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National Craft for Your Local Shelters Day

Toys can brighten a shelter cat's day.
Toys can brighten a shelter cat's day.
Holli Friedland

This Saturday, July 21, is National Craft for Your Local Shelters Day. If you have never heard of this special day, it is a time where crafting can do some good for homeless animals. Whether it is sewn, knit or crocheted, it does not matter. All projects are welcome.

A lot of times rescue dogs will wear bandanas or little shirt that says “adopt me” on it. While knitting those types of things might be a bit of a challenge, it can be done. The words can be sewn on, although they are not necessary. Knit sweaters are perfect for small dogs with short fur. Even in the summer, they can get cold. Anything that brings attention to the animal will help.

Life in a shelter or with a rescue can be boring for any animal. Another crafting idea is to give the animal a toy that will add to its enrichment. The toy can eventually go with the animal to its new adoptive home.

Very simple knit dog toys can be made by creating a rectangle, then folding it in half and sewing up the sides. In a half hour or so, a toy can be created. For stuffing, an old sock works just fine. Of course, there is no end to the fun shapes, colors, patterns or styles of toys that can be created with a knitter’s fantastic imagination.

Cotton, acrylic, soy or corn fiber are excellent media to use. Really, anything that is not fuzzy would be appropriate for a dog toy. Some pet stores sell little plastic squeakers that can be inserted in the stuffing so the dog can squeak the toy. Squeaky toys are always favorites.

For cats, something fuzzy might be more attractive. Knitting or felting toys for them can be fun. Adding some catnip, either sprinkled on the toy or put inside, will add some entertainment for the cat. Solid felted balls, with a little catnip incorporated inside, are popular cat toys. They will enthusiastically bat them around a room or cage.

For people who sew, taking old clothing and sewing pieces into toys is another way to create inexpensive toys. Using fabric and yarn scraps is a way to recycle or reuse things that might otherwise end up in the landfill. Recycling is another way this project is a wonderful idea – toys made from recycled items for “recycled” animals!

Whether knitters use a pattern or just wing it, the results can be beautiful. Shelters definitely appreciate any kind of help. The projects can be donated to a tiny rescue with just a few animals or a one of the large city or county shelters. Help celebrate National Craft for Your Local Shelters Day by creating something clever that helps attract adopters to the animals.


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