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Confessions of an imperfect dog mom: Preparing to Nest

My spirit animal!

There is something about this time of year that fosters an organic ability for me to relax.  Relaxing does not typically come naturally for me.  But the air is cooler in the morning, the spiders are huge, my spice garden is ready to harvest, and the days are getting noticeably shorter…change is in the air.

spider web
This amazing piece of arachnidart hangs above my main gate and below my Hemlock tree…its absolutely stunning.

This year there seems to be an urgency about getting ready for fall and winter.  The squirrels on my property are working at a dervish pace, there are wooly worms everywhere and trees seem to be turning pre-maturely.  There was a time when I dreaded fall for what comes after it.  I hated the shorter days and without a daily energy boost from the sun all winter I would slip in to some pretty deep winter blues. download But I’m in a different season of life and now I look forward to burrowing in for the winter.  My work load on the property slows down considerably and I can allow myself more time for art, play, cooking and spiritual pursuits…perhaps even a vacation this year.  I can’t wait to have this time to slow down and re-charge.  The older I get the more clarity I have into the relevance of the cycles and spirals of all life; the agricultural seasons, the cycle of birth and death and the constant sprials of evolving as an older woman.  I find the this latest cycle to be one of the most empowering times in my life.

Each season inspires a specific basket of dominant feelings/emotions in me…in spring its hope…but in fall its gratitude.  I love the colors, smells, sounds of fall..they make me feel grounded and quiet.  I feel grateful for the income that my businesses have provided all summer.  And I feel grateful knowing that an extended period of rest is near on the horizon.

I had not realized how much I resemble a squirrel until I started writing this post…perhaps they are my spirit animals.  All summer I feel like a squirrel while I’m hard (but joyfully) at work squirreling away my nuts for the winter.  And with the addition of Heloise to my family it seems like I sleep in a literal “nest” every night.  She is terribly shy and still won’t stand for being picked up or carried around.  Since I can’t convince her to go up to my bedroom at night I’ve been sleeping on an air bed in my den for over two months so she can be with the whole family at night.  She, and the other 8 dogs, pile on the airbed with me.

My babies piled on the air bed with me….love.

Heloise loves being in the mix; some nights she sleeps right on my belly.

I know she appreciates that we all stay close to her.  She tells me often that she “belongs”…that seems to be her word.  She is a very happy and playful girl despite her strong boundaries with touching…I am patient and I feel incredibly grateful for the trust she has already shown in me.  I posted a video of her playing with Snoopy at the bottom of this post.  She is joy.

Me and my fur family live a life where we try for the most part to keep to

Banishing Spray

ourselves…that is not always possible and there have been some uncomfortable incidents and lingering negative energy on one side of my property at Misfit Manor. I’ve been pulling out my full arsenal of prayers, blessings and tricks to put a stop to it.  Today I harvested a variety of sage, rosemary and lavender from my herb garden.

Making a banishing spray from herbs from my garden.

I am steeping them in charged rain water to make a protection spray to keep clear that corner of the property of any lingering nefarious energy and also work with in the house when I don’t want to burn my herbs.  The smell of steeping fresh herbs is so earthy and comforting.  I posted a cheat sheet on my banishing spray (though if you are interested I would encourage you to really craft your own with ingredients and intention that flows from your heart and intuition).



Snoopy’s 2nd Birthday Pawty!

The Pawty business continues to grow for me.  I appreciate everyone who supports my shop.  Vet bills on 9 dogs and 2 cats are no joke and my shop is a big source of how I fund it.  Petunia continues to get laser therapy several times a week for her back; as well as acupuncture treatments.   Millie and Petunia just had dentals…it adds up fast.

Millie & Petunia resting after their dentals.

Every time I realize that the “pet account” is running low I take a deep breath and trust that what I need will come….and it always does.  Every time I hear the Etsy “register ring” sound on my phone I feel a profound sense of gratitude.

Blessings to you and yours as we enter the fall season… may you find gratitude, renewal and peace in this beautiful season.

Rescue On!



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Pet Craft: Pet Themed Banners

Pet Craft: Pet Themed Banners

love banner

I recently moved in to a new home in KY.  Our new house has seven fireplaces, two of which are in my art studio.  I decided that I needed some cute pet themed banners to hang over my fireplaces.  I made all three of these with supplies I had laying around my studio.  Here is how I made them:

woof banner upclosegot rescue 2

Supplies: burlap (any color will work), Stiff felt (any color you like), craft paint, mod podge, stencil brushes or sponges, hot glue/gun, ribbon, Archival Stamp pad, paw print stamps, twine

I made my white WOOF banner first. woof banner

The first step is make a pattern shape for your banner.  I make my patterns on my computer (in powerpoint), cut them out and pin them to my banner fabric and cut each one.  Here is a pdf file of the template for this banner : WOOF Banner.  Particularly when you are cutting burlap you are going to want to pin your pattern securely to the burlap. 20140914_160333 Line the top edge of the pattern up with a strand of the burlap when you pin.  Once you cut your burlap piece, iron it and be gentle with it as you work so it will not fray (we will address stopping the fray shortly).

