Posted on Leave a comment

Misfit Manor Diary – Trudy’s Halo

Trudy arrived here in one of the more difficult circumstances…at least in terms of adjusting to her new life at Misfit Manor. Being both blind and deaf she had so much to get used too…large yard and house…and lots of dogs.

In the house Trudy adjusted really quickly! She memorized the lay out of the house really fast…impressive! She runs around this house like she owns it…and she does not run in to anything (unless I stupidly leave something out of place).

Outside of the house though is a different story…its a big scary world for a pint sized blind and deaf dog. I am perfectly fine if Trudy is happy living her life going no where but Misfit Manor….she can have a full life here. But I also felt like I owed it to her to see if she has a flair for adventure.

I saw on ad on Facebook for a “halo” for blind dogs and thought we have to give this a try. I have been working with Trudy for several days getting her acclimated to her new halo.

I only worked with her when we were outside of the house. I want her to know that putting on her halo means its time for an adventure.

The halo comes in 3 pieces; the harness, the padded wings and the actual halo.

I took time to let her adjust to wearing each piece in small steps.

Step 1 was the harness…would seem easy but I am not sure Trudy has ever had a harness on because she had a bit of fit initially. I put it on and took it off her several times in a row…treating her profusely every time it went on. I did this several times a day for several days…she now could care less if she has a harness on.

Step 2 was the wings (that the halo itself actually attaches too). That was pretty smooth…she really didn’t mind the addition of the wings. They are super light so I am not sure she really noticed them much. I only introduced either piece when we were outside of the house.

Step 3 was the actual halo. I attached the halo to the wings before I put the wings on her. The halo is so light that I highly doubt she knew it was there until it actually functioned for her. I had to bend her halo to make it longer to be a good fit for the longer snout of a dachshund…it came more rounded for a flatter faced dog.

It did not take long for Trudy to figure out that there was a halo there to protect her…initially she barked a lot every time the halo hit something in front of her…but as she ran around the yard…a yard that is full of large toys…other dogs….rock walls and more… she quickly figured out she now had something keeping her from doing a face plant into objects. As I worked with Trudy with her halo I only did it for really short periods of time at first. Trudy very quickly figured out that she can now run safely…she is “hell in a halo” in the yard now.

Trudy’s first walk with her Halo!

Once Trudy was comfortable in the backyard with her halo I started taking her out of the yard. It did not dawn on me until the first try at a walk that Trudy has probably never been walked on leash. She had no clue what to do. I gave her as much slack as I could and let her rip. Typically when Trudy is in unfamiliar territory she is pretty cautious and moves really you can see in her video she was trotting around like she owned it.

I am super happy with the halo product. It will give sweet Trudy the opportunity to have adventure outside of her familiar territory without fear of getting hurt.

Trudy is such a blessing. I am the luckiest dog mom alive!

Blessings from our pack to yours!


Posted on 1 Comment

Dog Training: The importance of trust and relationship

Building a foundation to train on with your dog…

doggy kissesThis is picture of me and Buster.  Buster is a rescue dog that I have recently started doing some obedience work with.  Let’s just say he has been bounced around a bit in his life.  He is super smart, affectionate and has tons of energy!  Buster needs some polishing touches on his manners and he needs a little help overcoming anxiety around unfamilar dogs.

For my first session working with Buster I was really focused on getting right to work and putting in action the training plan I had made out for him.  Buster was not living in my home so I had to pick him up and take him to my house to train.   We had no experience together other than my initial evaluation of him.  Buster is a very friendly and affectionate dog so it seemed plausible to start right in and get to work.  I took for granted that his friendliness meant he trusted me enough to work with me.  It didn’t go very well that first first training session…in fact it went quite poorly.  I (and probably he as well) felt totally overwhelmed by the end of our time together.  It dawned on me after our first session that in my eagerness to help this dog I had skipped the most important part of getting Buster and I working well together as a team…building a relationship with him and earning his trust.

I revamped my training plan to start our session with play and affection.  Our second session was a totally different experience…he took to his training like a rockstar and we had a blast together.  We alternated between training and play and we even took a break to take a few selfies together.selfies one   At one point in our second session I sat on the floor and Buster curled up in my lap with his head buried in mid-section.  We sat there for a good ten minutes….I could feel the tension release from his little body.  He was a different dog to work with after that.  The more time I spend playing with Buster and giving him the affection he craves…the harder he works for me.  Look at those ears…aren’t they amazing!!!!

Rescue dogs never cease to amaze me.  Their willingness to learn (at any age) and openness to relationships with humans (despite have been short shifted by a few humans) always touches my heart.  If only humans were so this patient and forgiving with each other.

