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 Post subject: Shelter Make Over On A Budget
PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:26 pm 
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Sick of Cupcakes
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I have enlisted myself (with approval) to help the local rescue spruce up their Pet's Mart cages for Valentine's! I want to help draw people in - get the kitties and dogs noticed. I am on a budget - it is coming out of my own pocket and also it will be me crafting everything. However I am trying to get a workspace for future ideas like 'crafting for the community critters' or something going*.

So far here it what I have:

-Target has (so I bought) foam hearts, they are about 5 inches big each. I am thinking making them into convo hearts with words like 'brush me', 'meow', 'pretty kitty', 'walk me'. I am thinking double sided tape to attach them - but I am afraid this will get stuck in their fur. However if I use a thin piece and put it up at the top, it may work...
-Color coordinated fleece blankets. Basically red, pink, heart print rugs for each cage. No tie, just cut out. Problem: the rescue lady uses bleach, this would ruin the fleece. I told her to use regular color safe detergent with a few drops of tea tree oil, this seems to get things clean and disinfected. I wash the feral cats blankets from the house we built on our patio this way. It seems to work but any other ideas are welcome!
-We are trying to come up with a way to get the dogs on leashes adopted. When the dogs go outside to do their business volunteers want people to know they are looking for homes. A bandana? Or is their something I can make for a leash?

Any other ideas? I want the cages to look cute, I have limited graphic skills - I was thinking of doing adoption posters, more like cut & paste style...

*2014 goal - to help more cats (and dogs!) in memory of Mar!

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 Post subject: Re: Shelter Make Over On A Budget
PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 3:30 pm 
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missmuffcake wrote:
-We are trying to come up with a way to get the dogs on leashes adopted. When the dogs go outside to do their business volunteers want people to know they are looking for homes. A bandana? Or is their something I can make for a leash?


Not sure about the rest, but they make fabric leashes and harnesses with messages printed on them, like these (although I hope it's possible to find them for cheaper!) http://www.telic.ca/products/yellow-adopt-me-leash


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 Post subject: Re: Shelter Make Over On A Budget
PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:07 pm 
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We use vests but they are pricy (we get them donated from Maddie's Fund). These bananas are cute and the red ones would be good for Valentines Day and the 'I will love you forever' is also appropriate for the holiday.

http://www.thedogperk.com/products/band ... er-brights

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 Post subject: Re: Shelter Make Over On A Budget
PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:10 pm 
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Sick of Cupcakes
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the bandanas are cute! i can get them for about $2 a pop. i can maybe use iron on letters or fabric markers!

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 Post subject: Re: Shelter Make Over On A Budget
PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:22 pm 
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Oh good for you! That sounds so cute and I hope you can get some cats and dogs to their furever homes with your efforts! I love the idea of crafting for critters!

Our shelter puts a bowl of fun toys that you can give to the kitties, which encourages interacting with them. Maybe a few hearts on strings? Because once a kitty starts playing, its pretty darned hard not to fall in love with them.

As far as dogs, light colored and red bandanas go a long way to making an otherwise scary looking dog look sweet - so pitties and dark brown and black dogs do really well with them. I put a red bandana on Cuddles for the longest time, because people were so nervous around him! Really anything that makes an otherwise scary dog look approachable and even a bit silly would be great - like this maybe, provided the dogs were okay with them.

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Shelter Make Over On A Budget
PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 5:24 pm 
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We have dog vests that a volunteer made in a few different sizes. They are in bright colours (yellow, neon green, pink) to be eye catching and say "Adopt Me" with a heart on each side and they have straps that velcro across the chest and under the tummy. If you have the skills to make them, that would be much cheaper than buying. Bandannas are also cute for dogs. Maybe you could find hearts or valentines themed fabric for cheap and cut them into bandannas?

Anything you put on cages, you have to make sure the animals can't pull it into the cage and eat it. We have paper slips on little clipboards hanging on the animals' cages that tell their names and basic info. But without fail, the kittens and some of the adult cats always reach their little arms out and shred the paper. It's not a big deal because it's just paper, but if it had something on it they could swallow, that wouldn't be good (or if it looked really pretty, you wouldn't want it ruined!). So I would be careful to hang stuff out of their fuzzy little arm's reach. If there are walls around the cages that you could decorate, it could brighten up the area and make it more inviting. Bright colours, cute pictures. Any type should be large and easy to read.