To create my letter stencils I printed out WOOF in the size and font I wanted in Microsoft Word and carefully cut out my letters. 20140914_185532

When I put the stencils down I tape them in place, and use a flat brush or sponge to dab the paint on (I use a minimal amount of paint and dab lightly).  Let the stencil sit for a few minutes to dry.  After I pull the stencil off I touch up the letter with a pointed brush to make it a darker and cleaner paint job.  If you use too much paint or press to hard with the initial stenciling you risk bleeding under the stencil.  I used a large paw print stamp to make my end banners. I stamped the paw prints with archival ink and then went back over the stamped image with paint.

20140916_183805When my banners were dry I flipped them upside down on my craft mat (important to use a craft mat underneath).  I ran my twine across the back and covered the crevice behind the twine with hot glue, folded the burlap over the twine and held it down until the glue was cooled.

20140916_143813 Measure the space between each flag as you glue it to the twine for an even look to your finished project.  Once your glue is cool, trim your folded edges so they look neat and tidy.20140916_184556

To address the fraying of the burlap and make this a lasting project I used Mod Podge.20140916_184819  For this project I used Matte but you could use Gloss if you want.  I set my banner on my craft mat (important to reduce the mess).  20140916_185336  I used a very generous amount of mod podge applied with sponge to each banner and then I hung it to dry over night.  It is only necessary to apply the mod podge to one side with burlap.  The flags of the banner may curl a bit after the mod podge dries.   To reflatten the banners I set them on my ironing board, put a piece of card stock over them (important) and gave them a quick iron.

To finish off this banner I added some paw print bows; I tied them first and then hot glued them on.

love banner 2  My second banner was my love banner.  Here is the template I used to make the pattern: LOVE Banner Template.20140916_160115  The banners are made from stiff felt that I purchased at JoAnne’s, it comes in a variety of tie die color themes.  I just love this pink and orange…so girly!  I did the same process with letter stenciling on these banners.20140917_142134  I used a smaller paw print stamp but followed the same process as the WOOF banner; stamp with archival ink and then paint over it with craft paint.  I added some pink gem stones to the banner and some orange bows to finish it off.

got rescue 2  My last banner is my Got Rescue Banner.  Here are the templates I used to cut the banners: Got Rescue Banner.  The back piece of the banner is made from stiff black felt and the front from brown burlap.20140917_151730  I cut both my banner shapes and then hot glued my burlap to the felt right away (I did each one as I cut) to keep my burlap from fraying.  Before I glued each piece of burlap down I ran an iron over it to make it nice and flat.  I used a paw print stamp and archival stamp pad to make my paw prints (again going over them with paint) 20140917_152327.  To make my “Got Rescue” letters I used some wood letters that I purchased at Walmart and painted them with red glossy craft paint.  20140917_151456.  To make the question mark I flipped an “S” backward and cut part of it off.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and found it helpful.  For more tutorials check out my Craft Page and/or sign up to follow my blog.  Here is a picture of what my sweet labs were doing while I was working on this tutorial:


If you are an animal lover consider following my blog for pet news, Pet Rescue Art and free tutorials for fun projects for you and your pet.  I post 1-3 times per week on my blog and daily on my Facebook and Pinterest pages.


Rescue On!




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Confessions of an imperfect pet mom: Stem Cell Procedures for dogs with arthritis…

Stem Cell Procedures for dogs with arthritis…

sam up
Our Sweet Sam!

This is a picture of one of our dogs, Sam.  Sam is somewhere between 10 and 12 years old; he is a rescue so we really aren’t sure of his age.  Sam has terrible arthritis.  He has been to many vets and each has said the same thing…Sam has the worst elbows they have ever seen.  Sam’s has never walked like a normal dog; his elbows are so bowed that he walks with his legs locked straight (and even goes up and down steps like that).  Sam’s health problems though have never inhibited him for doing a lot of walking or from being an incredibly happy dog.  However, in the last few months the pain Sam was experiencing in his front legs was enough that he could only walk for about  5-10 feet at a time before he needed to lay down.  Since we have recently moved we took Sam to a new vet here in Kentucky.  Our new vet suggested we try stem cell injections in Sam’s joints.  We felt we had to do something to try to ease his pain or we had to start thinking about letting him go.  Because Sam is a very healthy dog (and crazy happy) other than his horrible arthritis pain we wanted to look at any option we had to find some comfort for him.  We started doing some research on stem cell procedures until we were comfortable that we understood exactly what the vet was suggesting.  We decided to go ahead with the procedure several weeks ago.  We had the injections done in both Sam’s hips and elbows.

