Deborah Dunham said her mom, Alice Pitcher, is consistently trying to find a way to use items more than just once.
For pretty much all of Dunham’s life, her mom has been the type of person who does not like to waste things.
And Dunham has followed in her mom’s footsteps — now reusing packing material to make life for rescued dogs in Colorado a little more comfortable.
Dunham and Pitcher both make beds for an animal rescue operation in Colorado.
“We’re both sewers and we will randomly find things to use scrap fabric for,” Dunham said. “So we volunteer with an animal rescue down in Colorado and we were curious how we could do more for the animals.”
So the two began making dog beds, stuffing them with using scrap fabric.
This way, the dogs at Soul Dog Rescue in Fort Lupton, Colorado, would have fresh, new beds to sleep on as they waited to find their forever homes. Plus, if they tore up the beds, there is less likelihood of them choking on the tiny pieces of fabric, Dunham said.
But after making the beds stuffed with fabric, the mother and daughter discovered another way to make beds while also using what would have been waste.
“I started getting the Home Chef meals and the meal delivery kits come with a lot of packaging,” Dunham said. “There’s this insulation inside and while the company says it’s compostable, the only thing that can really be composted is the inside, the rest would just go into a landfill. But for a pet bed, it’s perfect.”
Now, Dunham and Pitcher are collecting meal delivery kit insulation material from Cheyenne residents in order to make more pet beds for the Colorado shelter, as well as a shelter in Cheyenne.
While Dunham noted that the beds themselves could not be washed due to the insulation material, the idea of getting one more use out of the insulation was attractive.
“It got used once and that was once more than it was intended for and it’s not going to waste. Plus, it will be a nice bed for a dog, even if it’s just to transport them,” she said. “Everything I do revolves around what else can I do for these animals. If we can make them comfortable in a crate, that’s great.”
Dunham put out a call for materials on Facebook and actually received “five or six” responses from people who wanted to help, she said. Pitcher is currently working on making the pet beds and the more material they receive, the more beds they can make.
Dunham said she never really thought about the desire she and her mother share to to keep more items out of landfills, but when she thought about it, she liked the fact that she and Pitcher can extend an item’s usefulness just a little bit.
“My mom is so much more creative in how we can reuse things. I just happened to have the material and she put it into action,” Dunham said.
Soul Dog Rescue works to save animals from suffering and mistreatment due to overpopulation and lack of resources in the Four Corners area of Colorado, Arizona, Utah and New Mexico. The organization works to spay and neuter animals on Native reservations and have rescued more than 15,000 animals to date.
Anyone interested in donating materials to Dunham can reach out to her on Facebook.