Curtis was delighted with his warm black-and-white-checked sweater, but Terry shredded the maroon one picked out for him. Lucky was resplendent in red, and Shirley wore green as she pranced around.
Chilly days at the city's animal shelter mean warm wraps on small breeds and cozy sweaters for dogs of any size that had their matted fur shaved. But there are not enough to go around, so the Washington Humane Society, which runs the District shelter, has put dog sweaters at the top of its wish list for this Christmas, said spokesman Jim Monsma.
"You can tell that some of these dogs really need the extra warmth," he said. "They just snuggle down once they have a sweater on."
The kennel, now full with 57 dogs, is heated, but the dogs have to stay outside in the early morning when their cages are cleaned, Monsma said. During the day, they also need sweaters when they can move freely from their inside cage to their outdoor run, he said.
Evelyn Wingfield, a shelter employee for six years, has the job of getting the dogs into their sweaters. The dogs usually don't refuse the service, she said.
"It's just like little kids and their coats," she said. "They don't want to wear them, but you know they have to wear them."
And, as with children, the putting on and taking off process goes on all day, she said.
"Once we get the kennels cleaned, they can come back in, and then they are too hot," she said. "So we take the sweaters off."
To withstand the rigors of hot water and strong detergent, the sweaters need to be well made, Wingfield said. "The color doesn't matter. They don't care about color," she said.
The society would welcome donations of new or used sweaters--any color--at the shelter at 1201 New York Ave. NE. The wish list includes other items: squeaky toys, rawhide chews and dog treats.
For the cats--there are 45 of them--catnip mice and balls with bells inside them are on the list. Blankets, towels and sheets for bedding would be welcome also, Monsma said.
CAPTION: Terry, a Jack Russell terrier, bites his sweater playfully at the city's animal shelter, where he is awaiting adoption. A shelter employee was unable to get the sweater on him.