I write about this because I know how hard it is to make these kind of decisions for our pets and the first thing I do when considering something aggressive for my dogs is read what other pet owners have had to say about the procedure in question.

The procedure required Sam to be anesthetized so the stem cells could be harvested from his belly.  Our Sam is so skinny (he’s always been skinny) that the vet had to make a larger incision in his belly than he would have liked to.  They did get enough stem cells and we were lucky the stem cell counts were very high.  We ended up with extra stem cells and had them banked so that if the injections were successful we had the option to do it again in the future without having his abdomen cut open again.

After the stem cells are harvested they are processed (takes about four hours) and then Sam was given a lower level of anesthesia to have the stem cells injected into his joints.  Sam came through the two procedures (both done in one day) fine.  It was really nice that this was a one day procedure (we had him back home by 4:00 the same day).  (Bret and I are a bit pathetic; we can hardly stand for any of our pets to be gone for even a day).  Sam was very sore for a few days after the surgery.  I will admit it was really hard to see him so sore when we already knew he had so much pain in his joints.  Like any pet parent we were questioning our judgment and feeling like crap for putting him in any additional discomfort.  We gave him anti-inflamitories, pain meds, antibiotics and did a lot of icing of his joints.  The extreme soreness lasted about three days and all we could do was give him meds and ice packs and spoil him (which he completely took advantage of :)).

Its been a about three weeks now and Sam is showing signs of improving each day.  Sam now walks all the around the block (a long block) twice a day without having to lay down and rest.  He still walks with a bit of limp as his right elbow (as you can see in the picture) is really rough.  Sam even trots for a good part of his walks and he is trotting around the house.  He still shows the typical signs of arthritis when he first gets up from laying down, I don’t expect that will ever go away, but once he gets moving he is significantly better.  We know this isn’t a cure but only a way to manage his pain so he can continue living in comfort.  We don’t know how long the improvements we are seeing will last.  We also know that given the severity of Sam’s arthritis he will continue to need meds and other therapies (ice, laser treatments, etc.) for the rest of his life…but that is ok with us.

We are anxious to see how things go the next few weeks as stem cells take some time to work so there is room for more improvement yet.  But it certainly appears we are going to have some more time with our sweet Sam in which he can enjoy life in comfort and continue to do his favorite thing…go for walks and pee on stuff.   So far, we are happy with our results and Sam, of course, is the happiest of all us!

I am certainly not trying to recommend a stem cell procedure to anyone, just sharing our experience with it so far. Making these kinds of choices are so tough and is really specific to each dog’s situation but I know I look to others to hear about their experiences first hand…so here is ours.  I will post another update on Sam in a month or so.

Rescue On!



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Prevent Cruelty to Animals

April is Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month!

real men 002Please don’t turn a blind eye to something that doesn’t look right!  If an animal looks neglected, abused or you see something suspicious…REPORT IT!

Here is a link to the ASPCA’s resource page on reporting animal cruelty:  REPORT CRUELTY

The ASPCA has great information on how to recognize cruelty, abuse and neglect.  They also have detailed information on the laws and reporting agencies by state.

We must be the voice for animals!

Rescue On,



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Pet Sympathy Card

big frontHandmade card for loss of pet.

I am pleased with how this one turned out, what do you think?.  Death does not break the bond of love with our pets and I hope this card brings comfort to those grieving the loss of a beloved pet.

The front of the card reads…”Love…it is the shortest distance between two hearts.”

The inside reads…”May time heal your heart and memories comfort your soul.  With Sympathy”

Feel free to write to me if you have questions on any techniques I use to make my cards.  If you are interested in purchasing them, most of my cards are available at my ETSY Shop.  I do offer discounts for veterinarians and other pet professionals buying multiple cards at one time.

Rescue On!



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Gift tags for the pet lover

Hand made gift tags for the pet lover!

good imprint

I love making packages pretty and personal, don’t you?

What do you think of these gift tags?

I made a set for myself and put three sets up for sale on my shop.  I am charging $6.99 for four – does that seem like a fair price?

