What makes you smile…my dogs make me smile. Every dog has that one thing that just makes them crazy with happiness…a game of fetch…a special treat or toy…for our Lacey…its Harley Davidson motorcycles. She is our little biker dog…when she hears the bike fire up she tries to crawl up my legs to get in to her harness…
Taking Lacey for motorcycle rides was born out of Bret and I trying to figure out activities for her that would satisfy her crazy side…Lacey is a fun dog but she is a mischief maker and has little to no fear of heights (she will leap off of anything), no fear of other animals (of any kind)…pretty much no fear of anything that most dogs would shy away from…she likes a challenge and adventure.
When we met Lacey she had been surrendered because she was a “chronic biter”. She definitely sharpened her choppers on us a few times. In fact, the day I met her she leaped at my face and bit me in the nose…hard. Most people would pass on such a dog…but Lacey was out of options…she had no where to go. The day she put a few holes in my nose she also met my other dogs; which back then was my two labs and my Rottweiler. Despite being a fraction of their size she instantly took to them and was running with the pack like she belonged with them her whole life. She was also taking their cues…when they backed her down…she heeded them…I saw hope for her in that. We have never looked back from the day we met her…Lacey came home with us and very quickly figured out new patterns of behavior (that didn’t include biting people). Lacey is not the type of dog that will cooperate with typical training methods…she wants nothing to do with. When I try using my clicker, treats and typical methods…she literally turns her back to me. She is above my style of training. So I had to use the approach of “capturing” behavior. The first few months that Lacey lived with us she would only get rewards…food, pets, snuggles when she was calm…when she acted up I instantly removed from what pleased her (just removing my interaction and presence from her worked magic). To teach her to sit, down, stay, etc…I had to “capture” those behaviors and reward them as she naturally performed them…she caught on fairly quickly without have to “subject” herself to being trained. While capturing is a slower road to train a dog it is certainly effective.
Today, Lacey is the love of our life…she is the dog we take with us every where …the dog (well one of the dogs) that sleeps in the middle and definitely the apple of her daddy’s eye.
The bike is tuned up…the weather is warming up and Lacey is saddled up…she was truly Born to Ride! We are looking forward to a summer of riding fun…discovering new things in Kentucky with our little biker dog!
I am working on new sketches of Lacey in her tough girl gear…she has a lot to say and its time to put it to canvas…she is going to be my newest Pawffiti artist.
I have spent the last few months learning the process of getting giclee prints made of some of my paintings…maybe I am just getting older…but navigating new things (especially technology) gets ever more complicated and frustrating. One of things I have learned the hard way with my budding art store is that it is a constant time battle to try to manage on an online store and have enough time to create. Running an online shop has required me to learn Search Engine Optimization, advertising and networking on social media and photography (which I still really stink at still). I have learned online payment systems…photo editing…the list goes on. My little art store has now shipped products to 29 different states in the U.S.! I am hoping to hit all 50 in the next year or so and at some point I would like to ship internationally.
I believe I have finally put together a cost effective yet very high quality team to get my art prints made. I am really excited that I can use my prints to generate even more funds for rescuing animals. So far in just the first quarter of 2015 The Rescue Mama Shop has generated $820 in donations of cash and merchandise to rescue groups. I am hoping to grow this number significantly throughout the year. I am hoping that my “Live to Rescue” Pawffiti will be a big part of that. When I first posted the original painting on Facebook last month it was well received and I had a lot of requests for prints (and tshirts and bumper stickers, etc).
Getting prints made requires professional photographs of the originals…I have found a wonderful photographer in Lexington (Mary Rezny) who does an amazing job creating my electronic art files for me and has been generous with her time answering my endless questions about the process. It also required finding a high quality printer that can provide archival quality prints that don’t break the bank…after test running a few shops I have been thrilled with the product I am getting from http://www.iprintfromhome.com.
I sell all of my originals and prints at my ETSY shop. 25% of the sales price of my originals go to rescue donations (the buyer can choose which rescue group gets the donation if the desire). For all of my print sales I donate 10% of the sale. I accumulate the total all quarter for my print sales and then write one check at the end of each quarter to a rescue group that I choose (which is usually a group in Kentucky as the needs for animals is so great here but there are other groups that I send to as well).
I have also been making cards with each of my new prints. They make great cards for new pet adoptions or simply as “thinking of you” cards for pet rescue friends, dog walkers, veterinarians. I am selling them for $3.99 at my shop.
This “Live to Rescue” painting was inspired by my Sparky…who as you know passed away last week. I can’t put in to words how deeply I miss him. Sparky spent his days either laying next to my easel or laying next to my desk…the house seems decidedly empty without him. I am so grateful that I have painted so many pictures of him…I bet he gets a kick out of knowing that his sweet face is hanging in so many homes around the country.
Years ago…the reason I started painting in the first place was the loss of my Rottie, Hercules. It was only a few months after he had passed that I realized I was losing my mental image of him…so I started doodling pictures of him and eventually I painted him…it was then that I realized…hey maybe I can do something productive with my painting. Here I am several years later with my own little shop. I am having fun…keeping the spirit of my dogs alive, giving voice to homeless and abused animals and raising some extra money for other dogs.
If you are interested in following my work more closely please follow my blog where I post weekly about my art, crafts and life with a house full of rescued pets and like my Facebook Page where I post daily.
Handpainted dog bed for the little tough guy (or girl)!
This dog bed has been in the works for a few weeks. It is inspired by my husbands comment that everything I make is so “girly”. I decided he was right and it was time to make something for the dog with a slight edge to their personality. My husband actually constructed the wood bed for me (impressive heh?). He cut the head board in a traditional Hanover style.
I hand painted the design on the head board. The inspiration for the head board is our Lhasa mix, Lacey Mae. She rides Harley with us and rocks her own doo rags and riding goggles. She is truly a little biker babe and looks great lounging in her bad girl bed. The lettering on the head board is done with raised wood letters.
The cushion is faux leather around 2″ HiDensity Smart Foam. I had an absolute blast designing and making this bed…what do you think?
This and several other of my beds are available at my ETSY shop. Looking for ideas to make your own dog beds…check out my Bed Gallery and my Craft Page for ideas and tutorials.
The next bed is going to be similar but I am painting the head board with a sugar skull and flowers…I know… back to girly stuff! Do you love all things pet? Follow my blog – I post 1-3 times per week with pet news, art, crafts and all things rescue!