for the dogs
Edie Achterman, Annie's Blankets
by Carie Broecker
What if Clark Kent never had to find a phone booth to have Superman’s superpowers? What if superheroes just looked like everyone else? Edie Achterman, founder of Annie’s Blankets, is one of my superheroes. She looks like a normal person, but she accomplishes more in a week than most folks do in a month—and makes it seem effortless. The first thing you will notice when you meet Edie is that she radiates warmth and caring.
Annie’s Blankets was named after Edie’s childhood German Shepherd, who instilled her with a lifelong love of dogs and a desire to help animals. But it was just a few years ago in 2006 when Edie’s Australian Shepherd, Phoebe, was ill and had to stay at the vet. A rescued dog who was fearful of kennels, Phoebe was given a pink crocheted blanket to lie on the floor. It was such a kind gesture and Edie thought “someone should give blankets to keep ALL animals comforted and less stressed, including shelter animals.”
Fast forward to today. Annie’s Blankets will soon see the donation of its 100,000th blanket! The organization has grown to comfort critters in shelters, rescue, and vet clinics throughout six Bay Area counties. Annie’s has even supplied wildlife rescue groups, including the one that rescued the birds and animals affected by a recent oil spill near San Francisco.
Annie’s Blankets is run completely by volunteers, with help from schools, scout troops, and other groups. They gather for a “fold fest” to ready and bundle the blankets, towels, bath mats, and even toilet-seat covers. The bundles are distributed along with bedding, collars, leashes, toys, and food bowls. They do not take food donations, pillows, or electric blankets.
The people Edie meets are her favorite part of this adventure. She has partnered with the National Charities League to create unique art for each of the 30 donation barrels, located in high-traffic businesses (see www.anniesblankets.org for a list). This year’s calendar from Rescue Tales features Avilene, a rescue dog belonging to Annie’s president, Jocelyn Douglas. A portion of the calendar proceeds will go to Annie’s Blankets.
That is not Edie’s whole story though . . . Edie lives in Aptos with hubby Doug and their rescued Blue Heeler mix, Scout. She teaches independent studies at San Benito High School in Hollister and gives horsemanship lessons at BellaMar Training Stables & Riding School. Edie and Maya, her Oldenburg mare, completed the 2013 show jumping season by winning champion in their division at the final show. The BellaMar show team riders competed well, too, earning many ribbons during the season.
By my count, that is three full-time jobs, plus hobbies and marriage. Edie is a superhero.