Shelter Pups stuffed animals are custom made using photos of real-life mixed-breed dogs, like this one.

Wishing you could take your shelter dog with you everywhere you go? We’ve found the answer: a very realistic stuffed version.
The Shelter Pups creates a handmade, merino wool stuffed animal to look like your one-of-a-kind dog based on pictures you send in — and you can get it in just 10 days. They cost $125 each, and the proceeds go to support shelters and rescues (you can’t beat that).

The folks who make the stuffed dogs, which average 8 inches long and weigh around 7 ounces each, say they make a great gift for a kid going off to college and leaving behind a beloved canine or can serve as a memorial for someone whose pet has died.

The idea for the business was inspired by a young dog lover named Theodora who volunteered at her local shelter and used her own money to buy food for the dogs. Her family dogs were shelter rescues, and she was disappointed that she could never find a stuffed animal in a store that looked like her own quirky, mixed-breed pets.

So Theodora came up with the idea to make toy versions of dogs that look like real dogs — and to raise money for shelters while doing it. Each Shelter Pet is made in the United States and comes with "rescue points" that can be used as cash by local shelters. The Shelter Pups site also features dogs who are up for adoption.

And for the cat lovers in the crowd, custom Shelter Kitties are on the way. The company is working on perfecting them before taking orders.

The Shelter Pups, $125 each
More on