Working with animal shelters can be very rewarding, and you can join a worthy cause from home by taking part in the Snuggles Project.
With millions of homeless pets located in animal shelters, they need all the help they can get!
By working at an animal shelter, you can help save the lives of cats and dogs, give back to your community, experience something new, and create lasting bonds with animals.
Plus, you’ll meet new people, and volunteering looks great on your resume! That’s not even mentioning the health benefits you gain from working with animals!
Join the mission of the Hugs Society (formerly the Hugs for Homeless Animals) in advocating for homeless animals worldwide by participating in the Snuggles Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to calling crafters everywhere to make Snuggles (security blankets for homeless animals in cages) to donate to animal shelters.
If you are allergic to dogs or cats, you can still contribute to the Snuggles Project by creating a security blanket for animal cages. You just mail your finished pet blanket to the Hugs Society, and they’ll donate it on your behalf.
How easy is that?
Stay tuned for a list of the benefits of working with the Snuggles Project and the Hugs Society. Plus, we’ll go over plenty of awesome free craft patterns for you to make!
Why Should You Help Animal Shelters? (Top 7 Reasons)
Approximately 6.5 million dogs and cats enter animal shelters each year nationwide. Animals are brought to animal shelters for many reasons. Some are homeless animals, picked up by Animal Control.
There may be as many as 70 million stray animals in the U.S. right now! Strays are often brought into animal shelters by good Samaritans or law enforcement. Many of these dogs, cats, and other critters are abused animals and now require special treatment.
Surrendered pets are homeless pets that may have been given away because of behavioral, physical, or financial reasons.
Of those dogs and cats in animal shelters, ASPCA reports that about 1.5 million are euthanized, 3.2 million are adopted by new pet owners, and 710,000 are returned to their owners.
Here are just a handful of the benefits you can expect when volunteering at an animal shelter.
1. You get to help dogs and cats.
Animal shelter volunteers get to help save animals’ lives by helping with pet adoptions!
You can also give animals love and care until the right owner comes along!
2. You get to give back to your community.
As a volunteer, you get the opportunity to walk dogs and give care and attention to animals that need it the most.
By playing with homeless cats and dogs, you greatly improve their chances of being adopted because most families want a pet that is sociable, playful, and loving.
3. You get to meet a need in society.
Volunteers are needed everywhere! If you’ve never given back, start small.
A dog or cat rescue is a great choice! Most animal shelters and rescues desperately need volunteers!
4. You get to create bonds you will always remember.
You also provide care and comfort to animals who may really need it. Many are locked up all day, and the only attention they get and chance to play is when you come around!
You will never forget this experience, and the animals will cherish it for all the days of their lives! You can’t ask for much more than that from a volunteer opportunity!
Follow the link above to learn more about animal shelter volunteer opportunities and many more ways to give back (even from home)!
5. You get to experience many health benefits.
Being around animals can improve your health in many ways. Volunteering boosts your mood and reduces stress! Of course, it also makes you feel good about helping the less fortunate.
Did you know that cuddling and petting animals have been shown to boost the serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain, which makes you happy and relaxed?
Those are pretty great benefits for doing something that gives you the warm fuzzies!
What more could you ask for?
6. You get to add to your resume and gain new skills.
Need to fill a gap in your work history on your resume? Volunteer!
You also can learn valuable skills that will help you in life. Consider the people skills and networking you can do while giving back at an animal shelter.
7. You get to do something totally selfless.
Who doesn’t love to feel good? You can expect to lift your self-esteem and morale by becoming an animal shelter volunteer.
If you are on a self-improvement mission, giving back is a great way to increase your emotional intelligence, build your self-worth, and improve your mood and attitude because animals bring joy!
What Can You Do to Help Animal Shelters? (Top 7 Things)
1. Adopt an animal.
Many animals just want their own place, a home where they can stay safely and securely. They want to feel the love and protection that only a family can give them.
2. Donate money.
Most shelters accept monetary donations, as they are vastly underfunded. Contact your local animal shelter to find out how to best donate money.
3. Engage with animal shelters and rescue groups on social media.
Promoting animal shelters and rescue programs is a great way to serve the needs of shelter animals. Post pictures of lost pets to help owners find their loved ones.
