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Handmade blankets offer blessing in disguise to homeless animals

Handmade blankets offer blessing in disguise to homeless animals

MADISON, Wis. - Who doesn’t like a nice, soft, warm, comforting blanket? 

I have dozens that travel throughout my house, because my boys can’t leave any behind. My youngest is even known to take blankets from Grandma’s house because, “It’s just so soft, Mom!” He knows what he likes. My oldest insists on sleeping with every blanket that his little eye spies in his room (upwards of seven) so I have to be mindful and remove most of them before bedtime.

What is it about a blanket? 

Well, from a quick search on Google, a blanket brings people comfort and security. Well then, count me in and wrap me up in one. 

I’d like you to meet my new friend, Jeff Hopwood. He understands the meaning of comfort and security. This young Mount Horeb man has been surrounded for most of his life with the comfort and security of animals -- dogs and cats. 

In return, he got involved with “animal transport” – helping bring homeless animals from the South to the Midwest, with the goal of finding new forever homes. His route was from the Beloit area to Madison.

In an effort to find yet another way to help these homeless animals, he decided to make blankets but not for them. 

He makes them to sell to anyone who will buy one, and all the money raised goes to a variety of organizations that help homeless animals -- Underdog Pet Rescue, Brown Paws Rescue, Hoping For A Home, Dane County Humane Society, Sauk County Humane Society, Chasing Daylight, Little Orphans Animal Rescue, Humane Society of Southern Wisconsin and one new Madison-area non-profit, Czar’s Promise, which focuses on canine and pediatric cancer research and support. 

He buys all the material out of his own pocket from the money he makes from his five -- yes five -- jobs.

As he makes each tie-knot blanket, in his mind, he’s got a lot going on. He focuses incredibly hard on making sure each piece of fabric is tied perfectly, which is a real challenge for him with very good reason: He has autism.

Because of this side job "Blankets By Jeff," he has overcome so much and has learned about measurements, expanded his math skills and is a master at coupon shopping.

When I sat down and interviewed Jeff about his business, I never asked him about having autism, because that wasn’t the story, but I asked him, "What do you want people who see this to know about you?" and having autism is what he shared. He also talked about the special connection to a dog who has been a "blessing" in his life, but I’ll leave Jeff to share that beautiful story with you in this special Do Something Good video. 

By the way, his blankets are amazing. If you’d like to get one, he will be selling them at Metcalfe’s West on Saturday, Dec. 1, and again on Sunday, Dec. 2. Otherwise, contact him via his Facebook page, Blankets by Jeff.

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