Cozy Doggies, Courtesy of Operation Blankets Of Love

Granada Hills resident Eileen Smulson never owned a dog -- or even thought of owning one -- until after she was in her fifties and her husband persuaded her to adopt a dog from the Petco in Porter Ranch.

The dog, whom the couple named Ginger, quickly moved from a cold cage in a shelter to the couple's bedroom floor, and then to their bed.

During a future visit to the West Valley Animal Shelter with a friend, Eileen noticed a sign that said the shelter needed donations of blankets and towels for the animals -- they had no budget to provide these items.

Eileen, who had extensive experience working with charities, decided to try to collect fifty or a hundred blankets for the shelter. Within a month, that turned into 400 blankets, and in another two weeks the number doubled again as Eileen began placing drop-off boxes in local pet stores. The Daily News wrote a story on her project, called "Operation Blankets Of Love," and the operation has snowballed into a full time job with more than one hundred thousand blankets and towels donated to shelters, not just in Los Angeles, but all over Southern California.

"I need to go to Lancaster, I'm going to San Pedro, I'm going to Santa Barbara. I'm getting calls from all over -- I just got an email from Kern Country from a shelter with 500 to 600 animals," Eileen said when I spoke with her this morning. "I literally have thousands of items in my garage."

Because this project has become a full-time job for Eileen, she has been appealing for donations, not just of blankets, but also of funds to cover expenses like the gas money it takes to deliver blankets from Bakersfield to San Diego.

"My goal is to reach every corner of the country as a nationwide charity, and to inspire people to help the animals in a way they never thought was possible. It doesn’t matter what economic level you are – everyone has an old towel or blanket, so anyone can become involved."

Operation Blankets of Love


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