I believe that pet rescue is serious business….the number of healthy pets dying in shelters every day in our country is a very dark spiritual blemish on our society.   I also abhor the notion that shelter pets are “damaged” or “unstable”…quite the contrary…they are survivors both physically and spiritually…would we humans have such good attitudes if we were homeless…no less dumped by our own families?  I am always amazed at their uncanny ability to live in the moment and live with such great attitudes…to assume the best about their humans.

Rescue On!


Posted on Leave a comment

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,



Posted on Leave a comment

Blogletter from The Rescue Mama

cropped-small-heart-cropped2.jpgOctober is National Adopt a Shelter Dog Month – that makes it my favorite month!!!!

Fall is my favorite time of year; the colors, the crisp Minnesota weather and the yummy fall produce – squash and apples and more!  It is also my favorite time to get to the trails with my dogs – cooler weather and fewer bugs!!!

There are a lot of new items on The Rescue Mama website to tell you about; a book review on Going Home, Finding Peace When Pets Die by John Katz; a featured item from my Rescue Chic line, the launch of  new line products and some tips on staying safe during Halloween.   Enjoy!



I recently added a book review of Going Home, Finding Peace When Pets Die by John Katz.  I read just about every book I can find on the topic of dealing with loss after the death of a pet and this one really stands out.    I read this book in two sittings (only because I was interrupted when I initially sat down with it).  John Katz offers wonderful perspective on our relationships with our pets and why our grief can be so intense when we lose them.  I found this to be one of the most supportive books I have read in terms of working through the guilt issues we often feel after we have had to euthanize a pet.   It does require a box of Kleenex beside you to read through this one but it is well worth the time, a real soul cleansing.

Click here for full review of Going Home


In honor of October being Adopt a Shelter Dog Month my feature item from The Rescue Mama store is my handmade Rescue Dog tags!

dog tag necklace 002dog tag necklace 003dog tag necklace 005

This necklace is handmade from a 2 inch metal dog tag.  It is ornamented with the definition of “rescue”.  The definition of rescue on this tag is:  “when a human gives a home to an animal who has no home, human is rewarded with unconditional love forever” – it is formatted to look like a dictionary definition.  The background is stained tan and brown with portions of paw prints around the definition (the location of the paw print may vary slightly on each necklace).  Each necklace has a black paw print charm as well as a small heart charm.  These necklaces are sturdily made though I would highly recommend not wearing them in water.  The back of the dog tag is blank.  This necklace makes a great gift for the dog lover in your life.

The chain is 28″ long though these chains can be easily cut to any length you desire, even simply attached to a key chain or hand bag.

Each necklace comes in a white burlap bag with paw prints on it, tied with red ribbon and a tag that tells about the Rescue Chic line.

20% of the sale of these necklaces is donated to the ASPCA.  These necklaces are available for $29.99 and ship for free.   If you are interested in one of these necklaces click here.


road tripThis month I launched a new product line that I am really excited about!  Its called the PUPCase.  My husband and I had always considered ourselves big dog people.  That is until one day two small breed dogs ended up at our door needing a home – we fell in love with them and were surprised by just how much fun we have with these little guys!   The nicest surprise – small breeds travel so well – we take them everywhere – especially on vacation.  Thiis picture on the left is Kringles and Lacey packed in to their car seats heading off to Door County, WI for an art retreat with me – we had so much fun!

After a few trips and going through the process of packing all their things I decided that they needed their own travel gear – thus the PUPCase was born.  I am having a blast working on these PUPCases.  I am launching the line with these first four cases and hope to double my production to about 8 PUPCases per month by Christmas.  The cases pictured are available to be purchased at my ETSY store

tiger pup cases small 001tiger pup cases small 014more pinkblack pup 014more pinkblack pup 001


Believe me, horns fit.
Believe me, horns fit.

One of the best things about October is of course Halloween – I just love Halloween!  I thought it made sense to add some resources this month on how to keep our pets safe during the Halloween festivities.  I love handing out candy for the trick or treaters – they are so darn cute in their costumes but I have to keep in mind that it can be a stressful night for my dogs.  My husband and I manage Trick or Treat night by tag teaming duties;  Bret takes the dogs down to my studio (where they can’t hear the door bell) and piles on the sofa with them to watches a movie and I usually stay upstairs handing out the candy until Trick or Treat is over.  When the night is over I make sure to pack any left over candy well out of reach of the dogs and cats.  Its also a good time of year to remember to check your dogs tags to make sure they are still readable and considering micro-chipping your dog if you haven’t yet – this is a notorious time of year for dogs sneaking out the door unnoticed.

ASPCA Guidelines for Halloween Safety –