Eight-year-old Emma Heffner has always had an innate love for animals. Her mom, Kelly Heffner, remembers one time when Emma made her stop traffic to rescue a caterpillar that was attempting to cross the street. Kelly told PetSmart charities that Emma has, “been talking about wanting to be an “animal doctor” since she was three. Her heart is endless when it comes to animals.”
So when Emma discovered the Facebook page for Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS), a non-profit animal shelter, it’s no surprise that she was instantly captivated by the dogs and cats. In particular, Emma became fond of Miracle Molly, a homeless Pit Bull who survived being hit by an Amtrak train in January of 2016. Thankfully, a police officer pulled the injured dog off of the tracks and got her to BARCS immediately and she was able to receive lifesaving medical care.
Emma constantly followed Molly’s story, her care, recovery, and then finally the dog’s adoption by the police officer who saved her life. Since the family already has a cat and two rescue dogs, adopting another animal wasn’t possible, but still, Emma wanted to help. For Christmas, Emma made fleece blankets as gifts for friends and family. When one of the family dogs laid down on one of the blankets as she was making it. Then she had a light bulb idea! Emma asked her Mom if she could make blankets for the dogs and cats at BARCS. And so started Emma’s “Covered in Love” mission.
Emma wants to cover all 300 dogs and cats at BARCS with a cozy, warm, blanket. The blankets are made out of fleece animal-print fabric and go home with the dog or cat when they are adopted. Emma has delivered 40 of her hand-made blankets so far!
Emma has gathered the help of family and friends to make more blankets and she also is raising money to cover the costs of the fabric by selling animal-print blankets to supporters.
“The animals are homeless and in cages and don’t get to feel love from people all the time and don’t have anything of their own,” said Emma.
Bailey Deacon, a BARCS spokesperson said that the blankets provide the shelters cats and dogs with warmth and coziness and sometimes even a first taste of what their life with their forever family will be like.
“Emma has always had the biggest heart. She is just so full of life and love, and we are so incredibly proud of her,” said Emma’s mom.
If you would like to support Emma’s “Covered in Love” mission, you can order your own handmade animal-print blanket. Your purchase will help support Emma’s compassionate endeavor to provide all of the shelter dogs and cats at BARCs with blankets of their own. Be sure to “like” Emma’s Facebook page, too!
Studies find that the earlier a child can begin volunteering, the better. And volunteering with animals can make the impact even stronger. Animal shelters across the world are desperate for help with taking care of the thousands of homeless animals they care for. You can call your local animal shelter and ask about kid-friendly volunteer activities they may offer. If they don’t already have a program set up, don’t fret! There are tons of ways to become an active animal volunteer with children of all ages.
Image source: Emma’s Covered in Love Mission/Facebook