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Pets find comfort with Kennel Quilts

(WJHG)
Published: Jul. 5, 2018 at 7:58 PM CDT
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Nan Baker is a retired disaster responder for the humane society of the United States.

"When I worked fires and floods, hurricanes and tornadoes we'd bring the pets in that we had rescued and put them in the kennels in the shelters," Baker explained.

Now retired from disaster work Baker is the marketing editor of the Quilt Pattern Magazine. "It's an online digital magazine, we're international," said Baker. "We're in our 8th year and we have subscribers all over the world and our staff is all over the U.S. and Canada. So we Skype for our staff meetings every week or two."

Baker combines her passion for animals and quilting to help those most vulnerable during a disaster. "I understand from having done disasters that when you take care of peoples pets you're taking care of people. They become family," said Baker.

The rescue crews use small kennels that can be set up very quickly. But the bottom of the kennel can be uncomfortable for the animals' paws.

"Your cats and small puppies never had enough blankets or towels because they were too big to fit in the small cages. So I designed kennel quilts," said Baker. The kennel quilts are 12" by 18", about the size of a placemat.

Baker shared her ideas with the employees of the online magazine. 'We are all animals lovers and as a result of that we wanted to do something special for animals to show that our quilt magazine cares and so we put a free pattern on our website to make kennel quilts so you can make a kennel quilt for your own pet when you take him to the veterinarian because they fit in the carriers," said Baker.

"As a result when hurricane Sandy came along we asked our readers would anybody be interested in making kennel quilts because we had checked with the pet finder foundation and they had shelters in New Jersey and New York that needed help."

In a few days, 100 quilts were on their way to northern shelters.

While there is a pattern available, some quilters do their own thing.

And what quilter doesn't have scraps lying around their sewing room? "It doesn't matter what the colors are," said Baker. "It doesn't matter if the points don't match 'cause the animals don't care."

The colorful patterns provide a sense of comfort for the furry friends.

"When the puppies or kitten are adopted, they take their kennel quilts with them and they make it through the night usually the first couple of nights without crying because it's something that smells like them. We've had a lot of shelters tell us that," said Baker.

The word has spread and hundreds across the country are putting their sewing machines to work. "During Harvey, Irma, Maria and the California fires we did over 6000 in three months. We have 1500 volunteers all over the United States, coming from all walks of life. Young, old, guys, gals, whatever," said Baker.

The Pet Finder foundation liked the project so much it too has partnered with kennel quilts. "Together, we have made almost 21-thousand kennel quilts," said Baker. "Right now we've just finished sending a bunch of kennel quilts to the Colorado fires. We sent almost 600 to Hawaii volcanoes."

The group also sent a load to Franklin County after the recent fire.

"When you see a disaster you want to help and you wonder what can I do,?" said Baker. "Not many people can afford to go donate and particularly some of your older people who are on fixed incomes. This way we can help."

Apparently, the pet passion runs in the family.

"I taught my granddaughter how to quilt and she's making kennel quilts like crazy now," said Baker.

Of course, no project is complete without inspectors. "We have kennel quilt cat inspectors and dog inspectors. They have become famous on our facebook page because they're giving the paws of approval for the quilts to be mailed to the different shelters, said Baker.

If you'd like to know more about kennel quilts and how you can get involved go to www.kennelquilts.com.