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Tiger Buchman Creative Director Pillows for Paws

Diana Tiger Buchman

Creative Director/Design ResearcherPillows for Paws

Our Goals and Accomplishments

What Makes Pillows for Paws Unique?Pillows for Paws uses User Design Principles to provide enrichment items to NYC shelter animalsVolunteers (informants) embedded in the NYC Animal Care & Control facility give us direct feedback on issues, needs, and how our products are working.ACC is the countys largest shelter. Over 30,000 pets pass through each year.One of the first places to get the budget ax.The need is great. The resources are few.

Our PillowsIssue:Durability Beds were thrown out when inner layer (batting) began to shiftSeams easily split due to rough usage by animal and fragile fabricCostEasier to find fabric for donation than battingEasy to clean and sanitizeMust be able to endure multiple washes and be easy to dryLooksResearch has shown that shelter animals placed in cute settings are more easily adoptedTimeAdding durability can increase production time

Batting Pillows for Paws First User Research TestBecause we all know cats will ly on anything, even plastic bags

Polyester BattingSynthetic productLess durableRequires more quiltingScratchy when not encased in fabricThick, harder to sew on machines

Cotton BattingNatural productMore durableRequires less quiltingVery comfortable to work withThinner, so its easier to sew

Batting Pillows for Paws First User Research TestThis is LilyBeth. LilyBeth has an obvious preference. LilyBeth could not be persuaded by my arguments of why cotton was a better choice. LilyBeth is a traitor.About half the cats (50%) preferred the thicker Polyester batting. The other half showed no preference at all. Polyester won!

Hammocks: Success or Failure?The public loves seeing cats sleeping in hammocks. We got a special request and we tried to meet the need.Can only be used at adoption events in stand-alone cages.Due to logistics within the ACC facility, they need to be laundered separately if they are to be used more than once.

HammocksPillows for Paws Design Research Failure?Despite many hours of discussing design and price points with our imbedded ACC informant, the information we received was incorrectOne of the special requests we received was to make sure the attachment hooks separate. Easier to launder hammocks and keeps the price point down.The hooks were lost and never reunited with the hammocks. Instead workers cut the hammocks in an attempt to make them reusable. In actuality they made them completely unusable.Lesson: We relied on information from one source. We should have double-checked with other individuals and organizations. This was a costly mistake in both time and money.

Hammocks RedesignedEasy to use hooks that are permanently attachedDual fabrics: One for comfort in cooler weather the other for warm weatherReinforced seams

Our ToysCatnipMade with scraps of fabric and batting leftover from the bed makingA brand new product line made for the price of catnip ($25/lb)Must be a minimum size (2.5 x 3.5) otherwise they fall through the bars of the cages

Our ToysCat Dancers

Biggest issue:need to sanitize after useCreated a design that used Human Grade Chopsticks Can sanitize using dishwasher, autoclave or washing machineCost was minimal ($2.00/dz)Made with scraps of yarnGreat short term project for people who knit or crochet. Can be made in a few minutes. Can be safely embellished in a multitude of ways.

Our ToysCage Dancers

Old ideaEasy to makeGreat for kids at education eventPerfect for kittens who havent yet developed the nasal receptors for catnipGreat for cats who dont like catnip

Our ToysJingle BallsPlastic is not sterilizable. So must be a single use item. Can get expensive

Issue:Solution:Recreated the toy using less expensive, disposable productsEverybody loves finding a use for TP rollsAlso great for rabbits. They like to play too.

Our ToysTiger Tugs

Issues:Need toys good for big dogs and heavy chewers because smaller dogs are easier to fosterAlmost all the dogs at ACC are Pitt BullsRope toys are not allowed due to issues regarding sterilizationSolutions:Created a rope-like toy using fleece (unwoven fabric) knotted to increase durabilityEasy to teach and can be done by anybodyToy can be created for $0.20 to $0.50/each (depends on the cost of fleece)

Our ToysFlying Saucer Toys

Originally designed by Gennie Perez, volunteer designer. Made of donated over-felted wool and a squeaker.Cannot recreate with wool because it would be too expensive and its too rare as a donation item.Re-designed with fleece and an inner lining of bulletproof nylon. Recreated same touch and feel but a more reasonable price point.

Our ToysSpiders100% a Gennie Perez masterpiece. Took elements from Flying Saucer toy, Tiger Tugs & a no-sew catnip toy.Other than technically being Gennies supervisor, I cannot take any credit except for recognizing genius. Part of being a good supervisor is knowing when not to mess with greatness.

RabbitsThe most forgotten of ACCs adoptable animals

Issues:Rabbits need to chew. Their front teeth continuously grow and must be worn down or they will become ingrown.Despite what Bugs Bunny thinks, carrots are not good for rabbits. They are too sweet and can cause health problems.Solutions:TP roll treats & toysPeople love finding a use for all those TP rolls. Also provides lots of roughage for the rabbits.We also make toys out of commercially available products purchased from pet stores

Rabbit Toys & TreatsA Unique ProblemThere are many treats for rabbits that should be of minimal or no cost that are difficult to source inside of NYCApplewood from unsprayed trees Most orchards in the Northeast use active pest management. This means many trees in an orchard may or may not have been sprayed.Willow branches from a reliable sourceIt is illegal to harvest any botanical item from a State or National park. Need a private source with a clean water supplyDried corn husksDoes not need to be organic, but cannot be sprayed. A rarity in the NortheastWe continue to work to find appropriate, reliable, low-cost sources of these supplies

To Be AnnouncedItems on the Drawing BoardRabbit PillowsMust be completely edible. Will be made on a loom using Sisal or Sea Grass for warp and wefted with willow, corn husks or other edible materialsHammocks & toys for small mammalsMany small mammals are abandoned at ACC everyday. Guinea pigs, gerbils, hamsters, ferrets, mice. They are passed along to private rescue organizations that specialize in those animals.Toys & Treats for Birds Like small mammals, many are abandoned and sent to private rescue organizations. There are many species of birds in captivity, each with their own special needs.Tools for Wildlife RehabilitationWe meet special needs as we can using the same Design Research principles we use with all our other users.

To Be AnnouncedItems on the Drawing BoardWe have worked hard to develop relationships with veterinarians who specialize in exotics, rehabilitators, rescue groups and those who adopt exotics. We consult them to determine their needs with each species and we actively seek feedback on all our products.