Being the wife of a man in the military, I’ve had quite a bit of experience with PTSD. Way too much, in fact – I’ve seen soldiers, marriages, and families fall apart from the effects and aftermath of traumatic situations.

PTSD doesn’t just affect one life – it creates a ripple of sadness and loss throughout the whole community.

Our military has given so much thought to addressing this issue – yet we are still struggling with soldier suicides, divorces, and domestic abuse. In my over 15 years of experience, this is because no class, no video training, can fix this problem – in fact, there is only one solution:

Community is at the core of healing PTSD.

We saw after Vietnam just how damning it can be for soldiers to be rejected by their communities. And while we are, oh-so-wonderfully NOT acting like that any more, we are forgetting one very important component. The component of community – and I’m not just talking a one-time thank you sort of community (although that is wonderful). I’m talking ongoing support, ongoing love and commitment to the soldiers – and their families – that give up their security and stability so you can have yours.

Enter this week’s project.

This week we paired up with Nathalie at NatalinaCraft to make a beautiful, fun, and easy (yep, easy!) crochet craft that is possibly the funnest way to help soldiers with ptsd.

Get a DIY Generosity Project to Help Soldiers and Military Members with PTSD for an accredited nonprofit in the United States

You got it. A DIY dog toy for soldiers. How exactly does that help? Well, there’s this amazing, Aina-accredited organization that helps team soldiers suffering from ptsd and disabilities from war with trained service dogs. The best part? These dogs are trained by volunteer families (yes! you can adopt a puppy and only keep him for a few weeks – perfect test run!) that have committed to help raise – and train – these service dogs. So. Rad. And you can help from home by making them much-needed – and much-loved – dog toys. Read on to get the tutorial, and keep reading to find out why this is so important.

Supplies Needed:

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Get a DIY Generosity Project to Help Soldiers and Military Members with PTSD for an accredited nonprofit in the United States

Note: Some of these links may include affiliate links :)[/one_half]

[one_half_last]

Instructions:

Notes for the crochet pattern:

  • ch = chain
  • MR – magic ring
  • sc – single crochet
  • inc – increase
  • dec – invisible decrease
  • sl st – slip stitch
  • dc – double crochet

Step 1: Feet

With the orange yarn and the 4 mm hook

We are starting with the toes.

Work in rounds, do not turn unless specified. If needed, use a stitch marker for the first stitch of each round.

Make the first two toes as follow:

Round 1: start 6 sc in a magic ring (6)

Rounds 2 to 4: sc in all (6)

Make 1 sl st in the next st, cut the yarn

Make the third toe as follow:

Round 1: start 6 sc in a magic ring (6)

Rounds 2 to 4: sc in all (6)

Do not make a sl st, Do not cut the yarn. We are now going to attach all the toes together.

Round 5:

1 sc in the next 3 st.

Now make 1 sc in 1 st of the second toe (see pictures below if you need help – by doing this, you will join the first two toes), make 1 sc in the 2 next st.

Now make 1 sc in 1 st of the third toe (by doing this, you will join the last toe), 1 sc in the next 5 st.

Make 1 sc in the next 3 st (they should be the 3 st of the second toe)

Make 1 sc in the next 3 st (they should be the 3 st of the first toe)

Your 5th round is now complete, all the toes are attached. (18)

Get a DIY Generosity Project to Help Soldiers and Military Members with PTSD for an accredited nonprofit in the United States

We are now working in rows to make the heel of the foot.

Row 6: 1 sc in the next 6 st. (6)

Row 7: ch1, turn; 1 sc in the next 6 st. (6)

Row 8: ch1, turn; 1 sc in the next 6 st. (6)

Row 9: ch1, turn; 1 sc in the next 6 st. (6)

Get a DIY Generosity Project to Help Soldiers and Military Members with PTSD for an accredited nonprofit in the United States

We are now going to work in rounds again.

Round 10: ch1, turn: 1 sc in the next 6 st. Now make 3 sc evenly along the side of the rows we made previously. Make 1 sc in the next 6 st. Make 3 sc evenly along the other side of the rows we made previously. Your round 10 of 18 stitches is now completed. (see the pictures below if you need help).

Stuff the toes.

