Highlands & Islands

Jumpers are knitted for 'discriminated-against' unwanted dogs

Dog in knitted jumper Image copyright Ross Johnston
Image caption Springer spaniel Barney in one of the dogs to receive a new jumper

Jumpers are being knitted for "discriminated-against" dogs that an animal welfare charity finds among the hardest to rehome.

Dogs with dark-coloured coats are being overlooked at Scottish SPCA centres in Inverness and Caithness.

It is thought the dogs' features do not show as well in photograph appeals for new homes as lighter-coated pooches.

Scottish Women's Institute groups, including those in Aberdeenshire, have been knitting the eye-catching jumpers.

The knitting effort forms part of celebrations marking 100 years of the SWI.

Image copyright Ross Johnston
Image caption SWI member Winnie Anderson and Barney

Dogs in the care of the SSPCA at Drumoak, near Banchory, were among the first to get the colourful overcoats, designed to draw greater attention to the animals.

The SSPCA describes the problem of rehoming dark-coated dogs as Black Dog Syndrome.

The charity said that, in photographs, the dogs' features and personalities do not show up as they do for dogs with lighter coats.

SSPCA superintendent Sharon Comrie said: "This syndrome really does affect the adoption of animals in our care and, through no fault of their own, black dogs are almost always the last to find new homes.

"It's a really creative idea to knit coloured jackets to show these dogs off to their best advantage.

Image copyright Ross Johnston
Image caption Lurcher cross Archie sporting a colourful woolly overcoat

"Knowing that the SWI has members in every part of Scotland, many of whom are extremely dextrous when it comes to traditional crafts, means that we'll hopefully be able to help animals in the nine rescue and rehoming centres we operate in Scotland.

"Knitted jackets will be ideal because they will be soft on the skin, have an element of give and stretch, and can be created in any, or many, colours of wool."

SWI national chairwoman Christine Hutton said: "Some of Scotland's top craftswomen are making multi-coloured dog coats in aid of homeless pets desperately seeking loving new homes - to boost their appeal and help them become rehomed more quickly."

Image copyright Ross Johnston
Image caption It is hoped that the knitting project draws attention to overlooked dogs

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