On October 30, we will be celebrating Okey’s “Gotcha Day,” the day that she was rescued from that infamous parking lot! To celebrate, and to raise funds for the Okey’s Promise: Celebrating the Human – Animal Bond project, I am going to create an artwork every day in October, and post it for auction on my main website, BZTAT Studios. Each artwork will be accompanied by an encouraging “Thought for the Day”.
I hope that you will check out the auctions and bid if you like. Or just enjoy the artwork! Everyone who bids, however, will be entered into a contest for a free artwork at the end of the month. All proceeds from the auctions will go towards the Okey’s Promise: Celebrating the Human – Animal Bond project.
The drawing above is the first piece available for auction. You can learn more about it here if you’d like to check it out.
It has been an amazing year with Okey as she has overcome challenges and begun to trust again. She is still skittish, but she grows more trusting every day. I spent much of the day in bed today nursing a cold, and she was with me the whole time, snuggling and rubbing her head on my hand. What a resilient little girl she is!
When I launched the second Okey’s Promise project, I really debated about using the Kickstarter program a second time. It worked well for the first project, and it was trendy. But there were drawbacks. Kickstarter is all or nothing (you get nothing if you do not meet your goal), and they really constrain you to a time frame. There are also fees that cut into your actual proceeds.
I decided to go with it because the program is getting lots of buzz for its creativity. Unfortunately, it did not work so well the second time around. We didn’t meet the goal, so we got nothing.
I am not giving up, though.
Okey’s Promise is not just about me. Okey’s Promise is a movement that includes Promise Keepers from all over the world who have given their time and passion to the cause. It would be incredibly selfish for me to just give up and say, “Sorry, guys,” to all those who have been helping me get the word out.
So we are charging forward, and beginning a whole new fund raising campaign through ChipIn. I will honor the same rewards that I offered through the Kickstarter campaign with the ChipIn campaign. I have raised the goal and extended the time frame in the hopes that we can make it even grander.
Okey had many setbacks in her process of adjusting to life with four other cats and a human that she both feared and clung to for support. Nothing was easy for her, why should I expect it to be easy for me?
If you would like to contribute, you can use the widget in the right sidebar. If you can’t contribute funds, you can still be a Promise Keeper by helping get the word out. Please feel free to embed the widget on your own site, and please share the video.
Thanks for your support. It means more than you know.
Along with youthful blogger/dancer Miah Thornton, I presented about Okey’s Promise at BlogPaws to a courageous and enthusiastic group at the BlogPaws pet bloggers conference. Special thanks go to the Found Animals Foundation for sponsoring the presentation.
Miah very beautifully enacted Okey’s story and the mission of the entire project, and her moving performance was enjoyed by all. During the presentation, I kicked off the new project on Kickstarter, which you can read about here.
After running into difficulties with finding a permanent location for the last mural, I have decided that the new project will be a traveling exhibit. I plan to create many images of survivors – animal and human – that tell the story of resilience and hope, while also bringing home the reality of pet abuse and domestic violence. There will be several pieces that will go together as a whole, and will have numerous options for indoor and outdoor exhibition.
Please contact me if you would like to consider exhibiting the completed piece in your area.
Before the new work can be exhibited, however, it must be funded. I only have a month to raise the funds. Backers for the project will become a part of a special group called “Okey’s Promise Keepers” as well as receive special awards at specific funding levels. I hope you will consider becoming an “Okey’s Promise Keeper”, and encourage others to do the same. No pledge is too small!
There is plenty of information about the Okey’s Promise mission on this website and on the Kickstarter page. Please feel free to contact me if you would like to learn more. The Kickstarter page allows you to embed the video and a widget that links to the page. I would be thrilled if you chose to share about the project on your blog or website!
I said that we presented to a courageous and enthusiastic group at the BlogPaws, because Hurricane Irene did come through our area, and we had some wind and rain. More than anything, fears of closed airports compelled some to leave early to return to their families. Those of us who remained had a bit of frivolity making fun of news reporters by making crazy hurricane videos. Truthfully though, our area was spared any serious weather. We were all thankful for that!
Although I had great fun at BlogPaws meeting new and old friends, I was very happy to return home to Okey and the rest of the crew.
By the way, the music in both Okey’s Promise videos is by my good friend Jason Farnham who has graciously given me permission to use it. Please visit his website and his Facebook page if you like it!
It is widely known that Okey, the cat who inspired this blog and the entire Okey’s Promise project, was rescued from a parking lot in downtown Canton, OH. Less known is that the actual rescue took days and was a very delicate process.
I have taken in stray cats many times in my life, but they always found their way to me, so taking them in was easy. Not so with Okey. She was scared and had obviously had bad experiences with humans. My first attempt to grab her left me with numerous scratches and with her becoming doubly wary of me.
I knew I needed help. So I called my friend Jill who runs a small animal rescue Cripple Creek Ferals & Friends. Jill provided me with a live trap and coached me through the process of earning Okey’s trust. It took a few days, but I finally found her in the trap, and brought her inside for a gradual integration with my other cats.
Now, we are a happy family! Okey has become pals with the other cats and has really made our lives very full. She still is timid and skittish at times, showing her continued fear of humans, but when things are on her terms, she is very loving. We are very grateful to Jill for helping make our family complete.
So we have decided to give back to Jill and Cripple Creek Ferals and Friends.
Jill is in the process of rescuing 2 large groups of cats. The first group was at a home of a couple who simply lost control of their feline population and it grew out of control. Jill and other volunteers began the rescue at the request of family, and in the midst of the rescue, the house caught fire.
The woman was seriously injured in the fire. The man had already been placed in a nursing home and was no longer in the home. (Read local news about the fire and cat rescue.) It appears that the cats that were in the home survived by escaping into the garage that did not burn. Now Cripple Creek Ferals & Friends are tasked with managing, assessing, vetting and finding homes for all these cats. You can follow updates on the cats and learn adopting them at Cripple Creek’s Petfinder page.
I have done a small fundraiser by donating the proceeds of an art auction to Cripple Creek. I also asked my friend Caroline Golon from The Happy Litter Box if she could help getting some litter donated for the cats. Boy did she come through! Caroline contacted the great folks at The World’s Best Cat Litter, and they agreed to donate a month’s supply of litter for 25 cats!
But wait, there’s more!
After receiving some local press for her efforts to rescue the Greentown Cats, Jill was contacted by another person needing help with a completely different colony of feral cats. Jill has agreed to help trap these cats, get them spayed and neutered and then release them where they will be maintained by the woman who contacted her. Each cat’s vetting costs at least $45, so Cripple Creek Could really use some extra resources.
Cripple Creek Ferals & Friends is not a large rescue group, but they are top notch, and I have no doubt that they will find a way to give these cats the best. A Chip-in has been created by the wonderful NipClub folks, who will be featuring them as their charity for tonight’s weekly Twitter “pawty” to raise funds for animal rescue. I have added the Chip-in to the sidebar to the right.
I hope you will consider lending your support to Cripple Creek Ferals and Friends. Every little bit helps. Thanks!
Public art to make our world a better place for all creatures great and small.