Image: Kate Stevens.
With the recent onset of teeth-chattering weather, the animals living at South Australia’s RSPCA shelters are certainly feeling the cold, with the state’s shelters asking for urgent donations of any soft, warm blankets to make sure their animals stay warm throughout winter.
One incredible Adelaidean, 92-year old Gwenda Stevens, is changing the lives of South Australia’s most vulnerable animals, by hand-knitting warm blankets, despite suffering from painful arthritis in her hands and fingers.
This marks the 10th year Gwenda has made her knitted donations to the RSPCA’s animals, with roughly over 500 blankets having been donated since Gwenda set out to knit for the RSPCA whilst recovering from a heart valve replacement.
Daughter Kate Stevens is amazed by her Mum’s knitting triumphs, having to wedge an impressive 70 rainbow-coloured blankets from this year’s knitting into her car to drop off at RSPCA’s shelters.
“Mum loves knitting these blankets and I truly believe its a very integral part of keeping her going” she says.
“Colour themes are very important to her. If we run out of a wool of a particular colour we have to buy more – she’s not happy to continue in a different colour”.
Having been a keen knitter all her life, even knitting socks, mittens and balaclavas for soldiers during the war, Gwenda’s applaudable efforts will help to keep the dogs, cats and rabbits housed at RSPCA’s shelters warm during these colder months.
Many of the animals who arrive into the RSPCA’s care have been living in extremely poor conditions, leaving the animals underweight and undernourished, which puts them in additional risk without extra layers of body fat to protect them from lower temperatures.
If you find yourself snuggled up in front of the fire in your Oodie, without the need for those extra blankets that are taking up space in your house, head to any of the Lonsdale, Stepney or Petville RSPCA’s, or any of their op shops, to donate your unused blankets to an incredible cause.
Whether you knit a blanket yourself like Gwenda, or donate some pre-loved sofa throws, make sure to leave any pillows or doonas at home, as the centres are unable to accept any items containing stuffing which pose a choking risk to their animals.
In addition to the nutrition and health monitoring as well as lots of love and cuddles that the incredible volunteers at the RSPCA shelters provide, they also must keep the animals warm. While the limited stock available at the shelters will see some animals provided with fitted coats as well as thick blankets and heaters, the shelters are desperately low on these crucial insulation layers.
The dogs are currently living in outside kennels which, while they are protected from wind and rain, is far from ideal in the winter months, making the need for donations all the more pressing. The RSPCA SA is looking to upgrade their facilities and hoping to relocate to Glenthorne Farm which will allow them to provide the care and indoor spaces their animals need.
Keep up with RSPCA South Australia’s news here.
Find your nearest RSPCA op shop here.