By Drake the Dog
Reader Pet Columnist
Where am I taking my humans today? It’s been an interesting couple of weeks, seeing my life flash before me. It’s time to get a new leash on life, play and celebrate! C’mon get happy with these clues:
•This place hosted over 25,000 visitors last year.
•In the dead of winter 50 folks use this space.
•The owner has a passion for art and owned a pet store.
•The hosts of this dog-friendly place live on a farm with two French bulldogs, five cats they adopted from the shelter, 24 ducks, 40 chickens, a horse, two goats, bunnies and guinea pigs.
Holy four-footed paw prints! We’re on our way to a place where mini-miracles occur every day: Creations, located downtown in the Cedar Street Bridge.
Just sit right back and you’ll hear a dog tale, as told to me by owner Shery Meekings. “Once upon a time Shery’s husband was very ill. In 2009, the family decided to move to an all American mountain town so her husband could get well. They choose Sandpoint. Shery worked many jobs, and described herself as ‘an older mom with a new baby, yearning to meet other moms.’ One day while working at Schweitzer (one of many jobs) she met a man that was overtaken by her enthusiasm and energy. He invited her to open an art gallery in the Cedar Street Bridge, where Carousel is today. The rest is history!”
One day she had a vision. What would happen if toddlers were introduced to art? Dog wisdom tells us that maybe they would appreciate it later in life. It’s pawsible. Shery invited all the moms she knew to come to the gallery on Tuesdays with their children for bit of art appreciation. Weekly attendance exceed 40. Then she invited the men’s group that played cards at the library weekly to come to a pottery class. The first week six showed up; the next week, 11. They made coiled clay pots, laughed, and had fun. Next were the MOPS (not the floor kind). The Mothers of Preschoolers group sniffed out these activities, because they needed a place for their kids to go in the winter. Pawfect!
In 2010 Shery asked the owners of the Cedar Street Bridge to let her use some space downstairs for the kids to play and create art projects indoors. The new space would meet the needs of the community by providing classes and programs for family members of all ages and groups, especially home-school co-ops, the disabled, retirees, teens and many others. It would be a dog-friendly space to relax, have fun with the family, learn, share and expand horizons, right in the heart of Sandpoint.
The name “Creations” came to her while she was in the middle of ‘the bridge’, chatting with other moms and enjoying a few minutes to herself, while her young daughter played with other children. She knew she had now had to get busy as the owners of the CSB gave her six months to get Creations going. The moms brought art supplies and a picnic table. Families donated time and money. Captain Dan saw the original poster of the vision that she drew. He had a wooden boat and delivered it to the space (that they didn’t rent…yet), with an invoice totaling $700. Shery asked everyone she knew for $10 so they could pay for the boat. The money was raised and the donor’s names are on the boat. Kids read the names to their family, friends and dogs! Sandpoint Carpet laid down the blue squishy carpet. A dad built the arch. Then came wi-fi, electricity, a piano and more. Bazinga! Partnerships with many schools, nutrition programs and the local library were formed. Pack members say that this place is a labor of love. Shery brings love, energy, genuine enthusiasm and innovation to everyone she meets. And she owns Carousel, too.
In the first year, 25,000 folks enjoyed Creations. Shery’s husband got well. Her mom friends to donated kids clothing that they weren’t using and the Creations children’s store was born. Volunteers staffed the digs, and the team partnered with Experience Works. A small group of women quietly donated their time, and turned every penny into new inventory. By 2016 Creations was a full-blown children’s clothing and toy store. Shery estimates that it takes about $60,000 a year to operate Creations. Well worth the buckaroos! This is a happy place for so many families and dogs. And now, it’s my healing perscription. I love getting in the boat and playing with the kids. Everything here works, just like peanut butter and jelly! I can’t wait to bring the new grandbaby here and make my personalized paw print for the Mister and Missus’ holiday gift.
Another dog tale – I’m droolin’ over the changes that will be happening at the Cedar Street Bridge next month! Go see what’s happening!