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Stylish dogs should have stylish accessories…

main  Scarf and Leash Set

A new design for my Rescue Chic line of accessories for pets and the people who love them.

This particular set is made from a very soft and sparkly light weight yarn.  This particular leash is 42 inches long and 2 inches wide.  The handle of the leash is secured with a crochet flower with a black flower button in the middle.  The matching scarf is 24 inches long.  It has nine sparkly felt hearts on it.

My leash model, Kringles, was paid with a cookie.

leashscarfHere is a basic tutorial for how I make these leashes…Crocheted Leash Tutorial

If you don’t crochet yourself I sell some of these leashes at my ETSY Store.



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Get Well Card – for pets (or their parents)

Get Well Card  Pet Get Well Card

Just finished a new pet get well card.  I hand stamped this and colored it with colored pencils and gamsol.  Dressed it up with flowers and lace.

The inside of the card reads; “Heard you were a hurtin pup…feel better soon!”

Do you like this card?

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Handmade prayer candle for pet sympathy

feb 10 185

Prayer Candle

Pet Sympathy

One of the product lines that I design is called “Anima”.  “Anima” is the Latin word for soul; all of my products in this line are meant to bring comfort to those who are mourning the loss of a beloved pet and to celebrate the joy that our sweet pets have brought to our lives.

I recently finished this candle; it is the end result of about five designs landing in the garbage can in my studio.  I designed these to match my favorite sympathy cards.  These are really not too hard to make they just take some time as it is several layers of work that needs to completely dry in between applications.

I started with a basic prayer candle; you can find these in Catholic stores, Dollar stores, etc.  I used 8 inch pillar candles.  You could use any size candle or candle holder to make this project just remember to stick with tempered glass.

The first thing I did was print out the poem on white card stock with my laser printer.  When I print lettering from my laser printer that I want to use for crafts I spray the printed paper with Fixative so that it will not smudge.  You could use a multitude of things on the front of one of these candles; a photo or a card for example.  I loosely tore the edges of the poem, stained the paper with black Distressed Ink and sprayed it with Perfect Pearls.

feb 10 182I put a thin layer of mod podge on the candle and then rolled it over a pre-cut piece of tissue paper.  Here I used a tissue with paw prints on it but you could use any kind of tissue or even plain tissue that you stamp your own images on with Archival Ink.  I let this first layer dry overnight.  When I work with mod podge I use the general rule that less is more.  I always apply it fairly sparingly so I don’t tear the paper I am working with, cause bubbles or make a big ‘ol mess.  For the second application I put mod podge on the back of my poem and pressed the poem down on the candle – again I let it dry overnight.  The third layer; I put a layer of mod podge over the candle (not on the poem) and sprinkled glitter generously (I used a clear large flake glitter here).  Again, I let this dry overnight.  The final layer was a layer of mod podge over the glitter (applied with a paint sponge).

The reason for the last layer of mod podge was to avoid having a situation where the candle flaked glitter every time someone touched it.  When I was finished I did spray the candle with a glaze (if you do this step make sure you cover the inside of the candle as glazes are flammable so you don’t want any residue in the candle).

The reason I let my projects dry for at least 24 hours between steps is to avoid having a finished project that feels tacky.  If you have ever done a mod podge project that felt tacky when you were done (which really makes it useless) it is either because of the humidity where you are working or the project didn’t dry long enough between coats.

feb 10 107To finish this project off I attached a small black ribbon at the top of the candle.  I am fairly happy with how these candles turned out and the project has inspired several other ideas for me.

How do you like these candles?

I hope this was a helpful tutorial on how I made these.  If you are not a crafty person I do have several of these for sale at my ETSY store (use coupon code “NEWCUSTOMER” for 10% off).

Rescue On!


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Celebrate Pet Rescue with a handmade dog adoption card!

Celebrate Every Dog Adoption!

I released a cat adoption card last week …so here is one for the pups!

A pet adoption is a life saving event so why not honor the event with a card!  Thinking of any dog sitting in a shelter waiting for a family breaks my heart and I wince at the thought of how many never make it to a family – so when adoption magic does happen I get very excited!
I am really happy with how this card turned out, do you like it?

It is a very simple design.  I used a base recycled card stock that I stained black with Distress Stain, pearlized and randomly stamped with opaque paw prints.  I layered a piece of black card stock on the front that I embossed with paw prints.  You can find the paw print embossing folder I used at JoAnne’s for a just a few bucks – I love that design! The dog silouhette is hand painted – first with heavy gesso and again with white acrylic paint

I added a paw print ribbon (I believe Michael’s has similar ribbon) with a wooden heart that is painted red and stamped with paw prints.  I buy these little wood hearts in bulk – you can do so much with them!

