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The Buster Contest…what breed of dog am I?

What kind of dog is Buster?

breed of dog

Just to be clear…our favorite breed of dog is “rescued”.  We took Buster in to our home because he had some…let’s call them “quirks” that needed to be worked out.  We fell in love with him quirks and all.   Buster is a super handsome boy…from day one people were asking us what kind of dog he was…not just because he is handsome but because (when he wants them to be) his manners can be stunning.  But Bret and I would shrug and say we rescued him and have no clue what kind of dog he is.  By total chance Bret stumbled on to the property of someone (Eastern Kentucky) who had a whole yard full of Busters…I mean identical…identical down to one very specific characteristic.  Turns out this person was a breeder of this certain type of dog…we showed him our Buster and told him what Buster’s personality was like…it appears we had a match.  Everything about Buster now makes a lot more sense!  We then did a DNA test on Buster to follow up.

So I thought why not have some fun with this and run a contest to let people guess at Buster’s breed?  I am even going to give out prizes!!!  The prizes are pictured below.  There are several more pictures of Buster pictured below.  I will be giving out hints on my Facebook Page each week.

Contest Rules:

You can enter as many (different) guesses as you want.  The contest will run for four weeks.  All of the correct guesses will be collected and the three winners will be chosen at random from the correct guesses.  I will contact all the winners via email and ship them their prizes.  I will announce the results on my Facebook Page as well.

The three prizes are: a $25.oo electronic gift card to my shop, an 8×10 cat rescue print and a 3 pack of my handmade pet sympathy cards.

gift card3packofcards

Cat Rescue Art
Cat Rescue Art Print (8×10)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are a lover of all things pet and pet rescue please follow my blog.  I blog weekly about life and art with a house full of rescued pets.  I also have a Facebook Page where I post several times a week.  And I have a Pinterest Page where I have boards on every topic you could think of for pets.  If you are looking for a pet rescue art or pet sympathy cards please check out The Rescue Mama ETSY shop!

Here are some more pictures of Buster!

unnamed (7) unnamed (6) snow boy post buster in studio buster homeless

Family Posts, Pet Crafts

Welcome to Misfit Manor!

We have officially named our home in Kentucky!

misfitmanorOur home in Kentucky is the first home that Bret and I chose and purchased together.  It is the first place that is truly “ours”.  We decided last summer that we wanted to give it a fitting name but wanted to ponder it for awhile.  This summer we officially decided on “Misfit Manor”.  Our home in Georgetown has a bit of history…well, its old, so I guess it has to have some history. We found a book that had some stories on our home.  It has been a home to a town doctor, it was a boarding house (believe it or not our home had 13 bathrooms in it at one point…crazy)…its been a home to some lovely families…and well to some total weirdos too (wait… maybe we are the weirdos).  But no matter its history…and even with its crooked doors and sagging floors…it is our little slice of heaven and now it has a name.  I made this wreath for our back door while Granny Sandy was here.  I still need to add the cats to theMom and Dad taking a break and going to the Styx concernt - they rocked it!

wreath.  We are going to make a small plaque for our front door too.

So why such a campy name as Misfit Manor?  Well, frankly…we are a couple of misfits.  Bret and I are (finally) fairly self-aware individuals…purified by dances with dangerous “isms” at different points in

Lacey Mae loves this wild hair look!
Lacey Mae loves this wild hair look!

our lives…but grateful for how our lives have been shaped by the mistakes and rough journeys of the past.  Little about either of our adult lives has been “traditional”.  But hindsight can be a funny thing…Bret and I both agree that now that we know where our bumpy paths have landed us (together with our creatures)…that we would go back and walk the same rocky path a thousand times over to get here again.

We are also a home filled with off beat creatures (besides Bret and I)…a once chronic biter (our Lacey), a hyperactive and reactive little freight train (our Buster), an afraid of his own shadow JRT (Turnip) and a feral caLucy, Luna and Kringlest (Zilla)…and several more quirky creatures.   You would think it would be chaos…but what makes it special is that when all of us misfits get together…somehow it all works.   I believe its grace.  Bret and I…and the animals…are more whole together than we are when we are separate. I know that I am only fully me when I am with all of them.  I wish this sort of peace and “foundness” for everyone…

Kringles the pirate
Kringles the pirate

butser wonderfulHave you ever taken a boring, even downright ugly painting or photo and changed it out with a beautiful frame and suddenly that same item will seem so much different…its the same but you see it completely new… it is now more than it first was?  Somewhere along the journey I came to terms with this simple truth; that often the biggest change we need to make isn’t ourselves nor is there fault in something or someone else that pushes us out of our comfort zone…but instead the problem is how we frame ourselves and each other in our thoughts…framed properly someone odd or ordinary, or even difficult… suddenly becomes quite beautiful.  For some reason I have a knack for all things misfit…I rescue misfit pieces of china at flea markets and set a summer table that turns out lovely…I love rescuing misfit furniture…Cottage Paint works wonders…we even bought a misfit house…and we have a bunch of misfit animals…”misfit” seems to be where I fit…I see them with sparkle not dim.  Thoughtfully re-framed each misfit is something beautiful…its not about change…if that makes sense.

Luna
Luna

This week Bret and I picked up a couple of new foster dogs…one of them…we named her Luna…has seen better days.  This dog is so pathetic looking that Bret and I instantly fell in love with her.  Whatever happened to her…we assume she was either hit by a car or attacked by a larger animal…her deformed little body to us is just a little bundle of courage and joy.  I am sure Luna will find a permanent family…she is a heart breaker…but if she doesn’t she will always fit in here.

I am most comfortable…in our realm of the misfits.   Others may see us as quirky or weird…that is ok…each of us needs to be our kind of wonderful…and here at Misfit Manor everyone has the chance to be something beautiful…

If you love all things pet and pet rescue please follow my blog…I blog weekly about pet parenting, pet resources, pet rescue, pet crafts…I also have a The Rescue Mama Facebook Page and The Rescue Mama Pinterest Page where I post daily.  My Pinterest Page has boards for every pet topic you can think of!  If you are looking for a pet sympathy card or pet rescue artwork please visit my Rescue Mama ETSY Shop.

Rescue On!

Nancy

Hope after loss, Pet Sympathy

Pet Sympathy: What do we say (or not say) when someone loses a pet?

Solidarity in grief…on being a voice of compassion for someone who has lost their pet.

When someone we care about faces the death of a beloved pet we want to say and do helpful things for them.  For those of us who are pet lovers there is a unique solidarity in the grief of a lost pet.  But not everyone

A one week old Golden Retriever puppy asleep on a cloud,
Acting with grace in the face of loss.

is a pet lover and that can make relating to someone grieving a lost pet more difficult.   Over the years I have learned one golden principle before opening my mouth to offer someone else comfort…and that is to always “error on the side of grace“.    Following this principle has served me well.  First though, let’s take a step back and consider a few things that can help us be a source of compassion when someone we love is in mourning.

