There’s a national day for nearly every occasion. Potatoes, buttons, and even nerds have a day of recognition. Luckily, there are many national days that give us the opportunity to celebrate the organizations, foods, animals, and people we love, often and in many ways. July 21st is National Craft for Your Local Shelters day. It’s one of the few times a year we can support our local shelters, and in a fun, personal way. Set aside a day to create some fun shelter necessities. This particular special day was started in 2012 as a way to give back to local shelters without having to adopt or give money. Shelters need supplies, and a lot of them can be created with items we have sitting around our homes. So, let’s set aside a day to create some fun shelter necessities. For those of us who can’t offer the entire day - we can work on one of these projects at the end of the day while we catch a little late night comedy TV before bed.
Shelters need bandanas for pups to wear when posing for adoption pics and going for walks. It helps to alert and remind people that they are available for the paw-perfect forever home. We can buy fabric, but it’s just as easy to find old shirts. Cut them in a variety of bandana shaped sizes. Then embroider, screen print, paint, or draw with fabric pens, “Adopt Me.” Craft for Your Local Shelters and help precious paws find their human families.
Shelter cages can be a harsh, lonely, and cold place to wait for a forever home. There are stories across the country that talk about a blanket becoming a dog’s best friend while at the shelter and it often goes with them to their new home as a way to have something familiar to travel with. The best part is that blankets can often be expensive for shelters to buy, but are inexpensive for supportive citizens to make. We can use old blankets, old shirts, and scraps of fabric to quilt a masterpiece. Or just piece together a two-sided “binkie” with a little batting in the middle for that plush warmth we all look for in a quality blanket.
Believe it or not, there are such things as no-sew beds we can make for dogs and cats of all sizes. Clothing we won’t use anymore, scissors, and a single piece of elastic is all that’s needed. Instead of sewing seams, we knot the fabric together. And for stuffing? We can use actual store-bought filling or stuff the bed in with other swatches of fabric we might otherwise donate. Luigi & Me has a great set of instructions, but there are plenty of varieties and styles a simple Google search can reveal.
Cat Scratch Post
This one is just as simple as the other projects listed here. All that’s needed is a little rope, some glue, scissors, and a table leg or some sort of free-standing pillar. Wrap the rope around the pillar, adding a little glue to keep it from fraying too much. Tie it off and cut the rope. It’s that easy. Directions with pictures are available at Thrifty DIY Diva. Craft for Your Local Shelters to provide play things as well as comforts.
Dogs love a little tug-of-war. And when they are on their own in a shelter, having something, anything, that's theirs, can provide a world of comfort. A fun toy to hold onto until their forever family is ready to take them home and play can be the perfect gift. Old dish towels, bath towels, beach towels, even fleece blankets or clothes will work. Cut them into strips about an inch wide. Tie them together at one end. Braid the pieces and then tie them off at the other end. Easy to follow directions can be found here. For an extra special touch, cut a hole through a tennis ball and braid it into the toy.Brilliant. Simple. Under-rated. Crafting is fun and can be enjoyed by the whole family, on a crafting night with friends, or on our own in front of the TV. No matter how we participate, the result is a little creature comfort for homeless fur-babies while they wait to be discovered. What a beautiful gift. *Send us pictures of your creations! We would love to see what you come up when you Craft for Your Local Shelters and we'll share it across the interwebs to show support and to inspire others.
Michelle is a writer and ghostwriter, specializing in wellness, sustainability, and global social change. She is particularly fond of serving ethical organizations who contribute to a better life for people and animals through humane and environmentally responsible missions. At Vet Organics, Michelle uses her time as a vet tech, her academic studies in animal science and behavior, and nearly a decade working on a ranch teaching animal husbandry to write on a variety of cat and canine health topics. When she isn't writing, Michelle can be found hiking in the mountains of Colorado with her dogs or snuggled up with a good book and her cats.
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