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Pair dress in 'dead dog' jumpers

19 March 08 10:10 GMT

A Newcastle couple have found a unique way of keeping their beloved dead pets close to their hearts - by having the dog hair made into woolly jumpers.

Beth and Brian Willis lost their white Samoyed, called Kara, 12 years ago and Swedish Lapphund, Penny, in 2002.

After seeing a picture of Princess Diana wearing a dog fur stole at Crufts, they collected thousands of dog hairs from brushes and carpets.

The pair said the his and hers dog memorials were "warm and waterproof".

Mr Willis, who worked for Pickfords Removals for 27 years, wears his doggy jumper into town every Saturday to do the weekly shop.

The 73-year-old said: "They are extremely warm and pretty much waterproof. I've always got a sweat on by the time I get from the bus to the shops."

Mother-of-three Mrs Willis first used the fur of Kara, to knit her husband's sweater in 1990.

Mrs Willis, 71, said she had the idea after seeing a picture of Princess Diana wearing a dog fur stole at Crufts.

She said: "Kara was a pedigree Samoyed. She was so posh, if she could have talked she'd not have spoken to the likes of us.

"We found out from the breeders we got the pups from that it was possible to use their coat for clothes.

"It is the most amazing stuff. It's like mohair but more lightweight and more soft, and the more you wash it, the more soft and fluffy it gets."

Mrs Willis added: "People are surprised when they find out we're wearing dog wool clothes. Some think it's disgusting and ask how we can do it, but it seems very normal to us."

Even now, Mrs Willis has enough hair left over to make a new jumper, and it has been sent to a friend in Derby to be spun.

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