Blanket, blankie, woobie, beebo, stuffed animal.
We all had one.
That one item that each of us needed as a child. We carried it everywhere with us. To the store, to the kitchen table, to the bathroom, to the bedroom. Mine was a stuffed hippo (which, I’m not afraid to admit, I still have!)
My dog is weird. She’s one of the few dogs I know that has no interest in stuffed animals at all. It makes me sad because I have a whole bag of them.
Her two brothers enjoyed destroying a stuffed animal or two. Sadly, Bosco died from lymphoma, and Moose died from complications of old age. Dixie, however, is still a staunch protector of the house. But she doesn’t like stuffed animals. Ugh.
So, what can I do with all these stuffed animals? I hate throwing them away. They’re so cute and cuddly! And even though they’ve been washed, I hesitate to give them to the fire or police departments for children to cuddle.
Who else would want such a stuffed animal?
Then I thought of Bosco. He loved his stuffed porcupine. He’d had it since he was eight weeks old. Carried it everywhere. Slept with him in the kennel. That porcupine was Bosco’s security blanket.
So, if Bosco wanted a security blanket, why would dogs in shelters not want the same thing?
Every year, six to eight million animals get surrendered to shelters across the country. Sadly enough, only three to four million get adopted. Despite the kind volunteers who walk the dogs and play with the cats, when night falls, the animals go back to their cages are left alone. No humans to snuggle with, no companions with which to play.
That’s where your unwanted stuff animals get repurposed.
Stuffed animals can become surrogate mothers and friends to these animals. They are especially important for the first few days of surrender. Shelters, no matter how wonderful they are, can be scary, unknown places for dogs and cats. Having a cuddly stuffed animal that they can call their own can help them calm, relax and chill out.
So dig deep into your closets, boxes and bags. I’m sure you have unwanted, forgotten stuffed animals that you could donate to your local shelter. And hey, while you’re there, why not adopt a dog or a cat? Give a stuffed animal, take home a real animal. Sounds like a win-win to me!
And if you do it on Friends On Us Fridays, you won’t even have to pay the adoption fees!