WHEN Emmerichia Strydom was first asked to make blankets for the Afrisaam Festival this year, she could not have foreseen that it would be the foreshadowing of a cause now immensely close to her heart.Strydom of Hunter’s Retreat, heads up the charity sales of blankets for abandoned and rescued pets from the Save-a-Pet animal rescue centre near Greenbushes, and explains that the initiative came about in a somewhat unlikely fashion.“After the festival, some of the blankets that I made which were left over came back. My husband, Harry, and I thought it would be a good idea to sell the leftover blankets to companies and the public who would like to support Save-A-Pet,” Strydom said.She explained that while humans needed warmth, especially in the chilly winter months, so too did animals; particularly those who were vulnerable, having been rescued by Save-a-Pet often from circumstances of severe neglect and abuse and are in the process of being rehabilitated.Despite having only initiated the charity recently, Strydom says that her relationship with Save-a-Pet is longstanding as she has always supported the organisation through monetary donations.Manager at Save-a-Pet, Leigh Done, explained that the dogs and cats remained in their care until such a time as they were adopted and thus believed that having adequate resources to look after the animals was of paramount importance.“Our resources are used to provide for their physical and psychological care through comfortable shelter, nutritious food, toys and regular walks, splash pools for the water lovers, grooming, attention from staff and volunteers, annual vaccinations and veterinary care when needed,” Done said.Save-a-Pet, an NPO which started in 2004, relies primarily on public donations and acts of kindness by volunteers who, like Strydom, spend time looking after the animals or facilitating fund raising efforts.“This blanket collection and fund raising initiative is a huge help to us as we need to be sure that our over 200 pets always have access to clean, warm bedding. Funds raised will also assist us with the many costs involved in running an animal shelter and providing our pets with top-notch care,” said Done.Save-a-Pet has assisted animals throughout the NMBM area, but is currently chiefly focused on dogs and cats in Kuyga and various informal settlements scattered around the Greenbushes and St Albans region. The organisation is currently engaged in a number of programmes aiming at educating people on animal care and sterilisation. In addition, the NPO is involved in assisting many needy animals in the local indigent community as far as their means allow.Anyone wanting to support the Blankets for Save-a-Pet initiative can contact Emmerichia Strydom directly on 061 473 1389. Blankets can be purchased at R60, with all the proceeds from sales donated to Save-a-Pet.