Meet The U.K. Woman Helping Homeless Greyhounds, One Sweater At A Time

Photo: Courtesy of Jan Brown.
One British woman has come up with an adorable solution to keep homeless greyhounds warm during the colder months.

For homeless dogs of any breed, surviving the cold winter can be difficult. But for greyhounds, the winter season is especially rough — they have thin fur and less body fat to keep them warm than other breeds.

And a depressingly large number of greyhounds find themselves in need of forever homes in the United Kingdom, where greyhound racing is popular. One group that advocates for the breed estimates that 8,000 of the dogs retire from the racetrack each year.

Jan Brown, who had been a volunteer at an animal shelter, found a sweet way to help those greyhounds who are discarded when their racing career ends — and other breeds that make up the estimated 47,500 dogs abandoned in the U.K. last year. She quit her full-time job to knit sweaters for greyhounds and other dogs.

Brown, 52, founded Knitted With Love, her dog sweater company, in 2008, and she has knitted more than 300 canine pullovers. Proceeds from her custom-knit jumpers, available on her website, allow Brown to make blanket coats for greyhound rescue centers in the U.K. That way, the shelters can use their funding on other expenses, such as veterinary care for the animals."

Brown has spent more than 4,000 hours knitting dog sweaters. Click through to see some of her most adorable creations.
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Photo: Courtesy of Jan Brown.
"Animal abandonment is quite big here," Brown says of the U.K. She told Refinery29 that "backstreet breeders" often overbreed dogs, and many of them end up in animal shelters.
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Photo: Courtesy of Jan Brown.
"There are hundreds of dogs in rescue, and a lot will be put to sleep, because more are being bred," Brown said.
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Photo: Courtesy of Jan Brown.
Brown's sweaters feature a heart, in memory of her friend's foster dog, who had to be euthanized. The heart also represents the greyhounds who die before having a chance to be rescued, Brown said.
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Photo: Courtesy of Jan Brown.
Greyhound racing contributes to the problem, Brown said. "There are so many greyhounds who need a home after racing, the rescues can't cope," she told Refinery29. "Not a large percent actually make it to rescue."
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Photo: Courtesy of Jan Brown.
"My knitting business pays for my hounds, and for the blankets I buy from the charity shops to make coats for the rescues," Brown said.
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Photo: Courtesy of Jan Brown.
"I hit 50 and decided to go for it, be my own boss," Brown said of quitting her job in 2012. "It was now or never." Brown had worked in a café before knitting the sweaters full-time.
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Photo: Courtesy of Jan Brown.
"While people can make money out of racing, the dogs will continue to be bred and destroyed," Brown said.
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Photo: Courtesy of Jan Brown.
Brown currently supports Birmingham Greyhound Protection and Sighthound Stopgap, a nonprofit organization that helps greyhounds. You can learn more and order a sweater of your own on her website here.
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