Day of Service 2018: Make Your Own Pet Toys

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., Day this year, the Illini Union Office of Volunteer Programs hosted a Day of Service.

Registrants signed up for a variety of service projects taking place the afternoon of January 15 at the Illini Union. Members of the Wildlife Medical Clinic were asked to help run the “Animal Toys” project. Naturally, several Residents made appearances with our WMC Wildlife Ambassadors.

“It was a busy day at the Union with four different community service projects going on! People passing our room would peek in at the Residents even if they were working on other projects.  We introduced all of the participants to our Public Relations program and explained the importance of enrichment for our residents. It was really nice to be able to put a real-life application to each of the toys that people were making and introduce them to all of the animals that would benefit from the unique toys. I know when I volunteer it makes it so much more fulfilling when you can see what your work is going towards. Derby was the big hit of the day and was very popular as she posed for photos.” – Caitlin, Wildlife Medical Clinic volunteer, Public Relations Coordinator, and WMC Wildlife Ambassador.

After a presentation and introduction to the birds of prey, the registered volunteers set about making toys to donate. Dog and cat toys will go to patients at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, and the bird toys will go to the Public Relations Residents.

Photographs provided by Alexis Davidson (WMC Wildlife Ambassador) and Nyrasia (Office of Volunteer Programs).

Want to make toys of your own? Follow these instructions! **Please note, companion animals should be supervised at all times when playing with toys, particularly with novel toys.**

Tug Toy for Dogs

Supplies: T-shirts!

  1. Lay the t-shirt down on a flat surface and cut across the shirt underneath the armpits.                                                                                                                           
  2. Take the bottom half of the shirt (now detached from the arms and neck), and cut the folded strip off the bottom of the shirt.
  3. Cut across the width of what is left of the shirt into 4 equal strips.
  4. Clip the ends on one side of the shirt, and tie 4 the ends together into a tight knot.
  5. The tighter the strips are tied, the longer they will last.
  6. Set the knot in the middle of your work space with the strips falling into a cross pattern.
  7. Take the first strip closest to you and drape it over the piece to the left, leaving a triangular or half-circle space between the two. 
  8. Take the piece opposite the first strand (so the furthest one away from you) and drape over the strip on the right, leaving another triangle or half-circle space.
  9. Loop the strip on the right through the triangular space on the opposite end.
  10. Loop the strip on the left through the triangular space on the opposite end.
  11. Slowly pull on all strands evenly which should reveal a square shaped knot.
    1. Make sure to tighten the knots as well.
  12. Repeat braiding pattern until there is only enough of the strips to tie another tight knot at the other end.
Look how many toys were donated!

Cork Toy for Cats

Supplies: Wine corks, paper clips, pipe cleaners and/or feathers

  1. If using a cork that already has a hole from being pulled from a bottle, skip to Step 2. Use a paper clip to poke a hole at one end of the cork. Make sure that the hold is at least a half-inch deep.                                                                                                                                                     
  2. Twirl a pipe cleaner into various coils and other open-ended shapes. 
  3. Insert a twirled pipe cleaner OR feather into the cork.                                                         





Beautiful cat toys for shelter cats that come to the Veterinary Teaching Hospital!

Shredded Paper Toy for Birds

Supplies: netting, shredded colorful paper, twine

  1. Cut a piece of netting of about 4 or 5 inches in length.
  2. Ball up shredded paper and place it in the center of the netting.
  3. Bring the edges of the netting and around the shredded paper forming a round shape.
  4. Using the twine, tie up the netting.
Our Residents are going to have a great time investigating these enrichment items!