Six years ago, Diane Ostergaard brought her cat, Wolf, to the OSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Wolf was diagnosed with lymphoma cancer and treated with chemotherapy. The treatment was successful and Wolf lived two and a half more years. This was how the hospital found one of its most creative volunteers.
“When I was visiting my cat in the ICU, I noticed that the kennel beds were made with an assortment of towels. I wanted to do something nice for the staff, and I like to sew, so I made them some padded, fleece kennel liners in bright colors with animal prints,” says Ostergaard. They were a huge hit and she has been making them ever since; she made 70 for OSU this year alone.
Animal attendant Peggy Muths really appreciates the fleece beds. “They are awesome!” she says “They are, of course, comfy for the pets, but they also are easy to launder and store. They take a beating and still come out looking great.”
Each time Ostergaard sews a fleece kennel liner, she is left with a long, one inch strip. Over the years, she has saved those in big garbage bags. “I didn’t want to waste them,” she says. This year she taught herself to crochet those strips into beautiful, multi-colored pet beds that look like soft bowls. Cats especially like them because they can lay down semi-hidden.
In addition to making beds for the hospital, Ostergaard also makes them for the Turtle Ridge Wildlife Center. The staff there like the loose structure of the crocheted bed; they use if for their injured ducks because it allows air to flow. They also like the fleece because a baby bird’s claws won’t get caught in it.
Ostergaard also donates pet beds to adoption events sponsored by local pet stores. “But OSU comes first,” she says.
It takes a lot of fleece to make all those beds, so Ostergaard shops the sales at fabric stores. “My dining room table is stacked with fleece,” she says, “but I really enjoy doing it.” Her husband, Terry, helps her lay out and cut the big pieces.
Making so many pet beds over the years means Ostergaard has the process down to a science. “I would be happy to teach someone how to do it, if they were interested in helping other animal rescue organizations,” she says. You can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org for instructions.