Grace is patience and understanding as grief is complex.

dog memorial, dog condolences, pet condolences, pet bereavement
Sparky 1999-2015

Grief is complex.  It is a spectrum of deep and varying emotions.   I will never forget the depth of the emotion I felt when I lost my first dog.  I was taken back by the depth of the heart-break. It was the first time in my life that emotional pain literally equated to physical pain.  I was also surprised at how complex my grief was.  I bounced from anger to sadness to extreme guilt; over and over.  I questioned my judgment and felt I failed my dog.

Whether someone has lost their pet quietly in its sleep to old age, in a tragic accident or chose to humanely euthanize a sick pet; the parent is going to experience a range of emotions and all need grace in friendship.  We can’t assume we know exactly what someone is feeling when they are grieving.  Thankfully, you don’t have to understand someone’s pain to “sit with them” in it.  It is always possible to be present for them no matter what they are feeling.   It is helpful to keep this universal truth about grief in mind; WE DON’T GET OVER GRIEF.  Rather, WE LEARN TO LIVE WITH GRIEF.  Learning to live with grief takes varying amounts of time for different people.  Grief is also rarely isolated to one loss.  When someone is grieving the loss of their pet it may open them back up to past losses they have experienced in their life.

dog sympathy, dog memorial, dog condolences, dog bereavement
Pet Rescue Photo Art

Routine complicates grief.  Our pets are creatures of habit.  They love and live for their routines and their routines becomes our routines  For most of us there is more than just routine though.  We have silly and joyful rituals with our pets…around feeding, treats and tricks, bedtime, etc.  When our pet dies the disrupted routines and rituals transform in to a series of daily painful reminders of the emptiness we feel.  When my rottweiler Hercules died I cried twice a day; everyday; for at least a month when I fed the other dogs their breakfast and dinner.  Hercules was such a huge presence at meal time that when he was gone this once joyful task became a sad one.  It takes a long time to establish new routines and rituals.

Grace does not judge

Ok…I will say it plainly as I can.  This is the time to KEEP OUR OPINIONS TO OURSELVES!  This is where the “error on the side of grace” principle really matters.  NOTHING about losing a pet is cut and dry.  When someone is grieving it is NOT the time to share our opinion on whether a pet should die naturally or be euthanized;  nor our opinions on what could have been done medically differently or how an accident could have been prevented or whether a pet should be cremated or buried.  Button up!  Trust me on this one.  If we value friendship and desire to be a person of compassion, judgment should be spared.

Jasmine change the worldCompassion and judging someone’s actual grief process are also incompatible.  Grief is a unique journey for each person in both its intensity and duration.  Everyone deserves the space to grieve in their own way.  Some people grieve immediately and very openly.  Some people grieve privately and at times long after a loss has occurred.   I made the mistake of sharing my own grief with people I thought I could lean on.  Instead of solidarity or compassion I was shamed and diminished for grieving the loss of a “damn dog”; once by a so-called “pastor” and once by a family member.  That experience permanently changed those relationships.  It is NOT childish or silly to grieve a pet.  Rather, it is a mature reflection of love.   It is typical for our relationships with our pets to be more affirming to our lives than our relationships with some people.  When someone is grieving a pet they are on the right side of history.  The bond between people and animals dates back to ancient times.  Countless pre-historic grave sites have been found with people and their dogs buried together.

Grace doesn’t start theological arguments

As a seminary graduate I have a lot of thoughts on theology, religion, philosophy, etc.  I try to live by a rule that I don’t offer those thoughts unless I am specifically asked about them.  As I have grown older I have

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Memorializing our pets

become much more comfortable with mystery and tension…(by tension I mean acceptance that there are things I will never understand).   I have also never met a winner of a theological “argument”…because Truth is a journey…Truth is not something we hit each other over the head with.  When someone is experiencing a great loss, an important part of a normal healing process and their own spiritual journey is to explore and/or reaffirm their own convictions about life after death.  Many years ago the same person who shamed me for mourning my dog also chastised me with the “I suppose you think the damn thing is in heaven now too” line…seriously! The comment literally sucked the air out of my lungs…I couldn’t respond…I just walked away feeling emotionally mugged.  Frankly, at that time I had not come to any conclusions about what I believed happened to pets after death…it was the first time I was faced with processing the death of a pet.  But I will always recall that moment as one of the cruelest interactions I have had with another person.  Perhaps it was the best lesson I ever learned in the importance of extending grace when interacting with someone who is grieving.  Trust me, its a really bad idea to give someone your theological treatise on pets and death…give them the grace and the space to work that out themselves.   Today, I have very strong convictions on life after death for all creatures…but that was my own journey to take.

Avoid campy euphemisms:

Sometimes they slip out; but if we can, it is a good idea to avoid campy euphemisms like, “at least they are not in pain anymore” or “he is better off now”.  Seriously, these are not helpful statements when you really think it through.  No one in mourning is satisfied with the implication that their loved one is better off dead.   Perhaps it might be a factual statement but it does not bring comfort to the bereaved and therefore is not helpful.    I shouldn’t have to say it but I will; “it’s just a dog/cat” or “you can always get another dog/cat”…bad, really bad things to say.

It is normal for us to want to “speak” and “help” and “do” when someone is hurting and that is a beautiful thing.  To keep myself from letting tricky statements slip out of my mouth I try to stick with “you questions” when I have the urge to say something….for example “what can I do for you?”…”how can I help you through this?”…”how can I make this better for you?”.

It also is a good idea to avoid unsolicited advice like’ “why don’t you get a puppy to make you feel better”.  Again, well intended but not helpful.  Some people will get another pet within days of losing a pet…others will never get another pet. Give them the space to work it out on their own.  If they ask for help getting another pet…by all means trot them down to the local shelter!

So what do we say and do for someone grieving the loss of a pet?

Dog Memorial Art
Dog Memorial Art

Here is my unsolicited advice for standing in solidarity with someone who is grieving their pet.

  • Say nothing.  Just listen.  Let’s be honest…we stink at this.  I could write an entire blog post on the “ministry of silence”…maybe I will.  But we don’t have to talk to be helpful.  We can sit in silence with someone who is in pain.  Our quiet presence is often the best form of solidarity we can offer.  For someone in mourning; expressing their range of emotions out loud can be very therapeutic.  Being a quiet and patient listener for someone in mourning is a great gift.  You don’t have to have words of wisdom…just be there.  If you just have to say something…thank them for trusting you with their feelings and reaffirm your solidarity with them.
  • Be honest.  If you aren’t a pet lover or have not yet experienced the loss of a pet BE HONEST about not understanding their grief.  You don’t have to understand someone’s pain to stand in solidarity with it.  Express how much you care about them and your desire to be someone for them to lean on.
  • Ask them how you can be useful.  You can’t know how to help someone unless you give them a chance to tell you.  Grief is a really strange journey and you might be surprised at what someone will find helpful.  We can’t know unless we ask.
  • Don’t pretend it didn’t happen.  Don’t avoid their discussions about their pet.  Share your favorite story about their pet; using their pets specific name out loud.
  • Make a condolence gesture. Send a sympathy card (a real one…not an ecard…hand write your message); I still have all the pet sympathy cards.  They mean a lot to me.  Get the bereaved a picture frame or scrap-book. My favorite memorial gift is a wind chime.  I have wind chimes in my yard for all of my pets who have crossed over and it is my favorite gift for someone else.  Other great ideas are yard stone markers; St. Francis statues; make a donation in their pet’s name.  I am going to do an entire post on unique ideas to offer condolence and memorialize a pet.
  • Check on the bereaved often…remember; grief is journey that lasts the rest of our lives…the most difficult part of that journey can go on for weeks, months, maybe longer.  Check on them and ask them specifics on how they are doing and what you can do to be there for them.

