Woofy jumpers: Meet the mum who spend 4,000 hours knitting christmas jumpers for stray dogs
A devoted dog-lover has spent more than 4,000 hours knitting Christmassy jumpers and coats for abandoned pooches.
Jan Brown, 52, from Seaburn, Sunderland, has hand-knitted more than 300 festive designs to give a warm woolly gift to homeless greyhounds at Christmas.
Each jumper can take the up to 20 hours to complete and are sent to pet rescue centres across the country.
Since starting five-years-ago she has made a selection of Father Christmas outfits, antlers, woolly hats, scarves and snoods for dogs as well as reconditioning old blankets into coats.
Jan, a mum-of-three, said: “I can’t think of anything I would rather do than knit woolly clothing for dogs.
“I have spent over 4000 hours knitting but it’s all worthwhile when I see them sporting their new jumpers and hats.
“I started knitting from an early age and after making a few coats for my own greyhounds it seemed like a great way to help the animal shelters.
“It’s really sweet seeing them in their festive Christmas jumpers, I think they look really sweet and it’s giving much needed help to the rescue centres.
“Greyhounds have very thin fur so they really feel the cold during the winter so my gifts help keep them warm during walks.
“Making coats and jumpers for these dogs saves the rescue homes a lot of money that can be better spent saving more dogs off the streets and feeding them.
“The rescue homes have to spend the money they raise on vets bills and nursing the dogs back to health so my coats help them to prioritise their money.
“It feels like I’m knitting and sewing all the time, I’m never doing anything else – but I know it’s all worth it.
“Whenever I send my parcels off to the rescue homes I feel really proud as I know it’s going to really help the dogs.
“There are so many dogs that won’t be rehomed this Christmas so for many of them it’s the only gift they will get.”
Jan left her job as a carer to start making the coats and woolly jumpers full-time in 2013.
Any profit she makes through her company www.KnittedWithLove.co.uk goes towards buying material for the coats and covering the postage to send her designs to rescue centres in the UK.
Making a jumper can take her up to 20-hours and reconditioned coats using charity shop blankets up to four hours.
As well as making Christmas designs she’s also produced woolly pumpkin hats, devil costumes and even tuxedos.
She said: “Eventually I was getting so many orders that my husband told me I should quit my job.
“Since then we’ve had orders from people all over the world and my supplies for dogs in rescue homes.
“One of the weirdest designs was for a Teacup Chihuahua, it was such a tiny jumper for the dog because the dog weighed less than a pound.
I stitch a small heart on the back of my blanket coats in honour of the dogs who don’t make it to rescue. The dogs who aren’t adopted can still share the love at Christmas.”
Kerry Elliman from the Birmingham Greyhounds Protection said: “Jan’s been absolutely amazing for us – she’s saved us a lot of money that we need to spend on vet bills for our greyhounds.
“Each month we have to spend around £4,000 on vets bills so having her send festive jumpers, coats, fleeces and everything else has really helped.
“Unlike furrier animals, like German Shepherds, having layers are really essentially for our greyhounds and it’s all the sweeter when it’s in a Christmas design.
“They really feel the cold so it’s been really important that our dogs have these coats.
“Everyone loves her festive Christmas jumpers and they’re always great quality so they don’t wear away.
“It’s all the sweeter because we know not all the dogs are going to get re-homed this Christmas so it’s an extra little gift for them.”