Ewing store manager answers social media plea for shelter dog beds and steps up with a creative solution.
I’m a dog lover. I love my three rescued dogs like they’re my kids, and I am passionate about animal welfare and rescue. I follow lots of rescue related pages on Facebook and try to help network information when I can.
Ewing’s Pensacola, Fla., location backs up to the Escambia County Animal Shelter (ECAS). Hearing the dogs barking while we’re here never lets us forget all those poor homeless dogs and cats, so when topics come up regarding the shelter, I pay attention.
In early December, I read that a group was interested in trying to buy and donate some elevated pet beds that the shelter badly needed. The beds mentioned come from a company that offers discounts for beds specially designed for rescues. These beds are very basic, made of PVC and canvas, and cost $45-$60 each! I really wanted to help, but I knew there had to be a better way.
We began looking for options, and before long, someone posted a plan for exactly what we were looking for – PVC elevated dog beds made from Schedule 40 pipe, side outlet ells, canvas and screws. We decided building the beds would be the logical option, and that getting material donated would be wonderful. This project couldn’t have been more perfectly designed for Ewing! I responded to the post, stating that I manage the local Ewing Irrigation and felt confident that I would be able to get at least some of the corner fittings and pipe that were needed donated—and that I would be happy to have a build gathering once we got the materials together. Everyone loved the idea, so I got to work.
When I talked about this idea with my colleagues, Randy Sawyer and Caleb Samms, they were both just as excited to make it happen as I was. Over the following week, Spears Manufacturing donated 200 side outlet ells, and we got approval to donate 400 feet of pipe from Ewing. A quick phone call to a boat canvas company in town earned us a huge amount of free canvas to add to some that another volunteer was already pitching in. We suddenly had enough donated supplies to make 50 beds that would have cost up to $3,000 if they had been bought!
Since our branch is so close to the shelter, and we have the materials and work space, I invited anyone interested to come join us at on December 18, 2013, to put the beds together. The response was huge! The invitation alone was shared on social media over 50 times, and several hundred people commented about what a great thing we were doing for the shelter.
On December 18, volunteers started pouring in, and three news outlets came to the branch to film and interview us. Nearly 20 volunteers stopped by to put in some work. Randy and Caleb spent time cutting the pipe to the correct size, and we helped the volunteers put together the beds. We delivered the beds around the corner to the shelter right at closing time, and they could not have been more excited and thankful for our contribution.