We all struggle with seeing someone we love in pain so I really hope this post is helpful.  I enjoy hearing from other pet parents with their ideas and experiences of grief and healing.  You can contact me by commenting on this post or by email at therescuemama@gmail.com.

If you are struggling with the guilt that often comes associated with the loss of a pet I encourage you to read the post I wrote on euthanasia and guilt.  Working through my own guilt after the loss of my first dog was a long and painful journey for me.  Part of the healing process was finding solidarity with other pet parents who experienced the same feelings of guilt.  Follow this link: Euthanasia and Guilt.

Cat Rescue Art
Cat Rescue Art

I am an artist and full-time rescue mom.  The majority of my art is pet rescue themed or pet sympathy themed.  Pet sympathy cards are my favorite work and also my best-selling items.  If you are looking for handmade pet sympathy cards please follow this link:  The Rescue Mama ETSY Shop.  I offer discounts to pet professionals purchasing 10 or more cards at a time…send me an email or convo me directly through ETSY for a coupon code.

This is the first in a series of posts I am writing this year on pet sympathy related topics. I am going to follow up this post over the next few weeks with a post on writing sympathy cards and other gestures of condolence, a resource guide for those who are in mourning and finally a post on my own convictions regarding pets and the afterlife.

If you are a lover of “all things pet” please consider following my blog.  I blog weekly on a variety of topics related to pet parenting, pet rescue and expressing my life through art.  I also have a The Rescue Mama Facebook Page and The Rescue Mama Pinterest Page. My Pinterest page is a collection of both my original content and curated content.  I have boards that cover pretty much every topic you can think of regarding pets!  If you are looking for pet art, pet cards or some fancy pet accessories please visit The Rescue Mama ETSY shop!

On the journey,

Nancy

The Rescue Mama

Dog Sympathy Card
Dog Sympathy Card
Cat Sympathy Card
Cat Sympathy Card
Dog Sympathy Card, Dog Bereavement, Dog Condolences
Handmade Card for Loss of Dog
Pet Sympathy Card
Pet Sympathy Card
Cat Sympathy Card
Cat Sympathy Card
Pet Sympathy Card
Pet Sympathy Card
Family Posts, Pet Rescue

Father’s Day: reflection on marriage and our “fur family”

Our life as a fur family:

doo rags and leashes 010Every Father’s Day I write a blog post about my husband.  He’s the Daddy in our household…and we love celebrating him.  Bret and I are not an ordinary family.  We wanted to be one of those ordinary families but life just didn’t turn out that way for us.  What did “turn out” for us was a steady stream of homeless animals showing up at our door.  Our life with animals works for us and we wouldn’t trade it for anything. I believe it takes time for each of us to realize and come to terms with what we were made for…and I believe we were all made for something special….some special journey.  Bret and I were made for our life with animals.  We are not fully ourselves without them.

Whenever I go to pick out a Father’s Day card for my husband…I get a little emotional.  I am no dummy. I am perfectly aware that most men would never tolerate 20140918_184244neither the volume of animals I have brought home…nor the degree of the challenges I have brought home.  I am very well aware of how extraordinarily patient and compassionate my husband is.

When Bret and I first got married I brought home a feral cat..today we call him Catzilla.  When this cat first moved in to our home none of us could get anywhere near Zilla…we had to drug this cat to get him to our vet.  To keep our other animals safe we kept Catzilla in a separate room in our house…but not just any room…a bedroom that we made in to an “extreme cattery” for Zilla…it was so darn cool.  Not only did Bret not scoff at the money we spent to build Zilla a cattery but he doubled down by making time to work with Zilla and win his trust (which anyone with feral cats knows this is a long-term commitment).  Today Zilla lives in the house roaming happily with all of us.

Shortly after Zilla moved in I brought home our Lhasa..Lacey Mae.  A few days after she moved in with us she tore up the side of Bret’s face…badly…not just bite wounds but enough damage to give him a black eye.  He forgave her instantly, dug his heels in and remained committed to her.  He saw her potential and today she is the love of our lives…and she is definitely daddy’s girl.

Some time after Lacey moved in with us my Rottweiler, Hercules, was diagnosed with cancer…it was a long and difficult ordeal which included a leg amputation.  Since Hercules could no longer go on walks with the rest of the pack and I was not strong enough to carry Hercules, Bret took over giving him some special time each day.  Bret would carry him to the car…drive him to the park…carry him to a grassy area and they would hang out and wrestle around…they would people watch…then the pair would go to Dairy Queen and split a cheeseburger.  Every single day they did this…until Hercules died.  Hercules wasn’t even Bret’s dog…he was mine before we married.  In fact, Bret had to work very hard to get Hercules to like him.  When we were first married Hercules wouldn’t even let Bret get in bed at night.  Hercules would give in eventually, of course, but Bret got very little space in the bed.  Bret loved him in a way no other person could.10888801_10153955031657588_2874979303585295362_n

20141225_140832It goes on…Kringles came when we already had four dogs…Kringles had no where to go and was in very poor health.  Bret was happy to have him and Kringles took to him right away.  Turnip…wanted nothing to do bret and busterwith Bret for so long when he first moved in…Bret won him over anyway.  Buster…was like having a freight train move in the house…Bret loved Buster instantly.

I am no fool.  I know what I have in Bret and I am grateful for him everyday.  When Bret and I first met…I was finishing up a master’s degree at a Baptist seminary and Bret was an enthusiastic seeker at an Evangelical church.  Two years after we were married…we were confirmed into and remarried in the Catholic church…an odd journey, I know, but a well thought out one.  One of the many things that called us to the Catholic church was the Catholic understanding of the sacraments….the concept of marriage as a sacrament was very meaningful to us.  Today we understand marriage as a sacrament more fully than ever…marriage has rubbed the “spiritual” edges off of both of us.  Our life together has changed us and our time together is by far the most “grace-filled” time of our life.  I believe that together we see more clearly…if that makes sense.  And together we walk a path…albeit a non-traditional one…towards our Maker.  We are blessed and grateful for each day with each other and our pets.

While my Bret isn’t the traditional version of a dad…in this household he means the world to a whole pack of very special creatures.  Happy Father’s Day Bret!

Happy Father’s Day to all the dog dads and Rescue On!

