Entrepreneurs support nationwide dog shelters through nonprofit

Riley Johansen | Staff Writer

Sophomore Tina Sack talks about the nonprofit she cofounded with Ben Satterthwaite, the Furry Friends Warmth Project.


No dog will ever go cold again if Tia Sack and Ben Satterthwaite have anything to do with it.

 Sack, a sophomore, and her cousin Ben have paired together to create the Furry Friends Warmth Project, a nonprofit organization intending to first collect old and new fabrics and then design and sew blankets for shelter dogs all over America. 

Sack said the idea to create the nonprofit sparked from her love of sewing and fashion design through classes taken at Mason. In combination with her and Satterthwaite’s mutual love of dogs, their project was able to begin flourishing

“I was looking around at the fabric store one day and saw all of the fleeces, and then I just started sewing them,” Sack said. “That’s when Ben and I came together and decided to make this our little project. We both love dogs, and I just really like the fashion aspect of it too. I like watching my designs come to life.”

Satterthwaite was quick to join the process, contacting those he knew to collect money to buy new fabrics and thread to create the blankets, then handing over the cut fabrics to Sack. 

“Our goal is to make around 200 to 300 blankets for dogs by the holidays,” Satterthwaite said. “To do that, I go out and I collect money from family or friends, and use that to get the fabric, and then I will cut out the fabric and give it to Tia who will sew it into a double-sided fleece blanket.” 

Once Sack has received the collected or newly bought fabric, she said she begins to sew it together and can usually complete many in one sitting.

“To make one blanket, it takes only a few minutes to cut, and about four minutes to sew,” Sack said. “if I took the time to sit down for awhile, I could make about ten in a day.”

Sack also added that her and Satterthwaite plan to travel to Chicago to donate their blankets to a larger organization which has previously delivered over 63,000 blankets to shelter animals.

“The blankets that we make are going to go to a larger organization called Comfort for Critters” Sack said. “The cool thing about it is that once the dogs are given the blankets, they get to keep them after they get adopted. The organization needs at least 800 blankets a month, which is a lot. They’re based in Chicago, but they have a bunch of shelters  all over the U.S. that you can donate to, but we’re planning to go to Chicago to donate once we have a lot.”

Satterthwaite said he is looking forward to the joy he can provide to the animals he loves as well as continuing their project after Chicago. 

“I started doing this because I just like the idea of making dogs feel better, because Tia and I both have dogs that we love,” Satterthwaite said. “Right now we are planning to keep doing this after the holidays and hope we can continue doing it for a while. Sack said the ultimate goal is to brighhen the setting that shelter dogs are kept in and to give love back to the places that both her and Satterthwaite met their furry friends.

“We just saw all the dogs that were  in the shelter when we got our own dogs, and how heartbreaking it was seeing how bored and alone the dogs were,” Sack said.  “Most were alone in a room, with nobody to be with them or keep them company at night. I hope that these blankets would help keep these dogs warm at night since they don’t have anyone else to.”