December 16, 2008

3 dogs & a chick

Cute shop I just found on Etsy... 3 Dogs & A Chick. She sells lots of fun dog treats, but my favorite two items are her dog rescue tote and tee. It can be hard to find cool rescue stuff... and just because I'm a crazy person with five dogs doesn't mean I can't be stylish. Check it out:

quincy the reindeer

can you tell how much he loved his reindeer antlers?

December 12, 2008

always TAG your dog

I was reminded just yesterday how important it is to have your dog properly "tagged." Oliver has learned how to push open my storm door and, for the past two days, has decided to go on unsupervised jaunts around my neighborhood. Luckily, I realized he was missing on both occasions almost immediately and managed to track him down in a matter of minutes. But in the event that any of my dogs are ever lost, all of them are microchipped AND they all sport ID tags on their collars.

So in the interest of promoting the importance of ID tags, I thought I'd feature a couple of shops on Etsy that sell creative, not-your-everyday tags to make things a little more interesting.

AfterParis hand-letters each custom tag and they are super-cute. All pet tags are made using shrinkable plastic and hand colored with ink. These tags are waterproof and scratch resistant.

Pure Panache is another Etsy shop that sells really cool, creative pet tags. Their tags are also made using shrinkable plastic but feature a more graphic look.

December 2, 2008

thanksgiving fun

The gang and I headed to my parents' house for the Thanksgiving holiday. We definitely had a packed house since I brought my five dogs, my parents have four dogs and my brother brought his two dogs... meaning we had ELEVEN dogs at my parents' place for the holiday. It was basically organized chaos.

But while we were there, my "water dogs" (Sullivan, Mona Mae and Quincy) took some time to play in the lake...

And then they all got a little snack from Grandma later in the day...

peace for dogs

November 21, 2008


Cooper's rescue was absolute fate... as of yesterday, he was in the Greenville County Animal Shelter - his time was already up. I had seen him on the euthanize list for several days, and I knew it was only a matter of time before they ran out of space and Cooper would run out of time. Right now, every spare penny I have is going to pay for my labrador's cancer treatments, so I knew I didn't have the means (or the space) to take him in. But I couldn't get his little face out of my mind.

So just on a whim, I called my mom and asked her to send out his picture and story. And... it WORKED! My mom went and got him last night, gave him a bath and then took him to his new home. It absolutely made my week, and I'm pretty sure it made Cooper's week too :)

He's a 20 pound, one year old corgi mix (look at those short little legs!) and came into the shelter as a stray. He's now set for life with his new family (including two four-legged siblings). I'm hopeful that I'll be able to get some photos of him with them (instead of his shelter mugshot), and if I do, I'll post them here.

November 20, 2008

a sweet note

I received the sweetest note today from a friend's young daughter... I wanted to post it here because it really helped improve my week! I hope you can read the small type because I can't figure out how to post it any larger...

November 19, 2008

custom dog ornaments

For those of you out there that are purebred dog devotees, this probably won't be such an exciting post. But if you're like me and have four out of five dogs that are mish-mashes of various different breeds of undeterminable natures, then I think I'm about to rock your world.

Every year, I pass by cute Christmas stores and stands that have adorable dog breed ornaments - none of which look like my dogs. And I sigh and move on wistfully - wishing I could find fun ornaments that accurately depict my pooches.

But I no longer have to worry after finding Clay Greys. She creates custom ornaments by using pictures of your own pets! So now you can have ornaments that look EXACTLY like your own dog or cat... she'll even incorporate favorite toys, clothing, etc. into the ornament. And these little guys are so cute I can't even stand it. So check out all her offerings and be able to hang your mini-mutt on your tree this year!

November 18, 2008


This sweet girl is Bess. She looks to be maybe a shepherd mix, but the rescue group can’t tell because she is so thin and malnourished. She's being treated for hook and whipworms and various other conditions from being about 15-20 pounds underweight. She is about 2 years old and is about 30 lbs right now. She has a foster home waiting on her but they just need the funds to get her back in shape so she can be adopted to a wonderful family that will love and care for her. She is currrently in Greenville, SC.