Nancy

 

Family Posts, Pet Rescue

Pet Rescue: The power of one…the impact of our choices…

The power of our choices and the lives of animals…

choicesI start out each morning with a cup of coffee and the Wall Street Journal…no wait…back up…after I have pottied, fed and hugged each of my pets…I start my day with coffee and the Wall Street Journal.  One particular article in this week’s journal made my jaw drop… Walmart is beginning to pressure its meat and egg suppliers to reduce their use of anti-biotics and offer more humane conditions for livestock.  All I could think of was…”holy shit…our choices really can matter”.  Let’s be brutally honest…what moves a corporate behemoth like Walmart to make a change like this is consumer demand…demand for humane and healthy products.  Our choices as individuals drive important change.  I am not naive…change takes time… and Walmart’s new guidelines aren’t mandatory…but it sure will make cruelty free suppliers more competitively advantaged and sets a much better trajectory for animals than we were on.  Sometimes…a new law or regulation won’t cut it…people living lives of compassion in this case made a change…our choices are so much more powerful than any law.  Kindness to animals brings out the best in all of us!

This is nothing to scoff at.  Walmart is the largest retailer….at $288 Billion in sales last year…they call the shots for meat and egg suppliers.  Nearly 50% of Walmart sales are savegroceries…like Walmart or not…we need them to move the needle towards humane treatment of our food supply.  Case in point…the article cited that “overall egg sales are flat, but sales of more expensive eggs that tout “cage free” or similar attributes are booming.”  How awesome is that? Bret and I won’t buy anything but cage free eggs…I thought this was a small and insignificant choice (well not so insignificant to the grocery bill).  But clearly the collective choices of consumers to purchase a humane product does matter.

When we lived in Minnesota we would take a lot of motorcycle rides in the country…passing many chicken, turkey and pork farms…the sight of some of these farms made us sick…especially the turkey farms…animals packed in so tight they couldn’t move…and the noise they made…it was like cries of terror.  We vowed to start buying free range and grass fed or just go without.   I am pleasantly surprised to see meaningful choices really can make such a difference…If you are one of the folks who made the cruelty free choice…God Bless You…it made a difference…if you aren’t there yet…won’t you think about it?
wtfSo this brings me the fate of companion animals…why can’t our choices make it better for them?  We are an abundant nation who loves animals…caring for and spoiling our animals has become a $60 Billion dollar industry.  Yet millions of homeless animals die in shelters each year…5 per minute!  What does it take for our choices to increase the demand for rescue animals so high that it pushes the shelters nearly out of business?  It shouldn’t be complicated…almost 3 million cats and dogs die in shelters every year…yet 17 million families get a new pet each year…this should be an easy problem to solve…but it lingers…and each year more suffer and die.

What do we have to do to make clearing out the shelter the fashionable thing to do?  How do we create a “Rescue-ista culture?”  Why do we have a hush, hush culture about how many animals die in the shelter…why is their so much resistance to change…to asking the community to be involved in solving the problem.  In most cases…I don’t believe people know that shelters, on average, are killing 50% of the animals…in some areas of the county…that number is significantly worse.  I don’t have the answers…its a heartfelt question.

Do you talk to everyone you can about rescue?  I do…especially anyone considering adding a pet.  I am not a self-righteous rag about it…I just make a heartfelt plea to encourage people to choose rescue…I give the staggering facts…how many die each minute…shelters are full of pure bred dogs…they are full of puppies…you can find any type of dog you want through rescue and no…a shelter pet is not damaged goods!

I don’t know what the specific magic beans are to save more lives…but I know what the over-arching theme is…a community that cares…that cares how the animals are treated.  How the animals fare in our communities is one (of many) benchmarks by which we can measure the spiritual health of our communities.  I wonder how we make rescue fashionable?  If things as ridiculous as mullets and bell bottoms can be fashionable than why isn’t pet rescue?  I wonder how we make pet rescue part of our spiritual journey?  I don’t have the answers…but I am sure looking for them.

If you are in to all things pet rescue…like pet art…like to spoil your pets…well by all means…follow our blog (we post 1-2 X’s per week) or our Facebook Page!

Rescue On!

Nancy

 

 

 

Dog Training, Family Posts, Pet Parent Resources, Pet Rescue

Pet Rescue: Warning…Dogs can die in hot cars!

Warning:  Dogs can die in hot cars!  There is something we can do about it.

dogsincarsGiven I have five dogs…I do a lot of walking.  My dogs and I walk through our adorable little town (Georgetown, KY) every day…sometimes twice a day.  Summer has barely had its start here and already we are seeing dogs left in hot cars…NOT OK.  In fact it really pisses me off!  I can’t walk by a dog in a hot car.  While I am not the type to go directly to smashing out a car window…I would if I had to.  I am the one though who doesn’t hesitate to call the the police…and no cracking the window an inch is not good enough…I will still call the police and let them smash the window!

Two weeks ago we (well me…my dogs just witnessed) had a verbal altercation with an older couple who stopped me to ask what the parking time limit was in our town…because they were going to go have lunch and leave their dog in the car.  I couldn’t believe they were looking me straight in the face with that idiotic statement.  I suggested to them the names of several ALDF-dogs-in-hot-cars-flyerrestaurants in town that had patio seating that welcomed dogs.  They weren’t interested.  I dug in my heels and told them if they leave the dog in the car I am calling the police.  (It was an 80 degree day).  They called me a dirty name and told me to mind my own business…I didn’t mind my own business and stood my ground until they drove away.  It blew me away that an elderly couple could be so boorish and irresponsible.

That same day I was browsing my Facebook feed and saw this poster from the Animal Legal Defense Fund…with a statement encouraging people to download the sign and hang it. I thought…we need these signs in downtown Georgetown…then I thought…well…perhaps I am supposed to be the one to go hang them.  So I did.use this one

I downloaded their art file…sent it to the local print shop for printing…and Lacey Mae and I hit the road.  We started going door to door to the business of Georgetown asking them to hang this sign in their shop window.  We have gone to over 20 business so far…all but one was more than happy to hang the sign.  When we ran out of our first 20 signs the local print shop made a whole bag of them for us for free!  We will be back out next week and will keep going until we get as many businesses as we can to hang our sign.  It is already abundantly clear on our Main Street (given all the obvious signs in business windows) that we are a town that is not ok with knuckleheads leaving a dog in a hot car.  Hopefully it will both make careless people think twice before trapping their dog in a car oven and also encourage citizens to speak out and call the police if necessary for a trapped dog.

There is a saying that goes something like this…whenever we say “someone should do something about that”…that someone might be ourselves.   Lacey and I had a lot of fun going door to door in town…she behaved like an angel in every business we went to (she didn’t pee on a single carpet!!!!).  We met a lot of great folks…and found out that they all want to see dogs safe…and when asked…they are willing to help out.

I have been taking pictures of every shop that hangs our sign and posting them on our Facebook Page.  If you want to do something like this in your town the copy for this poster is available for download at this link on the Animal Legal Defense Fund website.  It was a lot easier than I thought to approach business owners with my sign…in fact the response was overwhelmingly positive.

