Crafting, Crocheting, Knitting And Sewing For Charity


You can help stop animal suffering by crafting, crocheting, knitting and sewing for charity. Your creations can either be used in the care of animals in rescue shelters – including wildlife rehab centres – or to fund raise for them.

By making warm waterproof dog coats, you can save the lives of animals in rescues by stopping them freezing to death, especially in countries where the temperatures reach below -30 degrees Celsius and they have limited shelter.

Your blankets, pet beds and pet jumpers can provide animals comfortable bedding, emotional comfort, and even boost adoption rates – especially for dark coloured pets.  Larger blankets can also be hung up to prevent icy draughts getting into their sleeping areas.

Image: Make blankets for rescue shelter animals. Image Source


Your jumpers can keep animals warm when they need it, such as when they have lost their fur or feathers.

Knitted birds nests can save the lives of not only birds in wildlife rehab centres, but a whole range of other small animals. Pouches and pouch liners for baby marsupials can also save lives.

Image: You can make life saving knitted rescue nests and joey pouches. Image Source, Image Source.


Making items for animal rescue shelter charities to sell or to use as prizes at fundraising events is also a huge help to their animals.

Don’t worry if you don’t have crocheting, knitting, or sewing skills but would still like to craft for animal rescue shelter and wildlife charities, because there are also “no sew” items  you can make.

It’s always worth checking with the organisation you wish to craft, crochet, knit or sew for, to check their current need for items.

There are also groups and organisations you can get involved with who take knit or sew to help animals and distribute their work to the animal rescues and charities who have told them they need it.


Make Life Saving Warm And Waterproof Coats For Rescue Shelter Dogs

Image: Find how to make two different types of dog coats in this section (easy and slightly less easy) adapting them so they are warm and waterproof, so they can save the lives of rescue shelter dogs.

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There are many countries in which rescue shelter dogs are not well supported, so the rescue dogs are kept in very poor conditions. They have no heat and  limited shelter – or no shelter at all – even when temperatures go much lower than freezing. These are often the countries where animals are treated with the most cruelty, as you can see on the Cruel Animal Overpopulation Controls & Attitudes page. These rescues can often get flooded, or can become mud baths, meaning the dogs get very wet and cold.

This means that in winter, sadly, dogs freeze to death. One way to help prevent this, is to provide these rescue shelters with warm, waterproof dog coats.

I decided on instructions for these two dog coats because:

  • One is easy for beginners, and the other slightly less easy, but covers the dog better
  • They will both be easy for rescuers to fasten onto on the dogs

I have adapted the instructions to make them warm and waterprood life saving coats.

You can make these life saving coats for dogs from old clothes or fabric you have, or cheaply buy suitable clothes or fabric to make into them from charity shops. The waterproof outside cover can be made of waterproof vinyl. You can often find raincoats made from this, or a similar fully waterproof fabric, in charity shops. It is important the fabric is 100% waterproof so that the warm middle layer can not get wet and make the dogs colder. So the coats last, it is important that it is decent quality and does not rip easily.

Image: Waterproof ponchos can often be found in charity shops and offer a lot of fabric to work with. Image Source

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The middle layer of the dog coat could be an old padded jacket, on old warm quilt, or other warm fabric. If you are a keen knitter, you could even knit the warm middle layer, if you can work out how.

If you enjoy making the jackets, you could make a variety of sizes, as rescues have small dogs right up to extra large dogs.

Beginners: How To Make A Life Saving Warm And Waterproof Dog Coat:

This is an easy and not very technical way of making a life saving dog coat, which is good for beginners to try as it is not too daunting.

Life saving dog coats need to be very warm and fully waterproof both inside and outside so no water can get in anywhere.

You will need three layers for the complete coat: two waterproof layers – one for the top and one for the bottom – and a layer of thick, warm fabric for the middle. You can use the same pattern for all three layers, but the middle layer should be slightly smaller in size. This is so that the waterproof layers are able to seal the middle layer inside when they are all sewn together.

The following instructions are adapted from by Becky Gray:

I had an old fleece jacket that I was going to give to charity, so i used that for this example.

To make the pattern on paper I measured from the base of my dog’s back to about and inch from the base of his tail, around his neck and also around his chest (behind his front legs- widest part of chest) I then joined up the measurements with a few curvy bits! (Not very technical but it turned out OK). You can adapt the shape of your pattern to whatever you choose. For instance, you can make the coat wider at the back to have more fabric covering the sides of the dog, or a bit longer.

Image: Images for this dog coat are from by Becky Gray.

I pinned my paper pattern onto my fabric, and cut around it.

I then used the sewing machine to zigzag stitch around the whole thing (you could alternatively hand sew it).

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I put buttons on the neck and underbelly fastenings, but if you like, you could sew on velcro hook and eye strips, which may be less fiddly to fasten.

An adjustment I had to make was taking in the body a bit so the coat wasn’t flapping about-  I just put a couple of dart-type things along the side edge.

It took me about an hour to make this, so doing another two layers with slightly larger waterproof material to seal this warm layer inside, could take roughly three hours.

To hold the warm middle layer in place, all three layers must be sewn together around the edge. To seal the warm middle layer inside the waterproof layers, the top and bottom layers must then be sewn together with an additional line of tight stitching around the outside, further out than where all three layers were stitched together.

For the waterproof layers, you could use fabric from an old waterproof raincoat or jacket you own, or buy one cheaply from a charity shop.

Make A Warm Waterproof Life Saving Version Of This Dog Coat:

If you think you could tackle a slightly more complex, this dog coat has a collar and chest flap as well.  A warm and fully waterproofed version of this one would be a good life saving dog coat.

Image: The pattern we are using was adapted from this woven version created by Ruth Morrison of Oklahoma. Image Source


Below is the pattern for this dog coat.

Fitting the coat to your dog: The pattern shown is for a small dog with a neck-to-tail length of about 10″ and a chest circumference of 18″ (size 10 in commercial coats for small dogs). For a larger dog, adjust these two measurements, lengthen the neck flaps and chest plate/tummy flap, and transfer the pattern onto paper that you can cut out and try on a dog the size you want.

An alternative is to use an existing dog coat in the size you want to make, as a template for a pattern, adjusting the pattern where you wish to, to make it how you want.

To make dog coats that are more adjustable (so will fit more sizes of dog), extend the areas that fasten around the front of the dogs neck, the chest strap and tummy strap, and put long strips of velcro on them.