Rescue On,


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Sparky says………

WTF imprintSnarky Card

Ok, this one might be a little too snarky for some.  This is another new card in my “Sparky says” line.  Sometimes there are occasions when all we can say is “WTF?” and this card will make them smile.  The  inside of the card reads:  “sometimes that is all we can say…:”

What do you think of this one?

WTF imprintwtf Checkers imprint

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Sparky says…Peace?

peace imprintHandmade Card…Sparky says Peace!

Another new design in my “Sparky says” line…what do you think?

This is the perfect card when you need to call a truce with someone you have had a disagreement with and want to make peace.

The inside of the card says ” Peace?”

peace imprintpeace green imprint

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Sparky says…my foot is in my mouth!

Foot in mouth card…

Here is another card from my Sparky says line…

We all have moments where something has slipped out of our mouths that we wished we would not have said.  This is a card for just those moments.

The inside of the card reads; “I can’t believe I said that..I am so sorry”

What do you think?

Foot in mouth apology card
Foot in mouth apology card
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Prevent Pet Poisoning

March is Poison Prevention Awareness Monthmr yukc

Pet poisonings are far more common than we think and usually come from household items that we tend to believe would be harmless to our pets (things like sugarless gum).  I am attaching an article I wrote last year about how my husband and I poison proof our home, garage and yard.  We also talk about what the experts recommend you do (or not do) if your pet is poisoned; we had our own poison incident many years ago, it turned out fine but we went in to panic mode and missed some key actions we should have taken.

Article: Prevent Pet Poisoning

Rescue On,


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Sparky says…a new line of cards

Snarky Cards

black bike imprintThis month I am launching a new line of cards.   I am really excited about these because the sketches for them have been in the works for a long time.  The line is called “Sparky says…”  Sparky is my 16 year old lab, he is a very expressive and terribly funny dog.  I have wanted to capture some of his personality in a creative way for awhile…these designs came about over time.  All of the cards are my own pencil drawings of Sparky’s expressiveness.  The line is going to be snarky…cards meant to make people laugh because Sparky has been making us laugh and smile for years.  I will be posting new designs all month…I would love feedback (even if you think some of them are a bit too snarky). The first two cards are below.

Rescue on!


black bike imprint

The inside of this card reads; “The question is not whether or not our ideas are crazy…but are they crazy enough.”

The inside of this card reads:  “Life is too short to act normal”

orange bike imprint

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Pet Craft – Bookmarks

bookmark imprint

Pet Craft – Bookmarks!

Here is a tutorial for some really easy to make bookmarks for the pet lover.  These make a great last minute gift idea or stocking stuffer.

I used a variety of pet fabric to embellish them because I am a bit of cute pet fabric hoarder but you could use anything you have laying around in your craft room to make them cute, even cute photos from pet magazines (just put a little mod podge on them.).

Anyway; here you go – Bookmark Tutorial

20140222_165125 20140222_165047 20140222_165007

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Pet Rescue Art: A Rescue Dog’s Prayer

Original Painting – A Rescue Dog’s Prayer

A Shelter Dog's Prayer

What do you think of my painting?

This is a pastel on velvet paper.  I just love working in pastels and despite what many people think, they are a permanent paint.  This sweet dog praying in his shelter “cell”  with graffiti behind him has a special prayer for anyone looking for a dog.  Most of my pastel paintings have a dimension item to them, in this case its wire for the effect of his cage.   The poem was written by me.

shelter prayer 005 shelter prayer 003

This painting is on file with the US Copyright Office.

Check out my Art Gallery for other Pet Rescue Art I have done.  Many of my paintings and cards are available for purchase at my ETSY shop use the coupon code “NEWCUSTOMER” for 10% off your first purchase.  Are you a pet rescue advocate and just love all things pets?  Follow my blog for pet news, art and ideas for handmade gifts for the pet and pet lover!  I post 1-3 times per week to my blog and daily on Facebook and Pinterest.

Rescue On!


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Stylish dogs should have stylish accessories…

set mainScarf 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 variegated light weight yarn.  This particular leash is 36 inches long and 2 inches wide.  The handle of the leash and the snap hook are secured with a crochet flower with a pom pom in the middle.  The matching scarf is 20 inches long with pom poms on each enc.

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

scarf 002leash mainHere 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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Handmade Pet Sympathy Card

Handmade card for loss of dog

Sympathy poemThis is one of my original designs for a sympathy card.  This card starts with a base card stock of recycled paper.  I stain it (all sides) and then heavily emboss the front.  There is a distressed, stained and embossed piece of cream cards stock that is largely covered with the poem and embellishments but it creates a lovely accent behind the poem.  All of the embellishments are stained to match and some of them are stamped with designs.