Rescue On!

Nancy

 

Pet Rescue, Rescue Mama Art

Pet Rescue Art: Rescuing and breathing…

Pet Rescue Art:  If I am breathing I will be rescuing.

close upI just recently finished this little diddy…I decided a long time ago that since we all exit this life the same way eventually (empty handed and six feet under) that rather than accumulate “things or experiences” that I wanted to be completely used up when I die…I choose to use up whatever energy and resources I have being involved with pet rescue…whether its using my art, caring for my own house full of rescues, training rescue dogs or fostering homeless dogs…it is truly the highest privilege in life to find the vocation God destined me for…I live a blessed life.

This painting is an acrylic on canvas…11×14…glossy archival finish.  This and many other of my paintings are available at my ETSY shop.  I donate a portion of all of my sales to pet rescue groups.

If you are in to all things pet and pet rescue don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Pinterest!

Rescue On!

Nancy

 

Dog Training, Family Posts

The Chronicles of Buster (part 1)

My life as a reactive dog…from chaos to a full life!

full lifeLast fall my husband and I met a sweet and charming dog named Buster.  NOT!  Last fall my husband and I met an out of control, hyper and highly reactive dog named Buster.

Buster was picked up as a “stray” on a country road when he was a puppy.  He was adopted out to a family who four years later returned him with no explanation.  What Buster’s life was like during those years with that family…I have no idea…if only dogs could talk.  But I can safely say he was never taught any basic training skills and was very poorly socialized.  After his “family” dumped him he was put in a kennel.  Try to imagine, if you can, being dumped by your family and going immediately to a loud and unfamiliar kennel.  How do you think an animal should react to that?  Buster’s stay at the kennel was short…they wanted him out and labeled him aggressive.  I think Taco Buster
we can safely assume Buster thought life dumped at a kennel sucked canal water.   Buster went in to a foster home with a nice man who put forth a valiant effort to work with Buster.  He tried exercising him…he took him for dog training…but Buster was more than he (or most people) would sign up for.  Buster flunked his dog training class badly as he could not control himself around the other dogs.  The trainer recommended Prozac.

I was asked to meet Buster and do an initial evaluation of him for training.   It’s not easy to describe what I saw with Buster when I first met him.  He was like a child with severe attention deficit disorder.  So frustrated and bursting with energy that his whole little body seemed to rattle.  He didn’t seem to be able to decide what he should focus on.  He couldn’t relax.  He didn’t know whether to bark, snap, jump, play, growl…it was truly heart breaking.  His barrier aggression was off the charts.  He was re-direct biting (biting his handler out of frustration at the sight of other dogs).  This was not something I wanted to sign on for.  Seriously…who wants to get bit by a dog? But Buster was low on options and I decided to take him on regardless.

post busterI think its fair to say up front that I believe there is a significant difference between a reactive dog that can be worked with through training and cases of dogs with full blown aggression.  It is heart breaking to encounter dogs with serious aggression issues and it is also far beyond my skill level as a trainer.   I was fairly certain that Buster was not a case of full blown aggression because I witnessed Buster interact with a few dogs at the kennel that he had had a neutral introduction to.  It was like watching a pack of humping, jumping and wrestling out of control lunatics…but it was nothing like the aggressive behavior he displayed in the presence of unfamiliar dogs and behind barriers.  Buster also lived with a very senior dog in his first foster home.  While he was a bit of a jerk to that dog he never showed aggression toward that dog.  I also want to be clear that Buster had many great qualities from the start as most reactive dogs do.  He was playful (albeit playful in a very obnoxious fashion) and also incredibly affectionate to some humans.  I knew Buster was going to need a lot of work but I also knew there was a lot of hope.

I started working with Buster last November.  I recommended moving him from his foster home to a new kennel as the backyard environment at the foster home (major bret and busterbarrier aggression problems with neighbor dogs) was reinforcing a really bad behavior pattern for Buster.  Every other day, for several weeks, I drove to the kennel Buster was staying at (about 30 minutes away).  I picked Buster up and brought him back to my house where I bonded, exercised and trained him for the afternoon and then drove him back to kennel.  Over that first month I slowly introduced Buster to our pack of dogs.  Eventually we fostered Buster and a few months later we adopted him.

Every time I take on a new dog I am always taken by surprise at how much I learn from them.  The dogs are truly the experts on behavior and the closer I pay attention to them and what their body language and reactions are telling me the faster we can work towards solutions.  Buster had a lot to teach me…perhaps more than any dog I have worked with.

buster saveLike so many reactive dogs…Buster is really easy to love.  Seriously…one look at his goofy smiles in all these pictures and you can’t help but be in love with him.  He is playful, energetic, enthusiastic, funny and he loves to snuggle and give affection to his humans.  You should see him suck up to women who come to our home…huge flirt….HUGE.   It was really easy for us to get attached to him.  However, in the presence of unfamiliar dogs he was completely out of control.  Out of control being defined as incessant and loud screech barking, growling, lunging, pulling, hackles up, lips curled and redirected biting of his handler. I lost count of how many times Buster bit me the first few weeks I worked with him. Buster’s play style with other dogs was horrible; he was obnoxious…lots of humping and he was unable to follow any commands around other dogs.  Also problematic was that he had absolutely no leash manners…he was a mad dog pulling his human where he wanted to go.  I am not a very big woman…he could have easily taken me to the ground.  Leash manners had to be a priority for working with Buster.chillin with my peeps

In a nutshell my goal was to get a very strong (and strong-willed) dog with ZERO leash manners, a desperate need for exercise, major barrier aggression and a very high level of reactivity to unfamiliar dogs transformed to a state of mind where he could live a full life. While we still have plenty of work to do…Buster is living a full life now.  He is a handful…he always will be…but he is worth every moment that we have invested in him.

Most of the people we consider friends are dog people but some are not.  Bret and I laugh when we have guests over and they meet Buster for the first time.  They usually comment that he is a bit of a spaz…Buster has an incredible amount of energy and enthusiasm…most dog lovers can appreciate him as he is.  Non-dog lovers…not so much. His grandma threatens to give him her pizza thief 2 - CopyLorazopam…we laugh…if only they knew how far he has come.  We love our little spaz and nothing makes us happier than to see him live a full life.

use this oneI am going to share how Buster went from “out of control” to “living a full life” in a series of blog posts over the next few months.  I am not a novel trainer…meaning I am a total copy cat…plain and simple.  I follow the advice and techniques of trainers much more experienced and knowledgeable than I am.  I will tell you what we did and point you to in-depth resources from the experts I trust and give them full credit for the methods we used.  I am simply sharing the techniques that worked for me and Buster in hopes that it can help others.

another awesome close upI know how frustrating it is to love a reactive dog.  Buster is not my first rodeo with a reactive dog.  Ten years ago I went to the trouble of getting certified to train dogs because I had an out of control Rottweiler that I loved dearly.  I wanted to see him live a full life but couldn’t find trainers who were willing to work with him (can’t say I blame them).  My only option seemed to learn to train him myself.  I know all to well the diligence and hard work involved with working with a reactive dog.  Pet parents who go the distance to give a reactive dog a full life…are very dedicated and special folks in my opinion.  I hope Buster and I can be a resource by talking through our experiences and pointing you towards the experts and methods we looked to in our journey to build a better life for Buster.

