If you know me, you know I love animals, and I’m always looking for ways to help them. My yellow lab Dakota was my constant companion on St. John for over a decade, and I just adopted an adorable shelter puppy named Bobo Blue. For years, I’ve supported The Animal Care Center of St. John, and this year I’m taking it up a notch with a big donation, and challenging other businesses to do the same.
The Animal Care Center of St. John is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the well-being and care of homeless, abandoned and abused animals on the island of St. John. This nonprofit started back in the 1960’s when concerned citizens united to find solutions to wild dog packs and feral cats on the island. At that time, there weren’t facilities for spaying and neutering, so both animals and people were suffering. Over time, the Animal Care Center of St. John has grown to provide a no-kill shelter for homeless animals. I love volunteering at the shelter’s adoption drives and I also help with their unique program that escorts homeless animals to the mainland United States, where they are adopted by families.
Way back in 2013, I took Twix all the way from St. John to Chicago to join her new family. She was so well behaved while flying, and I loved bringing her to her new home.
About 5 years ago I was walking into Starfish Market in St. John. Every Tuesday the Animal Care Center of St. John holds an adoption clinic outside the market to spotlight a dog and a few kitties. I was in ZERO need of another dog as I had Dakota who was getting very old and needed my full attention. But when I walked by the adoption clinic on this day I saw this sweet old dog named Ophelia. I asked her story. Denise Walker, who is “Mrs. Save All Animals” (and one of the many reasons I ❤️her so much) was in charge of the clinic. She said Ophelia was around 10-15 years old, had an owner for her whole life, but for some reason he didn’t want her anymore so dropped her off at the ACC. It absolutely broke my heart.
So a trip to get groceries quickly turned into taking home another dog. She and Dakota got along right away and so I then began my search for her forever home since I couldn’t keep her long term. My friend, Ted Sheer, had just lost his little dog so when he came to the villa I lived at they immediately bonded. Yay!! He said, “I’ll take her!” Fast forward 5 years and they are inseparable. I ran into the both of them a few years later and seeing Ophelia so happy and healthy made my heart smile. These are just a couple of stories of sweet dogs and cats getting a second chance at life through the ACC.
This year, I’ve decided to dig deeper and give a little more to my favorite charity.
I’ve donated $10,000 to the Animal Care Center of St. John (ACC) Wagapalooza Fundraiser, and launched the “Blue Sky & ACC Matching Challenge!” The plan is to encourage other businesses, who understand the plight of the ACC, to join Blue Sky in matching this $10,000 donation. If $10,000 could grow to $20,000 it would help the shelter greatly in so many ways.
The ACC has been struggling since the hurricanes of 2017 with three times the volume of rescues, as people left the island and surrendered their pets to the ACC. I believe that the lives of furry orphans matter too, and I’d like to challenge my friends, clients, and colleagues to join me in supporting the ACC. The shelter has already received a $5,000 matching donation from a gentleman on St. Thomas, but my goal is $20,000.
I’m a HUGE fan of the ACC as it is the only no-kill shelter in the Virgin Islands. The kindness and hard work that their staff gives every day is beyond wonderful. When I wrote that $10,000 check it brought happy tears. There were a lot of emotions going on at that moment. When the hurricanes destroyed the Virgin Islands my business also took a major hit. Since the storms, I have poured everything I have into this company to rebuild it so to be able to write this check to one of my favorite non-profits is the best feeling on the planet. My goal with this Matching Challenge is to help as many shelter animals as possible on St. John. This wonderful little island has been in my life for 25 years. It feels so great to give back to an organization that I’m so passionate about. So, who’s going to join me and turn $10,000 into $20,000?