Sweaters for Tijuana – Lisa Lends a Hand

Back in February we wrote about how readers could help dogs in Mexico by knitting sweaters, which United Hope for Animals takes down to Tijuana on its regular trips there.

A woman in Santa Paula, California, who was touched by our need for sweaters, volunteered to knit some for UHA, and in the last few months she has knitted more than 100 sweaters on her own!

Her name is Lisa Burdg, and after a summer hiatus, unbelievably, she is willing to take up the knitting needles again… who is this amazing spirit? Here is what she had to say:

UHA: Hi Lisa. We hear you’ve been knitting loads of dog sweaters for United Hope For Animals. How many have you knitted now?

Lisa: I’ve knitted 100. I’ll start up again when the weather gets cooler.

UHA: What made you get involved?

Lisa: My son, Peter, volunteered me and I said yes! Because I’m on a fixed income, I can’t donate money, so I donate my time instead.

UHA: Where did you get the yarn?

Lisa: I asked my neighbors to give me any spare yarn, and they did – they were wonderful. And Peter and Amanda (Wray) at UHA brought me more yarn that had been donated. It’s great what they – and you – are all doing.

UHA: And you! You’re really helping.

Lisa: Well, I’m also a dog lover. I had an all-black Pomeranian named Gypsy. She was so beautiful. She got sick overnight and I lost her – there was nothing they could do. She was only seven years old. She had a very rare blood disease, a blood cancer.

UHA: Do you think you’ll get another dog?

Lisa: Yes, I do. I really miss her. She was my baby. But it’s only been a year since she died, so I’m still grieving. Every sweater I made I think of her and I say ‘Here’s another one, Gypsy.’

UHA: How long does it take to make each sweater?

Lisa: I treat it like a daily job – I begin at seven in the morning and I finish at seven in the evening. If it’s a small sweater I can knit two in a day. When I start something I want to see it through to the finish – I’ve always been that way.

UHA: Have you knitted throughout your life?

Lisa: Yes. I’m Austrian, and when you’re from Europe you learn it as a young child in school. Sewing, crocheting and knitting were more important than anything else. And then after the war you couldn’t buy any underwear and I had two small boys so I knitted their underwear. So, yes, I’ve done it all my life.

UHA: Will you knit more sweaters for UHA?

Lisa: Of course. If people donate more yarn I’ll knit more. In the meantime, I’m working on a sweater for myself. I can’t just sit here and do nothing – I always have to have my hands doing something. I have to keep busy. At my age [Lisa will be 82 this week] it’s important.