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Off Leash: Blankets and Beyond

Operation Blankets of Love spreads out

Eileen Smulson says the collection of pet-related stuff stacked in her garage and shed in California is kind of like a tide: “It fills up, it goes down.”

Smulson, the founder and president of Operation Blankets of Love (OBOL), initially focused on collecting blankets and towels to distribute to Los Angeles area animal shelters. Now her stash includes new or gently used collars, leashes, crates, dog igloos, cat scratchers, pet food, first-aid items, vitamins, pet shampoo, and dog clothes. Even in a bad economy, she says, people love animals and are willing to donate. The total rises and falls as she makes her collections and deliveries, but she says it never drops below several thousand items.

A onetime school teacher and former fundraiser for nonprofit organizations who founded a singing telegram balloon delivery business in her native New Jersey at age 25, Smulson says she likes to think outside the box. Her entrepreneurial attitude and passion for animal welfare issues have broadened the scope of OBOL, and helped it garner mentions in media outlets ranging from local newspapers to radio and television.

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