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Lethbridge woman knits items to help injured animals in Australia

Kacie Dyck says she's glad to help out and do what she can for the animals that have been injured by the bushfires in Australia.
Kacie Dyck says she's glad to help out and do what she can for the animals that have been injured by the bushfires in Australia. Taz Dhaliwal/Global News

A Lethbridge business owner is doing her part to help make and deliver knitted items for animals in need in Australia.

Kacie Dyck owns Purple Hippo Boutique in downtown Lethbridge, and considers herself to be a crafty person who loves to knit, which is why she decided to knit for animals that have been injured by the bushfires in Australia.

READ MORE: Crafters knit koala mittens, joey pouches for animals injured in Australian bushfires

She said she noticed through social media posts in December that there was a need for knitted items — like mittens, joey pouches and bird nests — for thousands of injured animals, such as koala bears, kangaroos and small rodents.

Dyck reached out to fellow residents on a Facebook page called the Animal Rescue Craft Guide, and offered to take any knitted donations with her to Calgary to be shipped overseas from the central drop off hub there since there isn’t one in Lethbridge.

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“Air Canada has offered to take one big shipment [for free], I believe it’s Feb. 8. Flights after that, the hub will pay for themselves,” Dyck said. “Or Calgary will ship to Vancouver and another big load will be going out to Vancouver.”

READ MORE: Carrots, sweet potatoes airdropped for Australia’s wallabies as wildfires continue to burn

Dyck decided to turn her boutique into a hub where local residents can bring knitted items for the animals in Lethbridge.

She said delivery fees to ship these items can get pricey, which is why it is helpful to have the central hubs cover the costs through the help of monetary donations or have airlines offer to take at least one free shipment, along with offering discounted shipment fees.

“Shipping to Australia is very, very expensive… For about a 19-inch box, it costs $400 to send,” Dyck said.

Dyck said about 15 to 20 knitters have reached out to her so far.

She said these knitted items for the animals can help protect burnt paws or any other limbs or body parts that have been injured due to the bushfires.

Kacie Dyck says she is glad to do what she can for the animals that have been horribly injured by the bushfires in Australia.
Kacie Dyck says she is glad to do what she can for the animals that have been horribly injured by the bushfires in Australia. Taz Dhaliwal/Global News

Dyck said she will drive to Calgary once every week in February to drop off the knitted donations.

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“If I can’t make it… Simply Delivery, a delivery company here in Lethbridge, has offered to take the items for me,” Dyck said.

READ MORE: ‘My hero’: Horse guides Australian fleeing bushfires to safety at pub

She said the only reason why she wouldn’t be able to make it to Calgary is if the weather conditions are bad.

“For anybody who can’t crochet or knit, and they want to help out… If you have material lying around, like yarn, feel free to donate that as well,” Dyck said. “There are certain guidelines you have to follow for these patterns because the ecosystem in Australia is so delicate.”

Only certain fabrics and yarns can be used, and people can refer to the Animal Rescue Craft Guide to find out which items are suitable, Dyck said.

She added that if the correct materials are not used, the items will either be sent back or disposed of. Items must also be labelled with the person’s name who knitted it, the materials used and what the item is.