Use this pattern to make life saving warm and waterproof dog coats:

Cut the pieces of your pattern out of the paper and tape it together, attaching the pieces in the positions they would be when sewn together. Once you are satisfied that your pattern fits the sizze of dog you want it to,  pin your pattern on to your fabric and cut around it.

You will need to do this three times to make a warm and waterproof life saving dog coat, as you will need a waterproof top layer, a thick,warm middle layer, and a waterproof bottom layer. The warm middle layer should be slightly smaller than the two waterproof layers so that when the layers are sewn together, the warm layer will be sealed inside the waterproof layers.

To hold the warm middle layer in place, all the pieces must be sewn together around the edge. To seal the warm middle layer inside the waterproof layers so no water can get to it, the top and bottom layers must then be sewn together with an additional line of tight stitching around the edge, just a little further out.

Using this second pattern rather than the first will mean the dogs will be warmer because of the collar and chest covering included in this design.

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Knit or Sew Blankets For Animal Rescue Shelters

Knit Or Sew Blankets For Rescue Animals

Blankets can either be used as bedding for animals in rescues, they can used by the rescue to raise funds, or they can be used to keep draughts out of the bedding areas of shelters.

Patchwork quilts can be made from scraps of fabric salvaged from old, worn, and damaged fabric items. Just cut out good areas of the fabric and cut that into squares. When you have enough squares, sew them together into one big patchwork blanket.

Knitted blankets are also welcomed by most animal rescues, but avoid making loose knit ones.

Claire Revis, from Saving Romanian Strays, says “Tightly knitted blankets are ideal, as they seem to be the only ones the dogs don’t shred!”

Battersea Cats And Dogs Home , based in London, UK, are appealing for people to “give dogs a homemade hug” by knitting them a cosy comfort blanket that they can have in the shelter, and take with them when they get a new home, so they have something familiar with them to comfort them.

Image: Marcel the dog, rescued by Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, waiting for his new home with his knitted comfort blanket. Image Source


Here is the free knitting pattern of the blanket shown in the picture above.
If Battersea Dogs and Cats Home is not local to you, you can donate your blanket to a local animal rescue shelter.

Romney House Cat Rescue in the UK is one of many animal rescue shelters that welcomes knitted blankets, as well as hand crafted toys (see the making toys section).

On a page on their website, they says how comfortable bedding can make a huge difference to their rescued animals. The blankets need continual cleaning, which can take its toll on them. Also, if kittens have become attached to their blankets, they are allowed to take them with them to their new home, to comfort them with something familiar while they adjust. they encourage people to knit or sew blankets for rescue cats.

Image: Romney House Cat Rescue cats appreciate sewn or knitted blankets. Image Source

Knitted or sewn blankets are always needed and appreciated at the rescue. They would also consider selling them in their shop to raise much needed funds if they had enough of them to do so. There are many free sewing instructions and knitting patterns for blankets on the internet, and you can choose to do whatever pattern you like. Only loose knit blankets are not recommended.

Cats Protection is another animal rescue appealing for people to knit blankets of their choice for their rescue animals

Saving Romanian Strays sends out supplies to struggling animal rescues in Romania, and finds homes for rescued Romanian strays. They would be grateful for knitted blankets for the dogs and cats they help.  Saving Romanian Rescues has a Facebook group, here, and a Facebook community page, here.

Image: Saving Romanian Strays in need of knitted blankets for Romanian Rescues. Source

Saving Romanian Strays in need of knitted blankets for Romanian Rescues

Sew An Easy Pet Bed

Pet beds, like the one in the photograph, are very easy and cheap to make. You can make them for a rescue that needs them for their animals, or they can be sold to raise money for animal charities and rescue shelters.

You can use any fabric to cover the dog bed, as long as it is fabric that is comfortable for a pet to lie on. If you have any very large cushion covers, they could be used, or you can use tightly knitted blankets, or buy fleece pet blankets

These blankets (below) can be used to cover the outside, very cheaply from discount shops – even £1 shops, bringing your spend to just £2.

Shredded fabric rags can be used as padding / stuffing, or if you have an old duvet/Quilt, you could cut it to size. You could even stuff it with old or odd socks if you have enough.

Alternatively you can pull the stuffing in the duvet apart into small pieces and fill your dog bed that way. if you choose to do this, the bed will have to be packed very full of this stuffing, as it will flatten and clump if not enough has been packed in.


A). Sew the fabric together around three of the edges with the underside of the fabric facing outwards, leaving one end open.

B). Turn the fabric inside out so the sewed edges are on the inside and the patterned side of the fabric is on the outside.

C). Turn the edges of the cover fabric back inwards so there are no edges on the outside. If using part of a duvet or quilt as padding, cut it to size and slide in. For the last open edge, you may wish to sew press-studs or Velcro on so that the cover can be removed for washing or the stuffing can be re-arranged if it clumps.

Both the National Animal Welfare Trust (NAWT) and the RSPCA welcome homemade blankets at their centres.

Groups You Can Join

In addition, there are a number of groups you can get involved with, such as the Snuggles Project, Comfort For Critters, and Wrapped In Love, who ask their members to knit blankets to be distributed to rescue shelters who have registered with them. See the “Sewing And knitting Groups And Organisations That Help Animal Rescue Shelters” section of this page for more information.

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Make a No Sew Pet Bed To Help Animal Rescue Charities

If you are like me and don’t get along with sewing machines, making this no-sew dog or cat bed could be perfect for you. With doing it this way,  you also end up with an unusual fringe detail around the edges.

You can make them to donate to animal rescues who could either use them for their animals, or sell them to raise funds.

How To Make The DIY No Sew Dog or Cat Bed
Pictures and Instructions Courtesy of howtothisandthat

This tutorial makes a dog or cat bed approximately 36″ x 30″ from 1 yard pieces of fabric. This can be adjusted to fit the size you need.



  • 2 x 1 yard pieces of fabric of your choice (fleece was used in the photographs, but any other thick, hard wearing fabric that is comfortable for pets will do).
  • Scissors that cut fabric easily.
  • An inexpensive pillow. You can also use stuffing pulled out of an old duvet, or anything else that has suitable stuffing in it.



Lay the pieces of fabric, on top of each other.  Trim any edges to even up them up so they are exactly the same size and shape, lying precisely on top of each other.

You may find it helpful to pin them from moving while you do the next bit.