If you'd like to help donate to her cause, please go here where you can donate online. Thanks for caring!

whine or wine? why not have both!

I came across a wine company today called Cru Vin Dogs. And since I like wine A LOT and love dogs, I knew I had to feature them here. Because not only do they combine two of my favorite things, they are also a socially-conscious company that donates a part of their proceeds to animal charities. The best part is that one of their chosen charities is the Morris Animal Foundation's Cure Canine Cancer Campaign - an organization that matters a lot more to me now than it did a month ago.

Read what they have to say about themselves below... I love it:

Vin Dogs isn’t your ordinary wine company. We exist to combine our passions—friendship, wine, art, and our love of dogs and worthy causes—into a wine brand with a purpose. Wine that gives back. Wine that makes a difference.

Our partnership brings together a unique combination of very dedicated people with a keen set of values and a wealth of wine experience, all linked by a strong bond of friendship.

First and foremost, we are dedicated to producing premium wines of exceptional quality from outstanding vineyards throughout the world. Bringing these wines directly to you allows us to offer these wines at approachable price points so that more people can enjoy the fruits of our labor.

We also embrace the concept of a business social conscience. To that end, we are committed to donating a portion of our profits to charity. Because of our lifelong love of our canine friends, we support worthy causes that involve dogs. In addition to monetary support, we hope to raise public awareness and understanding of the causes these wines support, perhaps encouraging more people to become involved in their efforts.

Finally, we celebrate our appreciation for art and its role in our lives. Our labels feature original, limited-edition illustrations by artist Jay P. Snellgrove. Each honors a real dog that has a special story–a reminder of how empty this world would be without the unconditional love and devotion of “man’s best friend.”


So, it's not very often that one of my rescues gets to model for a talented photographer. It turns out that Jim, currently residing in Greenville with my uber-cool friend Danielle and her family, is quite the photographic gentleman. Check out more photos of the handsome man here.

More background on Jim: I found this guy wandering down the side of I-85 a few years ago on my way to work. It took me almost an hour to coax him to me... it was a slow, painful process with me inching along toward him in 3-inch heels and a suit (almost in a squat so that I didn't frighten him into traffic) while I called him to me and tried to make him understand that I had dog food in my hand. Once I reached him he decided I was his new best friend. He stunk to the high heavens and was covered with fleas and ticks. I had to take him to work with me because I had nowhere else to take him. Danielle's office was only two doors down from mine, and I managed to convince her to take him home for the night. Well - he's still there :) and I'm convinced it was fate. Jim's laid-back attitude makes him a perfect fit for his family, and I'm so glad to see that the big man is getting the props he deserves.

Rebekah Girvan Photography: Jim

November 17, 2008

barney bites back

Did anyone see this video of Barney the First Dog biting an NBC reporter? While I commend the reporter, John Decker, for asking to pet him before doing so, I must come to Barney's defense. The reporter came in very fast over Barney's head to pet him (something considered very rude in dog language) and he also had a microphone and lots of other things in his hands (which I'm sure seemed very threatening to Barney). Perhaps Barney Bush thought his pops had been treated unfairly by the media and wanted to get in a parting shot. Anyway, see the video below or click here to read the article.

November 10, 2008

introducing ellie

I'd like to introduce everyone to cutie-pie Ellie... she is currently looking for a new home. She is a 2 1/2 year old pomeranian/chihuahua mix, just under ten pounds, spayed, and up to date on all vaccinations.

She is an adorable, sweet and intelligent dog. She's not very fond of spending her days outside, and she has proven herself to be a little escape artist so she definitely needs a home where she can rule the roost from INSIDE her castle. She doesn't like loud noises and always wants lots of attention. She'd probably be happiest in a quiet home where she could snooze the day away in peace.

