Craft for the Animals!

Our last morning at Best Friends

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary is situated on 3800 acres of canyonland. It's stunning.

A community project to donate handmade items to animal shelters and to tell the world how shelter animals have touched our lives.

Last November my friend Lisa and I went to Utah to volunteer at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary (BFAS). After witnessing what can be accomplished when passionate people put their heads down and do the dirty, practical, day-to-day work of implementing a lofty goal, Lisa and I felt an overwhelming need to be a part of this work – if not in Utah, then at least at home. And certainly not alone.

The slogan at Best Friends is No More Homeless Pets. Another slogan they have that doesn’t get as much promotion is a better world through kindness to animals. How we treat our furry friends not only reflects how we’re inclined to treat each other, caring for animals can also help us open our hearts a little more to people.

We think crafters, with our enthusiasm for examining how everyday items are made, are especially inclined to apply our passions and talents to leave this world in better shape than we found it. And if there’s one thing crafters love in addition to sci-fi television and Jane Austen novels, it’s animals. Raise your hand if you blog as much about your dog or cat or rabbit or horse as you do about anything else. See? Thank you.

Me and Braxon

My heart still feels heavy that the sudden arrival of our son prevented us from adopting Braxon the dog. Sigh.

Imagine how much help we can give by doing the things we already love to do. Here’s the plan:

We make pet mats, blankets, beds or toys. We donate said handcrafted items to an animal shelter. We tell the story.

Simple!

And here’s some more if simple seems too easy:

  • We make pet mats, blankets, beds or toys. These can be crocheted, knitted, sewn, upcycled, repurposed, felted, quilted, patchworked, whatever. They should be durable, and they should not involve holes little paws could get stuck in (i.e., no granny square blankets).
    • Mats, blankets and beds should be a minimum of around 18″ across for small pets, and up to around 30″ across for larger animals.
    • Items absolutely must be machine washable!
    • Toys shouldn’t have parts that are easily pulled apart.
  • We donate said handcrafted items to an animal shelter. We were inspired by BFAS, but unfortunately there are homeless pets everywhere. Not all animal shelters accept donations all the time, so before you organize your local craft group to make a hundred blankets for your local organization, be sure to check with them to make sure they can accept the haul. We checked with BFAS, and they love to accept in-kind donations. If you’d like to donate items to BFAS, please send them to:
    • Chandra Forsythe
      In Kind Donations
      Best Friends Animal Society
      5001 Angel Canyon Rd
      Kanab, UT 84741
      USA
  • RaffertyWe tell the story. Not everyone knows how amazing it is to adopt a shelter animal. Not everyone knows that no animal is really “unadoptable.” Not everyone knows how awful puppy mills are, or what people can do to help stop animal abuse. So when you make an item to donate, blog about it. Tell people how you made it and why. Tweet about it and tell your friends on Facebook. Organize a night of crafting with your friends, and have everyone bring their pet. Talk about it. That’s how the work gets done. Link back to this page so folks can see what this campaign is all about.
    • Tag it so people can follow along! On Twitter, use the hashtag #ForTheAnimals. Use the same tag without the hash on sites like Flickr and on your blog!

Patterns, Promotions and Resources

Have you designed a pet-friendly pattern? Want to promote the campaign in some sort of creative way? Let me know and I’ll add it to this list!

  • Subscribe to the RSS of the Tumblr blog (or follow it on Tumblr, natch) so you can keep up with info and projects people have made and stories people have told! We’re going to do a craft-along, and we’ll manage it mostly from the Tumblr blog, which will be great fun even if you don’t know what on earth Tumblr is.
  • Join the Flickr group to share photos of items you’ve made to donate, and of the shelter animals you love.
  • Crocheters and knitters, there’s a Ravelry group for sharing projects, links, tips, stories, etc.
  • I designed a crocheted mat you can make to pretty much any size. The pattern’s free, so get crackin’ – download it now!
    Bullseye Pet Mat – Free Pattern!
  • Color Spectrum Pet Bed – sewing tutorial by Brett Bara on Design*Sponge