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: Peace, love, rescue…

Pet Rescue Art:  Peace, love, rescue…

This Pet Rescue painting is inspired by my cat Taco.  If ever you could label a cat a “hippie cat” it would be Taco…she is all about peace and lovin’ everybody up.  Taco is named Taco because she was found in a dumpster behind a taco joint.  From the moment I brought her home she was a relaxed and happy cat…she loves to meet new people and pets and lives under the assumption that everyone wants to be her friend.  When she needs it she has just the right amount of sass in her too.

black back big

 

side view head shot front

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pet Rescue Art is my passion, it is how I can work at spreading the word about how important it is to rescue pets instead of purchasing them.  Every day 8-10,000 healthy cats and dogs are killed in our country because they have no home, that works out to about six per minute.   My husband and I purchased our first dogs many, many years ago…we just didn’t know how many animals were dying in shelters every day.  My introduction to pet rescue was my lab Sparky…once Bret and I learned more about how many pets need rescue not only did we choose to rescue a house full of pets but we believe that sharing the rescue message will motivate people to choose to rescue vs. purchase animals like it did for us.  Check out my Art Gallery to view other Pet Rescue paintings I have done.

This painting is available at my Shop where I have a variety of fun pet rescue themed paintings and gift items for the pet lover.   If you are a rescue advocate consider following my blog…I blog about all things pet and pet rescue!

tacoI leave you with a picture of our sweet Taco who inspired this painting.

Rescue On!

Nancy

 

Pet Accessories, Pet Crafts

Pet Craft – Old Coca Cola Crate becomes pet bed…

Pet Craft – Upcycle an old Coca Cola crate in to a pet bed….

I made this:

For the Coca Cola Fan
For the Coca Cola Fan
 

 From this:

  
20140903_124847

 

 

 

 

 

This is how I did it:

When I am upcycling something iconic like a Coca Cola crate I tend to leave the base item pretty much alone other than cleaning it and making a safety check for tacks, nails or sharp pieces of wood.  This crate was pretty old (it was stamped 1971) but in spite of its age the paint job was in pretty good shape.  Be careful washing something like this; I use Dawn and rub very gently so I don’t remove any more paint than has already aged off.

I added bun feet to the bottom of this bed…I add them to most beds…its such a nice finishing touch.   You can buy bun feet at most home improvement stores.  They are a bit spendy so next time you are tossing away something old that has bun feet on it…take them off for your next project!  My husband drilled the holes such that the bolt for the feet would be sunk down in the base of the crate.

20140903_125021 20140903_125027 I painted the bun feet with primer and then red craft paint (glossy).  To get the cleanest paint job I can (no brush strokes) I use my artist level paint brushes …its a bit spendy but I get a much nicer finish.  I use artist level paint brushes on pretty much any piece of furniture I paint.  Working always in one direction keeps the brush strokes away too.

 

20140903_124901 My preferred material for cushions in pet beds is High Density Smart Foam.  Its mildew resistant, flame resistant, holds its shape and is super comfy.  You can find it at Hobby Lobby but it is a little spendy (wait for a coupon).  I buy it wholesale or it would not be practical to use it in beds that I sell.  I cut the cushion first based on the size of the box.  The best way to cut this foam is with an electric knife (like you use to carve the turkey).  Once I have my cushion cut I measure the cushion for the cover and add 1/2 an inch to each side and piece I need to cut to make a pattern.  I always make my pattern on paper first and test it around my cushion before I cut my fabric.

I sew the cushion together inside out on all sides but for one last opening which I sew Velcro in to.  It just seems impractical to have a dog bed you can’t pull apart for washing or replacing the cushion if necessary (accidents happen often with pets…or just drool over time).

20140903_130537 For this cushion cover I embroidered paw prints randomly on the top piece (BEFORE I SEWED IT TOGETHER).  I found this particular design on the Dakota Collectibles website (shop on Friday’s – good deals).  The cushion could easily have been embellished with iron on pieces or non-toxic fabric paint, etc.

