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When I was 25, my husband and I were moving from Muskogee, Oklahoma to Tulsa. He was going to be a reporter at The Tulsa World and I was going to work at the local affiliate of Planned Parenthood doing marketing and fundraising. We both had grown-up jobs and we thought this was the beginning. So, the first thing we did was buy a house. It was a darling two-bedroom bungalow in a sweet neighborhood and it cost $69,000. We had hand-me-down furniture and a fledgling antique collection from the flea market I frequented virtually every Saturday. The only thing missing was a little one to care for. We wanted a puppy. That first Christmas in our new house, Dan gave me a dog collar and an adoption gift certificate from the Tulsa ASPCA. It didn’t take long for us to get to the shelter to find our furry soulmate.

One weekend in early January, we found her. She was a black lab mix puppy. Part of a litter that had been brought to the shelter. When we met the puppies all but one came running to the front to greet us. As a perpetual lover of the underdog, I thought, "I want that one." The one who doesn’t follow the pack. Who is her own girl. Who’s tough and resilient. Dan agreed, we named her Gracie, and she was the love of our lives. Our family was complete. 

Since Gracie, we have been without a dog in our lives for only 2 years when the kids were little. They are essential to our family. They bring so much joy and unconditional love. This February, we are spreading the love by supporting the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria (AWLA) through our Good. Works. Wednesday program. Not only will we give 20% of your purchase to AWLA every Wednesday, we will have several other ways to support them.

Starting February 1 through the 29th, Red Barn Mercantile will be raising in-kind donations for AWLA. We have a selection of AWLA-approved treats and toys you can add on to your purchase. At the end of the month we will deliver all the goodies to the animals at the shelter bringing joy to so many. On February 15, AWLA’s Waggin’ Wheels will be at Pippin Toy Co. with animals of all kinds looking for their forever home. Stop by with the kiddos after school from 3:00 to 5:00 pm to meet their new best friend. Also, at Pippin Toy Co. on February 24 we will have a fun craft for kids to gift to the animals at the shelter. Giving them the opportunity to start their charitable ways early!

The event that I’m most excited about is the AWLA Doggie Kissing Booth! In honor of Valentine’s and, well, love, AWLA will bring their kissing booth to Penny Post on February 10th from 1 to 3pm. You bring your favorite pooch and get a smooch. Their photographer will capture it on digital film for a $10 donation to AWLA. So much fun! Inside, we will have dog or human (you choose) gifts with purchase throughout the day. Get a little something for yourself and receive a little something for your best pal while supplies last!

As always, furry friends are welcome at all of our stores. Treats are by the front door, so stop by and grab one for Fido and a little something for yourself. We look forward to celebrating our furry neighbors this February!