Following is the summary of the series of upcoming posts I am planning:

1) Building Trust…beginning work with a reactive dog.

Getting Buster to work hard for me didn’t come instantly..in fact it was quite a bit of time and work on my part.  I had to become the most interesting and fun thing in the world to Buster.  Our first training sessions were, from a dogs perspective, all fun and games for him and work for me (and of course lots of affection) but they were crucial to laying the foundation to train and work.

2) Breed characteristics…why they can matter.

Breed matters when training any dog.  In Buster’s case, once we figured out what breed he actually was it unlocked the door to understanding his behavior and played a significant role in how I worked with Buster.  Once I understood his breed (which is one that I had never heard of) I understood his behavior and planned exercise and training methods that suited him better.

3) Basics and generalization for a reactive dog.

All dogs will fare much better if their training includes a lot of generalization.   For reactive dogs I train a few really key commands before I start working in public places.   For a reactive dog, particularly Buster, generalization of commands is crucial…it is how we use commands to navigate his most stressful situations.  For us generalization meant not just changing the scene of our training but very gradually increasing the distractions and stress level.  It also meant that I, as his handler, had to pay close attention to his stress signals…always avoiding pushing him to the point of failure.  This was a long and patient process with Buster…but it worked.

4) Solving the circular problem…How do you safely exercise a reactive dog with zero leash manners?

A reactive and very energetic dog needs exercise…duh…but that is not easy to do though with a dog that has zero leash manners and melts down around unfamiliar dogs.   I will walk through how I taught Buster leash manners (his leash manners are incredible now) and what training methods we used to prepare to go out for walks and not have melt downs.  Exercising a reactive dog takes a level of attention and focus on the part of the handler that is more intense than what is required with a well adjusted dog.  My role as Buster’s handler is to be alert to everything around us and never to put him in a situation he can’t handle.  It also means having a rock solid plan for what we will do when something unexpected happens (i.e. loose dogs charging at us).

5) Can dogs learn a better play style?

Buster was such a jerk around other dogs (this is with dogs that he is familiar with)…and I mean a real jerk.  I wondered if it was possible to work on a better play style…was it trainable?  Buster’s play style has improved dramatically and I will write about what we did to work on that.

6) Ending reactive behavior before its starts.

Buster, like most reactive dogs, can get really worked up at doors and windows.  We worked hard at finding a balance between harnessing his natural breed instinct to guard his home/family and our desire to keep Buster from having a melt down every time someone walked passed our house.

selfies oneI hope you find this upcoming series helpful.  If you love all things pet and pet rescue please follow my blog.  I blog weekly about different pet topics and daily on my facebook page and pinterest page.

Rescue On!

Nancy

Pet Rescue, Rescue Mama Art

Pet Rescue Art…we all leave a trace in this world…

Pet Rescue Art…a trace left behind

use this oneI firmly believe that what we do in this life will follow us in to the next life.  We all leave a trace while we are here…some call it a legacy…be it small or grand though it will follow us.  My trace, like most people’s I suppose, is a mix of good and bad.  I had my wild years…the years where what I left behind was more like a stain than a trace.  But my animals continue to rub my rough edges off.   I will leave no grand legacy…just a trace of life with animals.  I hope that trace is learning to work with difficult dogs (who for some reason are the one’s that steal my heart) and sharing the realities of how poorly animals still fare in our increasingly complex and unfeeling world through my art.

Pet Rescue Art, Graffiti Art, Dog Painting, Dog Mom Gift
Pawffiti…a reflection of our lifestyle.
Likeness of Hercules
Likeness of Hercules

I started painting just a few years ago.   My muse was my Rottie Hercules.  He was also the reason I had to learn to train dogs.  Like his human mama…he was head strong, difficult, didn’t always play well with others and enthusiastic about everything he did (good and bad).   After he died I had a broken heart for a long time.  It seemed like no time had passed at all before I was losing my clear mental picture of him…I felt like I was losing his face.  So I started doodling/drawing him and then one day picked up some cheap pastel paints and painted him.  On the left really big frontis this very first painting.

I was hooked after this..painting became my outlet.  Every time I felt moved in regards to my own animals or the fate of other animals…I turned to painting to work it out.  I am what they call in the art world an “outsider”.  I have no formal training…actually I do not even have any informal training.  All I have is a desire and passion to speak for animals through art.  It was therapeutic for me…I never thought that what I was doing would resonate with others.

Pet Rescue Art, Cat Rescue Art, Cat painting, Cat art, cat mom gift.
Choose Life…This painting is sold.
Rescue mom's should
Rescue mom’s should

Two year ago I finally had enough paintings finished to open an ETSY shop.  I started my little art shop with the hope that it would be a way for me to give voice to homeless animals and raise money for homeless animals while still being able to be present at home for my own house full of rescued pets (I have eight of them).

In the last two years I have shipped art to 29 states (CRAZY) and the momentum continues to build. The first three months of this year allowed us to raise our largest amount of funds so far …just over $1,200.00…I hope this momentum continues and I can’t say enough how much I appreciate everyone who frequents my shop, sends me referrals and connects me with rescue groups running large auctions.

Pet Rescue Art, Dog Fighting Sucks Art, Graffiti Art, Dog Painting, Dog Mom Gift
Pawffiti: Dog Fighting Sucks
Cat rescue art, Pawffiti, cat painting, cat art, cat mom gift
This painting is sold.

I raise money in two ways…the largest portion is from my original paintings that go straight to charity auctions to raise money.  My highest single auction sale to date has been $700.00 for one painting.  If anyone had told me that I would make a painting that fetched that kind of money I would have laughed at them.   I also donate a percentage of any sales of my art and handmade leashes from my ETSY shop to rescue charities.

Pet Rescue Art, Graffiti Art, Dog Painting, Dog Mom Gift
Pawffiti…Real Men Don’t Chain Dogs

Parting with my art is an odd thing.  I am of course happy when I sell a piece or ship one off to auction.  But there is also a strange remorse.  I am parting with a piece of myself that I will never see again.  It really is quite strange.

Fortunately, I am blessed with a house full of rescued cats and dogs that are my constant muse for my art.   They give me so many ideas for more paintings that it feels like I have ping pong balls bouncing around in my head…I have to write them down or I will clutter them out.   My website has been a great place to share my ideas and I appreciate everyone who reads and comments here.

Every life is precious…and that means the sweet animals too! God Bless and thanks for your support over the last two years!