The inside of the card is plain white card stock and it reads ” Some of the world’s greatest love stories began at the local shelter.”

Rescue Inside

If you are not crafty yourself, I sell my cards on my ETSY store , use coupon code “NEWCUSTOMER” for 10% off.

Rescue On!


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Handmade Pet Sympathy Card

february 6th 088Pet Sympathy Card

I finished this sympathy card last night.  I spend quite a bit of my studio time on pet sympathy cards.  I know all to well the grief experienced when a beloved pet dies and hope to provide sentiments that can bring comfort to others.

This card is made from a base recycled card stock.  I stained it blue with Distress Stain and dry brushed it with cream acrylic paint (you can see the effect in the second picture).   I hand painted a silhouette on the front of the card using a layer of heavy gesso first and then black acrylic paint.  The heart, lace and flowers are all stained to match the rest of the card and finished off with perfect pearls.

The front of the card reads; “How blessed we are to have loved them so much that it makes saying goodbye so very, very hard.”    I print my greetings on to card stock with my laser printer and then spray the card stock with fixative so they won’t smudge.  This is a far more cost effective method than buying stamps.

The inside of the card reads; “with sympathy for your faithful and loyal friend.”  If you are ever in need of any cards or gifts for pet sympathy; I have a nice selection in my ETSY shop (  Use the coupon code “NEWCUSTOMER” for 10% off.

february 6th 091Rescue On!


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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.


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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

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Hand made Christmas leash for the dog with jingle!

How to make your own Christmas leash!

I love my dogs and I love to crochet!  I made this super cute Christmas Leash for Lacey.   For my fellow happy hookers I have included instructions on how I made this leash – for those of you that don’t crochet I do have a few of these leashes left at my ETSY store (

 Xmas leash 002For leashes for small dogs I use a 2 inch swivel snap hook (I usually order them from Hobby Lobby online but you can buy them from any hardware store).christmas leash tutorial 004  For this particular leash I used a G crochet hook.  Leashes made of yarn stretch longer than their original size; the smaller the hook you use the less stretch and vice versa with a larger hook.  I used Red Heart Super Soft Shimmer yarn for this leash tutorial 001  My standard size for a (finished) leash is 42 inches.  This is simply what I have found to be comfortable length for walking – you can make it as short or long as you like.

To start the leash I chain 5 stiches.  Turn, do a single crochet row (4 single crochets).  I will repeat this until I have about 5 inches of leash completed.  Thread the end of your leash through the loop of the snap hook and weave it shut with the crochet needle. leash tutorial 001 When I start the leash out I leave a long tail so that I can go back and reinforce the now weaved loop around the snap hook even more securely.   Continue your rows of 4 single crochet’s until you have a 47 Inch piece.  Fold the finished end over such that you have a 5 inch loop at one end of the leash for your handle.  Weave the loop shut with the crochet needle.  Again, I leave pretty long tails of yarn when I tie off so that I can go back with a tapestry needle and weave all my closures really securely with that extra yarn.

For the ruffle; Starting on one side of the leash (you can start at the hook or the handle), begin crocheting with the white yarn.  Single crochet in your first side loop – chain six, single crochet in your next loop.  Repeat all the way down the leash to accomplish the ruffle.  You can chain as many stitches as you want for the ruffle.  My six stitch chains make the finished leash about 2 inches wide.Xmas leash 004.  I added flowers and pom poms to both the top and bottom loops I made on the leash (at the handle and at the snap hook).    The flowers I made are super simple:

1) Chain six and slip stitch into a loop.

2) 15 single crochets in your loop and slip stitch closed.

3) Single crochet in the next row, chain 3, skip the next two single crochets,  repeat four times, slip stitch the row closed.

You will have five loops created when you finish step three.

4) In your first chain loop; 1 single crochet, 1 half double crochet, 3 double crochets, 1 half double crochet, 1 single crochet.  Repeat four times (in each loop). This will leave you with five petals.

5) Single crochet in the first loop of the petal, chain six.  Repeat four more times.

6) In the first chain loop, 1 single crochet, 1 half double crochet, 5 double crochets, 1 half double crochet, 1 single crochet.  Repeat four times.  Slip stitch the row shut.   You will have five petals when you are done.

I attach the flowers and the pom poms to the leash with clear acrylic thread.  I also attached some jingle bells under the flower at the snap hook.  I attach things like jingle bells with 10 lb fish line because I want them to be as secure as possible.

