and Olive went to the shelter. They were given cleaning projects and re-organizing in the much neglected basement. For years the huge area was used as a storage area and dumping place for things they thought they might use sometime.

Rosie, Sandee and Olive headed downstairs to start moving and boxing things up and see what they could come up with for organizing.

“Man, this place looks like a huge garage sale,” Olive said as she sniffed around.

Rosie stopped in her tracks and thought for a moment, “that’s it!” she hollered out.  “Olive, you’re brilliant!”

“Um, ok, what’d I say?” she asked.

“For a long time, I’ve tried to come up with an idea to put some organization to this room, get rid of some stuff and raise money while having fun,” Rosie said, “we’ve been so short staffed and volunteers don’t commit for very long.  We’ll have a huge garage sale.”

She picked up Olive, held her tight, spun in a circle, hugged and kissed her.

“Olive will you…”Rose started to say.

“We would love to help you with it,” Sandee interrupted, “I love going to garage sales and I love organizing things.”

“She does, it’s kinda weird,” Olive said.

“No that’s perfect,” Rosie started, “then she would know the smartest way to set it up. So it’s easy shopping and the best way to make it wheelchair accessible.”

They started by putting things in categories, then sorting it out by size and tossing the things out they actually didn’t want.  When they got down to the nitty, gritty, they decided to have it in the back parking lot of the shelter; that was the only place big enough to have it.  They chose a day and put up the circus tent like thing they had in cased in rained.  They had fun making fliers and posting them all around town and just outside of town.  The day came quickly and a lot of people showed up.  Sandee, Olive and the boys were on hand and so were all of the staff and many other volunteers.  The sale was for three days and was very successful.  There wasn’t much left and Rosie was stumped on what to do with it.

“Hey, why don’t we donate it to a homeless shelter,” Olive joked.  Everyone moaned.

“Let’s just take it back down to the basement and maybe we’ll think of new ways to re-use it,” Rosie said.

When everyone started taking the rest to the basement, there was a long table set up with a lot of large pizza, bottles of pop, chips, dip, plates, and napkins.

“Wow, thank you, oh my gosh,” people said randomly.

“This is just one way of me to say thank you so much for putting so much work into this,” Rose said, “the biggest thank you goes to Olive for the idea and excitement to start.”

Everyone clapped loudly.

“Well thank you,” Olive said and bowed, “ok, let’s eat.”

Everyone ate, talked and had a great time.  After most everyone left, the rest of the staff cleaned up and went home as well.  Just as Sandee and the pugs were leaving, Olive noticed Sam walking into the building. She ran up to him and jumped into his arms.  She wrapped her front legs around his neck and he held her.

“I’m so happy to see you,” Olive said.

“Wow, well thanks,” he said, “I’m happy to see you too.”

“Hi Sam,” Sandee, Fosse and Java said.

“Hi,” he said.

“So what’s up?” Olive asked.

“Well, I thought about what you said and decided to suck it up and came here for help,” Sam said.

Olive gave him a huge lick on the cheek, “I’m so proud of you.”

Sam put Olive down and went to sign in.  They went home and flopped on the couch.

Sandee and Olive continued to volunteer every other week.  Java and Fosse would come once in a while separately or together.   Olive loved helping people and Sandee loved to see how much Olive got out of it.  One day as Olive got out of the car in the back parking lot, she heard whining.  She didn’t like the way it sounded so she followed it.

“Olive, where are you going?” Sandee asked.

“Mama, do you hear that?” Olive asked.

Sandee listened and heard it.  “That doesn’t sound good,” she said, “come on, let’s find it.”

Olive had great hearing, so she knew better where to follow the sound to.  Sandee followed and they went down the alley two blocks and into an empty building.  In the far corner of the main floor was a bundle of grey Pitbull puppies; five of them with no mother in sight.  The empty building was very echoy and their whining traveled easily.

“Oh no,” Olive said and it sounded like she hollered, “wow that’s loud.”

They ran over to the puppies and looked around for any sign of their mother.

“Olive, let’s stay here for a while, and see if their mama shows up,” Sandee whispered, “but let’s sit in the far corner so we don’t scare the mother or make her mad when she comes back.”

Olive nodded in agreement.  They found some ripped up cardboard, brushed it off and sat on it for a long while.  No sign of a mother and it was starting to get dark.  They walked up to the puppies again, very carefully, and Sandee scooped them up and carried them to the shelter.

“Mama, why do you think they were there without their mama?” Olive asked.

“I don’t know sweetie, maybe someone left them there,” Sandee said, “or they are strays and got separated from their mama.”

“What?!” Olive said sounding horrified.

“Yep, I think they might be homeless as well,” Sandee said.