Cut 3″ strips into the edge of the fabric, about 2″ wide, to create a sort of fringe.

Do this on three sides.


Grab each color fabric strip (top and bottom) and tie to each together  in a knot.  This is the “no sew” part! The strips of fabric will be tied up nice and tight to each other, holding in the stuffing.

Do this on three sides of the pet bed.


Remove the stuffing from the pillow and add it to the pet bed.

You can also use stuffing pulled out of an old duvet, or anything else that had suitable stuffing in it.

Fill it very full of stuffing, as with the dog or cats weight, it will quickly flatten.


Cut the strips into the last side of the pet bed, then tie them. Your no-sew pet bed is now finished.

Image: Adopted dog Yogi on the no-sew pet bed. Images and instructions for the no-sew pet bed courtesy of HowToThisAndThat


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Make A No-Sew Snuffle Mat

Snuffle mats fulfill the natural instinct dogs have to forage for food. Drop a few treats in amongst the fabric, and this boredem-busting mat will keeps dogs occupied and mentally stimulated.

You do not need to be able to sew to make a snuffle mat. It involves cutting fabric into strips, threading it through holes in a rubber mat, and knotting the fabric. You can help animal rescues and charities by making these for them to use in their fundraising events, or they may want to use them for animals in their care.

Image: You just need rubber sink mat (or similar) and strips of fabric to make a DIY snuffle mat to help animal rescues. Source

Find out how to make a snuffle mat here.

For the rubber mat you can use a mat like this sink mat,  or a bigger and stronger one like this doormat, or an even bigger one like this bath mat. Any fairly strong rubber mat with holes in it should be OK to use, and you may be able to find something suitable very cheaply in discount store.

For the fabric, you can recycle old clothes, or use any fabric you have around the house.

Image: Make a snuffle mat to help animal rescues and charities. Source

If you would like your snuffle mat to help an animal rescue of charity, one way is to contact the Recycle For Rescues Donators Group on Facebook. They will help you put your mat in an online fundraiser to help animal rescues.

If you prefer, you can browse this Facebook group, where lots of animal rescues publicise their online fundraisers, and you can choose if you would like to donate your snuffle mat to any of those.

As always, animals should be supervised when playing with these mats.

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Knit And Sew Jumpers And Coats For Rescue Animals And Wildlife

There are a number of reasons that animals in domestic pet and wildlife rescue shelters may need jumpers to wear.

Animals often arrive at rescue shelters with very matted fur, which cannot be groomed. The only way to treat this is to shave all the fur off. This can leave the animal very cold and in need of a jumper, especially if the are unwell, which many animals are when they arrive. They may be suffering from skin conditions, or stress has made them pull out their coats and attack their skin. Some animals are just prone to feeling the cold.

It is known that black and dark coloured dogs and cats are often overlooked at shelters and rescues in favour of lighter coloured pets.Knitting brightly coloured jumpers for them to wear makes them look more appealing to adopters, speeding up the rate at which they get adopted.

When ex-battery hens are rescued, they can be in an awful state, having plucked out or rubbed away many of their feathers on the small cages they spent their lives in (although some hen rescues do not recommend jumpers for hens).

Parrots and other birds can pluck their feathers out due to stress, leaving them needing a jumper. This prevents further plucking, as well as keeping them warm.

When there was a massive oil spill, penguins covered in oil needed jumpers to stop them instinctively preening to remove the toxic oil, meaning they would swallow it. There was such an overwhelming response to an appeal that was made for the  jumpers, that wildlife charities were able to sell some of the jumpers on stuffed soft toy penguins in their gift shops to raise funds to help wildlife. So next time there’s a big oil spill, you can contact the wildlife charities involved to see if they need any knitting done.

Image: Penguin jumpers were used to prevent oil covered penguins swallowing the lethal oil through preening themselves to get clean.
Image Source

Knit Jumpers To Help Dark Dogs Get Adopted

Some of the reasons that dark coloured dogs are often overlooked and take much longer to be adopted is that dark animals tend not to photograph well and it can be difficult to distinguish their features – especially the all important facial features.  In addition, if they have any white or grey hairs, these show up against their black coats and may make them look older than they are. Superstition has given black dogs a bad image too. In British folklore, and that of other cultures, black dogs often appear as evil forces that represent death to those who see them.

Knitting these dark coloured pets brightly coloured jumpers to wear makes them look more appealing.

Edith Smith and Winnie Anderson, members of Scottish Womens Institute groups in the Aberdeenshire Federation, were the first ones who knitted colourful jumpers and donated them to an SPCA rescue and rehoming centre at Drumoak, near Banchory in Scotland, UK.

SPCA Superintendent Sharon Comrie explains:

“This [black dog] syndrome really does affect the adoption of animals in our care and, through no fault of their own, black dogs are almost always the last to find new homes. It’s a really creative idea to knit coloured jackets to show these dogs off to their best advantage.

Knitted jackets will be ideal because they will be soft on the skin, have an element of give and stretch, and can be created in any, or many, colours of wool. Every knitted jacket that we receive will be put to good use at our rehoming centres across Scotland and with the SWI knitters’ support, we will be able to build up a collection of special jackets for our dark dogs to wear with pride.”

Whether you are involved with a Womens Institute or not, you can help an overlooked dark dog get adopted by knitting them a technicolour jumper. You can find free knitting patterns for dog jumpers below.

With these jumpers helping dogs get adopted more quickly, life saving rescue spaces will be freed up more often to save the lives of dogs on death row in pounds.

Image: Colourful knitted coats on dark dogs, such as this SPCA rescue dog, make them more appealing to potential adopters. Source

Knit Jumpers For Rescue Shelter Pets In Mexico

United Hope For Animals, based in Los Angeles, asked knitters if they would help dogs in Mexico by knitting dog sweaters for United Hope for Animals to take down to Tijuana on its regular trips there. they provide this free knitting pattern.

Image: One of United Hope For Animals’ volunteers with the dog sweaters she knitted to help rescue dogs in Mexico. Image source

Dog Jumper Knitting Patterns for Animal Rescue Shelters

Although pets who are kept outside in rescue shelters are more likely to need waterproof coats, there are some rescues who can make use of knitted dog jumpers.

Check with the animal rescue you would like to support to check they can make use of your pet jumper, either to sell to raise funds, or in the care of their animals. It is also a good idea to check what sizes they are most in need of.