Get a DIY Generosity Project to Help Soldiers and Military Members with PTSD for an accredited nonprofit in the United States

Round 11: [1 sc in next 6 st, 2 dec, 1 sc in the next 4 st, 2 dec].  (14)

Get a DIY Generosity Project to Help Soldiers and Military Members with PTSD for an accredited nonprofit in the United States

Round 12: [1 sc in next 6 st, 1 dec, 1 sc in the next 4 st, 1 dec].  (12)

Round 13: [1 sc in next 2 st, 1 dec in next st] x3. (9)

Rounds 14 to 16: 1 sc in all. (9)

Stuff the foot.

Get a DIY Generosity Project to Help Soldiers and Military Members with PTSD for an accredited nonprofit in the United States

Step 2: Legs. Change to your secondary color

Join a new color (red yarn)

Rounds 17 to 19: 1 sc in all. (9)

Round 20: (1 sc in the next 2 st, 1 inc) x3. (12)

Rounds 21 to 26: 1 sc in all. (12)

Your first leg is done. Cut the yarn.

Stuff the leg.

Make a second leg exactly like you made the first one.

Get a DIY Generosity Project to Help Soldiers and Military Members with PTSD for an accredited nonprofit in the United States

Step 3Body

With the red yarn and the 4 mm hook

Work in rounds, do not turn unless specified. If needed, use a stitch marker for the first stitch of each round.

Round 1: start 6 sc in a magic ring (6)

Round 2: inc 6 times (12)

We are now going to join the leg to our circle. The circle will be between both legs. (please note that the circle in the pictures is bigger than yours, do not worry about it, I just realized that the circle was too big after taking the pictures. And I forgot to take new pictures. Sorry about that. Follow the written instructions and only use the pictures as a support).

Get a DIY Generosity Project to Help Soldiers and Military Members with PTSD for an accredited nonprofit in the United States

Round 3:

1 sc in the next 3 st.

Join the left leg with 3 st:

Decide where you want to join the leg (the stitch you choose will determine the position of the leg (foot toward the inside, in the middle or toward the outside). You can see on the picture below where I decided to join the leg. Then insert your hook in this stitch and in the next stitch of your circle, make 1 sc.

Get a DIY Generosity Project to Help Soldiers and Military Members with PTSD for an accredited nonprofit in the United States

Make 1 sc in the next 2 st of your leg and your circle (exactly like you did for the first st). Your leg is now joined by 3 stitches.

Get a DIY Generosity Project to Help Soldiers and Military Members with PTSD for an accredited nonprofit in the United States

Make 1 sc in the next 3 st of your circle.

Join the second leg.

As previously, decide where you want to join the leg. You can see on the picture below where I decided to join the leg. Then insert your hook in this stitch and in the next stitch of your circle, make 1 sc.

Get a DIY Generosity Project to Help Soldiers and Military Members with PTSD for an accredited nonprofit in the United States

Make 1 sc in the next 2 st of your leg and your circle (exactly like you did for the first st). Your second leg is now joined by 3 stitches.

I am aware this part might be a bit difficult. If you need any help, more explanations or more pictures, do not hesitate to contact me!

Get a DIY Generosity Project to Help Soldiers and Military Members with PTSD for an accredited nonprofit in the United States

Get a DIY Generosity Project to Help Soldiers and Military Members with PTSD for an accredited nonprofit in the United States

Get a DIY Generosity Project to Help Soldiers and Military Members with PTSD for an accredited nonprofit in the United States

Round 4: 1 sc in all st, all around. (24)

Round 5: [sc in next 3 st, 1 inc in next st] x6. (30)

Round 6: [sc in next 4 st, 1 inc in next st] x6. (36)

Round 7: [sc in next 5 st, 1 inc in next st] x6. (42)

Rounds 8 to 15: 1 sc in all st. (42)

Round 16: [sc in next 5 st, 1 dec in next st] x6. (36)

Rounds 17 to 22: 1 sc in all st. (36)

Start stuffing the body.

I decided to place one of the squeakers at the base of the body.

Round 23: [sc in next 4 st, 1 dec in next st] x6. (30)

Rounds 24 to 28: 1 sc in all st. (30)

Round 29: [sc in next 3 st, 1 dec in next st] x6. (24)

Keep stuffing the body and insert your 2nd squeaker at the top.