Olive started to cry and it grew worse and worse.  At one point she was hysterical.  Sandee sat on the floor in the shelter with the puppies on her lap.  She thought of a way to help Olive calm down.

“Olive, breathe honey,” Sandee suggested, “why don’t you lie down.”

Sandee noticed the puppies where getting sleepy.  Kimba, the evening receptionist noticed what was going on and motioned Sandee to follow her.  They went to a small room that had a furry carpet and some pillows on the floor.

“Come lay down here Olive,” Sandee said.

Olive laid down and Sandee nuzzled the puppies around her. In an instant, they all feel asleep.  The puppies seems to cuddle closer to Olive.  One of them woke for a moment and sniffed Olive and fell asleep again.  After checking with the receptionist if it was ok if they stayed until morning, she called Rob to let him know what they were doing.

When morning came, Olive woke up and noticed she wasn’t at home. In a quick panic, she looked around to see if Mama was there.

“Good morning, mama,” Sandee said with a smile on her face.

Olive looked around her to see all the puppies around her.

“Awwwwwwwwwww,” she said and at that sound, the puppies woke up and started barking, “oh no, shhhhhhhhhhhhh.”

“It’s ok, we got put in a very back room and the door is closed,” Sandee said, “they let us stay here last night because I had an arm full of Pitbull and it was to late to go anywhere for them.”

There was scratching at the door.  Sandee opened the door and it was Chloe.  She sniffed around and was instantly drawn to the puppies.  They rallied around her and she started licking them.

“Good morning,” Roxanne, a staff member, said.

“Morning,” Olive and Sandee said.

“I brought breakfast for everyone,” she said and had cereal for Sandee, dog food for Olive and bottles of milk for the puppies.

Sandee, Olive and Roxanne fed the puppies, then they ate.

“Are you going to keep the puppies?” Roxanne asked Sandee.

“Oh I wish,” Sandee started, “I can’t, Olive’s got two brother’s at home. My husband would put me in the dog house if I did anyway. Why?”

“Well, I have a good friend coming to the shelter here to take the puppies, if you weren’t going to,” she said, “but if you were, he wouldn’t take them.”

“Wow, that’s very cool and generous of him,” Sandee said.

“Cesar not only loves Pitbull’s, but he trains them to be service dogs for people with disabilities,” she said, “and this is the perfect age to start that.  So everyone wins.”

“Yea!” Olive and Sandee said.

“I think Chloe is already attached to them,” Sandee said as they all watched her nuzzle and play with the puppies.

“I’ve got to get back to work,” Roxanne said.

“Thanks for everything,” Sandee said, “we will stay here until Cesar comes.”

 

Cesar got there and Sandee and Olive helped take the puppies to his van.  As they walked by the sleeping area, Olive saw Sam laying on a bed, without the quilt he once had.  After they went back inside, she went up to Sam.

“Oh no, what happened to your quilt?” she asked.

“Someone stole it while I was sleeping the other night,” he said, “I walked around for hours that day to see who could have taken it and no luck. I was so mad.”

“Well now I’m mad too,” Olive said sternly.

Sam thought she was mad at him and he started to cry at the thought of her disappointment in him.

“I’d like to find that person and tell them it was bad to take my friend’s quilt and give it back!” she said, “I’m so pugging mad.”

Sam sighed in relief.

“Come on Olive,” Sandee said loud enough of her to hear, “hi Sam.”

They waved to each other, Olive hugged Sam and went home.

Olive went to bed that night upset.  As she slept, she dreamt of blankets floating through the air, over the city.  Many people in the city, sleeping on the streets and when the right blanket found their person, it fell on them and warmed them through the night.  Olive woke up in the middle of the night and said out loud, “a blanket for everybody.”

Rob was making breakfast while Sandee was in the shower and Olive was at his heels.

“Papa, how much money do we have?” she asked.

“Enough, why?” he asked.

“Do we have enough to buy every homeless person a blanket?” she asked.

“Oh no baby, that’s a lot of blankets to buy,” he said.

She stuck out her bottom lip and started sulking.

“Now don’t trip on that bottom lip when you walk,” Sandee said and giggled.

She remembered that the shelter made money from the garage sale and she would ask Rosie.

The next day, Olive anxiously got to the shelter and looked for Rosie.  She was in her office and at her desk doing paperwork.

“Whaccha doing?” Olive asked.

“Going over what money we made at the garage sale, hours we have for employees, our finances, and trying to come up with money making ideas,” Rosie said.

“Did we make enough money to buy some blankets for people show need them?” Olive asked.

“Sure, we could hit as many second hand stores in the area,” Rosie said.

“Can we buy enough for all homeless people?” Olive asked hopeful.

“Oh my gosh no, that’s a lot of blankets, we can’t buy that many,” Rosie said.

“Oh,” Olive said disappointed, “is there a way to do that?”

