Pam Schroeder and her husband are changing the lives of homeless people and their pets with recycled yoga mats.
Schroeder told CBS that she got the idea when she passed by a homeless shelter one cold morning.
“It made me feel awful for them. They seemed cold, and so did the pets.”
Pam asked her husband Gary to cut up her old yoga mats to make pads for the pets, hopefully comforting them from the cold concrete of a shelter or sidewalk. Just like that, Pads4Pets was born.
“Yoga mats do not jar [pets’] joints, but act as absorbent cushions,” Arden Moore, pet expert and the author of books including What Dogs Want, told Wired. “Unlike rugs and mats on tile and wood floors in our house that can cause a moving dog to slip and slide, yoga mats stay in place. They are less frightening or intimidating than rugs.”
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The Schroeders have since started their own nonprofit, pads4pets.org, which has doled out hundreds of the ingenious inventions to shelters around their own community and the country. The company has provided 1,200 pads so far, many of them for free.
“If they’re going to stay out on the street, let’s at least provide a dry, warm place for that pet.
Pads4Pets has been working with another group called Vet SOS, which hands out the pads at free veteran health clinics throughout the country.
‘A lot of people think of the homeless, but they don’t think of the animals we have,” Jennifer Peterson “And the fact that we really love our animals more than most people do, because they are all we’ve got.”
Pads4Pets works on a shoestring budget. Most of their raw materials (old yoga mats) are donated, which Gary sprays clean in the Schroeder’s back yard. It may not seem like much, but it “really means a lot to us,” said homeless veteran Billy Baker. “That helps us keep our pets.”
Hearing stories like that are what make the job worth doing, Gary says.
For their ingenuity and kindness, Pam and Gary Schroeder were named Jefferson Award winners in the CBS SF/Bay Area network.
Ever wonder why dogs love yoga mats? Learn the truth in the video below.
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.