Rescue On!
Nancy

 

Pet Rescue, Rescue Mama Art

Pet Rescue Art: Beware of the Dog’s Mama

Pet Rescue Art:  Beware of Mama

I live in a state where the news flow is littered with stories of animal neglect and abuse…you really can’t avoid seeing it unless you choose to shut the world out completely.  Every time I see a new story I look at my own dogs and wonder how could it happen so often.  The reality is that I know how it happens…people who abuse the innocent…whether its a child, an elderly person, a

pet rescue art, dog art, the rescue mama, pet rescue, dog rescue
The Rescue Mama

handicapped person or an animal are spiritually sick.   The rest of society has to take the responsibility to do their best to protect the innocent and vulnerable from the spiritually sick.  I painted this little diddy after I read about a particularly disturbing animal abuse case right here in Scott County…I won’t retell it…but it was horrible.  This painting went viral pretty quick on Pinterest….guess I am not the only one who feels protective of my dogs!

My dog’s are all sweeties…but all shall pity the fool who messes with mama’s dogs!

Rescue On!

Nancy

Do you love all things pet and pet rescue?  Follow me on Facebook or Pinterest…check out my ETSY shop for this other and other paintings!

 

Hope after loss, Pet Rescue, Pet Sympathy, Rescue Mama Art

Pet Rescue Art: Some Angels Have Fur

Pet Rescue Art:  Do we see our pets again after death?

cat painting, cat wall art, cat memorial, loss of cat, gift for loss of cat, cat art
Some Angels Have Fur

What I am working on in my studio usually speaks to what is going on in my head and heart…lately is it grief and sadness.  Grief is such a strange journey…its unique…no two losses are the same but no single experience of the loss of a loved one is about the loss of just that one loved one.  When we open up for grieving it usually re-opens many old wounds that never completely healed.  I find that my sensitivity to everything around me is heightened when I am experiencing grief.  My ability to truly feel the experiences of another person or animal is so acute that it is physical.  It is both an awful and awesome place to be emotionally and spiritually.

I am of the opinion that we never “get over” the loss of someone we care about.  Rather, we just learn to live with the pain.  The piece of our heart that breaks when they are gone remains broken and becomes part of who we are forever.  It is part of becoming truly human.

I also believe we see our pets on the other side of life.  Not because I “need” to believe that nor believe it is something polite and appropriate to say when anyone is in pain over the loss of a beloved pet.  I believe it because it is logical to believe it.  It is congruent with a Christian world view to believe it.  And there is tangible evidence that we see our pets again.  To say that a living creature is lost forever when it dies would constitute a belief in a world view called ” annhilationism”.  Annihilationists believe that anything that is alive is gone forever once physically dead.  The problem with that belief is that collective human intelligence (and by that I mean almost every  single society that has ever walked this planet) has rejected annihilationism. Almost every society has believed in the spiritual birth of something new after death.  While those belief systems vary, of course, what they hold in common is that there is something beyond life in the flesh for creatures.  To hold the view that any creature, human or animal, is annihilated after death would put you in conflict with most of humanity…so which view does it make logical sense to hold?   A Christian world view holds that all of creation is redeemworld's greatest doged and part of God’s plan…while I will write more on this at another time…to exclude our beloved pets from God’s redeemed creation would be in direct conflict with a Christian world view.  While it’s not as common to talk about it in a contemporary culture that does not want to deal hands on with death and dying…stories of what happens during the dying process and accounts of Near Death Experiences tell us a lot about what awaits us on the other side.  And these experiences include interactions with animals; particularly pets already gone.

cat memorial art, the rescue mama, cat art
All Life is Precious

I like to think of the pets gone before me as waiting for me…which is selfish…really I hope they are running and playing with others and doing what they were meant to do naturally.  But I know I will see them again.  I hold this belief so strongly that while I love life on this side…I look forward to it on the other side just as much.

I have been painting Sparky, my beloved black lab who recently died.  The painting is taking awhile because sometimes I am too emotional to work on it.  It is a painting of how I picture him looking down on me now.  (ok…tearing up as I write this…).  I will share it when its done.  I believe its completion will bring me as close to closure as one can get when a loved one dies.

Thanks for reading my posts and viewing my art.  Much of my art is for sale at my ETSY shop.  Sparky’s passing has opened a new chapter in my pet journey…one that is very focused on a new member of our family, Buster.  Buster is a reactive dog that came here in a pretty wild state…I have decided to start chronicling the ways I have worked with Buster’s reactivity in hopes it can help other dog parents dealing with reactive dogs.

If you are in to all things pet and pet rescue check us out on Facebook or Pinterest!

Rescue On!

Nancy

 

 

Pet Accessories, Pet Crafts, Rescue Mama Art

Patriotic Dog Leash…will your dog be stylin’ this year?

Memorial Day Dog Leash for fashionista dogs….

leash_w_backgroundHey everyone…here is a shameless plug for my Patriotic Dog Leashes.  Kringles and Lacey sport theirs every Memorial Day and 4th of July.  These are a feature item in my Rescue Chic line…a Pawsitivley stylish way to make a difference.  We donate a portion of our leash sales to pet rescue charities.

These leashes are made of an Acrylic yarn…very durable.  They are 36 inches long…1.5 inches wide…with a 3/8 inch swivel snap hook.  They are safe for small dogs. I use these leashes for my Pom and my Lhasa (11 pounds and 15 pounds) and feel very safe walking the dogs with them.    The leashes have jingle bells attached under one of the flowers…because every little cutie should make a little jingle when they walk!

Leashes are available at my ETSY shop!

Rescue On!

Nancy

main handle (2) hook (1) main (13)

Pet Rescue, Rescue Mama Art

Pet Rescue Art: A New Pawffiti Artist is born…

Pet Rescue Art…important messages from the pets we love…

Halacey finalnds down… the sassiest dog I have ever met is our Lhasa mix; Lacey Mae.  They say that the dogs that challenge us the most are the dogs we love the most…I can say from experience that this is true.  Lacey was a challenge literally from the moment I met her…and we love every bit of her.  Now that my shop is up and running steady I (in theory) have time to expand this year and Lacey Mae is going to step up to the plate and become my newest Pawffiti Artist.  Through her I 232323232-fp6326;-nu=328;-446-279-WSNRCG=34-488828832;nu0mrjplan to do some Pawffiti Art that is considerably more snarky than I have done in the past.

Lacey’s persona evolved over a series sketches that occurred on Saturday nights. My husband’s favorite thing to do on Saturday nights is watch UFC matches.  He likes me to watch with him. So just like he does, when I drag him to the opera, I sit and enjoy UFC with him.  I usually bring either a sketch pad or some yarn and a crochet hook.  It was on a few of these Saturday fight nights that Lacey’s character evolved.232323232-fp633;3-nu=328;-446-279-WSNRCG=3477-864-732;nu0mrjsketch 1

Lacey came to live with us shortly after Bret and I got married in 2008.  For some odd reason…we decided we wanted to open our home to a small breed dog…because two labs and rottweiler weren’t enough for us I guess.  We met Lacey through a friend who thought that perhaps we could give this “troubled little dog” a chance.232323232-fp63254-nu=328;-446-279-WSNRCG=33427-5;-632;nu0mrj

We drove about an hour to meet her. We loaded up our three big dogs to do a meet and greet with Lacey.  She did great with our dogs…particularly since she is just a fraction of their size.  However, she pretty much just ran in circles around my husband and I and growled at us.  When I tried to greet her…at what I thought was a safe distance…she charged, jumped up and bit my nose….HARD.  Oddly enough…we took her home anyway.  Not because we bonded with her, obviously, but sketch 2because she clicked so well with our big dogs and frankly…she was out of options.