Rosie stopped her paperwork, sat and thought for several minuets. Her face lit up like a light bulb went off over her head.

“A blanket for every body,” Rosie and Olive said at the same time.

“We are going to have a fundraiser, are you with me?” Rosie asked.

“I don’t know what that is but ok,” Olive said, “oh, oh, oh, my Mama loves to plan stuff and do stuff like that.”

“Ok, I’ll talk to her,” Rosie said, “want to know how we’re going to get lots of blankets?”

Olive shook her head so hard she almost fell off her chair.

“Give people a choice of cover cost of money or a blanket that’s in good shape or new,” Rosie said.

“Cool!” Olive said and howled with happiness.

Rosie called Sandee and they talked about getting together to talk about ideas for entertainment, food, where to get donations, day, time, and place.  Sam was walking by Rosie’s office and heard the phone call.  After Rosie hung up the phone, Sam stepped into her office.

“Hello, I don’t mean to intrude or be rude, but can I help with the fundraiser?” Sam asked.

“Of course Sam, thank you for volunteering,” Rose said with delight, “we’ll need your strength and fix-it skills to put this together.”

Olive went up to Sam and hugged his legs.

“It’s this one here that’s gotten me off the sidewalk to do something and I need to help with this since I hear what you’re doing,” he said.

“Why? What is it about this?” she asked.

Sam sat down and told Rosie the whole story of what Olive did for him and how she and her family have helped make a difference in his life now.  He was included in the planning process and things went forward from there.

“Ok, so what kind of fundraiser should we have?” Rosie asked.

It was quiet for a little while, while they thought of ideas.

“Well we have to have something where people will want to come,” Rosie said.

“Like entertainment stuff,” Olive said.

“Do you sing or anything?” Sam asked Olive.

“Um, no, but I howl good,” Olive said and giggled.

“What about a talent show?” Rosie asked.

“How many people do you know have talent to show?” Sam asked.

“Not many, but we could put up a sign for people to sign up and they we put it together from there,” Rosie said.

“That’s awesome!” Olive said excitedly, “ok we have to pick a date for the fundraise and have people sign up several weeks before that.”
“But where do we do this?” Sam asked.

“Wow, this is alot of stuff do to,” Rose said.

“Ok, I’ll tell my mama about this and she’s a wizard about organizing and putting stuff together,” Olive said and left.

Olive got home and her and Sandee got to work.  After the made lists and posters about talent auditions, Sandee got on the phone to call around for places they could have the fundraiser at. She found a place that was willing to donate the space; it wasn’t to far from the homeless shelter. She started contacting local community colleges and a few high schools to talk to the culinary department and cooking classes to see about any of them volunteering to cater the event.  While she did all the bigger things, Olive got busy with drawing and making banners and more signs for it, since they had a place and date.

Audition sign-up sheet was up at the homeless shelter and it was filled.  There was so much excitement and attention that it was decided to just have everyone perform; that way, there was enough entertainment to last the entire evening.  Everyone was contacted and talked to about the rules of performing; no swearing, making fun of or bad talking about anyone.  The buzz was out because the phone wouldn’t stop ringing some days with people wanting to know more.  A phone call came in 1 1/2 weeks before the fundraiser from the local newspaper. No one was sure how they got word, but didn’t matter; this was best way to get the word out to a larger audience.  The next day, Poppy, one of the newspaper’s best reporters came to the shelter.

“Hi, my name is Poppy and I’m here to interview Rosie,” Poppy said as she walked toward the front desk.

“I’m Rosie,” she said and stood up from behind the desk and they shook hands.

“I’m here from the Gazette to do a feature story on the up coming fundraiser,” she said, “in my research, there’s never been anything done here and my editor and I think this is worth attention.”

“Wow,” she said and tears filled her eyes, “how did you know about this?”

“My editor gave it to me and never said where he got it from,” Poppy said, “so tell me about the fundraiser and where it all came from.”

‘Well, I can’t do that without Olive,” she said, “she’s the one who started it and pushed to make it happen.”

“That’s great, when can I talk to her?” she asked.

“This is great timing,” Rosie said as she noticed Olive and Sandee walking in the door, “Poppy, this is Olive and Sandee.”

“Hi, it’s really nice to meet you,” Poppy said and shook Sandees’ hand and bent down to shake Olive’s paw.

“Guys, this is the reporter from the Gazette who wants to do an article on the fundraiser,” she said, “she’d like to talk to Olive.”

“Ok, but only if mama can sit with us,” Olive said.

They all went to the café area, sat and Rosie made them drinks.

“Olive, what made you want to do this?” Poppy asked.