Have fun!

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Opening up about euthanasia and guilt…


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  Always, peace to you and yours.

On the journey.

Nancy H., The Rescue Mama




Love is for always…

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Quick and easy handmade gift for the pet lover…

MAson Jar Hostess gifts 015  I made these three treat jars (filled with dog cookies) last night.  The whole project cost me less than $10 (not including the treats I put in the jars) and took about 90 minutes.    I am planning to use them as hostess gifts for dog loving friends over the holiday season.

I have attached a quick tutorial to show the products I used to make them.Hostess Gift for Pet Lover. Enjoy!

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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

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Satisfying a dogs need to chew – BEST DEALS – CET Enzymatic Chews

My first dog was a Rottweiler named Hercules; he was an awesome dog but his need to chew was no joking matter.  If I didn’t provide him with an appropriate item for his chewing enjoyment at least once a day he would chew other things – like the walls of my house (no kidding).

Herc in the pool

I took the chewing issue to my vet as I didn’t feel informed about all the items sold in pet stores for chewing and we had a few bad experiences with some of them.

I wanted a dog chew that was (1) safe for my dog to chew (well as a safe as a chew can be) (2) wouldn’t make a big mess when the dog chewed it (or smell bad) and (3) was affordable.

cet chews

My vet introduced me to the CET Enzymatic chews by Virbac.    CET’s are beefhide that is treated with an enzyme that helps with plaque build up on the dogs teeth.  For our immediate needs at the time, a Rottie with a chew fettish,  the benefit for Hercules’ dental hygiene was a side-perk – we were just looking for a decent “chew” option.   Over 10 years later CET chews are the only chews I use with all of my dogs (they have been a good tool for all my dogs …Rottweiler to the Pomeranian).

For a chew, keeping in mind all chewing items carry risk for a dog, I have had minimal issues with my dogs choking or digesting these chews.  I do have a 12 year old black lab that is a really aggressive chewer that will sometimes gag a little on the chew (gross I know but he manages it himself – it has never turned in to a choking incident).  I will say, even after all these years, I supervise my dogs when they have chews – there is always the possibility of a choking incident with any chew.   My dogs have not have experienced any digestive upset from the CET chews – even my chocolate lab with a hyper-sensitive stomach.  The upside is that these chews also really do seem to help keep the dogs teeth clean.

My second criteria for a chew was that it didn’t make a mess all over the house when it was soaked with doggy saliva.  (I learned the hard way that some dog chews will stain your carpet – sure makes ya wonder what it’s doing to the dogs tummy too).   I will notice tiny little wads of the CET chew stuck to the carpet after the labs finish their chews.  The little wads do clean up easy (manual pick up – even my Dyson doesn’t get them) but there is no staining or discoloration of my carpet from the chews.  The CET chews don’t smell bad either.

The final criteria for a chew was that it was affordable.  CET Chews are actually quite expensive – especially if you have multiple dogs like we do.  Historically, I had always purchased the CET Chews at the vet office and would subsequently have a nose bleed after I wrote the check for them.  The good news is that they are becoming more widely available and the price is coming down.

The purpose for this post is to share the history I have had with these chews and to highlight the best deal I have found on them which is on the American Diabetes Wholesale website.   I pasted the link to the site here .  I purchase the chews in 5 Packs which gets me 56% off the retail price.  If your order is over $100.00 the shipping from them is free.  This works for well for us as I typically order multiple 5 packs and the Virbac toothpaste at the same time to take advantage of the free shipping.  My experience with their service so far has been good – they process the order the same day and the shipping is fast and free.  I have recently noticed a slightly better price for the CET Chews on another site,  They have a sale price that is almost $1/bag lower than American Diabetes Wholesale (as of 4/24) and they offer free shipping on orders over $85.00.  I did call them to see if this was a permanent sale price or temporary sales price and they did say it was probably a temporary sale price but its worth checking this site out too.  I  do not have any experience ordering from this company yet.

I hope you find this “BEST DEAL” post helpful.  I am NOT a paid spokesman for any product or website mentioned on this page and I don’t write product reviews on any pet items unless I have had years of experience with multiple breeds interacting with the product.  I am simply sharing our experiences in the hope we can help others with the learning curve on caring for their pets.  I will close this post with a reminder that all chew items carry a risk for a dog – when I hand out  chews to our dogs I make a cup of coffee or tea and sit down and relax with the dogs while they enjoy their treat.

As always, the first stop for any questions about a pet’s care for us will always be our veterinarian.