How to Give Hugs to Homeless Animals with the Snuggles Project

Knit hugs into the lives of homeless animals, especially dogs and cats, and offer them chances for better lives with the Snuggles Project

Are you one of these 2 kinds of charity knitters (or would-be knitters)?

  1. You’re a new knitter, and you see the value of knitting for charity. But because you’re new at this, you’re worried that your knitted projects won’t be good enough to give to people in need.
  2. You’re not a new knitter; in fact, you’ve got lots, and lots, of leftover yarn. You would hate to throw it out, and you would love to put it to good use. You’re just not sure where!

If you fit either of these two descriptions, I have just the place for you to donate your knitted creations. The Snuggles Project!

The Grim Truth of Homeless Shelters

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.

  • About 6.3 million cats and dogs (fairly evenly divided, at 3.2 million cats and 3.1 million dogs) enter homeless shelters every year. (Source: World Animal Foundation)
  • Around 920,000 shelter animals are euthanized each year. (Source: ASPCA)
  • About 4.1 million shelter animals are adopted every year. (This is divided nearly evenly between cats and dogs.) (Source: ASPCA)
  • Finally, 810,000 shelter animals — 710,000 dogs and 100,000 cats — are claimed by their owners each year. (Source: ASPCA)

These numbers are, thankfully, trending downward. Nevertheless, they’re not the happiest of numbers, and even after the adoptions, euthanasians, and reclamations, there are still hundreds of thousands of dogs and cats entering (and remaining in) shelters yearly.

About Hugs Society (formerly Hugs for Homeless Animals) and the Snuggles Project Mission

The Snuggles Project began life as a part of Hugs for Homeless Animals, which began in 1996. Back then, the knitted “Snuggles” program was one small feature of a massive undertaking to assist homeless animals in finding their forever homes.

Today, the project has grown to the point that it is now its own organization!

Have you wondered what “Snuggles” are, yet? You may have already reasoned that they are blankets designed especially for shelter animals. Their purpose is two-pronged:

Number one, they bring comfort and calm to shelter animals. This is especially important for the animals that are 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 (with over 10,000 shelters listed!), and advocating against animal abuse.

They also offer a directory of links that can be helpful for all pet owners.

Why the Snuggles Project Is Perfect for New Knitters (or Those with Loads of Leftover Yarn)

So let’s circle back to my original proposition: that if you’re either a new knitter or a knitter with a lot of leftover yarn, the Snuggles Project is perfect for you.

New knitters: can you guess how much shelter dogs or cats care about the “perfection” of the Snuggles they cuddle up to? I’m sure you know the answer: not one bit. All they care about is that they have something warmer and cuddlier than the hard, cold bottom of a cage or a concrete floor.

That makes the Snuggles Project the perfect recipient for your first attempts at blankets! You can practice your knitting and know that it will unquestionably be loved by its recipient.

And, of course, for those of you with lots of leftover yarn — this is the perfect project! You can use all the leftover yarn you want — any color, any texture, any weight — and put it into a Snuggle.

Again, the shelter dog or cat won’t care if it matches. They’ll simply be happy to lie on something cuddly.

How You Can Participate in the Snuggles Project

The Snuggles Project is still going strong today. One aspect of the Snuggles Project has remained: the encouragement to donate locally.

Check out the FAQs page for donation guidelines and assistance. You can also learn what to do if your shelter of choice isn’t on their Worldwide Shelter Directory. 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 Pattern FAQs 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.)

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!

Snuggles Project
Want more free knitting patterns for charity? Click here for your copy of “4 Quick Charity Knitting Wins” and start making a difference today!

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  1. My local shelter will not use knit/crochet blankets. They said the animals tear them up. Do you have shelters that will use them?

    1. Hi Stephanie! I suggest clicking the link in the post above that reads “Worldwide Shelter Directory.” This is a listing of every country in the world with shelters that accept Snuggles. The US listing narrows down further by state, and so on. Hope this helps you find a shelter that will accept your blankets!

  2. Is this an ongoing project? If I crochet some blankets where would they go and how would they get there?

    1. Yes, it’s an ongoing project! If you crochet blankets for this project, you can either donate them to your preferred local shelter (if they are willing to accept the blankets), or you can click on the link to the Worldwide Shelter Directory Page to find a shelter near you that takes Snuggles. Hope that helps!