By Faribault Daily News |

Prairie's Edge donations a labor of love for Vesledahl | News |

Since 2013, Dorothy Vesledahl has made and donated almost 2,000 catnip pillows to Prairie’s Edge Humane Society.

Vesledahl cuts and sews the material to make the pillows, which are filled with stuffing and the perennial herb catnip, which cats can’t get enough of. According to the Humane Society of the United States, sensitivity to catnip is hereditary in about 50 percent of cats, causing most to roll, flip and chew on the pillows for hours.

Vesledahl, who lives in Nerstrand, has been making the pillows since 2013. She began keeping track of her totals in 2014 and since then has made about 1,700 of the toys cats find irresistible cat.

The cutting, stuffing and sewing means it takes Vesledahl several days to make a batch of pillows. The latest batch is 80 pillows.

“It’s a good pastime for me, too. Between doing them and baking cookies… things like that kind of make me feel good,” she said.

She got involved with the Humane Society through her daughter Sandy, who previously worked part-time with Prairie’s Edge and volunteered there.

Sandy said that the pillows have become a hot commodity at Humane Society events.

“The pillows, now, it’s gotten to where people look for them at the events. They specifically watch for them,” she said. “We usually run out when we sell them at the events because that’s the only place they can buy them. Once in a while there may be a few left over and then they take them back to the shelter and sell what’s left over down there or use them at the shelter, but pretty rarely. Usually they sell them all at the events.”

Vesledahl’s latest batch of catnip pillows will be available at Prairie’s Edge’s Dinner and Auction for the Animals April 13.

Held at the Northfield Ballroom, the event is one of the society’s largest fundraisers of the year and includes a dinner, silent auction and program presenting pets adopted from the Humane Society. Doors open at 4 p.m.

Director Kathy Jasnoch said the event is a good way to meet the staff, support the society's work and local animals and have fun.

“It’s for the animals. We work really hard but we need donors and supporters. It’s fun, it’s casual, the food is great and all the money that you spend there goes to help the animals,” Jasnoch said. “This is a big deal for us. It’s our big celebration and party for the animals.”

The event costs $22 for adults, $10 for children ages 9 to 16 and kids under 8 years old are free.

Vesledahl’s pillows sell for $1, though people often donate a bit more. For her, the multi-day process is a labor of love.

“I enjoy it and I think the Humane Society is a very good thing to have around,” she said. “People leave animals in the ditches and so on, sometimes they get hit by a car… It’s a good place for them. They take good care of them.”

Glass door Prairie's Edge

On Friday, Prairie's Edge Humane Society was broken into, smashing the front glass door. (Photo courtesy of Prairie's Edge Humane Society)

An increased need

This year’s donations will be even more important for Prairie’s Edge.

On Friday night, someone broke into the Humane Society in Northfield, causing a mess, some property damage and stealing a cash box and a few other items. No animals were hurt.

The organization’s insurance deductible wasn’t met, but it wasn’t what was stolen that was demoralizing.

“You’re just violated and it’s scary: scary for the staff that showed up Saturday morning and just alarming. You’re just not safe anywhere I guess,” Jasnoch said, noting that every dollar counts with a nonprofit.

Since posting about the break-in Tuesday morning, area residents have started to reach out and make donations to Prairie’s Edge, which is also considering options for additional security.

Anyone with information about the break-in is asked to contact the Northfield Police Department at 507-645-4477.

Prairie’s Edge collects donations through its website, over the phone at 507-664-1035 or through the mail at 680 Professional Drive, Northfield MN 55057.