Get a DIY Generosity Project to Help Soldiers and Military Members with PTSD for an accredited nonprofit in the United States

Get a DIY Generosity Project to Help Soldiers and Military Members with PTSD for an accredited nonprofit in the United States

Round 30: [sc in next 2 st, 1 dec in next st] x6. (18)

Rounds 31 to 45: 1 sc in all st. (18)

Step 4: Head

Change to the brown yarn. Join the new color.

Round 46: Work in the front loops only: [3 dc in the next st, 1 sc in the next st, miss the next st] x6. (18)

Round 47: Work in the back loops only of round 45: 1 sc in all st. (18)

Round 48: 1 sc in all st. (18)

Get a DIY Generosity Project to Help Soldiers and Military Members with PTSD for an accredited nonprofit in the United States

Round 49: 1 sc in all st. (18)

Round 50: [1 sc in next 2 st, 1 inc in next st] x6. (24)

Round 51: [1 sc in next 3 st, 1 inc in next st] x6. (30)

Rounds 52 to 58: 1 sc in all st. (30)

Round 59: [1 sc in next 3 st, 1 dec in next st] x6. (24)

Round 60: [1 sc in next 2 st, 1 inc in next st] x6. (18)

Round 61: [1 sc in next st, 1 inc in next st] x6. (12)

Round 62: dec in all st. (6)

Cut the yarn and close the head.

Get a DIY Generosity Project to Help Soldiers and Military Members with PTSD for an accredited nonprofit in the United States

Step 5: Comb

With the red yarn and the 4 mm hook

Row 1: ch 16. (16)

Row 2: 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook, 3 dc in next st, 1 sc in the next 2 st, 3 dc in the next st, 1 sc in the next 2 st, 3 dc in the next st, 1 sc in the next 2 st, 3 dc in the next st, 1 sc in the next 2 st, 3 dc in the next st, 1 sc in the next 1 st. (25)

Leave a long tail and cut the yarn.

Sew the comb to the top of the head (top of the comb is between Rounds 60 and 61 in my chicken).

 

Get a DIY Generosity Project to Help Soldiers and Military Members with PTSD for an accredited nonprofit in the United States

Get a DIY Generosity Project to Help Soldiers and Military Members with PTSD for an accredited nonprofit in the United States

Step 6: Eyes (make 2)

With the white and black yarn and the 3 mm hook.

With the white yarn:

Round 1: start 6 sc in a magic ring (6)

Round 2: inc 6 times (12)

Round 3: 1 sl st in the next st. (1)

Leave a long tail, cut the yarn.

With the black yarn:

Round 1: start 5 sc in a magic ring (5)

Round 2: 1 sl st in the next st. (1)

Leave a long tail, cut the yarn.

Sew the black part on the white part. And sew the eyes to the head (I put the top of the eyes between Rounds 58 and 59 and I left 2 st between both eyes).

Get a DIY Generosity Project to Help Soldiers and Military Members with PTSD for an accredited nonprofit in the United States

Step 7: Beak

With the orange yarn and the 4 mm hook.

Round 1: start 5 sc in a magic ring (5)

Round 2: inc 5 times (10)

Round 3: [1 dc in next 4 st, 1 sl st in next st] x2. (10)

Leave a long tail, cut the yarn. Sew the beak under the eyes (the sl st you did go on the sides).

Get a DIY Generosity Project to Help Soldiers and Military Members with PTSD for an accredited nonprofit in the United States

Get a DIY Generosity Project to Help Soldiers and Military Members with PTSD for an accredited nonprofit in the United States

Step 8: The wings (make 2) 

With the brown and red yarns and the 4 mm hook

Work in rounds, do not turn unless specified. If needed, use a stitch marker for the first stitch of each round.

Get a DIY Generosity Project to Help Soldiers and Military Members with PTSD for an accredited nonprofit in the United States

Start with the brown yarn. As you can see the bottom of the wings are made of three feathers joined together. We are doing it exactly like we did for the toes.

Feathers (make 2):

Round 1: start 6 sc in a magic ring (6)

Rounds 2: sc in all (6)

Make 1 sl st in the next st, cut the yarn

Make the third feather as follow:

Round 1: start 6 sc in a magic ring. (6)

Round 2: sc in all. (6)

Do not make a sl st, Do not cut the yarn. We are now going to attach all the feathers together.