Increase awareness of the Snuggles Project by joining their Facebook page and keep up to date on the latest news surrounding the Snuggles Project. Share this information with your social media networks.
5. Show your appreciation.
Just sending a thank-you note to an animal shelter or rescue group is a way to show appreciation for all they do. Send a care basket to an animal welfare group for all their efforts.
6. Become a foster parent.
You can always help animal services by becoming a foster parent. A foster takes in animals and ensures that their welfare is looked after until an adoptive family can take ownership.
7. Take care of your pets.
Be sure to have microchips or ID tags on your pets in case they get lost.
Always get your pets spayed or neutered.
If possible, keep dogs and cats indoors, and when you are outdoors, use a leash, harness, and collar on your pets.
When you do bring a new pet home, the job of being a pet parent is not something you should take lightly. Have a well-thought-out plan for transporting them and prepare your home.
You should also think about their health and well-being. Many pet insurance providers help pay for your pet’s medical care, with policies that cover up to 90% of your vet bill, including elective and emergency procedures.
These simple tips are an important part of safe animal care.
What Do Animal Shelters Need the Most?
There are approximately 3,500 animal shelters in the United States! Many need financial support, but some are funded by donors, so they need additional items.
So, what can you donate to an animal shelter that they will use?
Here’s a list of donation items that most animal shelters accept.
- Pet Toys
- Leashes, Harnesses, and Collars
- Linens (towels, bedding, sheets, and blankets)
- Unopened Pet Food and Treats
- Metal Crates, Kennels, & Pet Carriers
- Pet Furniture
If the shelter participates in craft charities like the Snuggle Project, you may be able to donate craft supplies, too.
Better yet, you can get creative and create cage curtains for privacy or “adopt me” vests for animal shelter adoption events! The Humane Society reports that making these attention-grabbing specialty items is a great way to spotlight pets available for adoption.
If you decide to donate bedding or blankets for shelter animals, you can do so on behalf of the Snuggles Project! Check out where the Snuggles Project Participating Shelters are for more information, and be sure to complete the Snuggles Donation Report Form, so they can keep track of your donation.
Always check with your local shelter before dropping off animal shelter donations! You don’t want to give them more work than necessary!
What is the Snuggles Project?
Founded in 1996, the Snuggles Project is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to homeless animals worldwide, and over 1 million Snuggles have been donated in the past 25 years. Snuggles are comforting, security blankets for shelter animals.
Snuggle blankets give physical and psychological comfort to animals waiting to be adopted.
The Hugs Society values the Snuggles Project in a big way and has realized much success through the caring and giving attitudes of so many people!
The founder of the Hugs Society and the Snuggles Project, Rae French, says that her heart is overjoyed each time someone donates a Snuggle to an animal in need. She began the project after thinking about the living conditions of homeless animals.
Generally, dogs and cats in animal shelters are living in steel cages that are cold; by donating a Snuggle to these animals, you are giving them a warm, soft place to stay.
Often, these cats and dogs feel hopeless, vulnerable, and frightened. It’s important to give those animals a calming and comforting environment, as this will help them get adopted.
The Benefits of Getting Involved with the Snuggles Project
- You get to provide homeless animals with support and comfort through crafting!
- You can help animal shelters present a more welcoming environment where adoptions are plentiful.
- You get to have those warm fuzzy feelings that you only get from giving back and helping others.
- You can help the elderly and children who long to find a way to stay active and give back through your donations of craft supplies.Remember that all that’s requested of you is for you to make a Snuggle blanket with love!
Learn more details about the many benefits you can expect by checking out the Snuggles Project page.
How Can You Help the Snuggles Project?
Make your Snuggles quilts or blankets for your local animal shelters with the following sizing guidelines:
- 14” x 14” for small cats, dogs, and other critters
- 24” x 24” for cats and small to medium dogs
- 36” x 36” for medium to large dogs
These are only guidelines on sizes. Most shelters welcome any critter-sized blankets, bedding, pillows, or quilts!
You can make the security blankets out of any material, but keep in mind who will be receiving them – cats and dogs locked in cages. The blankets need to be machine washable because they will get dirty. Be sure to double-knot and weave in the ends.
