Today we’d like to introduce you to Darlene Steen.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Darlene. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I decided to start Buddy’s Blankets when my precious Buddy became so sick and spent over a week in the Critical Care unit at Gulf Coast Veterinary Specialists. All Veterinary Critical Care units need baby blankets for their fur patients. I would bring Buddy two or three clean ones every day at least twice a day on my visits and just leave the old ones for them to wash and reuse however they needed. One day while lying in his hospital bed with him I noticed that the other fur patients didn’t have soft cozy covers, they just had towels. Our family decided to buy and/or collect cozy, furry baby blankets and deliver them to the Specialty Vet Hospitals. I’m sad to say our Buddy lost his fight on Sunday morning, the 18th of September 2016, surrounded by all his family and, yes, wrapped in a blue warm fuzzy baby blanket. Thanks to the staff at Gulf Coast. You see he had used the ones I had that morning. They quickly got one of his blankets washed, dried, and brought him to us wrapped in a warm blanket. It meant so much to our family that they did this for us and for our precious Buddy.
Has it been a smooth road?
It has been a learning process to say the least! When I first had this idea all I knew was that I wanted to fill a need for these animals. The hard part was figuring out how to best fill that need in an efficient way. I first started off buying the blankets myself, making a logo and sewing it to each one, washing them and sending them to rescues and vet hospitals, but that wasn’t as cost efficient as I would have liked. So I learned about the wonderful world of JoAnn’s and their coupons and scrap bins of fleece. Around that time I also had been asking textile companies for donations and they started sending me fabric. That’s when I decided it would be best for me to sew my own blankets–but that wasn’t as easy as it sounds. Figuring out the right dimensions, the best sewing machine and the best way to package them was a learning curve. With help from my seamstress, my family and a few other sewing experts, I now have the process down and can get a blanket sew, washed and ready to ship in record time!
Another challenge I now have is trying to fulfill so many requests. We have rescues and vet hospitals from all over the country that need blankets. I’m so glad that so many people have heard of this organization and that we can help in our small way. With the help from my two wonderful daughters, we have all perfected the process all the way to shipping them and keeping record of where we send them. We all three went from not knowing how to turn on a sewing machine to now using a serger. You Tube is a great resource!
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Buddy’s Blankets – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Buddy’s Blankets specializes in providing blankets to vet hospitals, teaching hospitals, rescues or any animal organization in need of blankets for any animal–dog, cat, bunny, etc. The hope is that we can provide comfort to any animal who is sick, scared or cold the way that Buddy and the other animals in the ICU needed comfort. I’m most proud that in a little over a year I have made 3,265 blankets. What sets me apart is that there was no other organization (that I knew of) that was filling this need. Both sick and rescued animals are scared when they are either in a hospital or newly brought into a rescue group from a shelter. Providing a soft blanket to a sick animal gives them comfort, and emotionally helps their bodies to heal better and assist in their emotional well-being. For rescue animals, who have often never had anything of their own – not a bed or a toy – giving them their own blanket gives them a sense of self, a safe and positive environment, and lets them know that someone cares about them.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I have lived in Houston my whole life, and no matter where I have traveled, I always come home to the feeling of community that our big city has. This past year, we went through one of the worst times this city has ever seen–Hurricane Harvey–and through that, everyone really banded together and showed the country and the world what Houston is made of. People were out in their own boats saving other people, volunteering at the shelters, donating whatever they could, and even now, 3 months later, the people of our city are still helping, volunteering, donating and trying to help get people back on their feet.
What I like least about Houston is the humidity.
- Address: 6007 Diamond Bay Ct.
Houston, TX 77041
- Website: buddysblankets.com
- Phone: 713-899-6636
- Email: Darlene@BuddysBlankets.com
- Instagram: @buddysblankets
- Facebook: @buddysblankets