Below are knitting patterns for a variety of dog coats/jumpers/sweaters that are to fit a number of different sized dogs.

Here are some free knitting patterns of dog coats:

Big Dog Sweater

Button Up Dog Sweater

Turtle Neck Dog Sweater

Greyhound Dog Coat

Sew And Knit Coats And Snoods For Greyhound Rescues

Greyhounds In Need is another charity that rescues Greyhounds and Lurchers, and in particular Spanish Galgos who face horrific cruelty in Spain. They would be grateful for knitted and fleece coats, and provide patterns for a knitted coat, sewn coat, sewn “snuggler” (dog nightie!).

Greyhound Gap is a small independent charity that rehabilitates and rehomes Greyhounds and Lurchers in danger of being put to sleep in UK pounds. They welcome fleece jumpers / coats for their rescued animals, if people would like to sew any for them.

Image: Greyhounds In Need provide sewing and knitting patterns for coats they need for their dogs. Source

Snoods are also used to keep the dogs necks, and sometimes ears, warm. Below is an ear warming fleece snood sewing pattern. It takes around 15 minutes to make:

Materials Needed:
• 20″ x 30″ piece of fabric (polar fleece works best, but anything thick and warm will do)
• 12″ piece of elastic (anything from 1/4″ to 1/2″ wide)

1. Basically, take a 20″ x 30″ piece of fabric. Sew a seam on the 20″ side so you have a tube.
2. Hem one end on the machine by turn the fabric over 1/4″, then 1/4″ again and sewing.
3. Turn over the other end 1/4″ and sew, then turn again (this time 1/2″ – 3/4″) and sew to make a casing. Leave a small opening.
4. Measure a piece of elastic around the dog’s face (usually about 12 inches), near the ears. Subtract 2″ and cut the elastic. Be sure to measure while the elastic is in its unstretched state.
5. Thread the elastic through the casing. Adjust size on dog, sew elastic together, close up hole on casing and there you have it. You can put the snood on first, then the hound coat.

Image: Make a snood for Greyhound rescues. Source

Make a snood for greyhound rescue

There is also a fundraising snood knitting pattern here. It costs £2 and 100% of the money raised is donated to the Essex Greyhound Rescue service, or Lurcher Link. This means you can help Greyhounds twice, once with your £2 donation, and again by knitting a snood for a rescue.

Alternatively, here is a free snood knitting pattern, provided by Northumberland Greyhound Rescue, who you may wish to donate your hand made garments to.

In addition to the Greyhound rescues mentioned, you can contact your local Greyhound rescue to see if they are in need of coats and snoods.

Image: Greyhounds like snoods to keep their necks warm. Source

Knit Dog Jumpers For Canine MRI Patients

The Animal Health Trust uses knitted dog and cat jumpers to keep the animals warm when they come around from the anaesthetic after having an MRI scan. Although they have a good supply of jumpers for small dogs with short backs, and for cats, they need more for long-backed dogs, such as dashunds, and especially for larger dogs.

They say that the jumpers do not have to look pretty – use up any old yarn you like – and if you have a more practical design than the free pattern they provide, they welcome it.

If they get enough surplus jumpers, they will look to sell them in their giftshop.

Image: Ethel the dog wears a knitted jumper which helps dogs keep warm who undergo MRI scans at the Animal Health Trust. Image Source

MRI jumpers NEWS

Groups You Can Get Involved With

In addition, there are groups you can get involved with, such as Fibers For Fido and K9 Search UK Knitters Club, who ask their members to knit jumpers to be distributed to rescue shelters who have registered with them. See the “Sewing And knitting Groups And Organisations That Help Animal Rescue Shelters” section of this page for more information.

Knit Jumpers For Parrots

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, in Utah, provide a knitting pattern for a parrot jumper here.

Best Friends says that parrots who come into their care have sometimes plucked their feathers out through stress. The jumpers not only keep the birds warm, but prevent them from plucking out more of their feathers.

Image: Windy the parrot wearing a jumper to keep him warm and stop him plucking more feathers out with stress. Image Source


If you would like to make a parrot sweater, it is advisable to first contact animal rescues and sanctuaries to see if they are in need of them.

Jumper Vests For Ex-battery Hens

Ex-battery hens often arrive at rescues without many of thir feathers. The awful conditions they were kept in caused stress induced self plucking of feathers, as well as more dominant hens plucking out other hens feathers. Neck and chest feathers also get rubbed away on the metal cage bars when they are feeding.

Image: Ex-battery hens often arrive at rescues missing many feathers. Some rescues use hen sweaters to keep them warm and stop them plucking.
Image Source

Although many animal rescues that rescue ex-battery hens use knitted hen vests, the British Hen Welfare Trust does not encourage their use, for reasons explained here.
BHWT encourage people to knit them toy chickens and other things for them to sell in their fundraising shop (see the “Knit And Sew Fundraising Items For Charity” section of this page).

If you know of any animal rescue shelters or sanctuaries who rescue ex-battery hens, it is worth getting in touch with them to ask if they use knitted sweater vests for hens.

Here is a Hen Jumper knitting pattern you can use.

Places that have appealed for hen sweater vests in the past include:LittleHill Animal Rescue and Sanctuary in County Kildare, Ireland;
Lee Valley Park Farms in Waltham.

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Make A Dog Bandana To Calm An Anxious Rescue Dog

Image: Over the collar dog bandanas. Image Source


London based animal rescue shelter, Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, always need people to use their sewing skills to make bandanas for their rescue shelter animals, because they spray calming scents onto them and put them onto stressed dogs to help them.

They offer instructions for how to make the bandanas, here.

Image: Make a calming bandana for a rescue dog. Image Source


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Sew Toys To Help Animal Rescue Charities

If you like to sew and can make items such as cat and dog toys, they can be given to animals in rescues and shelters to play with, or can be used to raise funds for animal rescue shelters.

Image: Examples of dog and cat toys you could sew yourself to help animal charities. The image on the left shows a pair of old denim jeans recycled into a dog toy. As you get more confident, you can add details to your toys, like the toys on the right of the image.

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Sew Easy Cat or Dog Toys for Animal Charities:

Below is an example of basic dog or cat toys you could make. You can add your own extra details once you feel confident:

Step 1.
Cut a shape out of two pieces of fabric the same size and shape. These can be whatever shape you like – a bone shape for a dog, a fish shape for a cat – but the more challenging the shape, the more difficult the project.