“Well, I saw this guy laying outside with no blanket,” she started, “mama told me he was homeless and probably didn’t have enough money for a blanket.  That made me sad. Then I found out about dogs and stuff being homeless too, and that made me more sad. I asked mama if we could buy all the homeless people blankets and stuff. And then she took us to a homeless shelter to volunteer.”

“Whew, you said a mouthful,” Poppy said as she franticly took notes.

“I don’t have anything in my mouth, see,” Olive said and opened her mouth wide.

“You are funny,” Poppy said and laughed.

“It means you said a lot of things baby,” Sandee said and smiled.

“Have you seen this man again?” she asked.

“Why sure, he’s my friend now,” she said, “Sam are you in here?!”

Rosie brought some drinks and cookies to the table.

“Is Sam here,” Olive asked Rosie.

Just as Rose was about to answer, Sam came in the back door and down the hall toward them.

“Sam, come over here,” Olive said out-loud, “Sam, this is Poppy and she’s doing an article for the paper about the raiser.”

“Sam, it’s very nice to meet you,” she said and shook his hand, “could I ask you some questions for the article?”

“Sure,” he said and sat down.

All of them sat there for a few hours while Poppy took pages and pages of notes.  Sam told her about his time in the service and how tough it’s been trying to get work and supporting himself. And then the painful part of how lost everything and became homeless.

“Tell me about the fundraiser,” Poppy said.

“Well, it’s gonna be a ton of fun,” Olive said, “singing and dancing to watch and snacks to eat.”

“The cover is either 10 dollars or a blanket,” Sandee added.

“That’s outstanding!” Poppy exclaimed, “I can’t wait to bring this to my editor and tell him all about it.”

She sat silent for a moment, deep in thought.

“I’d like to bring a photographer here tomorrow and get photos of everyone and the place,” she said, “is this ok with everyone?”

Everyone agreed.

“This will be my next front page story as well,” she said.

Everyone was so excited; especially Rosie. Finally, the shelter would get the attention needed to do more for all those in need.

“I will also get the attention of every pet store and see what the response is from them to you,” she said, “thank you so much for your time.  I will be in contact with all of you tomorrow about photos.  I’m going to put a rush on this at the paper so everyone can read this a couple of days before the event.”

Poppy finished her drink, grabbed all her things and left.

Poppy and the photographer came by the next day and took a ton of pictures. A few days later the article came out and it was a buzz.  Business’s started calling and donating items to help out.  More people called asking questions about the event and volunteering to help.  The phone never stopped ringing and excitement kept building.  Rose found a church that volunteered it’s basement to hold the event and the room was huge.  Everyone was there a few days before the fundraiser to clean what needed to be cleaned, set up the tables and chairs and prep anything else.

The day of the fundraiser came and everyone was super busy.  All the volunteers came to the church early to get the snacks and drinks ready, set up the stage area and the ticket table.  People started lining up outside the door two hours before it started.  Many of them brought their dogs.  The local news was there covering it for the 7:00 broadcast and reporters from several newspapers were there as well.

“Oh my pugness,” Olive exclaimed as she peeked her head out the door at the line, “are we ready?”

She opened the door and people started pouring in with blankets and quilts to donate and money as well.  The room filled up quick and some people had to either sit on the floor or just stand.  Volunteers kept running back and forth to a designated room for blankets several times; and the donations just kept coming through-out the night.

“Wow and welcome to our first Blanket For Everybody fundraiser,” Rosie said into a mic that was in the center of the stage area, “I want to thank everyone for coming and donating, all the newspapers and TV, and to all the volunteers; but especially to the one pugtastic little lady that started all this, Olive.”

Everyone clapped loudly and hooted as she came up to the mic.

“Thank you Rosie,” she said, “and everyone.  This was all because of my friend Sam. He’s to shy to come up here, so let’s just start the fun.”

The entertainment started and Olive went around the talk to all the dogs. There was singing, rapping, jokes, dancing and skits performed.  People laughed and some cried at times.  Everyone was having such a great time.  Even as time went by, people kept coming in with money and/or blanket donations.

At one point, later that night, Olive could be found asleep in Sandee’s or Rob’s arms as they stayed until the end and just carried her.  One of the volunteers sectioned off a corner toward the back of the room and laid pillows on the floor for any sleepy dog.  She sat there all night to keep watch over whoever came.  There were bowls of water and treats there.

The fun went on until very late.  It finally ended, the place was cleaned and everyone went home; except Sam who took a few blankets to people he knew where homeless in the near area.  A few other people, who weren’t wore out, did the same.

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2 responses to “A Blanket For Every Body

  1. Helpful details. Privileged my family I discovered your web blog accidentally, with this particular pleasantly surprised exactly why this accident decided not to took place sooner! We saved it.

    • Thank you very much for the comment. How did you accidently come across it? And keep reading more stories and checking back every so often for new ones. Please share this with every dog owner you know as well.

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