It is no secret that I have a love for animals. From being a moral vegan to donating to several rescues around the country, my philanthropy is more often than not extended to non-human living creatures. Where does this love for animals come from? It first came from my father, but mostly from my younger sister, Maria Cagney.
My family grew up with a lot of obscure pets. My dad hated for animals to live in pet stores, so he would often bring home dogs, cats, small mammals, birds, and reptiles. We grew up watching The Discovery Channel and The Animal Channel, learning about all types of strange, beautiful creatures around the world. I was that kid who wouldn't kill bugs. I thought I had a strong love for animals at a young age, but then my sister was born.
I watched this small human grow up being more interested in animals than she was other people. I watched her flip through animal books, learning about rare species of monkeys that no one has ever heard of... at the age of four. When she learned (at way too young of an age) that animals were put down when they couldn't find a home, she would cry and beg my dad to go rescue the animal that was next up to be euthanized. And then they would go do that.
As my sister got older, she kept adopting animals and giving them the most loving homes a pet could ask for. This love carried over into college, where she is majoring in Wildlife Ecology & Conservation. This major landed her as a student intern at SOAR (Southern Oregon Animal Rehabilitation) Wildlife Center. She went in hoping to gain valuable experience in her field... and she has gained so much more than that. I have witnessed my baby sister literally be transformed by this program, turning her into a woman ready to take on the world.
She has an appreciation and passion for wildlife unlike anything I have ever seen. She is working her ass off for free up there every single day and is quite literally saving the lives of countless critters. She texted me last week saying that the program is majorly lacking funding and asked if I could donate money, to which I naturally said yes. But then I realized how many people follow this brand who share my love for animals, and since we are greater in numbers, I am pledging the following: 5% of our total sales (not profit... sales) in the month of July, as well as my personal income for the month of July, will go towards funding SOAR.
So to kick this thing off and properly promote this endeavor, I did what you would expect from me, and mailed her a big batch of the DNDL dog hoodies to put on these baby animals she nurtures every single day. Baby animals are super cute... baby animals in clothes are even cuter... baby animals in DNDL clothes have the ability to make your heart actually double in size via cuteness overload. So without further ado, I present to you the creatures you will be helping saving this month with your DNDL purchases.
Now that I have you all mushed up, here are some words from my amazing younger sister, explaining SOAR and her role there. Grab the tissue box.
"SOAR Wildlife Center is a small, nonprofit animal rehabilitation center located in the mountains of Ashland, Oregon. We take in orphaned, sick, and injured native wildlife species, specifically babies, and nurse them back to health so they can be released back into the wild when they reach a certain age. While we may be small, we are important. Not only do we help raccoons, squirrels, foxes, chipmunks, skunks, and a multitude of other mammals, we are important because we are the only rehabilitation center in Southern Oregon that is permitted through the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to rehabilitate fawns. Our fawns are our pride and joy, our specialty, and without us, they would have no one.
Unfortunately, rehabilitating wildlife is not a cheap endeavor. We have a full clinic that we need to keep stocked with medical supplies for dehydrated, sick, and injured animals. We go through buckets and buckets and buckets of formula, which may be the most costly thing we need. Because we're at elevation, we get a lot of snow during the winter which results in damaged enclosures that need to be repaired. But because we are a nonprofit, we receive no state or federal funding. We rely entirely on donations, whether it be in the form of money, blankets and furs, or fruits and veggies, anything helps us help our animals.
Some people don't think that what we're doing is worth it. That what we're doing doesn't make a difference in the grand scheme of things. I'd have to disagree. Because to all of the student interns who volunteer their time to be here, it's worth it. To Tiffany, the amazing, hard-working woman who started SOAR and who is now having to pay out of her own pocket to keep it up and running, it's worth it. To watch all of our hard work pay off and to see these babies grow and learn new skills and to one day get to watch them return to the wild, is the most amazing and rewarding feeling and that's why we're making a difference in the mountains of Ashland, Oregon." -Maria Cagney
You can follow Maria on Instagram at @ocagney.
You can follow SOAR on Instagram at @SOARwildlifecenter.
You can learn more about SOAR here.
You can directly financially support SOAR via monthly recurring donation here.