Make them as thick as possible because these Snuggles will also be used for warmth.
When donating blankets or towels to animal shelters, be sure you wash them first.
You can donate directly to the Hugs Society headquarters, and they will distribute your Snuggles for you.
You can also donate yarn to the Hugs Society for those who are able to make Snuggles but cannot afford the supplies.
The address to send monetary donations or donate Snuggles to the Hugs Society directly is:
PO BOX 231024
Portland, Oregon 97281-1024
Alternatively, you can make monetary donations and contributions online to the Hugs Society.
To find Snuggles Project participating shelters, check out the Hugs Society Worldwide Shelter Directory on their website. On that page, you’ll see all of the shelters in your area.
A Snuggles Project participating shelter will have a Snuggle kitten icon next to it.
Download the Snuggles Project Donation Form to donate your knitted, quilted, sewn, or crocheted item to an animal shelter. You will attach this form to your blanket.
You can also fill out the Snuggles Donation Report Form to notify the Snuggles Project that you donated Snuggles to a local shelter on their behalf. This helps them count how many Snuggles have been given to homeless animals in shelters.
For more information on creating a homemade Snuggle, check out the Snuggles Project Frequently Asked Questions section of their site.
You can get even more involved by joining as a Snuggle Project member or by starting a Snuggle Project group near you! Membership is not required to participate in the program, but you will gain access to the exclusive, members-only area.
Also, if you sign up for the Snuggles Project newsletter, you’ll be inspired by receiving a new pattern each month!
Right now, they are looking for volunteers to become a part of their Project Advancement Team. For more information about this volunteer opportunity, check out the Snuggles Project Facebook page.
Other ways to get involved, which you can find in the drop-down menu on their about section, include becoming a corporate sponsor, advertising with them, or donating to one of their funds.
Maybe you can come up with another idea of how to increase awareness of this great program!
Free Snuggles Project Patterns
For the Snuggles Project patterns for all crafts, check out the link to their huge Snuggles Project Pattern Library. Tons of free patterns are located there for blankets and toys!
Here are even more free patterns for you to check out:
- Snuggles Project Knitting Patterns
- Snuggles Project Crochet Patterns
- Snuggles Project Quilt Patterns
- Free Blanket Knitting Patterns
- Free Afghan Crochet Patterns
- Allfreecrochet Patterns Free Crochet Snuggles Project Crochet Patterns
- Yarnspirations Free Knitting and Crocheting Pet Blanket Patterns
- Allfreeknitting Patterns Free Pet Blanket Knitting Patterns
Join Ravelry for hundreds of free crocheting and knitting patterns! If you want specific Snuggles Project patterns, check out Ravelry’s Suggested Patterns for the Snuggles Project. It’s free to join Ravelry, and you get access to hundreds of needlework patterns – both paid and free!
You can turn any of those free crochet and knitting blanket patterns into pet blankets by adjusting the sizes of the patterns. Don’t worry if you are a beginner to crafts; your handiwork will be appreciated, and you get to practice your crafting skills for a helpless furry critter. If you need knitting advice, feel free to contact me.
Want to do more knitting for charity? Check out my article, Knitting Hats for Charity! For free help learning how to knit and my free knitting patterns, check out my profile on HubPages, Michele Kelsey (theflirtyknitter).
Want to learn more about the Snuggles Project? Check out this video
Nina does a great job of introducing the Snuggles Project! Check this out!!
We’ve covered everything from the benefits of working at an animal shelter to the details about getting involved in the Snuggles Project.
What’s holding you back?
If you don’t know how to knit, crochet, or quilt, that’s okay! They have free no-sew patterns! Plus, you can always donate your belongings to your local animal shelter; just check with them first to see what they are currently accepting!
If you are allergic to animals, no problem! You can mail in your donation without having any contact with the animals. You will still reap the benefits that come with volunteer work! Think about getting those warm fuzzies when you knit blankets for pets.
Learn more about the Snuggles Project, the benefits of participating, and how to find a shelter with the Snuggles Project PDF download.
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Have an idea for an article? Be sure to contact me to tell me all about it! Better yet, take a picture of your Snuggle and send it to me! I’d love to feature it!