Once the final cushion cover is assembled stuff the cushion in and Velcro it closed.  Waa laa!

I had a blast making this bed…enjoy!

If you interested in purchasing a pet bed feel free to browse my selection on my ETSY shop, use the coupon code “NEWCUSTOMER” for 10% of your first purchase.   Looking for inspiration for your own dog beds or pet crafts…check out my Bed Gallery and Craft Page!  If you love all things pets …feel free to follow my blog.  I post 1-3 times per week on pet care, pet crafts, pet rescue, pet art and more.  I post daily on my Facebook and Pinterest pages.

 

Happy crafting and Rescue On!

Nancy

Pet Crafts, Pet Sympathy, Rescue Mama Art

Pet Sympathy: new cat sympathy designs

Pet Sympathy: new designs for hand painted cat sympathy cards!

I have fallen in love with this cat silhouette on these cards…so much so that I went a little crazy a few weeks ago painting a series of different backgrounds.  All it takes to paint on all this lovely card stocks is start with a layer of Gesso.  The card stock is acid free so the painting will be lasting.  I had a lot of fun with these and have started on some other silhouettes to use in the future.  I think the next one will have angel wings:) What do you think?

front mainfront mainfront bigfront 2

Most of my cards are available at my ETSY shop.  I do give discounts to pet professionals buying multiple cards.  Looking for ideas to inspire your own card making…check out my Card Gallery!  If you love all things pets follow my blog for pet news, art and crafts!  I post 1-3 time per week on my blog and daily on Facebook and Pinterest page.

Rescue On!

Nancy

 

Hope after loss, Rescue Mama Art

Pet Sympathy: Cat Memorial Painting…

Pet sympathy: Cat memorial painting…textured acrylic on canvas.

front bitThis painting is part of my “Anima” line of products for pet sympathy.  “Anima” is the Latin word for soul.  Everything in my “Anima” line is about remembering our beloved pets that we have lost.   This is a textured painting done in acrylics on mounted canvas.  I had a lot of fun making the moon glow in this painting.

Usually I only make cards for this line…this is my first painting…what do you think?  Check out my Art Gallery to see some of my other paintings or look through my Hope After Loss page for articles and links for coping with the loss of a beloved pet.

If you love all things pet and pet rescue consider following my blog…I post 1-3 articles per week on my blog and daily on Facebook and Pinterest pages.

Rescue On!

Nancy

right up close left side left side enlarged brighter

Pet Rescue, Rescue Mama Art

Pet Rescue Art: Pawffiti…important messages from the pets we love!

Pet Rescue:  Pawffiti…acrylic on canvas…pet rescue art!

front brightThis is my latest Pawffiti…important messages from the cats we love.  This pet rescue art is an acrylic painting on mounted canvas so it can be hung on the wall as is. I paint the picture to continue on to the side of the canvas – see pictures below.   The painting is 12×12 inches (on a 1.5″ canvas).   I use masterpiece collection canvas, high quality paints and a final varnish (matte) to make my paintings a lasting addition to any home.

This painting is two cats admiring the moon and sitting patiently on a fence waiting for their forever home.  It is also depicts their propensity for mischief as they are painting a pawffiti message on the fence they are sitting on.

I do not make prints of any of my paintings, each is an original.  While I may paint several versions of a design I like, none are exactly the same and make a unique addition to the pet lover’s home!

The copyright does not appear on the actual painting…only on the photos.  Many of my paintings are available at my ETSY shop.

Pawffiti is beginning to take it on…I like to think of it as a way to “paw it forward” .   Last month three of my paintings were auctioned off to raise money for a local rescue group here in Georgetown.  Last week a man in Arizona bought two of my Pawffiti’s for his wife…turns out she gave up a lucrative job to work full time at a shelter in Arizona (a no kill shelter…woo hoo!).  I donated 10% of my Pawffiti sales to her shelter…and the art will hang somewhere where it can promote the message of saving homeless pets…SIX A MINUTE… that is how many healthy cats and dogs are killed each passing minute in the US, simply because no one wants them.  The more we talk about it…the more chances we have to save them all.

