Animals at two Westchester shelters will have new beds and toys after volunteers and sewing experts worked together in Yorktown to sew 132 beds and 50 catnip toys for shelter animals.
The beds and toys were donated to the SPCA in Briarcliff Manor on Wednesday and will be delivered on Monday to PetsAlive Westchester of Elmsford, both no-kill shelters.
Liz Peterson, organizer of the efforts and president of Dancing for Animals, held the first-ever Rational Animal Mother’s Comfort Project Westchester event on March 2 at the Fabric Mart store in Yorktown.
Fabric Mart staff member Erin Brophy, Harper Wood, Carrie Vollrath contributed their sewing skills and expertise alongside Peterson and 18 other volunteers who gathered at the store.
"A huge thank you goes out to Linda Speidell [owner of Fabric Mart] for the most gracious donation of her Fabric Mart workshop space for this event and her staff for their support," said Peterson, a Cortlandt Manor resident. "Thanks to Susan Brandt and everyone at Rational Animal for their incredible Mother’s Comfort Project. And, thanks to all the volunteers for their amazing work!"
Peterson, a professional ballroom and Latin dancer and instructor for the past 22 years, has loved animals since she was a child. Over the years, her activism for animal rights increased – she volunteered at animal shelters while in high school, wrote letters to politicians regarding animal issues, and eventually she became a vegan.
She is now the founder of Dancing for Animals, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising money through dancing activities, giving grants to animal welfare organizations, educating people about animal welfare issues and abuses, and inspiring volunteerism and community activity.
Through Dancing for Animals, Peterson got involved with Rational Animal and Susan Brandt's Mother's Comfort Project to organize a Westchester chapter of the program.
"I really loved her project," Peterson said. "I always wanted to participate because I sew. But, I could never make it as the events were always in Brooklyn and my schedule just never worked."
So the decision was easy – start a Westchester chapter and organize volunteers who would make beds for animals "in need of a cozy place to rest their head while waiting for their forever home." Peterson said she plans on organizing four to five sewing events every year.