Get a DIY Generosity Project to Help Soldiers and Military Members with PTSD for an accredited nonprofit in the United States

Round 3:

1 sc in the next 3 st.

Now make 1 sc in 1 st of the second feather (see pictures below if you need help – by doing this, you will join the first two feathers), make 1 sc in the 2 next st.

Now make 1 sc in 1 st of the third feather (by doing this, you will join the last feather), 1 sc in the next 5 st.

Make 1 sc in the next 3 st (they should be the 3 st of the second feather)

Make 1 sc in the next 3 st (they should be the 3 st of the first feather)

Your 3rd round is now complete, all the feathers are attached. (18)

Get a DIY Generosity Project to Help Soldiers and Military Members with PTSD for an accredited nonprofit in the United States

Rounds 4 to 6: sc in all (18)

Change to the red yarn.

Round 7: sc in all. (18)

Round 8: [sc in next st, dec in next st] x6. (12)

Rounds 9 to 12: sc in all. (12)

Round 13: [sc in next 2 st, dec in next st] x3. (9)

Get a DIY Generosity Project to Help Soldiers and Military Members with PTSD for an accredited nonprofit in the United States

Leave a long tail, cut the yarn and sew the wings to the body (the top of the wings was between Rounds 27 and 28 of the body).

Get a DIY Generosity Project to Help Soldiers and Military Members with PTSD for an accredited nonprofit in the United States

Congratulations!! You’ve made your awesome, hilarious, and incredibly generous chicken!! Nathalie is SO talented, we are eternally grateful for her amazing pattern!!

Get a DIY Generosity Project to Help Soldiers and Military Members with PTSD for an accredited nonprofit in the United States

Be sure to include a Giving Card so the soldier you’re helping knows there’s an actual PERSON on the other end, supporting them and caring for them!

Now you just have one more step to do….

Final Step:

It’s time to send these to people that need them the most! Pop that chicken into a box and send your project to:

Hero Dogs

P.O. Box 64

Brookeville, MD 20833-0064

YOUR ISSUE: PTSD

Now that you know what to do, let’s talk a bit about why this project is so important. Here are a few fast facts on ptsd:

Get a DIY Generosity Project to Help Soldiers and Military Members with PTSD for an accredited nonprofit in the United States

Roughly 140,000 soldiers are diagnosed with ptsd every year – that is a LOT. PTSD can cascade into so many different issues – from sleepless nights to divorce all the way to suicide. This is no joke, people. PTSD can be treated, but it often takes a friend or community member to help support the soldier and convince them to seek help before it’s too late. Moreover, service animals can be a HUGE help in feeling love and support in your most sleepless, hopeless moments.

YOUR ORGANIZATION: Hero Dogs

Get a DIY Generosity Project to Help Soldiers and Military Members with PTSD for an accredited nonprofit in the United States

Hero Dogs is an Aina-Accredited 501c3 located in Maryland. With over 100 volunteers, Hero Dogs trains up and gives – at zero cost – service dogs to veterans in all walks of life. Much of the time raising the puppies is done by volunteer foster families (yes, you can raise one too!) This is an amazing, Aina-Accredited Organization, so you know that your diy Kindness will truly help people that need it the most! Learn more about Hero Dogs :).

MEET YOUR MAKER: NatalinaCraft

A special thanks to Nathalie at NatalinaCraft – y’all, go over and check out her stuff and give her a follow. She is amazingly talented and creative, and you should get to know her and her creations better!

Nathalie learned to knit and crochet when she moved in the UK and saw a young girl knitting in a train. She taught herself and after a few years of practice, she decided to start creating and offering her own patterns for free. 

GET CONNECTED TO AINA

We love more friends! Not only do we want you as a part of the Aina Ohana, but we’d love for you to share your creations with us on  Instagram! Follow us @ainagiving – and tag us with pics of your world-changing project!

Carmen Westbrook is the CEO and co-founder of Aina Giving, a female-led company that transforms women into world changers. Join the movement of DIY World Change and get our accredited projects, leadership coaching, and nonprofit consulting – email us and tell us how you want to change the world. We’ll help you get there.

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