I hope you enjoy this …I just love this painting 🙂  Check out my Art Gallery to see other paintings I have done…if you love all things pet and pet rescue subscribe to my blog and get to know our pack better!  I post 1-3 times per week on my blog (pet articles, art, craft tutorials and more) and daily on my Facebook and Pinterest pages.

Rescue On!

Nancy

really big front side left side right

 

Handmade Cards & Gift Wrap, Pet Sympathy, Uncategorized

Cat Sympathy Card – new handmade design…what do you think?

Cat Sympathy Card…new handmade design!

What do you think of this design?

front big  I hand painted the cat and heart on lovely card stock that I stained with some distress ink.  What do you think of this design?  I wrote this greeting…

” Sometimes a special animal enters our lives…their presence changes our hearts forever…and we can call ourselves blessed for having known them.”

It’s the first time I have used it in a card…what do you think?

inside

 

 

 

 

 

 

All of my sympathy cards are available at my ETSY shop and I do give discounts for pet professionals buying in quantity.

Pet Crafts

This bee box has gone to the dogs!

Antique Bee Box made in to a pet bed!
I made this:

brigth background two

from this:

20140806_152341

I had an absolute blast making this pet bed.  It would work for either a small dog or a cat (or frankly even for a doll bed).  I am flush with pet beds in my house so this one is going up for sale on my ETSY shop.  What do you think of this one?  Looking for ideas to make your own beds?…check out Bed Gallery and Craft Page!  If you love all things pet subscribe to my blog… I post 1-3 articles per week on my blog and daily on my Facebook and Pinterest pages.

Rescue On!

Nancy

 

 

Handmade Cards & Gift Wrap, Pet Crafts, Pet Rescue

Handmade Cat Adoption Card

february 6th 077Celebrate a life saving event!

I just finished this card and I am really excited about how it turned out.  Adopting a cat from a shelter is a life saving event, why not celebrate it ?!

I used plain recycled card stock to get this card started.  I stained the base card stock with an Antique Bronze Distress Stain and then painted it (dry brushed) with a blue acrylic paint.  It gives the paper the look of something completely unique and handmade (you can see it in the last picture below that shows the inside of the card).  I used some sweet paper I had in my studio with “Happily Ever After” all over it that I stained and distressed on the edge.

I drew a simple cat sillouhette and painted it with a super heavy gesso to get the textured look (let this dry overnight) and then painted it with bronze acyrilic paint and dry brushed with blue acrylic.

I added some simple embellishments (that I painted to match my color theme); ribbon, flower and heart.

february 6th 075

february 6th 084

The inside of the card is a cream card stock that I distressed and slightly stained (on the edges).  It reads; “Some of the world’s greatest LOVE stories began at the local shelter”.

The card was inspired by my own rescue cats who I couldn’t love more; Taco, Jasmine and Catzilla.

If you don’t like making cards I do have some of these available on my ETSY shop:  http://www.ETSY.com/shop/TheRescueMama

Rescue On!

Nancy

Pet Crafts

Fun Valentine Craft for the Pet Lover!

clips feb 003

Quick and easy gift for a pet loving friend.

I wanted to make some quick handmade items for all the sweet people in my life for Valentines Day. This is one of the item I decided to make.  I use regular old clothes pins to make these.

february 6th 001  The basic items you need are clothes pins, ribbon, magnets and acrylic paint.   I painted all the clothes pins first.  I typically use a slightly better paint than craft paint when I make a project as I find it covers faster and looks nicer longer but craft paint will work fine too.  I had several spools of paw print ribbon in my studio – you can use any ribbon, just make sure its the width of the clothes pin.  When the paint was dry I glued the ribbon to the pins with tacky glue.  I applied ribbon on both side of the pin but just doing the front would be fine too.

february 6th 003 february 6th 004 february 6th 005

I wanted small hearts on the front of my clothes pins.  I buy bulk bags of small wooden hearts.  I painted them red, stamped them with paw prints and then sprayed them with ModPodge pearlized glaze.  You could use any type of sealer but I like the shimmer of this glaze.  I glued the hearts on to the pins with Beacon’s 3 in 1 – it is a wicked smelly glue but it is a very strong hold.