If you are good at taking photos, getting good pics for their petfinder page or website can help. You can use props, backgrounds, blankets, stuff themed for the season or holiday, etc.

It's so nice or you to help out! Mar would be proud!


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 Post subject: Re: Shelter Make Over On A Budget
PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 6:13 pm 
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I had a friend who was a writer that volunteered at a shelter and she wrote little stories about the animals, just a few sentences, and she said it helped with adoptions. Maybe make them little profiles like OkCupid likes, 'seeking adopter who loves walks in the park'? I dunno maybe that's stupid and creepy.

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 Post subject: Re: Shelter Make Over On A Budget
PostPosted: Wed Jan 08, 2014 7:36 pm 
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Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2010 9:00 pm
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Location: Central NY
What an awesome thing for you to volunteer for! This is going to be kind of long but hopefully what I have picked up along the way might help you or someone else out.

In my experience fleece holds up really well to being washed with bleach. I have done tons of laundry at a couple different shelters and was doing all the laundry for our petsmart location and as long as the bleach wasn't dumped directly on the fleece it showed very little wear after daily washing. I am unfamiliar with using tea tree in animal laundry...cats are very sensitive to most essential oils so I stay away from them. I don't know what kind of surface you are using the fleece in but in my experience a single layer of fleece used on stainless steel cage banks will get shifted around very easily by most cats and it makes for giant messes with litter pans and food/water bowls that are left in the floor. I go for two layers of fleece and a layer of batting in the middle to get a plush pad that is decently rigid and therefor less likely to shift around.

Holiday themed photo shoots really help with adoptions. A lot of shelters have minimal time and experience to get a really nice photo and online it can actually hurt the animals chance of getting adopted. I suggest enlisting someone to wrangle the animals for you..you get way better shots and it is a lot less stressful. I would have them use the pics on their Facebook site and Petfinder(or whatever they use). I love hitting up the dollar store and grabbing whatever is eye catching. They often have themed plastic table cloths that work well for a backdrop and then you can tape different decorations to it. The dogs are often surprisingly tolerant of having hats and neck ware placed on them and for the kitties look for something they can pose next to that they aren't too tempted to chew on. Bring a feather wand toy, some tasty snacks and a squeaky toy and snap away!

Cute bios really suck people in. People love a good story and it helps them relate to the animal. Figure out what an animal enjoys or if you have some of its history tell people why they ended up at the shelter.

Themed adoption goody bags are kinda silly but adopters tend to really love them. It can get very expensive though, depending on how many critters you are looking at, so it depends on how much cash you want to lay out. I did patriotic themed bags for all the pit bulls for the month of July at a local shelter (the shelter was showcasing them as the all american breed) and was able to grab red white and blue collar and leash, rope toy, red poop bags and a small bag of dog treats all at a special dollar store for the 15 pits and we advertised it on Facebook. People loved it.

If you are a little bit handy you can easily make your own adopt me bandanas or leash sleeves for the dogs. I have found that iron on letters do not survive the washing and drying process very well and will most likely only last a couple times through the dryer. Same goes for embroidery. Fabric paint or, even better, screen printing is the way to go. I have made dozens of leash sleaves and bandanas and the screen printing is the most durable. I will say that they are more likely to be damaged by bleach though because you want to use a cotton fabric for the printing. A lot of the volunteers who would go out for adoption events preferred the leash sleeves and found them to be more visible to the public...especially for furry dogs where the bandana gets lost in the fur. I have done the bandanas that are designed to be slipped over a collar and ones that I used webbing and tri glides and the second version is the easiest to put on and off and is easier to see. Even grabbing cute valentine themed fabric and cutting it in triangles with pinking shears would work. What others have said is very true; dressing dogs that look a bit intimidating up in cute outfits ups their adoptability. Thankfully a lot of the pitties that I have workd with are super tolerant of getting decked out in all kinds of crazy outfits so we take advantage of it. Hard to be afraid of a dog wearing a tutu and a silly heart headband :)
Good luck!


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 Post subject: Re: Shelter Make Over On A Budget
PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 11:49 am 
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Sick of Cupcakes
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Some good ideas - I cannot quote them all but here is a rundown response!

