The Snuggles Project – Giving Back to Our Furry Friends
How many of us have a wonderful, loving rescue animal in our lives? Shelters around the country work hard to bring these rescue animals to their forever homes. But what many wonderful adoptive pet parents don’t see is how much caretakers struggle to gain the trust of rescued animals. Many rescues are quick to defend themselves in situations they perceive as dangerous; this natural defensive behavior can put both the animal and the caretaker at risk for injury.
As a young woman, Rae French, president of Hugs for Homeless Animals, saw this struggle and made it her personal mission to deliver comfort blankets to the animals in her local shelter. These blankets, called “snuggles,” offer a warm, soft place for the animals to rest and relax in. In 1996, Rae turned her personal quest into a national movement with the Snuggles Project, a charity that recruits knitters, crocheters, sewists, and quilters around the country to craft soft comfort blankets for shelter animals. Rae said, “After being given a Snuggle, a frightened and/or difficult-to-handle animal is able to become calm. This calming effect gives the animal and the caregiver time to learn how to handle the situation. We believe that this has saved the lives of many newly sheltered animals.”
Ready to get involved? Head over to the Snuggles Project official website, https://www.snugglesproject.org/, where you can find patterns and inspiration, and read up on all the good these Snuggles have created. There are instructions for making blankets for animals of all sizes and suggested fiber content for knitters and crocheters. Check out their list of participating shelters here to find one in your area. I suggest calling the shelter before sending your Snuggles, in case it has specific needs or additional requirements.
And of course, spread the word! Talk about the Snuggles Project in your local crafting groups, at your local library, at your local yarn or fabric shop.
– Gus C. Baxter
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