Swell-o-phonic's Agents of Change
“Swell-O-phonic” is a made up word, but in our mind it means “sounds swell.” Some think of us as a sk8 shop, a tee shirt place, a guy boutique, a fixie bike store, a sneaker dealer, a coming-of-age experience, etc. Those all describe our direction of interest and what we have, but our program “Agents of Change” (AOC) describes our desire to BE Community, to SUPPORT Community, and to HELP Community PROSPER. As a continually maturing company of 19+ years, we would like to think of “AOC” as the spine of our existence. Simply put, if a growing company does not earnestly give back in one form or another to its community, its growth and prosperity are often short-lived and hollow...and quite frankly, damn hollow.
AOC are those who get dirty to get things done. They are action over talk and mission over accolades. They are genre-benders, squeaky-wheelers, dust stirrers, curve-setters and down right get-it-doners that don't wait on perfect circumstance or approval to make change. These rogue saviors tow the line of passion with an almost reckless abandon, but still perform with grace and respect to their community.
As AOC ourselves, we choose to support and highlight those who have put it all out there with no guarantee of success. These are not “Do-Gooders” who pose for the local publications and whore off of the media...these are the legends of the future folklores. While the masses are looking for personal validation and acceptance from their molded choirs on social media, these AOC are pirating paths that the latter will always try to measure up to.
Swell-o-phonic, in the past, has chosen to give away 2 trucks to community treasured people with need, 1 Vespa to a life artist who inspires all, 100+ skateboards to city kids who are our future and deserve to skate, various contributions to our downtown friends without homes. We have now chosen to give away a fully wrapped Astro work van (wrap courtesy of A+Signs) to an AOC who risks it all to save dogs from homelessness, bad circumstance, abuse and general poor conditions.
Chrissy Cheshire – founder of CHESHIRE ABBEY Pet Rescue, is definitely one who chooses to exist in less than perfect circumstances to make a difference. I have gone on a few rescues and it's not always safe. One time, we went to a business on the edge of Downtown JXN and had to cut 2 dogs off of a chain with bolt cutters. Another time we found dogs that were skin and bones in the dead of winter that were chained up to trees as a supposed means of protection. The process of retrieval is often difficult and involves pleading with owners to release custody of the pets.
Chrissy has literally saved hundreds of dogs from getting run over, used as bait, or dying on chains from undernourishment or extreme weather conditions. Her super power is her love, her time, pleading resources, rescue efforts, acquired veterinary care, fostering and adoption offerings. As an Agent of Change, there's no doubt she will inspire others to lead in the future with protecting those who cannot protect themselves.
We share a great pleasure in presenting this well deserved gift to the Cheshire Abbey Crew and know that this will be a literal vehicle of change to help save more pups and dogs (and cats too) in the future.
A whole lot of great little animals are gonna be saved and in new homes soon...all because of one person's blind faith crusade.
Q & A with our favorite pup lover:
CHANE – Tell us what you're about
CC - Cheshire Abbey is just a nonprofit charity for animals. It's an animal rescue. We go out into the community and try to help the animals in need out there because a lot of people bring dogs to shelters but they have to turn them away because everyone is so full. So one day I thought God was calling me to go out and help the dogs that have no voice whatsoever, that are out there on chains or running around with no food and are hurt, and so that's what we do. We go out and rescue.
CHANE - And when you say animals in general, are there any other animals?
CC - We mainly do dogs but if we get calls on cats, we call people who work with cats, horses, or other rescue groups. We mainly do dogs, yes, but if we get other calls, we still try to help them. We just don't do it ourselves. We partner with people.
CHANE - So, we know your last name is Cheshire but how did you come up with what the name is?
CC - I kind of thought that in rescue that it's so sad every single day that you kind of have to maintain a sense of humor for some things or everything gets you down. So I think British humor is funny so in the beginning when I was doing all this, before it snowballed, I was going to do like a really funny website with British humor everywhere so I kind of played on the name Cheshire but the Abbey kind of refers to the ministry of it -- like the whole group of people surrounding these dogs that help them. So it's just kind of like I feel like it's my ministry on Earth but there's an abbey of people around that help as well.
CHANE – To put it bluntly, who helps you do this?
CC - Well, anybody we beg to help that comes forward to help is who helps us. It's just me. We can only afford to pay one person and pay others part time but anybody who volunteers can help.
CHANE – So when you say you're able to pay some of these people to help, I mean the dogs don't give you money, so where does this money come from?
CC - The community is the only way that we can survive. The only way. Donations from the community, businesses that sponsor things, people who donate too. I mean, if they have cars they want to donate, they can donate a car, if they have just a place to rent, that they're not using, they can donate that for space we can use for office. Funds from the community is the only way to survive.
CHANE – Well we know you're chasing dogs all day so obviously that doesn't leave a lot of time for you to be a veterinarian. How does that happen?
CC - Once we rescue, they're in such bad shape that we have to take them straight to vet, so again, it's just donations that people call in or donate through our site that help us get all these dogs vet care. We work with about six different vets in the area and they're all wonderful to us and they all give us discounts but they can't give us everything for free because they have to pay the bills as well.
CHANE – What are your biggest challenges?
CC - I think our hardest challenges are educating people on the massive need that they just don't see because we don't go into a lot of these areas every day. I mean, you have to know that the need is there. You don't just go and look around and see it. That's the education first and foremost. Also spay and neuter, educating on that as well. And then funding of course - that's our main need.
CHANE - From this point forward, what would you consider your biggest goal?
CC - I think that would be helping as many animals as we can. And not just helping and being a bandaid but changing the way it is. That's what I would like to do. I would like to somehow to change the laws be able to help animals before they go into that dire need. People who cannot afford animals should not own animals. They just should not. There need to be laws in place where these animals - these lives - to me, these are souls. You can't just throw a life on a chain and barely feed it and it be okay but in Mississippi, it seems to be, which is a jacked up way of thinking, that we have to try to change.
CHANE - I'm going to ask you to tell people how to get to you because if they want to volunteer or donate, so if you could just throw that down right now.
CC - Yes, any help is appreciated. Come meet the dogs. We would love for you to meet the dogs. Adopt, foster, and donate. If you would like to donate, you can go through our website at cheshireabbey.com or you can go to our Facebook page and there are several different ways there and on any of our posts, if you start following us, give different ways for you to call in and donate or to mail in and donate or to PayPal (firstname.lastname@example.org) and donate and so there are all kinds of options and ways. Just contact us!