Last updated: September 5, 2018 at 10:44 am
Knit hugs into the lives of homeless animals, especially dogs and cats, and offer them chances for better lives with the Snuggles Project
Let’s talk about homeless animals for a minute, specifically cats and dogs. The statistics surrounding some of American humanity’s best friends are pretty grim. (Source for all statistics is the ASPCA.)
- About 6.5 million cats and dogs (pretty evenly matched, at 3.2 million cats and 3.3 million dogs) enter homeless shelters every year.
- Around 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized each year.
- About 3.2 million shelter animals are adopted every year. (This is divided perfectly evenly between cats and dogs.)
- Finally, pet owners claim about 710,000 shelter animals — 620,000 dogs and 90,000 cats — each year.
These numbers are, thankfully, trending downward. Nevertheless, they’re not the happiest of numbers. That’s especially true when you crunch the numbers. Then you see that after the euthanzations, the adoptions, and the recoveries, there are still well over 2 million animals stuck in shelters.
About Hugs for Homeless Animals (now the Hugs Society)
Hugs for Homeless Animals is a pretty special charity for the Knitting for Charity website. In August 2007, we featured it, and it was our first charity for animals. Even then, it was a long-running charity. It started all the way back in 1996!
When we featured Hugs for Homeless Animals, we drew attention to its knitted “Snuggles” program. Snuggles are blankets designed just for shelter animals. Their purpose is two-fold.
Number one, they bring comfort and calm to shelter animals. This is especially important for the animals most difficult to handle. These animals are usually (and understandably) anxious and resistant to trusting humans.
Number two, they add a softer and homier touch to the often industrial appearance of animal shelters. When a shelter exudes warmth and comfort, would-be adopters themselves feel more at home. In turn, they will often stay longer and take more time to choose the right pets for them.
In May 2016, Hugs for Homeless Animals changed its name to Hugs Society. This reflects its expanded mission. It now supports animal shelters in many different ways. These ways include providing an adoption center, publishing lost and found posts, offering a worldwide shelter directory, and advocating against animal abuse.
They also offer a directory of links that can be helpful for all pet owners.
The Snuggles Project
Because Hugs Society has grown so much, its original purpose is now its own program! The Snuggles Project is still going strong today. One aspect of the Snuggles Project has remained: the encouragement to donate locally.
Check out the Making a Snuggles Donation page for donation guidelines and assistance, including what to do if your shelter of choice isn’t on their Worldwide Shelter Directory page. If you don’t already have a preferred local shelter, you can use this page to find a shelter that accepts Snuggles.
Need knitting guidelines? The How You Can Help page offers size guidelines and (minimal) project guidelines. If you need a knitting pattern, they also offer a Pattern Directory for Snuggles. (You can find crochet patterns too.)
Be sure to check the Pattern FAQs, as this page answers many good questions not only about making Snuggles but about the program itself.
If you have a heart for homeless animals and would love to give them not only comfort but a better chance at a better life, consider knitting for the Snuggles Project!