This holiday season, I did something that fed my soul big time….I was a Doggie Santa.
It all started last Feb when my friend Karen had a birthday lunch and asked us all to donate money to Chainfree Asheville. Not knowing about this local nonprofit, and being such an animal lover, I was excited to learn more.
I found out that Peggy Irwin (the owner of a B & B) was the catalyst in helping dogs in the area to get off their chains and have a fenced- in area to run in.
Peggy heard of a meeting on chained dogs in 2008 , where the Asheville City Council announced it was reviewing its animal ordinances. So, within weeks she had made contacts and gathered a few kindred souls to hold an informal gathering at the North Asheville Library…and so the seed was planted.
In November 2008 CFA built their first fence for three dogs in West Asheville. They had a grateful owner and a large turnout for the Sunday build. Several other chained dogs got their freedom during the next few months. By Spring of 2009, Peggy had fought through all the red tape and had established CFA as a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization, had raised more money, and begun her strategy to change the City ordinance.
Fence building and the education of the general public about chaining continues as CFA works with animal control to help eligible people to be compliant with the new ordinance.
You and I donate our time and money to causes that we identify with. As a child, my cousin had a german shepard that was always on a chain on the front stoop that was 5 steps high. One day during a severe thunderstorm, afraid of the lightening, the dog – still chained- jumped to her death-which affected me greatly.
So Chainfree Asheville has been getting monthly donations from me since I first heard about it at Karen’s birthday lunch.
And because I wanted to get up close and personal with some of the dogs that my funds helped build fences for, I spent a couple of days before Christmas- with Karen- visiting about a dozen houses that CFA built fences for. We checked on the area to make sure it was clean and had a doghouse with bedding and food and water. We brought toys and treats and spent time with the dogs and heard their stories from their owners.
It was the best Christmas gift I could have asked for.
CFA’s founder, Peggy Irwin developed cancer and made her transition on Oct 14th 2012- but her legacy – www.chainfreeasheville.org , lives on, and I am so glad to be part of it.