Louise Selby has been knitting since Christmas, and is working on her 169th toque that will be sold to help homeless and abandoned pets in her hometown of Langley.
The 79-year-old grandmother took up knitting at the age of three. Born with a dislocated hip, she had very limited mobility during her early childhood.
Consequently, her mother scrambled to find activities that would entertain a sedentary toddler. She put knitting needles in Selby’s hands at age three, and embroidery tools at age five.
“I’ve loved [knitting] ever since,” Selby said, noting that she’s been creating clothing and booties, and almost anything imaginable from wool.
Last December, she learned that local vet Dr. Renee Ferguson and her staff at Mountain View Veterinary Hospital were putting together Christmas hampers for needy families. Selby offered to knit a few toques to be included.
“Dr. Ferguson inspired me to do it,” Selby said, noting that she was subsequently motivated to use her knitting abilities to help Langley Animal Protection Society (LAPS).
In January, Selby began her quest to knit 200 toques, with a plan to hold a sale on Saturday, Oct. 7, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Thunderbird Village’s IGA in Walnut Grove.
She has three more weeks to knit the last 30 toques, and hopes she can achieve that goal – spending almost every spare moment of her time now with the needles in her hand.
Selby made and sold cupcakes at the IGA last February to help fundraiser for LAPS, and said her efforts were well received.
Likewise, she hopes there will be a good turnout for her Hats for LAPS project.
The toques will sell for $15 each meaning she’s hoping to raise at least $3,000 for the cause.
“I’m so fond of LAPS and all the good things they do for our animals,” Selby said.
She adopted a six-year-old little dog named Peppa from LAPS four years ago. He’s 90 per cent poodle, and what Selby describes as 10 per cent “haven’t a clue.”
It’s efforts like this, where Selby has shown initiative and stepped up to donate so much of her time, that earned her a recent distinction as volunteer of the year. At last year’s annual Furry Tale Endings gala, she was presented with the Patti Dale award of excellence, explained LAPS executive director Jayne Nelson.
“It is always such an inspiration to see people like Louise come up with creative ways to help us,” Nelson said. “Louise is an extraordinary person.”
She volunteers four to five days a week, every week, driving animals to the shelter’s local veterinary partners for surgery appointments or exams – often multiple trips a day, Nelson elaborated.
“Louise has quickly become a very valuable member of our team, and I honestly don’t know what we would do with out her. Louise also participates in many of our events. When she isn’t available to attend an event, she will often deliver lunch and coffee so that staff and volunteers have something to eat during busy events. Louise is one of the kindest, classiest and most genuine people I know. She truly has a beautiful heart and is a inspiration to others.”
She “feels so blessed to have so many great volunteers like Louise and many others” who give so much to help so many animals in need.
“Whether it is using their talents or strengths to independently fundraise money for LAPS, volunteering their time at the shelter, supporting events, participating on social media to help spread the word about adoptable animals, or other work LAPS is doing or making a donation,” Nelson said. “Each person is needed and truly makes a difference.”
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