Furry Friends Feature: Precious Pieces: A Well-woven Story 15 Years in the Making


When human companions find their perfect furry friend at the Heritage Humane Society, the joy is wrapped with the gift of a handmade blanket from Precious Pieces, a volunteer group within Shelter’s family of supporters. This year marks the 15th anniversary of this keepsake initiative, which has resulted in 15,086 blankets being gifted to newly adopted pets as they begin their next chapters.

An eternal hug

The fear and anxiety that comes with being abused, lost, and abandoned can be overwhelming for homeless pets. Although they are treated with great care by the Heritage Humane Society staff and dedicated volunteers, it takes time to adjust to the new environment. If accepted, it means another change. There, the handmade blankets from the Precious Pieces program serve as a warm, eternal hug from the shelter as they move into their new homes.

Leo (adopted 2022) enjoys his blanket in his new home.

Founded in 2007 by Lillian Campbell, the one-person initiative grew rapidly. Over the years, dozens of volunteers have donated their materials, time, and skills to ensure that each adopted dog and cat goes to their new home with their celebratory gift, which is often as treasured by pets as a child’s favorite breaks up

Lillian Campbell with HHS CEO Kimberly Laska

The dedicated all-volunteer program is part of the Heritage Humane Society charity. This talented group currently consists of 12 active volunteers and the Knitter’s Guild who put their hearts and talents into making the precious blankets. Volunteer Diane Kelly has been running the heartwarming program since 2017, after Campbell moved from the greater Williamsburg area. Since then, the group has made 3,132 blankets and volunteered over 10,350 hours sewing, knitting or crocheting pet blankets. Volunteers work from home and deliver the blankets to the shelter, and Diane picks some up to take to the shelter for display.

“I have found this program to be a lot of fun to work with. I see the creativity of the donors. I met a couple on Newport News who had adopted from us and still had the blanket 5 years later,” said Diane Kelly, volunteer director of the Precious Pieces program for the Heritage Humane Society.

Join in giving joy

New members are welcome. Volunteers make the blankets in their homes, so it’s a great way to give back remotely. Interested volunteers can email [email protected] for more information.

“The Precious Pieces program is one of my absolute favorite initiatives and we are honored to celebrate 15 years of their commitment,” said Kimberly Laska, executive director of the Heritage Humane Society. “This collaboration of talent within our Greater Williamsburg community coming together to wrap their arms around shelter animals has already happened 944 times this year – the number of adoptions since January 1st.”

Gimli (adopted 2021) curled up with his blanket

Want a memory blanket?

There are many homeless pets who dream of forever homes. Visit these adoptable dogs, adoptable cats and other small pets available at the Heritage Humane Society and you too can choose the next commemorative blanket to leave the shelter.

To learn more, visit HeritageHumane.org or call 757-221-0150. The Heritage Humane Society is located at 430 Waller Mill Road, Williamsburg, VA 23185.

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