As the cool winter weather descends on the Lower Mainland this past week, a Langley granny is hoping to capitalize on people’s need for a good quality, homemade toque and to help homeless and abandon pets at the same time.
Last month, Louise Selby held the first of two toque sales she’s hosting to raise money for the Langley Animal Proteciton Society. She still has many to select from, heading into the second sale this weekend.
The 79-year-old grandmother started knitting last Christmas to fulfilled a goal of creating 200 toques. Her intention in selling them for $15 a piece, is to raise $3,000 for the Aldergrove-based animal shelter.
Selby 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).
So in January, Selby began her quest to knit 200 toques for the cause, and last month – the same day as the Cranberry Festival – she held the first toque sale at the Thunderbird Village’s IGA in Walnut Grove.
Since all the toques didn’t sell that day, she’s giving it another go this weekend.
This time she’ll again be set up in front of the IGA on Saturday, Nov. 11, from noon to 5 p.m.
“I’m so fond of LAPS and all the good things they do for our animals,” Selby said, who adopted her six-year-old little dog named Peppa from LAPS four years ago.
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.”
Is there more to this story?