Monday, January 18, 2010

Jill's Story: How Project Pawsitive was born


After my dad passed away from a brain tumor in 2004, I began to look at my life very differently. I knew for the first time through his passing, that we are all truly here for a purpose. It was then I realized that my purpose was to help animals and animal volunteers in need. Not knowing where it would lead me, I began to donate my professional writing services to homegrown animal shelters. Through that journey, I was able to see what these homegrown rescues go through in order to provide a better life for these innocent animals. And, I was able to witness the tough challenges they face to keep their shelters running.

Then, last Spring, before I feel asleep one night, I had a vision of using my writing and TV hosting skills to launch a new program that would change the lives of the animals and volunteers at rescues that are in desperate need through eco-friendly renovations. I didn’t know how I would get there, but I knew that it was my calling. That night, Project Pawsitive was born.

I began researching shelters in my area and found a horse rescue called the Equine Protection of North America (EPONA) located in Epping, New Hampshire. A week later, after a tearful phone call with EPONA’s Director, Beverly Hanson, I went with my camera buddies to check out the barn and meet the horses and volunteers.

The barn was in poor condition and showing the effects of a bad economy. The roof had been leaking for quite some time. Beverly tearfully told us about how she would clench her steering wheel on her drive to the barn, worrying that a snowstorm had put enough pressure on the roof to collapse it. She also walked us around the barn and showed us how volunteers had to lug huge, heavy buckets of water multiple times per day to various paddocks due to broken waterlines along with the ice picks they use to try to break up the ice in the water troughs because there was no electricity to the paddocks. Every single day was an enormous struggle for them. Yet, the love the care for the 15 horses, rescued from slaughter, abuse, and neglect, was beyond words.

I knew I had to help the volunteers at EPONA. And, I wouldn’t quit until I did.

After a great amount of time and dedication, I am proud to say that we completed our very first renovation and pilot episode at EPONA this past October. And, it was the greatest experience of my life.

We were so fortunate to have had the wonderful people at Home Depot help us by providing the materials needed for the project. We also had an out-pouring of about 70 local and Home Depot volunteers help us complete the project in one week and to the tune of about $40,000.

The renovation at EPONA consisted of building a new roof, providing new water and electricity lines to the paddocks, painting the barn, smoothing out the stall floors, and fixing deteriorating fencing, We were also blessed enough to provide the shelter with a new Cub Cadet riding lawn mower, a donated hay storage shed, and an ATV to help move hay more easily.

We're hoping to get started on our next renovation, but we need the support of the animal lovers out there who want to see this show on the air! Let us know if the comment sections of this blog!


To the journey,
Jill

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