We love hearing that the UncommonGoods family is making a difference in the world, and we were thrilled when we learned that artist Elaine Seamans was recently featured in an article on the Los Angeles Best Friends Animal Society website for her animal rescue efforts.
You probably know Elaine best for her lovely dog memorial boxes. Elaine also volunteers at Baldwin Park Animal Shelter, where she works with rescue animals such as Tootsie, the adorable dachshund in the Best Friends story. Elaine took a moment to tell us more about her pet rescue mission and how she is inspired by animals in her art and her everyday life.
Q: How did you originally get involved with Baldwin Park Animal Shelter?
A: I first started volunteering there, helping with the Pup My Ride transport (organized by Best Friends Animal Society) that takes 30 or so dogs from the shelter to areas where they are lacking dogs. These dogs escape euthanasia and are guaranteed homes where they are going. The Baldwin Park Shelter has the highest intake of animals in the entire county of Los Angeles, so their euthanasia rate is high. The transport is hugely helpful in saving lives. I started taking ‘baby steps’ with getting more involved and learning more about how I could help. With 500 dogs, 200 cats, bunnies, turtles and sometimes a horse, chicken, pig or snake or goose, they have a big need for volunteers and are so grateful.
Getting a blanket for a shivering little dog, holding one that is afraid, letting the vet know of a dog who seems ‘not right’, helping people find a new family member, organizing fun adoption events – all make me feel like I’m not wasting space on earth. But saving a life, finding a home for a little soul who has no more time left is, well, it’s just the best feeling in the world. Nothing better!
Q: Your memorial boxes are a wonderful way to pay tribute to a beloved pet. Could you share a bit about what lead you to create the product?
A: The memorial aspect was inspired by my own dog, Quackers who passed over a decade ago. I know what it feels like to lose your best friend. Flowers and having them grow from seeds with the little stars sprinkled in reminds me of heaven and how when our friends pass they are sort of born again into heaven, such as the seeds sprout and create new life. The things that helped me grieve have made their way into the line in an effort to hopefully help someone else’s heart heal.
Q: How do animals, and your animal rescue efforts, inspire and motivate you in your career as a designer and otherwise in your life?
A: Helping vulnerable animals has affected my heart, taught me about life, fate, and well, miracles. And most of all, that you just have to try, believe, stay positive and that when you have the goal of doing something good and it’s what you are ‘supposed’ to do, the forces in the universe will ‘align’ to make your goal happen.
Over and over, with each animal I help, each time I think this will be the one I won’t be able to help and each time I’m wrong. People come forward to help and a life is saved. That applies to anything in life. I’ve learned that anything is possible. As far as my line, how my heart has been affected is translated into the themes of compassion and kindness. My goal is to softly inspire others to adore openly their pet and to see how amazing and healing their love can be. They give so much, even their lives and don’t ask for much in return. To abandon, abuse, or neglect such a loving soul isn’t right and I hope to show the beauty in pets through my honoring of them in my line.
Thanks for sharing this article and your insights with us, Elaine! And to all of the other animal lovers out there, we’d love to hear your rescue stories! Do you volunteer with a shelter or another animal organization? Is your best friend an adopted cat or dog? Leave your comments and tell us how you’re making a difference.