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This week, Tractor Supply Company invited us to visit their store and challenged us to create a unique Do-It-Yourself project that would benefit shelter animals.

This is a tougher assignment than you may think for several reasons. First, it’s hard to create something that is easily cleaned, yet still serves a purpose. Second, we had a budget of $25. Third, I’m not very crafty. But, I accepted the challenge and sought creative inspiration by embracing Arizona's Native American heritage. I decided to make a pet teepee because of it's unique ability to provide shade, calm pets, and mostly because it's different... After buying all of my supplies at Tractor Supply, I came in so drastically under budget that I even had enough left over from my $25 budget to buy: THREE giant smoked Jones Knuckle Bones for my dogs, as well as a new brush, and I even picked up a bonus project that shelters can use to make money during the upcoming holiday season! (More on that at the end of the article).

This post is sponsored by Tractor Supply Company and the Pet Blogger Network. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Tractor Supply Company, but PetsWeekly only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Tractor Supply Company is not responsible for the content of this article.

Tractor Supply makes its home in rural communities all across America. Each store carries an incredible selection of pet products, farming products, fencing, automotive supply, and so much more. We found the employees to be very helpful and excited to introduce us to the store! We were very surprised to learn they carry premium food and a huge selection of supplies for pets.

They even have a special event coming up this September 18-22, 2014. They encourage you to stop by your local store for a special in-store event on September 20 (surprise!). Bring your pup along - leashed pets are always welcome! And if your pets are due for their annual vaccines, the Tractor Supply store nearest us even offers a vaccination clinic for pets! We know you'll love this store as much as we do and we hope you'll swing in and plan your own special project. (Find your nearest store by clicking here)

Without further ado, I give to you:

The DIY - No Sew - Shelter Pet Teepee!

Here is what we used to make our Pet Teepee:

  • 5 Metal Poles (we opted for 4' in length - you can do more or less - and use bamboo, PVC, or other material)
  • 5 Burlap Sacks (you can also use shade cloth or any other material)
  • 1 Rubber band
  • 1' of Sisal or Hemp rope

We found five metal poles at the Tractor Supply for $1 each. I don't know what they are normally used for, but the cashier did ask me if I needed “a driver” when I checked out. I’m assuming these poles are normally used as a stake of some kind. Each Tractor Supply carries an array of different items, so you can also use wooden dowels, lengths of bamboo, PVC pipe or any other long, relatively stable material.

We also picked up six burlap sacks that were on sale for $1 each. You can use them whole (which we did) or you can cut them in half to make them go a little further. You could also use other types of cloth (shade cloth, remnants, or whatever you have on hand). As it turns out, cats LOVE burlap, but I learned that I'm very allergic to it. Use your best judgement. 

The only other things you’ll need are a large, thick rubber band and (if you want the teepee to be more secure or prettier) some extra hemp rope or a needle/thread. Place the 5 poles together and rubber band the top, then spread the poles to form a teepee. (I first tried this with yellow hemp string, but it wasn't strong enough. So just save yourself the hassle and use a giant rubber band).

Begin by threading a pole through the side of a burlap bag. You’ll want to start at the top of the bag, near the bottom of the leg, then work your way up. Do the same to the other side. It won’t look very pretty yet, just wait. On the next section, begin threading your second bag. Since one leg is already taken up with your first bag, you can just use the very handy ties included on the burlap bag to secure it to the third pole. It will look like this:

Continue this pattern using your third burlap bag and again with the fourth bag. Always start from the top of the bag and work your way up from the bottom of the pole.

When you’re done, you’ll tie off the “hanging” sides of the burlap bags with the tie. Use your rope to stitch up the middle of the bag. Place the sixth burlap sack loosely around the top, then tie it off with the hemp or sisal rope. This just makes it look a little nicer.

Alternatively, you could... (AKA - "The Easier Way")

Use a single sheet of shade cloth and five 8' PVC pipes. If you do it this way, you merely wrap the entire structure in one giant square of shade cloth, stitch the front two sides of the shade cloth to the front two poles (the entrance) of the teepee, and then cut away the excess shade.

Voila! Instant Teepee for kids or pets (or both!)

Total Costs:

Our project cost a total of $11. If you use PVC pipe and shade cloth, you’ll pay more in the beginning, but you’ll be able to make each teepee for about  $5 to $8 each (depending on size of teepee).

What I love about this project is it provides shelter animals a tiny bit of privacy and enables them to feel more secure, particularly during adoption events. The Pet Teepee is very easy to put up and take down, so you can move them very easily from event to event. If you have an animal in a shelter who is experiencing shelter stress, these tents can fit inside a kennel without impacting the potential adopters view to see the animal. Our animals calmed down immediately when we showed them the teepee. As it turns out, burlap is almost like a type of catnip to some cats. But, all of the animals loved this project - even the dogs!

Check with your local rescue or animal shelter before dropping these off, but you could always show up an adoption event. I know they’ll be grateful for the shade if they are here in AZ.

As it turns out, we had enough left over to buy three bones for our dogs and a brush for all of our pets. Tractor Supply has some fun bins in the front that are filled with values from $1 to $15!

BONUS FUNDRAISING IDEA

We found these adorable wooden ornaments and they even included paint for only $10! Each pack includes 40 wooden ornaments. We thought this would be a fun idea for adopters to make one in the name of their favorite animal, then donate it to the shelter for $5.

Each ornament would represent animals that have been adopted. New friends that come along could donate in that animal’s memory and help sponsor a new animal. There are dozens of ways you could use these ornaments in your shelter to raise funds during the holidays.

If you’re as committed as I am to spending hours each weekend on Pinterest, Tractor Supply has an amazing board and I really hope you'll follow us as well. We have a giant folder committed to DIY Projects for Pets!

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