Step 2.
Lay the pieces of material together so that the side of the fabric you want to end up on the outside is facing inwards.

Step 3.
Sew three edges together, leaving one open for when you put the filling in.

Step 4.
Turn the fabric inside-out so that the seams are on the inside.

Step 5.
Stuff the shape with newspaper, crinkle filling, fiber-fill, and if for cats, catnip. The more filling you put in, the plumper and rounder the toy will be.

Step 6.
Sew up the fourth side. It is are now finished.

Image: You can make any shape of dog or cat toy, and even use string to attach it to a wooden rod to a cat toy so it can be dangled. To be more adventurous, you can add more details, as with some of the toys below.  Image Source

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The Compassionate Action Institute shows ideas of items you can make, including toys of your choice, to help animals at the Centre for Animal Care and Control in New York City, or for a shelter local to you.

Image: Make toys to enrich the lives of shelter animals .
Image Source



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Knit Toys To Help Animal Rescue Charities

If you enjoy knitting, there are a great many things you can knit to help animal rescues and charities, including toys. Below are toys you can knit that specific animal rescues are asking for, but you are welcome to be creative and knit other toys that will be good for rescued animals to play with, or that can be used to fund raise for the animal rescue shelter.

Some animal rescue shelters sell knitted items in their shop if they manage to get enough to occupy the animals and have more besides. You will find many free knitting patterns online, in addition to the ones on this page.

Pirate Catnip Mouse And Other Toys For Battersea Dogs And Cats Home

Battersea Dogs and Cats Home encourage people to knit cat toys, including this pirate catnip mouse.

Image: Knit this cat toy for Rescued cats at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in London. Image Source


If you are not local to one of Battersea Dogs and Cats Homes three centres, and you would like to post your knitted toy to them, here is their address. Alternatively, you could donate your items to a rescue shelter local to you who will either use it for their animals, or to raise funds for the rescue. It may be wise to contact the rescue you have in mind to check they can make use of your creation.

Knit Mice And Other Toys for cats Protection

Cats Protection is also appealing for people to knit cat toys for their rescue animals. They offer this knitting pattern of a catnip toy mouse. They would also appreciate knitted blankets (see Knit Blankets section).

Image: Knit these toy mice to enrich the lives of rescued cats at Cats Protection. Image Source

They say the charity’s branches, shops and adoption centres welcome donations of knitted mice and other cat toys, and such donations will make life better for the cats in their care.

Make A Wooly Cat Toy For Romney House Rescue

Romney House Cat Rescue in the UK is one of many animal rescue shelters that welcomes knitted blankets and hand crafted cat toys.

They have a page on their website that explains how the kittens that spend day after day cooped up waiting for new homes can become anxious and fed up. Something to play with can make a huge difference to that.

With the toys being played with and needing cleaned regularly, they can wear out. As well as this, many of the cats & kittens become quite attached to their toys, so to help ease them into their new homes, they can take them with them.

More of the very kindly knitted toys are always welcomed, and if they received enough of them, Romney House could sell them in their shop to raise desperately needed funds.

The rescue also appreciate receiving knitted blankets.

Image: Cats at Romney House Cat Rescue, and many other dog and cat rescues, always need knitted toys. Image Source


On their website they show you how to make a wooly cat toy.

Image: Make this wooly cat toy for cats in animal rescue shelters. Image source


Knit Bone Shaped Dog Toys

Knit bone shaped dog toys using these directions, which can be used to fund raise for animal rescue shelters or can be given to the rescue’s animals to enrich their lives.

Image: Knit dog toys that can be either given to rescue dogs, or sold by the rescue shelter to fund raise. Image Source


More Free Knitting Pattens For Cat Toys

You can find free knitting patterns for all the cat toys in the picture below, here

Image: Free knitting patterns for cat toys to help animal rescues and shelters.


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Easy Pet Toys You Can Make Without Sewing Or Knitting

You can make these for a rescue shelter to sell to raise funds, or for them to give to pets waiting to be adopted.

T-Shirt Dog Tug Toy

Image: Recycle old T-shirts into dog tug toys to help rescue dogs. Image Source


Here are instructions about how to make this dog tug toy.

The more strips of fabric you have in your piles, the chunkier and stronger the toy will be.

Super Easy T-Shirt Cat Toy

Image: This is a very simply made cat toy, which uses old t-shirt strips, or strips of other fabric. It can also be attached to a wooden rod with string. Image Source

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Step 1. Cut an old t-shirt into rectangular strips (approximately 8 inches long)

Step 2. Lay about five of the strips down together.

Step 3. Tie the strips into a big knot in the middle. That’s it!

For cats in rescues, shelters or pounds, these toys are great to tie to the cage doors for the cats to play with. They are also good for cats boarded at the vet or going for a long ride in the car.

T-Shirt Toss ‘n’ Tug Dog Toy

The T-shirt Toss ‘n’ Tug Dog Toy is great to chew on, fling, chase, fetch, or have a game of tug with.

Image: No sew DIY easy dog toy that you could make to raise funds for animal rescues or to give to the pets in rescues. Image Source

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Step 1. Cut two wide strips out of an old T-shirt, plus a narrower piece.

Step 2. Lay two pieces of the fabric in a cross shape and place a tennis ball in the centre.

Step 3. Wrap the ball securely in the fabric and tie in place with the narrower strip of fabric.

Step 4. Cut each wide strip that is dangling from the ball into three strips and then plait/braid.

Step 5.Tie a knot in the bottom of each plait/braid. Alternatively, use more strips from your T-shirt to tie around the ends. The toy is now complete.

If you want the toy to have more “legs”, you can either use more than two wide strips of fabric at step 2, and lay them down in a star formation, then continue with the remaining steps. OR, if you ‘d rather just use two strips, make them wide enough to cut into six strips each for the legs, instead of just three (as seen in the picture below).

Image: You can also make it prettier, which means it may sell better to raise funds for animal rescues, but make sure anything you use is safe for pets. Image Source


You could also adapt this toy to be a cat toy, adding catnip to it.

Make Wooly Wand Cat Toys

Battersea Dogs and cats Home  in London are appealing for people to create cat toys, such as the “Wooly Wand“. Technically, this does not involve any actual knitting or sewing, but it does use knitting wool and occasionally a needle. It is easy though, so don’t be put off.