This is one of my favorite cards, what do you think?

Sympathy cards 015(inside of card)

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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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The reality of pet theft

kringles in car seatPet Theft

Who wants to think about pet theft?  I sure don’t and frankly in the past I never thought much about it…that is until one day we got an alert via our local newspaper…a home, not too far from ours had been robbed.  What was the only thing the robbers took?  The family dog.  This news story really started me thinking more about this topic more and given that February 14th is National Pet Theft Awareness Day I thought I should do my part to spread some awareness.  Pet theft is real and it can happen to any of us.

According to PetFinder at least 5 million pets are reported missing each year.  Of that 5 million it is believed that 2 million are stolen and only 10% of those of stolen are recovered.  According to the AKC the top five breeds that are stolen are Yorkies, Chihuahaus, Pomeranians, Labs and Frenchies.    The AKC also reports that the number of pet thefts has been increasing every year since 2008.  Ok, here is the rough part and the big reason why we all need to think about protecting our pets from thieves…the pernicious reasons why these creepy people steal our pets.  This is a tough list to stomach but here are the leading reasons pets are stolen;

  • to be sold to laboratories for experiments
  • to be held until the thief can collect a reward from you
  • to be used as bait dogs to train fighters
  • to be used as breeders
  • to be used as meat to feed exotics (i.e. snakes, etc)
  • to be used as meat for human consumption
  • to be used as fur
  • to be sold in pet stores
  • to be used in satanic rituals (black dogs and cats especially)
  • to be used in sadistic acts

source:Pet Finder

dealing dogsIf your interested in more information on this nefarious underworld of stealing and using pets there is an HBO Documentary that focuses on the topic.  It is available on Amazon for $19.95.

I know for most of us it is almost to much to process.  How can anyone even think of a sweet pet being used in such ways but the reality is that it does happen and it can happen to any of us in an instant.

So what can we do as pet parents to protect our pets?

The absolute Golden Rule for protecting your pet from theft is simply to never leave your pet unattended.  Pets are routinely stolen from yards (especially dogs that are tied in the front yard unattended), when unattended in cars or tied up outside a shop where the owner is just running in for a minute or two.  I have a six foot fenced back yard and I still won’t leave my pets out unattended.

Other really important things you can do are;

  • Microchip your pet – I can’t emphasize this enough.  Your odds of recovering your pet are so much higher if your pet is micro-chipped.  There are many, many stories of lost micro-chipped pets being returned to their families even years after they had originally went missing. The Microchip is also undeniable proof that the pet is your if there is a dispute.  If you want to learn more about micro-chipping talk to your vet or check out Home Again or AVID.
  • Spay/neuter your pet. It’s obvious, your pet is less likely to be taken for breeding purposes if it can’t breed.  A pet that is spayed/neutered is also less likely to wander.
  • Have plenty of pictures of your pet handy and know any special identifying physical marks on your pet (moles, missing teeth, the color of the wick on their claws, etc.). The burden will be on you to prove that a cat or dog is yours if someone has stolen it and is claiming it as their own.
  • Be part of a community effort to help recover lost or stolen pets.  You can sign up on Home Again to get an email alert anytime a pet is missing in your area.
  • Don’t turn a blind eye when something doesn’t look right.  If you think a pet theft is in process call the police immediately.

What if the unthinkable happens and our pet is stolen?  Well, thankfully there is a lot we can do but it is important to act fast.

  • Call the police and your local animal control to report your pet missing (and any shelter/rescue groups in the area).  Check with your local animal control/pound daily.
  • Call the local vet clinics and animal hospitals in your area and let them know your pet is missing (give them a picture if you can).
  • Start with your neighborhood and move out from there canvasing with fliers to let people know your pet is missing.
  • Contact your local news outlets and ask them if they do alerts for missing pets (many of them will).
  • Get information out about your lost pet via social media – good people will spread the word fast to help find a pet (watch out for scam artists who will claim to have your pet and want a reward).
  • Watch for any local ads that are advertising the sale of a pet that matches the description of yours.

There are web resources you can use.  You can get a pet amber alert at  They do charge for their service but it is worth contacting their pet detectives to find out about the service (1-877-875-7387).  You can also post information about your lost or stolen pet on the following sites Pet Finder, Missing Pet and Findfido.   There is also a facebook page; StopPetTheft that you can post to.

I realize this is a dark subject that none of us likes to think about but pet theft is real and it can happen to any of us.  The more aware and prepared we are the less the likely we ever face such a terrible situation.  I hope you found this helpful.

Rescue On!