When Diamonds Bring Dollars

by Lee Chambers

Karen (left) and Pearl Patino


Step into Dakin’s Springfield Adoption Center’s lobby and you’ll hear a symphony of barks, meows, chirps, and possibly the squeak of a hamster wheel.  Take about a dozen steps toward the atrium, and you’ll find a calmer, quieter, shopper’s paradise at Diamonds in the Ruff Thrift Shoppe.

The store, which is run by volunteers Karen Patino and her mother Pearl Patino, opened shortly after Dakin moved into the building in 2009.  The concept was simple; people were encouraged to donate new or gently used items that they would normally have thrown away or sold at tag sales, shoppers would find treasures for pets and humans at discounted prices, and all proceeds would be directed toward helping animals at Dakin.

That last part is the most significant; all proceeds.  To date, that amount has exceeded $373,000.  And not one cent of that amount has gone to Karen and Pearl.  They have donated every second of their time in nearly 10 years of hard work collecting, sorting, cleaning, pricing and selling the donated items.  The pair credit their ongoing inspiration to a shared concern for animals.  “I’ve always loved them,” Karen states.  “Every dollar we bring in is another dollar we have for them.”

Karen notes that - of the pet items - animal bedding, food dishes, creates, carriers and treats are big sellers.  Of the human gift items, it’s stuffed animals, serving bowls and platters.

If you’re doing some spring cleaning and have items you’d like to donate to Diamonds in the Ruff, please check out our web page for list of what we’d love to accept.  The thrift shop is open Tuesday through Sunday 12:30-5:30pm and is located at 171 Union Street in Springfield. 

Thank you to everyone who has contributed items to be resold at Diamonds in the Ruff, and congratulations and huge thanks to Karen and Pearl for their amazing dedication!


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