Canine coats

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WINTER WARMTH: Lisa Hay, pictured her with model Bella, upcycles woollen blankets and other materials to make dog coats.

AN elderly dog and a cold winter were behind Lisa Hay’s first dog coat.

Although better known for her painting, Lisa is also an avid sewer, up-cycler of clothing and furniture – and an animal lover. She was prompted to combine her design and sewing skills last winter when Myah, their much-loved family dog, was showing signs of feeling the chill.

“Myah was an older dog and it was a cold winter so I made her a coat,” she says. “One of the ladies at work then asked if I made small dog coats and that’s how it began. Myah passed away in September so [the coat-making] is a bit of a legacy for her.”

With another cold winter this year, Lisa has been busy making more dog coats for Eastern Bay dogs – recycling old woollen blankets and other materials into trendy, warm jackets and selling them via her Lisa Hay Artist Facebook page.

With a few different designs, and a made-to-measure service, dogs of all shapes, sizes and personalities can be accommodated. She’s also happy for pet owners to supply their own fabric.

Animal welfare organisations support taking extra measures to keep animals warm with the bitterly cold conditions this winter already blamed for the deaths of some animals in the Eastern Bay.

Whakatane SPCA animal welfare inspector Liisa Jones says she has encountered animals – mainly calves and dogs – that have died from cold-related conditions or hypothermia.

Several animals unwell because of the cold – including cats, dogs and horses – have also been brought into the SPCA because their owners have been unsure what to do with them or cannot afford to have them treated.

She says it’s essential that animal owners ensure their pets and stock are provided for during the cold by giving them extra and better-quality food, ensuring they were off the ground if it was wet, and by giving them blankets to keep warm. “Animals should be kept high and dry … if you are cold, your animal is cold too.”

Wind chill also needs to be taken into account when keeping animals warm, and any animals shivering or showing signs of lethargy need attention. Young, old or ill animals are more susceptible to the cold.

To buy a dog coat contact Lisa at


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