Image: Create Woolly Wand cat toys out of string and wool, to help animal rescue Battersea Dogs And Cats Home. Image Source


No Sew Rope Treat Ball

You can make a ball like this out of rope and pop little treats in the gaps.

This page shows you how to create this ball using just rope and a few knots.

Image: Make a no-sew treat ball from rope. Image Source

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Crochet, Knit and Sew Fundraising Items For Charity

Knit Or Crochet A Donkey To Help The Donkey Sanctuary

The Donkey Sanctuary love for people to knit or crochet donkeys for them to sell as fundraising items in their gift shop.

Image: Crochet or knit a Neddy or Woolly the donkey for The Donkey Sanctuary to sell in their online gift shop. Image Source


If you are interested in crocheting a donkey, you can contact The Donkey Sanctuary on this page, and find the crochet pattern here. If your skills lie in knitting, you can contact the sanctuary on this page, and find the woolley knitting pattern here.

Knit a Hen To Help The British Hen Welfare Trust

The British Hen Welfare Trust encourage people to create this knitted bird for them to sell to raise funds. They say to use whatever colours you like.

Profits from the sale of BHWT products go directly towards helping to fund the re-homing of thousands of hens each year.

Image: Use your knitting skills to make this chicken toy to help the British Hen Welfare Trust raise funds to rescue and re-home ex-battery hens. Image Source

Other Pet Toys You Can Knit And Crochet

There are many knitting, crochet, and sewing patterns on the web of toys you could make that would be good for animal rescue shelters and animal charities to sell in their fundraising gift shops, or use as prizes. Check with the animal charity first so your work does not go to waste. Here are a few free patterns of toys you can crochet and knit:


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Crochet Or Knit Nests To Help Wildlife Animal Rescues

Wildlife Rescue Nests is a non profit organisation, based in Canada, that distributes nests, crocheted and knitted by volunteers, to wildlife rescues all around the world.

The typical animal you think of that would need a nest is a bird, but they are also used for small mammals such as squirrels, bunnies, raccoons and skunks, bats, hedgehogs, bush babies, wallabies, possums and many others. Orphaned, sick, and injured animals’ chances of survival are increased by these nests.

Image: EXTREME CUTENESS WARNING!! Wildlife Rescue Nests knitted and crocheted by volunteers. Image Source

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If you would like to be part of what Wildlife Rescue Nests does, go to their website to find out how. They will give you support and rescources, and you will become part of a lovely community, especially if you also join them on their Facebook page.

WRN are continually adding wildlife rescues to their list, so are always in need of more crafters to make nests.

Image: Another design Wildlife Rescue Nests have is the cave nest, suitable for burrowing animals. Image Source


There are many nest patterns you can find online, but the ones provided by Wildlife Rescue Nests were developed and tested with the help of professional wildlife rehabilitators to prevent injuries to animals.

If you prefer to go it alone and make nests for specific wildlife rescues, check with the rescue that they need them before doing all that work, and find out what size they need. They may also have their own pattern that they prefer people to use.

Here are some guidelines to make sure your nest is safe:

  • Very tightly knit or crocheted, many times with two strands of yarn — the nests should stand on their own, and tiny animal legs/toes/claws should not be able to get through the stitches and cause further injury
  • Smooth machine washable yarn — Super Saver is great since it is sturdy and washes easily, but please do not use textured yarn or yarn with pieces that the animals can ingest.
  • Some wildlife rescues may only take nests made of pure wool, not synthetic yarns, so it’s best to check.

West Sound Wildlife Centre provides a nest knitting pattern for nests it would like to receive, here.

Nests should be sent to:
West Sound Wildlife
7501 NE Dolphin Drive
Bainbridge Island, WA 98110

The VBSPCA provides knitting and crocheting patterns here, and asks for the nests to be sent to the address at the bottom of the pattern.

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Knit And Sew a Kangaroo Joey Pouch For Australian Wildlife Rescues

Wildlife rescues in Australia save many marsupial Joeys, orphaned or injured through bushfires, accidents on the road, or for other reasons.  The size of pouches the carers need for the joeys vary greatly depending on the stage of development of the joey in need, so all sizes ae needed. They pouches are used and washed frequently, and this takes its toll on them. This means that the need for pouches is always great for marsupial carers.

Joeys pouches and pouch liners are needed by all kinds of rescue groups in Australia. It is always prudent to check with the rescue you want to make a pouch for to find out what design of marsupial joey pouch or liner would be of use to them, and if they are currently in need of them.

Kangaloola Wildlife Shelter Inc let you know how to make the best kind of joey pouches and liners for them on this page.

Image: Kangaloola Wildlife Shelter Joey Pouch. Image Source


Send completed pouches and liners to:

Kangaloola Wildlife Shelter,
Victoria 3749,

WIRES Wildlife Rescue carers are always in need of suitable pouches for juvenile marsupials who need to be kept warm and quiet. The pouches are used for many different animals, some for two or three young ringtails at once, others for brushtail joeys (which are larger) and even for very young bandicoots and possums. See this page for how to make the kind of pouch WIRES needs.  They also show you how to make larger macropod pouches, which they are also in need of. There are additional details from WIRES about the pouches, here.

Image: WIRES joey pouch. Image Source


Send completed pouches to:

WIRES Wildlife Rescue,
Suite 39,
Lifestyle Working,
117 Old Pittwater Road,
NSW  2100

IFAW need pouch liners to give to carers because six pouch liners can be used per animal each day for each possom, kangaroo or wallaby.

Image: Marsupial joey Pouch liner being used by IFAW carer. Image source


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Crochet A Cat Nest

On the Bev’s Country Cottage website, the SPCA have expressed a need for crocheted or knitted “cat nests” or “cat-cozies” that cats in their care can snuggle up into.  Here is the pattern for the cat nest bed. Details of where to send completed nest beds are on this page.

Image: Crochet or knit a cat nest bed like this for SPCA animals. Image Source 


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Make Thick Blankets, Fly Masks, And More For Working Donkeys

The Asswin Project

The ASSWIN Project  is in need of volunteers to create thick blankets large enough to go over a working donkey’s back in India, to help stop their skin being quickly rubbed away by their heavy loads. Without them,  painful wounds are quickly caused. The donkeys do not get veterinary treatment and are still made to work in this agony. The ASSWIN Project help educate the donkeys owners about the best way to care for their working donkeys. They provide them with padding and a range of other equipment that has been crafted by their volunteers. ASSWIN also rehabilitate injured donkeys.