- Bowl of toys: I was actually thinking that! I can make wiggle worms out of pipe cleaners (which Mar loved) and fleece bon bons with scraps from the blankets...bot costing pennies to make each one.
- I was thinking the fleece on it's own might be too thin for cages too, but adding batting and sewing, it is not cost effective or time effective for me. I am thinking they could use the fleece blankets like a duvet cover, just laying them on top of the blankets already there.
- I was thinking since the tea tree oil gets washed out that it would be okay, ingesting it would be bad! So bleach will not damage the fabric if they use color safe? Good to know!
- I can do bandanas - not vest. I have a sewing machine I really need to learn to use it. I took a class over the summer that taught me 0 skills, class two is a leash sewing class, maybe I can take that & learn to make leashes!
- I <3 using pinking shears! I can make bandanas with fabric markers or maybe look into hand sewing (till I can manage my sewing machine) leach covers. The dogs they deal with are small, since PS only has small cages, the biggest dog I have seen was a small shepard mix. I do like the idea of making 'scary' dogs come off as sweet hearts, I will keep that in mind.
- Singles profile seem so fun! I need to tell them to step it up on their social media, the just post when an animal gets adopted and a few times for animals looking for homes. I am not sure if they are on Pet Finder...I do not want to step on toes but think they could do a bit more social media stuff, I feel it's needed in this computer age!

Last night I was talking to my guy's brother GF who adopted a puppy for xmas. She said the doggy loves bow ties and such. I made them for cats - I am making some now for her doggy & possibly will make some for the shelter. They are pretty easy & slip on a collar!

A no kill shelter in Oakland had adoptions at a pet food store and if you donated even a $1 you could take home a cute cat card. The card was a photo of a cat mounted on card stock then a bit of puffy paint was doodled on it. I got one! I am a sucker for note cards (and cats - duh!)....Would this be something others would buy?

I am making a vegan themed or vegan friendly (not necessarily a vegan themed but vegan products) gift basket for a social event for another shelter. Last year I did a vegan cook book gift basket. I was thinking this year I would do a cat-feine basket. Some ethical coffee, a kitty mug and some yummy vegan coffee/tea cookies (like biscoff)... I also have some much needed to stitch adopt/animal rescue embroidery patterns. I was thinking of doing a hoop to auction off. I have so much crafty energy lately!

I am still trying to pay off Mar's $1,000+ vet debit. I will do it! I hate getting a bill each month, it breaks my heart all over again. So my rescue money is limited. I still donate each month (to various places and the pet food bank). I feel I need to do more.

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 Post subject: Re: Shelter Make Over On A Budget
PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 7:43 pm 
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Sick of Cupcakes
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i dropped off the stuff last week. i ended up making small red fleece blankets cut with pinking sheers, a cute vday themed box full of wiggle worm & pom pom toys (in vday shades) and a stack of foam hearts i turned into convo hearts. i also gave a small donation & bought double sided tape to help them decorate.

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 Post subject: Re: Shelter Make Over On A Budget
PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2014 8:24 pm 
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That sounds awesome!

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 Post subject: Re: Shelter Make Over On A Budget
PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2014 4:37 pm 
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Sick of Cupcakes
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i was able to make 4 blankets for the snuggle project for cats out of leftovers! yay!

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https://www.etsy.com/shop/missmuffcake


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 Post subject: Re: Shelter Make Over On A Budget
PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2014 6:41 pm 
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Lucky cats!


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 Post subject: Re: Shelter Make Over On A Budget
PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 12:45 am 
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Sick of Cupcakes
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so i am saving the 4 i made and going to make enough to = 17 blankets. i am dropping them off on march 7th in honor of mar's birthday. he would have been 17.

off to buy more fabric!

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https://www.etsy.com/shop/missmuffcake


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 Post subject: Re: Shelter Make Over On A Budget
PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 6:31 pm 
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Tofu Pup

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Hey! I don't want to spam this board, but I run telic.ca, and we offer deep discounts for shelters and rescues. We normally sell within Canada, but I'm happy to ship south of the border. PM me for a discount code to be used on the site!

Please let me know if this post is spammy, and I'll delete it. Thanks!


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