While we humans may welcome the change of seasons with a favorite fall cardigan or cozy up with a blanket knitted by grandma, we must not forget that dogs in shelters get cold too. Many shelter animals are kept in outdoor kennels or uninsulated enclosures. While this may be comfortable for most months, the winter months can get quite nippy.
Even in California, especially in the desert areas, temps can drop dangerously low. Thankfully there are some maternal souls out there making sure that fido and his other shelter friends have a sweater to fetch when they hear, "Take a sweata honey... you're gonna catch a cold!"
For those of you who would like to help keep our fellow critters stay warm as they eagerly wait for forever homes, here are some tips and ways you can do so:
Bonnie Monaghan writes....
Please consider joining me in my efforts to collect sweaters for Los Angeles's shelter dogs (and the occasional out of area shelter upon their request). Beginning this time of year, night temps can get very cold. Often the short haired pit bulls and chihuahuas in particular can be seen shivering during the day in the winter months- So I can't even imagine how they get through the nights!
Many shelters do not give blankets to the dogs because they can chew them or get them dirty quickly- but they will allow sweaters! Sweaters are great because they cover the dog's back (unlike blankets) and keep the heat in.
I am collecting sweaters and will distribute them to as many
Los Angeles shelters as possible that have outdoor dogs.
Types of sweaters needed:
*Chihuahua sized (mostly Small, sometimes XS) and Pit Bull sized (Large) are the ones needed most.
*Sweaters do not need to be pretty, just warm!
*Snug/tight necks are important. If the neck is too loose, not only will they slide right off backwards, but some shelters will then not want sweaters at all.
*Snug bellys are important for boy dogs, so they don't pee in them, making them wet/cold.
Here are some additional ideas for those who wish to help collect sweaters:
- Put a collection box in your place of business, local school, church, community center, etc.
- Ask veterinarians and other animal related businesses to host a collection box.
- Look online for sweaters to buy and donate. Many are super affordable, can be bought in bulk and will ship directly!
- Look for holiday themed sweaters when they go on sale after such holidays as Halloween, Christmas, Chanukah, etc.
- Contact local pet product stores to ask that they donate any of their 'defective' of 'damaged' clothing .
- We will need people who are able to sew or knit to help alter sweaters as needed.
- If you enjoy knitting/crocheting or are part of a knitting club, let your group know!
- If you are a teacher, this is a great project to suggest for students who wish to get involved or form a club to help.
If anyone (local or out of area) wants to help coordinate this effort I would welcome the assistance!
HALT Pet Overpopulation
If you want to request sweaters for your shelter or would like a list of shelter addresses to send sweaters directly, contact Bonnie.
Nancy Sanders is spearheading a similar effort for a large shelter in her area where temperatures get very low at night:
The Humane Society of the Desert in North Palm Springs.
To donate sweaters contact Nancy Sanders.
I hope everyone chips in to keep our best buddies warm- and probably quite fashionable;) - this winter!
Dr. Pia Salk