Image: Fly masks are one of the items made by volunteers of The ASSWIN Project to help working donkeys in India. Image Source


If you would like to send blankets too (large enough to go over a donkey’s back), the address is:


If you would like to get involved in crafting items to help the donkeys, volunteers are always very welcome at The ASSWIN Project Support Group on Facebook.
You may also wish to look at The ASSWIN Project Website.

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Make Koala Mittens

When bushfires occur in Australia, many slow moving Koalas sadly perish. The lucky ones that survive are often badly injured and need intensive treatment by vets and dedicated wildlife carers.  Injured koalas typically come into care with severe burns, especially on their paws, caused by contact with burning trees or from fleeing across fire grounds. These injuries need treatment with burns cream and paws need to be protected with special cotton mittens.

A plentiful supply of these mittens are needed throughout the bushfire season, as dressings need changed daily and some Koalas can take up to a year to recover. That’s where you crafters can help.

IFAW is asking for koala mittens made from clean, 100% cotton fabric.

“Maybe you have some old cotton sheets or tea towels – just check that the material is 100% cotton,” Josey Sharrad of IFAW said.

The mittens are easy to make, even if you have never sewn before. Here is the pattern.

Before you use your time making them though, it is wise to check with IFAW that they currently need them. If they do, send your mittens to IFAW, 6 Belmore Street, Surry Hills 2010 and IFAW will distribute them where they are most needed.

You may wish to check with other wildlife animal rescues that take in Koalas, to see if they need these mittens.

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Make Sweaters and Jumpers Into Unique Dog Or Cat Beds

If you like crafting things and sewing, you can make an old jumper into a unique novelty pet bed, which can used to fund raise for an animal rescue shelter, or can be used by their animals.

If you have a real love of knitting, you could even choose to knit the jumper to use, and make it the size, feel, colour and design you want to.

Image: Unique pet bed made from jumper or sweater. Image Source


The instructions on how to make this dog bed are by Autumn Stalker Herbal Crafts, and are here, but you can use any sweater or jumper you like, as long as it is not loose knit (as the stuffing would then come through).

Image: Examples of other sweaters and jumpers used to make dog or cat beds. Image Source


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This page also has instructions on how to upcycle old sweaters and jumpers into dog or cat beds.

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Sewing And knitting Groups To Join That Help Animal Charities

There are a number of groups and organisations that welcome people who want to knit or sew to help animal charities and rescue shelters. Animal rescue shelters register with these organisations to say that they are in need of these hand crafted blankets and other items.

Fibers For Fido

Maggie Franz started Fibers For Fido, because she had to do some research into US animal charities and rescue shelters for her job, and her heart broke for the poor abandoned animals. She wanted to do something to help, and noticed that the rescues needed sweaters and blankets for the animals.


As a keen knitter, Maggie decided to start knitting sweaters for the rescue dogs, but she realised that, as it takes time, she needed more people to come on board and do the same. That’s when was born.

Fibers for Fido has established partnerships with six animal shelters so far to provide donations of sweaters and blankets. These include the Butler County Humane Society, Strayhaven Animal Shelter in Greenville and several in eastern Pennsylvania. All animal shelters in the Tri State area are eligible to sign up.

Image: Maggie Franz, who started Fibers For Fido, where people knit and sew dog coats and blankets for animal rescue shelters. Her dog is modelling a jumper she knitted. Image Source


The K9 Search UK Knitters Club

You can find the K9 Search UK Knitters Club on Facebook.

The K9 Search UK Knitters Club click away with their needles and wool producing loads of coats for the unclaimed strays of the West Midlands, UK. If you would like to join in and help a stray keep warm in our cold months, they will welcome you and give you free knitting patterns.

Image: A dog jumper made for an abandoned pound dog, made by a member of the K9 Search UK Knitters Club. Image Source


The Snuggles Project

In the United States, you can find shelters that accept knitted and sewn items through the Snuggles Project.

The Snuggles Project was started by the President of Hugs For Homeless Animals twenty years ago, to provide frightened shelter animals with some comfort in the form of “Snuggles”, which are blankets. Since its inception, millions of snuggles have been donated to animal shelters who have registered with The Snuggles Project to receive them.

In their pattern library, you can find ideas of what type of snuggles or toys to make, whether it be through sewing, knitting, crocheting, or creating in other ways.

They also invite people to send them their favourite snuggle blanket patterns and ideas.

Image: The Snuggles Project sends the work of knitters, sewers and crocheters to animal shelters. Image Source


Comfort For Critters 

Comfort for Critters is a volunteer program that creates free handmade blankets to comfort homeless pets living in animal shelters across the US. While these pets await adoption, the blankets provide a comfortable bed.

Image: Homeless animal rescue shelter kittens on a Comfort For Critters hand made blanket. Image Source


When they are adopted, their blanket goes with them, providing something familiar as they adjust to their “forever family.”

Animal rescue shelters register with Comfort For Critters to say that they would like to receive these blankets.

Image: Make hand made blankets to donate to animal rescue shelters through Comfort For Critters. Image Source


Through Comfort For Critters, people have donated over 41,000 handmade blankets to animal shelters so far. On this page of their website they have instructions for making the blankets, and also tell you where you can drop them off or send them to.

Wrapped In love


Wrapped In Love describes itself as a family of crafters who  just happen to love dogs and cats and share the mission to wrap the animals in love by making blankets to donate to animals in rescue shelters.

You can sew, crochet, knit, knot, quilt, or make no-sew blankets and other items for animal rescues. Join their Facebook page to get all the help you need from the W.I.L community.

Image: Join Wrapped In Love to make blankets, bandanas and other items for animal rescue shelters. Image Source


Wildlife Rescue Nests

Wildlife Rescue Nests based in Canada, distributes nests, crocheted and knitted by volunteers, to wildlife rescues all around the world.

They are used for not just birds, but all sorts of animals who have been orphaned, injured, or who are unwell. The use of these nests increases the chances they will survive.

Their list of wildlife rescues needing nests is always growing, so they are always in need of new volunteers to make them.

Go to their website to find out how to get involved, and become part of their community on their Facebook page.

