Buy Jewelry, Help Cats and Dogs!
Author: Elijah Jones
We hope you’re all being safe during the Covid-19 pandemic, these certainly have been tough times, for all of us. With everything else going on these days, we thought it might be a good time to take your mind off all the bad news and introduce you to a friend of ours here at Rita Reimers Inc. Her name is Maria Licata. And oh, what a special person she is.
Maria, like many members of our cat family, is also a pet sitter. She lives and works in the Las Vegas area. Of course, with the Covid-19 pandemic, and so many still quarantining at home, a lot fewer people are traveling these days. Only recently, as most of the country reopens for business, have things picked up a bit. (Thank goodness for that but, please, let’s all remain careful.)
In addition to her pet-sitting duties, Maria works part time for an architectural firm in Las Vegas. But she has a special hobby that keeps her very busy at home, too. But, wait. Maybe “hobby” isn’t the right word. Truth be told, Maria is more of an artist. Her works of art won’t hang on your living room wall, though. Oh, no. Maria’s artistic creations can be beautifully hung on you, on your wrists, or around your neck. See, Maria is an accomplished jewelry maker.
Featured in her jewelry line are works of art our queen of all things kitty-themed, Rita Reimers, just couldn’t resist. Maria creates beautiful jewelry that features those furry friends of ours we love, our cats! She includes dogs on many of her pieces, too. Rita and Maria went to Kenmore East High School together back in Tonawanda, NY. After getting reacquainted via Facebook, Rita added some of Maria’s jewelry to her own collection, and a long-distance friendship was born.
Maria makes jewelry under two different company names, but there’s one in particular we want to tell you about. It’s called Jewelry with a Purpose. We’ll use her own words to tell you all about it.
Maria calls Jewelry With a Purpose her labor of love. The line was born out of her passion for animals and love for designing jewelry. (Now there’s a perfect match.) Once you see her work, we believe you’ll agree, Maria’s jewelry is every bit as beautiful as her mission.
That mission is to help save animals that have become victims of homelessness, abuse or neglect. She connects with nonprofit rescue missions and like-minded organizations to help raise funds for this important cause. Whenever Maria heard about fundraisers for an animal in need, be it for surgery or emergency vet bills, she wished to donate from her own pocket. But that could get expensive for any of us. That’s when she came up with another way to help: Jewelry With a Purpose! For every one of her jewelry creations sold, Maria donates a portion of her sale to help animals in need.
We’re so excited about the difference Maria has made in the lives of those pets and animals in need of help. Based on her long list of dreams, her mission is nowhere near finished. As fellow cat and animal lovers, Maria’s dreams are ones we should all share. In fact, let us share some of her dreams with you.
Maria wants to live in a world where every animal shelter is a no kill shelter. She’d like to see the end of puppy mills, where puppies are “farmed,” an treated like “product,” not receiving the love they need and deserve. (You’ll find out why that’s so important to her later in the story.) Maria would also like to see pharmaceutical companies find other ways to test their products for human use, rather than using animals as guinea pigs. Of course, these are all long-held dreams of ours here, too, at Rita Reimers Inc.
Devoted to her mission, Maria works with a non-profit organization in Las Vegas called Pawtastic Friends, founded by husband and wife team Michael and Melissa Novelli,they partner with 20 non-profit rescues in Nevada. They specialize in helping rescue dogs, mainly Pit Bulls, many of which had been abandoned by their owners or saved from shelters about to be euthanized. Despite their reputation, Maria can tell you, they don’t deserve their bad reps. (Rita agrees!) It truly depends on how they’re raised, and by people who love them. While they’re in the care of Pawtastic Friends, each dog participates in an Enrichment Training Scholarship Program. Its purpose is to help them acclimate as they prepare to move into what will be their forever homes. There are over 80 dogs Pawtastic Friends’ Enrichment Training Scholarship program and they are either being fostered or boarded. The volunteers walk them several times a week and give them much-needed playtime. And of course, all of their dogs are provided with food, proper medical care, even toys to play with. Maria is thrilled, being able to help give these dogs the comfort and love they need.
Maria’s love for all animals, especially dogs and cats, began many years ago. Her first cat, Kendra, was adopted from a friend who was moving out of state, and couldn’t keep her. Maria was thrilled to become a new mom, even though Kendra was already eight years old. The two of them fell in love. Kendra, a beautiful tabby, was just as sweet as she could be. The two of them were together until, sadly, cancer took Kendra away.
Living in southern California at the time, Maria worked at a pet store in Burbank. When she had the opportunity to take in a second pet, she couldn’t resist. That’s when she became mother to Shakira, a Chiweenie she adopted at age 6. In case you’re wondering, a Chiweenie is a Chihuahua/Dachshund mix. (Raise your hand if you figured that one out on your own.) The pet store Maria worked at also took in rescue animals, which is how Shakira entered her life. And oh, what a story she has.
Shakira was very pregnant at the time and, also, very sick. In fact, so sick, she was in danger of being euthanized. To make matters worse, Shakira was getting sicker by the day but, thankfully, they were able to rush her to the vet, performing surgery to save her life. She delivered three puppies, by C-section, losing one of them, but two of the puppies survived.
At six years old, Shakira had been used as a one-dog puppy mill for all of her six years, until she was saved. Now you can see why Maria has no love for those mills. They’re like impersonal “factories” for breeding puppies. Maria and Shakira were together for a whole five years, living until she was 11, before getting her wings in doggie heaven.
Because she’s such a true-blue animal lover, pet sitting is the perfect occupation for Maria. In fact, she now has two new temporary loves in her life, as she has become a foster parent to two kitties. The first is Sabrina, a beautiful Russian Blue who was rescued from the streets. Sabrina had her first litter when she was only six months old. She came to Maria from friend and founder of Nothin’ But Love Cat & Kitten Rescue, Krista Jamison. Maria says Sabrina was very frightened at first and would often hide, under the couch or in a kitchen cabinet. Sabrina has made strides in learning to trust and loves to be petted now.
That’s because now we have to tell you about Struttie, Maria’s other foster kitty, also a rescue. Struttie is an 11 month-old full-blooded American Curl, rescued at just three months old. The good news is, since Struttie has joined the family, she’s helped Sabrina come out of her shell. The two of them chase each other and play together all day long. (Don’t you just love happy endings?) We’re betting it’s going to be hard for Maria when Sabrina and Struttie move into their new homes.
In the meantime, won’t you help Maria in her mission to help more dogs and cats, like Shakira and Struttie. (While dressing up your own jewelry collection at the same time.) Her dog and cat necklaces are $20 each with a full 50% donated to the cause of helping animals. For her Golden Knights and Raiders jewelry (you can read all about it on her website) she donates $5 per item and the rest of her jewelry contributes 15-20% of its sales value. She also does special deals with her regular jewelry such as for jewelry parties or bulk sales.
Learn more about Jewelry With A Purpose by checking out Maria’s Facebook page, Jewelry With a Purpose, or Jewel_With_A_Purpose on Instagram. And, oh yeah, you can also explore her other line of jewelry at her MCL Jewelry Designs Facebook page.
What a wonderful story Maria has to share. And now you can see why we wanted to share it with you. Thanks for all the love you show, Maria and for sharing your inspirational purpose..with us! By the way, every dollar Maria donated to help animals in need is made in memory of her two original loves, Kendra and Shakira.