I finished them off with a large magnet on the back so these clips can be used as refrigerator magnets but they have functionality without magnets too.

clips feb 005 february 6th 032

I made a few different styles of these.  The skulls were for me …why not?  The snowflakes for my mom.

Enjoy!

Pet Crafts

Paws on the Wall – easy pet craft!

Paws on the Wall  Paws on the Wall

This was a really fun project, especially since the dogs contributed the paw art.

Here is a free tutorial for this project: Paws on the Wall

Paw Print Arttable setting 014May 13 2013 097

Hope after loss

Opening up about euthanasia and guilt…

cropped-small-heart-cropped2.jpg

My story of grief, guilt and healing…

Feelings of guilt associated with euthanizing a pet is something that profoundly affected  my life.   It was also something that I  had a very hard  time talking about.  Compounding the grief I felt when losing my beloved pet was the isolation I felt in this guilt.  A guilt which made my heart ache that much more.

In 2008 I made the decision to euthanize my Rottweiler, Hercules.  He had osteosarcoma (bone cancer).  Hercules had received the best in veterinary care to treat his cancer.  When I made the decision to let him go I had the support of my veterinarian (she has been our vet for 10 years and I completely trust her judgment).  I had the support of my husband who loved Hercules as much as I did.  I knew in the depth of my heart that it was time to let Hercules go and logical reasoning dictated that it was time as well.  I want to be clear; I am a logical, critical and confident thinker.  I have a master’s degree.  I studied philosophy, epistemology and logic at the graduate school level.  I should have been confident in this decision that I had so carefully reasoned out and prayed deeply about.  But the reality was; once Hercules was gone I was filled with a terrible sense of  guilt.  I felt that I had killed the creature I loved most in the world and it was simply horrible.  I went over and over the facts and would reaffirm to myself that I had made the right decision but logic mattered not.   I believed that I had let Hercules down and I was the reason he was gone.  These feelings were crushing my spirit.

I was also ashamed to share these feelings.  Really, what do you say to someone?  “I am wracked with guilt because I believe I killed my dog!”  It was not a conversation I had the courage to have with anyone, even  my husband.  My husband did know how deeply I was grieving though.  Several times he suggested I read a book called “Rescuing Sprite” by Mark Levin.  After weeks had passed and I was still mulling about in my stupor of grief and guilt my husband asked me several more times to read the book and I finally complied.  It is a good book (have a box of Kleenex ready if you choose to read it).  What struck me about the book was that Mr. Levin shared this same sense of guilt that I was feeling.  I felt a small sense of relief for the first time.  I was not the only person who felt this and it is ok to talk about it, and in this case, write it in a book!  Solidarity in grief became very meaningful in my life and it gave me the courage to share the guilt I was experiencing with people who I trusted.  Finally, with a new-found sense of solidarity the healing could begin.

I have spent the better part of the five years since Hercules’ death reading everything I can get my hands on in regards to the topic of the souls of animals and studying the work of some of history’s greatest thinkers in regards to the relationships we have as humans with creation, particularly with animals.  I am the type of person that when faced with a dilemma responds by diving in and actively solving it …my way…which is to study and analyze it to its end.  With many of the vagaries of  life this is an effective approach, but alas, it does not work  well with emotions.   I had to find peace with the decision to euthanize my pet elsewhere and eventually I did.  I found my answer by learning to trust what was most real about the seven years that Hercules was mine…and that was how much I  loved him.  There is a simplistic element to this because love means a lot of very specific things when it comes to a pet.  It means providing their basic needs; food, water, medical care, exercise, socialization and a safe environment.  I did this and I did it with great joy.  Love is protecting our pets from harm and giving and receiving affection with them.  I did this too.  Over time I could reflect on how I loved Hercules well in all these ways and that my relationship with him was not defined by one difficult and traumatic act but rather that we had a seven year narrative of joy and love.  I began to realize that love for my dog began with an unspoken covenant between us the day he became mine.  A covenant that for me reads something like this; “I will love you forever.  I will never abandon you.  I will meet your needs physically and emotionally.  I will be your voice.  I will defend you, be your advocate and have the courage to make difficult decisions for you.”  I came to realize that I fulfilled this covenant and that I was loving and courageous for doing it even though parts of fulfilling the covenant were traumatic for me.  This is how I found peace…by seeing my courage to act for him when he needed me the most.

