Carolyn Ackerman is saving animals one brush stroke at a time. On a mission to end animal abuse and homelessness, she incredibly donates 50% of all earnings from Let Carolyn Paint It! to organizations helping homeless and abused animals. While rebuilding her life, she is using her talent as an interior painter and color designer to give back to all the innocent creatures who give so much to us.
The Bunny Whisperer: You can’t talk to Carolyn without talking about bunnies. Carolyn says her first bunny, Petunia, saved her when she was facing difficult times, both financially and emotionally. After losing Petunia, Carolyn adopted five more bunnies from a shelter on Maui, where Carolyn lived at the time. You see it in Carolyn’s eyes that she loves not only her bunnies, but all animals. She believes it is her job to protect them from a world that sometimes disregards them.
Traveling Bunnies: When Carolyn decided to move back to Oregon from Maui, she faced the problem of how to bring her bunnies along. She could not leave her bunnies behind, and she could not put her bunnies in cargo. So, she worked for two years with Alaska Airlines to change the rules so she could bring her bunnies on board. Carolyn says she would still be on Maui if Alaska Airlines had not changed its rules.
Innocence: Carolyn loves and cherishes the honest innocence of animals. She says it’s kind of like very young children. They go about living honestly and full of heart – trusting, exploring, and giving without malice. There is no meanness inside them, just sometimes learned behavior to survive mistreatment or danger. I sense it’s this innocence and unconditional giving that moves Carolyn so much. It’s how animals make the world a better place.
Loving Pets: Carolyn’s love for animals began with a dog named Chewy, who was her guard dog while she lived in the Santa Cruz Mountains in California. She later adopted and saved two dogs, Cracker and Piglet, from an animal shelter in Redding. Carolyn says these dogs made her a better person.
Success Through Time: In the meantime, she and her former husband were busy building their businesses and careers. Carolyn was a successful fine arts publisher, and she and her former husband built a gutter and window cleaning service in Portland. They owned property from Canada to California, and moved at various times to different property they owned. While in California, Carolyn also built a very successful painting business in Palm Springs.
Moved to Change: After moving to Newport Beach, Oregon, Carolyn read a horrible story of animal abuse, and she says something inside her changed and she was determined to help. She wanted to share some of her success to help animals. She opened the gift store, Paper Falcon, to raise money for the Lincoln County Animal Shelter, which was in desperate need of financial help.
Rising Up: A few years later, Carolyn and her husband divorced, and Carolyn says she lost everything. She took her two dogs, Cracker and Piglet, and moved to Hawaii. She says she was distraught and depressed beyond all measure. Then, Petunia entered her life, and Petunia became the love of her life and gave her life new meaning.
Painting for Paws: Now, Carolyn is back in the Portland area with her five bunnies (plus two guinea pigs), and is putting the pieces of her life back together. She started Let Carolyn Paint It! just a few months ago, and is already seeing great success. Her services include interior painting, color consults, popcorn ceiling remediation, and furniture painting. She does all her work with a brush or roller and no tape and no spray!
Success Through Giving: Carolyn gives an amazing 50% of everything she earns to organizations benefiting abused and homeless animals. But, she doesn’t give the organizations cash. Instead, Carolyn purchases the items these organizations need, such as food or vet care. Yet, Carolyn doesn’t stop there. She also sets aside 25% of her earnings for Petunia’s Place, a retail store she plans to open to replace Paper Falcon. Carolyn is building these businesses for herself and for the animals she cares so much about. I think she’s also a role model for all us on how to pick up the pieces and to find success outside of ourselves and through giving.