Calling all crafters and DIYers! This one’s for you!
If you have ever found yourself wanting to help your local animal rescue or shelter but unsure of what you can do to help, we have good news. If you are a creative person, you can use those skills to make a difference for animals in need.
Today, we’re going to look at how you can donate much needed supplies by making time to craft for your local rescue or pet shelter.
According to the ASPCA, approximately 6.3 million companion animals (dogs, cats, and more) enter shelters across the United States every year. It’s a staggering number, highlighting just how much work goes into saving and caring for those in need. Animal shelter and rescue organizations work tirelessly to help as many animals as they can with the resources that they have available to them.
As pet lovers, we often find ourselves searching for a way to help. Unfortunately, we aren’t all in a position to donate thousands of dollars (as much as we would love to) and the number of animals that we can take in as a foster or adoption is limited by the space that we have available and our household finances. If you’ve ever found yourself frustrated with this reality and wishing there was more that you could do, you’re not alone. Many animal lovers share your frustration!
Good news! There are ways that you can use your talents, crafting for your local organizations. In fact, some of the items that they need most can be made at home.
Even if you only have a couple of hours each week, this time spent crafting can quickly add up. If you have crafty friends, you could even arrange a crafting day where you all come together, catch up, enjoy some snacks and beverages, and work on your individual crafts, whatever they may be. The options are endless! When all is said and done, you’ll have a collection of donations ready to go.
6 Crafted or DIY Items Your Local Animal Shelter or Rescue Organization Can Use
Blankets and Pet Beds
Shelters and rescue organizations are almost always in need of blankets and pet beds for the animals that are in their care. Why? With so many different animals, the easiest way to stay on top of keeping a clean and illness-free facility starts with regularly rotating beds and blankets for cleaning.
Many organizations have started using old towels as blankets simply because it’s a viable option that is often readily available. However, if you are a crafty person, you may be able to make something a little nicer for them to use.
There are many ways to make beds and blankets, but two of the most popular for this purpose are knitting/crocheting projects and no-sew fleece blankets. Start by taking stock of the supplies that you have available and the patterns that you plan on creating. There are many free patterns for knitting and crocheting cat or dog blankets available online if you are in need of one.
There are many different toys that you can make for shelter dogs and cats depending on your preferred form of crafting. This includes crocheting or knitting stuffed animals and catnip-filled toys, braiding rope and t-shirt tug toys, and more.
If you contact your local shelters and rescues, they can help direct your efforts by letting you know what types of toys they are more in need of. For example, if they are currently overrun with stuffed animals, they may really appreciate some rope tug toys for interactive play.
After all, playtime is a necessary piece of the puzzle for happy, healthy pets, even if they are currently in a rescue or shelter situation.
One specific type of toy that may prove to be beneficial for dog rescues and dog-focused shelters in your area is the snuffle mat. A snuffle mat is an interactive toy with a series of different flaps, strips, or pockets to hide a dog’s food or treats. The process of ‘hunting’ for their food not only slows down dogs that eat too quickly and making themselves sick, but it also provides much-needed mental stimulation.
Snuffle mats are relatively easy to make if you are interested in making them at home. There are many different methods, but one of the easiest options uses nothing more than a rubber sink mat with holes throughout the surface and strips of fleece. Pulling each fleece strip up through two holes of the mat, you then knot the ends of the strip to keep it in place. Repeat this over the entire surface of the mat. The ends of the fleece strips will create the perfect surface to hide your dog’s food.
Alternatively, you can sew fleece or fabric creating pockets, flaps, and other methods for hiding food and treats.
Cat Scratch Posts
This isn’t a DIY project that many people consider when choosing items to create for donation. However, many cat-focused rescue organizations could use a cat scratch post or two for the cats in their care.
There are many different designs that you can choose from depending on your experience level and expertise, ranging from a simple free-standing pillar wrapped with rope up to a more elaborate structure with platforms and beds for the cats to enjoy.
Consider reaching out to your local flooring stores to inquire about carpet scraps to save on materials. If you enjoy woodworking in your spare time, this is the perfect project for you!
Cardboard Cat Scratchers
Another easy to make project, cardboard scratchers require nothing more than old cardboard boxes and a glue gun. The act of scratching isn’t just something cats enjoy; it’s necessary for their well-being, allowing them to relax and stretch out their paws.
Cut your cardboard boxes into strips, the thickness of which will determine the thickness of our scratcher when completed. Starting at the center of the scratcher, start to wrap the cardboard strips around in a circular pattern, securing them with glue as you go. You can even cut strips to create cat ears and attach them to the top for an extra special personal touch.
‘Adopt Me’ T-Shirts and Bandanas
Have you seen the cute photographs of dogs searching for their forever home, wearing t-shirts or bandanas with sayings like ‘Adopt Me’ to catch the eye of potential pet parents? These items are often donated by animal lovers like yourself.
If you enjoy working with a Cricut, Silhouette, or similar crafting machine, this is the perfect project for you! Consider also making holiday-themed items to help raise awareness at Christmas, Halloween, Easter, Valentine’s Day, and more.
If you are friends with a photographer, you may want to consider working together on a bigger project. You can make the perfect accessories while they capture the pets wearing their new gear. Many shelters and rescue organizations use fun photography like this to help pets get seen. This is especially helpful for those pets that may have a harder time getting adopted such as older pets or those with specific needs.
Have you ever crafted for a pet in need or a local rescue? Let us know what you’ve been working on in the comments below!