Thursday, December 15, 2011

"Tis the Season of Giving...and Learning

Four fat boxes of goodies are en route to Afghanistan.  I sent the K9 care packages this past Saturday with much appreciated help from Matt and T, and with only 2 small meltdowns of my own. Hopefully, they'll reach the soldiers just in time for Christmas, bringing a bit of home to the stark unfamiliarity of being overseas.  But most importantly, I hope these soldiers get a small sense of the respect and pride we have in them.  I can't think of a better way to start off the Christmas season for Arwen's Pack.

Since I started asking for care package contributions for the military working dogs and their handlers, I've seen some generous and beautiful acts.  I've had total strangers send me packages to pass on to the guys.  A friend of mine who is a vet nurse and single mother was the first to contribute for the packages and later also  contributed cash towards shipping.  Another friend and vet receptionist gave fat, colorful rope toys, and one of my favorite clients (Mom to 2 adorable Poms) from the clinic where I work called in an order for treats and chewies for the dogs. At least one Cub Scout troop and a couple of blogs also sent packages of their own!  I sent some of my dogs' Frontline, new dog toys, treats & rawhides, magazines, toiletries, a couple of backpacks, and playing card sets.  

All this will eventually smoosh into boxes...

Another view...

Through other care package websites, we found out that para-cord bracelets are popular with soldiers.  They're wristbands made of braided para-cord that the guys can unweave if they want to make use of the sturdy rope.  Matt and T made a ton of them to send, weaving well into the wee hours of Saturday morning.

para-cord bracelets (sorry about the blurriness)

And I'm not done yet - I don't think thoughtfulness has to be a once yearly event.  Here is my last post with the correct addresses.  I've asked the soldiers if they have any requests or if they care to share their thoughts with us.  I'll let you know if I get any responses.

When Dorothy of FiveSibes tried mailing her care package and was told the APO address was wrong, my heart sank.  I felt like I'd had the wind knocked out of me.  Words can't describe the feeling of dread I experienced.  Here I was, sending people out to mail packages to a nonexistent address!  I felt like a scam artist and a fool.  Luckily I got all the correct addresses fast and I my heart resumed beating, oxygen finally able to get through again.

What I learned from doing care packages:
1) Start earlier  - organizing anything takes time.
2) Triple check addresses - duh!
3) Expect the best to shine in people - you never know what will touch someone to open their hearts.
4) There's magic in connecting with others for a good cause - new friends are a gift!
5) Doing something you believe in takes perseverance but pays off in unexpected and delightful ways.
6) If you want to ask a teen to contribute of themselves, show them why it's meaningful (I'm so thankful for YouTube military working dog tribute videos!)
7) And finally, it's best to keep big, overflowing boxes of treats and new toys on a top shelf - we had 3 snooters working overtime to provide K9 care package quality control.

Arwen's Pack sends enormous hugs and positive thoughts to our soldiers in all those dangerous places so far from home.  We hope those amazing dogs will help keep you safe until you're home with your family and friends.  Merry Christmas!

"We'll be in a Sit / Stay until you get home!".  Here's Fenway in his Red Sox starter jacket :)


  1. When you find the right cause it starts to click. I think I found a spot that will work for me and it came together in a small way this year. I am already working on how to improve it for next year.

  2. Happy Saturday! My girls and I have awarded you the Liebster Blog Award. Please stop by our blog for you award. We enjoy reading your blog and keeping up with your beautiful furbabies.

    Nina, Myshka, Sasha, Betsy, Lucy, Phoebe and Lily.

  3. What a wonderful thing to do!!!
    Play bows,

  4. What a wonderful thing to do! :)

    Woofs & hugs, <3

    ~Bailey (Yep, I'm a girl!)

  5. Thanks for sending those care packages! What a lovely thought.

  6. What a wonderful surprise for those pups. They are going to love everything.:)

    Teddy Bear & Sierra

  7. God bless you for doing such a wonderful thing!!!!
    Merry merry Christmas to you and your family!!
    xx, Zoie & Fern

  8. What a wonderful thing to do!!! Happy Howlidays!

    Your newest followers,
    Miley and Maggie

  9. Wishing y'all a very Merry Christmas.

    Hawk aka BrownDog

  10. God bless woo! The military pups will surely appreciate such wonderful & thoughtful gifts.

    Merry Christmas!

    jack & moo


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