by Alana, SmartPak Store Shipping Manager
If you had asked me a year ago that I would soon have my own non-profit corporation, I probably would have laughed. Looking back on that day in April last year when I entered a shelter in South Carolina, on a whim, to see if I might find a new friend for my dog, Linden (you might know her as the Benji look-alike at the SmartPak store), I had no idea how much my life would change. I had been wintering in Aiken with my horses for the event season and came back with a project that completely changed everything. While I was at the shelter, a litter of 9 newborn puppies were dropped off as well as about 5 other strays. This added to the multitude of friendly pound puppy faces already in the shelter. A little tan corgi mix puppy was being escorted to a back room to be put to sleep because her time was up and there was simply not enough room for her. I said I would take her on the spot and even adopted another traveling companion for her as well. After heading back home to Massachusetts, both of the dogs – now called Betty and Pumpkin (another SmartPak store resident) – were adopted within 24 hours. I had found my calling. Within a couple of months, 6 more small dogs were transported up to me after filing for non-profit status and The Pet Union Project, Incorporated was born.
Since then I have found homes for 50 more dogs. Some noted residents in my household have included, Chester, an emaciated little Chihuahua who once he started feeling better was a little menace, and I will never forget Cricket, a cocker spaniel/dachshund mix, who is actually cross-eyed, but just loved her stuffed animals! There was Dexter, a hound mix who got so sick one night because he attempted to eat an entire bag of dog food. And who could forget Rosie, a petite little Papillion princess who grew so attached to me that we would share a pillow every night until she found her forever home. Tiger was a shaggy sheepdog mix who loves to jump up and give great big bear hugs. His new family just loves him! Now I am not one to play favorites, but the only little dog who almost became a permanent member of my family was a Pomeranian named Vincent who was brought to the shelter at 10 years old after his owner developed Alzheimer’s. His fur was so matted that he couldn’t walk and his demeanor was best described as a crotchety old man. We grew much attached to each other throughout our time together and he even learned to play like a puppy again, and would roughhouse with his stuffed giraffe or my dog, Linden, for hours! He now has a new little brother and is unbelievably spoiled in his new home. It’s amazing what can be done in a year! These dogs have completely changed my life and each one of their little personalities I will remember forever! My favorite part of the whole process is seeing the smiles on the new families’ faces as they come to bring their new dog home.