Lions, tigers, and bears – oh my! That was what EJ Toovey, who runs an estate sales business in Anacortes, Washington, was unpleasantly surprised to come across during her home visits to help families find new owners for the items and heirlooms of their lost loved ones. Due to the nature of her work, Toovey comes across dozens of fur coats, stoles, muffs, and even fur bow ties – which were once the epitome of high-class fashion. However, real fur has largely gone out of style among today’s fashionistas, either due to their outdated look or because of the well-known animal cruelty associated with such items.

“There’s a lot of shame associated with owning them now,” Toovey told King 5 News. “And people don’t know what to do with them.”


As the items began to pile up in her store, one face stood out. She named the critter, who had lost his life to become a vanity piece, Clyde and decided his life would not be in vain.

Toovey made a promise to one of the faces among the furs she had collected – that his life would have more meaning than being someone’s accessory.

Screen Shot 2015-12-22 at 9.35.41 AM King 5 News


“I couldn’t stop looking at his face and thinking about his life,” she told the news station. “How did he end up being a scarf for somebody?”

In doing some research, the business woman found Born Free America, an organization that up-cycles old furs to turn them into blankets to comfort orphaned and injured animals at care centers across the country. Toovey said that she is donating all of the furs she has collected over the years and is willing to take them in from others as well to help the organization.

Toovey, who considers herself an animal lover, said that her project is one way she is doing her part to turn cruelty into comfort.

“I kind of promised him that his afterlife would be spent doing really miraculous things,” she told the local station, speaking about Clyde.

Baby squirrels get cozy in fur collected by and donated from Born Free USA at Urban Utopia Wildlife Rehabilitation in New York. 

Business Women Recycles Your Grandma's Old Fur Coats Into Beds for Orphaned AnimalsNicholas Alexiy Moran


Cleo the bobcat relaxes on fur collected by and donated from Born Free USA, at The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center in California. The Fund said that she’s an older lady and enjoys the extra warmth!

Fund for Animals

Orphaned baby boars get playful on donated  fur collected at Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation in Texas. 

11220106_10153258038557568_1534902409701907571_n Sarah Hanners

Bobcats get up close to investigate the furry new addition to their enclosure at The Fund for Animals Wildlife Center in California. 

12027593_10153258029337568_4649772793639626032_n The Fund for Animals

A young bobcat inspects his new comforting fur toy at Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation in Texas.

 Kimberly Stephens and Ashlei Martin


Baby opossums grasp onto a fur coat while being rehabilitated at Wildlife Rescue Center in Missouri.

10517543_10152287875452568_6155778656562276286_nKim Rutledge

An injured fox finds comfort in fur collected and donated by Born Free USA at the Cape Wildlife Center in Massachusetts.

12033185_10153258033047568_7566601161731181464_n Cassie Langtry

A baby bobcat takes cover under the comfy fur that was donated to Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation in Texas. 

12032276_10153258040092568_2381997724266293739_nSarah Hanners

To learn more about turning fashion into freedom, visit Born Free USA.