Lacey had been surrendered by her owners for “chronic biting”.  She seemed to have no use for humans other than to charge, growl and chomp on them.

When we first brought her home…she spent a good portion of the day following me around the house charging me, growling and biting and my legs and hands.  If the door was open…she was gone…it was like Chariots of Fire running down the street to get away.  My poor husband chased her one morning in nothing but his PJ bottoms (no shoes)…into the woods…over fences..through our neighbors backyards…he caught her eventually…he wasn’t very happy with her that day.doo rags and leashes 035

Lacey is smart…and despite her growly ways…all she wanted was some attention.  She very quickly figured out that she would get plenty of attention when she was calm and gentle…when she wasn’t calm and gentle…she was ignored.  It didn’t take her long at all to win us over and show us her charming and affectionate side.lacey shops

Lacey will always be a sassy dog with boundaries that need to be respected.  She has personal space issues (so does mommy)…and she will snap at someone if they push her too far.  But we know her limits and she knows our rules…she has become an irreplaceable member of our family.232323232-fp539;--nu=328;-446-279-WSNRCG=36633886-932;nu0mrj

I am not a dog trainer that believes that every dog with problematic behavior can (or should) be saved.  There are unfortunately some dogs who are just simply a danger to humans and other dogs anfinal sketchd it is in everyone’s best interest for them to either live life out in a sanctuary (there are very few that can do this) or be humanely euthanized…it sucks (believe me it sucks) but it is sometimes the most humane outcome.  Lacey however, despite being labeled a “chronic biter”, was not one of those dogs.

She has become the princess of the household…sleeping in the middle each night…riding the Harley with mom and dad…and she has become the dog we take everywhere.  She runs errands with mom…she goes on vacation with both of us.  She doesn’t mind dressing up (really…she doesn’t) and has a large wardrobe so she can gussy up for every occasion.  She also doesn’t take any crap and has a growly opinion about just about everything…hence she is going to be my newest artist.  She has always had a lot to say.  I am so excited to see what happens as Lacey unfolds on canvas…I hope you will follow her progress!232323232-fp63238-vq=328;-446-279-WSNRCG=33427;923932;vq0mrj

Rescue On!

Nancy

 

 

Rescue Mama Art

Pet Rescue Art: Rescue Moms Should Rule The World

Pet Rescue Art…Pawffiti

Pet Rescue Art, Pit bull painting, Pit bull art, pit bull rescue art, dog mom gift
Pawffiti…Rescue Moms Should Rule the World

Hippie Pittie was at it again…what do you think?  She is 11×14 and available at my ETSY shop.

Rescue On!
Nancy

 

Family Posts, Handmade Cards & Gift Wrap, Hope after loss, Pet Sympathy

Pet Sympathy Cards…new designs…fresh grief

New designs for my handmade pet sympathy cards…

Pet Sympathy CardI have been having a burst of creativity and inspiration to make some new pet sympathy cards…I am sure it is has everything to do with losing Sparky.  Funny thing grief is…we never “get over it”…at least I don’t believe we do.  We just learn to live with it…and over time living with it makes it an important part of who we are as spiritual beings.  Funny thing too…grief can happen in such flashes…I was at Hobby Lobby, buying some card making supplies, when I felt inspired to buy a wind chime for our backyard…to hang in honor of Sparky. At first I just felt moved as I was picking one out…almost a bitter sense of comfort in the memory of him and for doing something in his name…and then a moment of guilt came over me because I realized that it was the first time I had thought about him that day.  Grief is weird.Pet sympathy card

I believe we are all put here to play a special part…to be involved in a spiritual enterprise that rubs the rough edges off us as we grow…for me it is pet rescue.  I make no apologies for my pets playing such a large role in my life…not to friends…not to family…it is who I am…take me or leave me as I am.  I was made for taking care of them.

Sparky rubbed a lot of rough edges off of me…it was patience and persistence that he taught me for sure…but more important and especially later in his life it was that every day he reminded me to never waste an opportunity to have a little enjoyment.  I had six dogs when he was still alive and I am a bit of nut about exercising my dogs…which takes a lot of time in my day and a lot of my energy.  Sparky was SOOOOOOOOO slow the last year of his life and he had a bit of doggy dementia…so often we would walk back and forth down the same street…he would get confused about which direction we were walking…I always just went with it.  But I had to walk him separate from the other dogs and even a very short walk took an enormous amount of time (sometimes I would even bring a book).  But dammit…I was gong to make sure he had his time…he loved his walks and it was one thing I could give him…I new that one day he wouldn’t be there…if today was by chance the last day…it was going to be one he enjoyed.   I find a lot of comfort today in my patience and persistence for him and his walks.  It has made me a better person.

cat sympathy card, card for loss of cat, death of cat card, cat condolences, cat loss, The Rescue Mama, Nancy Halverson
Cat Sympathy Card

I am one of those oddly wired people that needs to create to be whole.  I lose time when I am creating…whoooda thunk it would be pet sympathy cards that I enjoy to make…but that is how it just turned out….so I go with it.   If I can be a small part of bringing a tiny bit of comfort to someone grieving a pet…I am glad to do it.  I write my own greetings for my cards…they are not poetic…just genuine thoughts from someone who knows a little something about grieving a pet.Pet Sympathy Card

If you ever need a pet sympathy card, keep me in mind…they are available at my ETSY shop…I take great pride in making them and in my customer service in regards to them.

Love your pets today…and everyday…you are their whole world.

Rescue On!

Nancy

Please follow my blog if you are interested in seeing more of my work and hearing more of my opining about all things pet.  I post 1-2 times/week on my blog and daily on my Facebook Page.world's greatest dog

 

 

 

Rescue Mama Art

Pet Rescue Art: Some of the greatest love stories begin at the shelter…

Pet Rescue Art:  Pawffiti

Pet Rescue Art, Pit Bull Art, Pit Bull Painting, Dog Rescue Art, Dog mom gift
Pawffiti…Some of the greatest love stories began at the shelter.

I have been having some fun with this character…I call her hippie pittie…She has a lot to say and will be sharing her thoughts over the next couple of weeks…

I am sure that there are plenty of people out there who agree with her…and have also found their great love stories at a shelter…I have …many, many times.

Hippie Pittie is available for sale at my ETSY shop. She is acrylic on canvas (11×14)…I used a very glossy paint and finish for her.  I am undecided if I am going to make prints of her yet.

Rescue On!

Nancy