Thursday, November 14, 2013


Bella Notte staff member Debbie Lucchesi has been a part of the team for over ten years now. She started The Josie Memorial Pet Project back in 2011 in memory of Josie, her furry companion and an honorary member of the BNL family. After "working" at Bella for most of Josie's life, it seems only fitting a non profit started in her name would donate fabric scraps and specialty products to shelter animals, offering them just a bit of comfort and luxury - Bella Style!

Here's some information about the project, and just one way Bella and Debbie give back to the community. Learn more and see what they're up to on Facebook!

How did the Josie Memorial Pet Project get started?
Josie, the Pet Project's inspiration
When I lost Josie, I needed a way to pay back the some of comfort that she provided me over the years. What better way than to make bedding for animals awaiting a forever home? They deserve a "beautiful night", too. I started making blankets and pads from the ends of quilted fabrics, and donated them to shelters. Once I'd covered all the local shelters, I reached out to rescue groups in the area. The need was great, and I developed new product offerings as I saw what the organizations needed. Anything that the project could provide without tapping their limited budgets would be plus, because it allows them to dedicate their resources to the most important aspects of rescue.

What kinds of products do you make?
I saw a photo of a feral cat in a trap, covered with a towel, and the trapper struggling to keep the towel from falling off. I thought, "they could really use some custom covers." I started making trap covers from scratch, as I do with all the products, this time from discontinued dyed velvet yardage.

The project has made great use of any odds-and-ends, occasional scraps, production dye test swatches, and just about any fabric we needed to find a "home" for. Discontinued color/fabric header pieces and the narrow scraps left when we cut new color headers are used to make catnip toys. Velvet dye test swatches are used to make shelf covers and cat hammocks for cat cages. Many damaged customer returns have been re-purposed into products for the project. 

After 1-1/2 years, and the project being valued by all the local groups receiving donations, I decided to make it permanent. As of September 3, 2013, The Josie Memorial Pet Project is a California Nonprofit Corporation. The project has produced 1,687 catnip toys and  2,611 assorted pieces (blankets, pads, cage/trap covers, shelf covers, cat hammocks, etc.) for donation to nonprofits serving animals in need.

How did you decide that it would be a good fit for Bella Notte donations?
With the majority of the Bella Notte team being animal lovers, and most of the line being animal-friendly, it just seemed right. It also complimented the rest of Bella Notte's giving program.

How often does Bella Notte make donations?
It varies--sometimes weekly, sometimes a couple times a month

What kinds of animals does the project serve?
The project serves dogs and cats in animal shelters, rescue groups, and foster care situations all over Northern CA. The groups served thus far are:
  • Forgotten Felines of Sonoma County
  • Marin Friends of Ferals
  • Pets Lifeline
  • Marin Humane Society
  • Rohnert Park Animal Shelter
  • Petaluma Animal Shelter
  • California Animal Rescue
  • Furry Friends Animal Rescue
  • Noah’s B’Ark North Animal Rescue
  • Little Paws Kitten Rescue
  • No Boundaries Animal Rescue
  • Lake County Animal Shelter
  • Lake County Animal Services
  • Big Dog Rescue
  • Kings County Animal Shelter
  • ASCS (Animal Sanctuary & Care Society) Cats
  • Yuba City Animal Shelter
  • Sonoma Humane
  • Sonoma County Animal Care & Control
  • Kits & Kats Rescue
  • Milo Foundation
  • Whiskers, Tails & Ferals
  • Planned Feralhood 
What is your favorite thing about being involved with JMPP?
Being able to use all the beautiful Bella Notte fabrics to create comfort for homeless pets. As an animal lover, I'm also a big supporter of animal rescue and love to have the opportunity to assist the people doing this work, however I can.

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