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 However, real fur has largely gone out of style among today’s fashionistas, either due to their outdated look or because of the well-known animal cruelty associated with such items.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.

 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. 

Nicholas 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. 

 Sarah Hanners

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

 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.

Kim Rutledge

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

 Cassie Langtry


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

Sarah Hanners

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