Thursday, November 29, 2012

A Little Relief for the Animals of Hurricane Sandy

It's been a month since Superstorm Sandy made landfall in New Jersey on October 29.  While humans tried to deal with the wrath of mother nature, many were left with no choice but to temporarily surrender their animals to shelters while others still where simply lost. Today, many pets are still waiting to be reunited with their families.

To help relieve a little bit of the boredom of shelter life, Etsy for Animals artists came together (virtually) over the long holiday weekend to make tug toys for three animal shelters in the hardest hit areas.  Some even donated funds which were used to purchase catnip sachets from other Etsy sellers.  Etsy for Animals is a group of dedicated artists who donate a percentage of their Etsy shop sales to the animal charities of their choosing.  My donations go to the Jane Goodall Institute but I've also donated funds for rhino conservation in the past among other charities.  This weekend I joined my EFA teammates making toys for both dogs and's my stash (oh yeah, they are all upcycled):

Let me break it down for you (and tell you how to make your own):

I started out with 25 straight braided tugs.  Easy, peasy - tie a not, braid tightly, tie a knot!  I used two materials for these toys; fleece and T-shirts.  I didn't pay a penny for the fleece, they were all scraps of binding (the part of the fleece that is folded over and sewn like a hem, making it useless in your projects).  The T-shirts were all from the Goodwill Clearance Center.  They charge by the pound and on Sundays everything is half off.  The T-shirts work out to be about a quarter a piece.  Depending on the size you can get one or two tug toys from each shirt.  You can see the Etsy for Animals T-shirt Tug Toy tutorial here.

I sent another fifteen of these fun round ones that are also made from scrap fleece.  They are essentially the same as the straight braided tugs with a couple of differences:

1.  Tie your first knot loosely
2.  When you're done braiding, untie the first knot and tie the two ends together

And finally, we can't forget the kitties!  I accidentally discovered that my cats went nuts for the knots!  Frustration had me cutting some of the knots off of the straight braided tugs and as they flew across the room the cats hauled bootie after them.  It was quite a spectacle!  So I took more fleece scraps that weren't long enough to braid and tied them into super tight knots.  Then I just trimmed one of the ends off.  I managed to make 30 of these from the tiny scraps that I had left over. And, yes, I found an I {heart} NY T-shirt at Goodwill that I had to turn into a drawstring pouch for all those kittie knots.

In all I spent less than $5 to make 70 cat and dog toys to send to NY, shipping was my largest expenditure.  So, I hope that encourages you take a few tips from this post and make some toys for your local shelter this holiday season (and beyond).  It's an easy project for the kids and a great way to reinforce the spirit of the season.  Not to mention, shelters are always in need!

To learn more about the other artists who donated to this Operation Chew Toy, visit the Etsy for Animals website.


  1. You did a FABULOUS job, Tricia :)

    I was so grateful to be working with you, side by side, on making these toys... love how your circles came out. Did you see mine ? they are a loop at one end and a straight tuggy at the other end...

    I think you should consider selling your toys in your shop !
    Thanks again :)

    1. It was my pleasure, I do what I can when I can and I had fun with it....just had a hard time saying when to stop! ;) I'll have my tuggy toys available this weekend at a craft fair so we'll see how they do. I might consider adding them to the shop. I did see yours, really cool!


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