Image: Knit or crochet a nest to save wildlife. Image Source


The ASSWIN Project

The ASSWIN Project  is in need of volunteers to create thick blankets large enough to go over a working donkey’s back in India, to help stop their skin being quickly rubbed away by their heavy loads. Without them, painful wounds are quickly caused. The donkeys do not get veterinary treatment and are still made to work in this agony. The ASSWIN Project help educate the donkeys owners about the best way to care for their working donkeys. They provide them with padding and a range of other equipment that has been crafted by their volunteers. ASSWIN also rehabilitate injured donkeys.

If you would like to get involved in crafting items to help the donkeys, volunteers are always very welcome at The ASSWIN Project Support Group on Facebook.
You may also wish to look at The ASSWIN Project Website.

Image: You could help working donkeys in India by knitting, sewing and crafting for The ASSWIN Project.  Image Source


I Love Crafting Friends And Supporters Facebook Group

The I Love crafting – Friends And Supporters group on Facebook, run by Ninia Macasil, is a group of crafters dedicated to crafting items to help animal rescues raise funds. People use the group to let each other know about the animal rescue fundraisers they are helping by donating their crafts to. Anyone interested in crafting to help animal rescues will receive encouragement and support if they join this group.

Image: You can join this Facebook group if you are interested in crafting to help animal rescues raise funds. Source


Image: Just some of many “I Love Crafting” crafts that have helped animal rescues. Source


Wool Needed For Rescues

Wool Needed For Rescues is on facebook. People who want to help animal rescues knit squares for a patchwork quilt, which Sue, who runs the page, sews together. The finished blanket is then donated to animal rescues who put them in their fundraising events.

If you would like to help rescue animals by either knitting a square, or donating some wool to the project, message Sue on the Wool Needed For Rescues Facebook page.

Image: You can help animal rescues by knitting squares to be sewn together to make patchwork blankets. Source cfrhuhh


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Craft Anything You Like To Raise Funds For Animal Rescue Shelters

You can do any kind of crafting, knitting or sewing for charity you like.

There are more ideas of things to crochet, knit and sew for charity, here, but there is also a lot of other things you could craft for charity to raise money.

If you would like to know ways you can re-fashion old greetings cards, gift tags and gift wrap into items items that can be sold to help stop animal suffering, find out how on this page.  The page also tells you where they can be sold online.

Create Wooden Hanging Signs

One example of a fairly easy bit of crafting, is to create the shabby chic wooden heart and wooden bone shaped hanging signs, below.

Simply buy wooden shapes with a hole in them, either from a craft shop or online, then paint them with cream, grey, or anothy “shabby chic” style coloured paint. I use tester paint pots of emulsion.
Write an amusing animal related slogan on them in permanent pen or oil based paint pen (after doing it in pencil first to get it right!).
Finally, thread a cream ribbon, or whatever you like, through the hole.

People have different crafting skills. Whatever your crafting skill, you can use it to help stop animal suffering.

Join Recycle For Rescues

A good Facebook group that is great to join if you think you may be interested in crafting, knitting or sewing for charity, is the Recycle For Rescues Donators Group. If you prefer to buy finished items as opposed to making them to help animals, see the Recycle for Rescues group for what people have made and are selling.

Alternatively, you can donate them to any of the fund raising events onthis Facebook page. The page is full of fund raising events run by different animal rescue organisations to help stop animal suffering all over the world.

Craft A Costume To Wear For Fund-Raising Events

Costumes are surprisingly good for grabbing the attention of passers by when you are fund raising or holding a demonstration / protest.
Children especially respond to them, and at fundraising events, they can mean more money is raised.

If a rescue you know of does not have such a costume to be worn at fundraising events, they may be very grateful for one.

Where Do I Get Cheap Materials?

If you run out of your own materials, tell friends and family that you are crafting, knitting or sewing for charity, and appeal to them for the materials you need. You may find people have an excess of things you need, and are very willing to give you them for a good cause.

Other places you can find cheap wool, clothes and fabric are charity shops.

Image: Balls of knitting wool can often be found cheaply in charity shops. Image Source


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Where Else Can I Donate My Items?

Sometimes it will say where to send your items on the patterns or links provided on this page, but there are other places you can donate your creation which will mean it helps animals in need.

You can offer them to rescues local to you, or to the Recycle For Rescues Donators Group on Facebook. Alternatively you can choose a fundraising event in this Facebook group to donate it to, which are run to help animal rescues:
Animal Rescue Auctions, Buy It Now Sales & Other Fund Raisers NOW ON!

The best items to offer online fundraising events are ones that will be cheap to post, i.e. Fairly light and fairly flat.

If you have blankets or other items that rescues could use, you may prefer to send them to one of the organisations below. I would advise contacting them first to check they need what you can offer, and to find out how to get your item(s) to them.

The ASSWIN Project  is in need of thick blankets large enough to go over an working donkey’s back in India. This is  to stop their heavy loads  quickly rubbing their skin away and painful wounds being created. The donkeys do not get veterinary treatment and are still made to work in this agony. The ASSWIN Project help educate the donkeys owners in india about how they can better care for their donkeys. They provide them with padding and a variety of other equipment, crafted by their volunteers. ASSWIN also rehabilitate injured donkeys.
If you would like to send blankets too (large enough to go over a donkey’s back), is:


If you would like to get involved in crafting a variety of items to help the donkeys, volunteers are always very welcome at the Facebook group below.
The ASSWIN Project Support Group on Facebook
The ASSWIN Project Website

Twitchy Noses is a charitable organisation that helps strays in Bulgaria.
The address to send blankets to for them is:

Twitchy Noses,
C/o Clare Parfrey,
2 forge lane,

Twitchy Noses on Facebook
Twitchy Noses Website

Saving Romanian Strays is an organisation that help strays in Romania by rehoming them inthe UK, and by sending out donated supplies to struggling animal rescues in Romania.

Claire Revis, of Saving Romanian Strays, says “Tightly knitted blankets are ideal, as they seem to be the only ones the dogs don’t shred! ”

Saving Romanian Strays Website
Saving Romanian Strays on Facebook


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Learn More About Animal Cruelty And The Many Other Ways You Can Help Stop It

If you would like to learn more about why we so urgently need to help stop animal suffering, please have a look at the Types Of Animal Cruelty section of this site. This section will allow you to broaden your knowledge of many different types of animal abuse that happens in the world.

Sadly, what you will find is only the tip of the iceberg, but do not worry, because in the Help Stop Animal Cruelty section of this site, you can find a large and varied choice of ways that you can help stop the suffering. Have a look and see what ways would most suit you.

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