Over time, by reading other people’s stories (something I highly recommend) I was able to reframe euthanasia in a more balanced way.  I came to terms with the fact that it is simply not about me at all but all about the dog and protecting him from suffering.  This seems obvious, but when you are in the throes of grief it is hard to see past your own pain and in my case guilt.  Eventually, I started to view helping Hercules cross over as the ultimate act of love.  No animal deserves to suffer and certainly not one that I love.  Instead of feeling guilty I began to once again feel the love I had for Hercules and I was able to mourn and heal.

This is an  important journey as I will face end of  life decisions again, many times.   I have four dogs and three cats right now; four of the seven are seniors.  I feel differently now than I did five years ago.  Yes, I absolutely dread the day I lose any of them and I will cry a river of tears for them all.  But I feel confident that I can trust my love for them when I am faced with difficult decisions.  I have an unspoken covenant with them and I will honor it with courage.

Solidarity is powerful, especially in grief.  The reason I started The Rescue Mama blog was to create a place of solidarity for people who are trying to cope with the loss of a beloved pet.  I hope this article helps in your process  of healing.   I would love to hear your story of love, loss and healing.  Please feel to write to me at therescuemama@gmail.com.  Always, peace to you and yours.

On the journey.

Nancy H., The Rescue Mama

Hercules

Hercules

2001-2008

Love is for always…

Pet Parent Resources

Prevent Pet Poisoning

    Prevention & Resources

mr yukc

Most of my pet memories are the type of memories that give me the warm fuzzies.  But there is one memory  that makes me cringe;  my first dog (my Rottie puppy) had his way with  a bottle of prescription medicine.  I found a cracked open bottle and pills all over the bathroom floor.  Since I couldn’t be sure I could account for all the pills, off to the emergency vet we went.  I am certain  my rickety little GEO Metro  broke speed barriers that night.  Some wonderful vets took care of Hercules and everything turned out fine.  I, however, was horrified with myself for letting the incident happen and decided I needed to take a hard look at properly pet proofing my home.  Accidental pet poisonings are all too common and one of the main culprits is prescription and OTC drugs.  The best thing I can do as a caregiver to my pets is to prevent it from happening in the first place.

Preventing a pet poisoning starts with knowing what is toxic to our pets.  When I brought the first pets in to my home I had a huge learning curve in “all things pet” but I was a complete “goose egg” when it came to knowing how seriously dangerous some common household items are to my pets.

I also underestimated my pets’ (especially a puppy’s) ability to get into cupboards, closets and hidden corners that granted access to things that should be off limits.  I learned very quickly that pet proofing my home  was more than closing cupboards and clearing counters and it has since become part of our household management on a daily basis.  “Proofing” the home for the pets isn’t really much different from proofing a home for a child.  Over the years I have found that maintaining a pet proof home keeps my house neat because it requires being diligent about putting things away – medicines, vitamins, chewing gum, salty snacks, raisins, batteries…nothing gets left outs.

In some cases there are things that we have just parted ways with for the sake of our pets; we don’t put any presents under the Christmas tree ahead of “opening day” and you won’t find items like grapes, Easter Lillies or Poinsettia plants in our house.

Following is a summary of lessons learned for protecting our pets from poisoning that we have gathered over the years.  I hope you find it helpful.

Continue reading “Prevent Pet Poisoning”