She gets along well with other dogs, but she's never been around cats or children, so it's unknown how she would react. She also knows lots of commands and learns very easily and quickly.

If you're interested in meeting Ellie or have questions, please email me. And even if you're not in the market for an adorable dog right now, please send her information around to all your friends!

how to take puppy pictures...

I decided that with the pretty weather we had this weekend it would be a great opportunity to take a picture of all five dogs for this year's Christmas card. I had never attempted to get a good, posed photo of the five yet, so I wasn't sure how difficult it would be.

Well, now I know. The best advice I can give on how to take a photo of that many dogs? Have a stiff drink beforehand... and then have another. And then be prepared to be patient. Below I've posted just a small sampling of the various photos I took. And the real kicker? I realize now after all is said and done that the lighting was horrible and none of them are really useable. I'm going to have to do this all over again!

Me: Ok, first try guys... Penny - what's your deal? Look at me, please. Look at MEEEEEEEE.... Oliver - hey! (insert waving of hands to catch deaf dog's attention)... Look at MOM! (think to one's self - this isn't going to be fun)

Me to my mom (who was my assistant for the photo shoot): Mom, don't wave the hot dog way over there!! There not looking at the camera!... Penny Sue! The camera is over HERE! Why are you looking at the street?? Oliver Dawkins... don't you give me that look - I don't care HOW you feel about all this.

Umm, Mona... wake up. I realize this isn't the most exciting thing you've ever done, but your cooperation would be greatly appreciated.

Oh, this is GREAT! Everyone looks so nice! Except... you're not looking... at the camera. MOM! WAVE THE HOTDOG OVER HERE!!!!

Ok... ok! Quincy - check. Mona Mae - check. Sully - looking a little sleepy, but... check. Oliver - probably as good as it's going to get... check. Penny - wait, Penny! Stop looking at the wasp! Ohhhh, so close!

I think Sullivan and Mona Mae have given up... guys, please wake up! Ok, now I give up. We're done. I need a drink.

November 6, 2008


My original three dogs - Sullivan, Oliver and Mona Mae - do not require crates, and for this I am very grateful. I mean, could crates be any uglier? They're big, metal monstrocities that take up valuable space, and they're just plain ugly as well. And even those canvas crate covers you find at Petsmart aren't much better.

Unfortunately, the most recent additions to my household, Penny and Quincy, both require crates. They're young and mischievous, and I'm fairly certain that if I didn't crate them, I'd come home to find a pile of rubble where my house once stood. So I live with TWO big, ugly crates in my office and regularly curse their existence.

But I think I've at least solved the "ugly" part of my problem with these new super-cute crate covers from MuttHuttz. Betsy from Atlanta (yay, Southern girl!) handcrafts these covers out of stylish fabrics and trims, and even lines them with soft fleece. I can't wait to get my hands on a couple of these to cover up my hideous, big, black beasts. She also does custom work, so even if your crate is an odd size, she can create something that's a perfect fit. Check out her store here.

November 4, 2008

sad news... canine melanoma

Other than my Christmas collars I posted online earlier today, I must admit I'm not really in the holiday spirit these days. I learned this past weekend that my 6-year-old labrador retriever, Sullivan, has been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Sully was my first dog... and he holds a special place in my heart. You can read all about his amazing attributes here (yes, I've gushed about him before), so I won't go into serious detail again. I'm so emotional right now that it would probably turn into a 500-page book.

He has been diagnosed with subungual malignant melanoma that originated in his front left toe. And x-rays from yesterday confirmed that he has a lesion in his left lung (we're currently waiting on results from a needle biopsy of his lymph node). According to my research on this particular type of cancer, it is extremely aggressive and almost impossible to cure. But I have discovered a potential treatment that, while is probably won't cure him, will hopefully give him one to two more good-quality, comfortable years.

There is a relatively new melanoma vaccine available that instead of being used for prevention is designed to treat active disease. Apparently the vaccine contains human DNA... and by injecting a dog with DNA from a different species, it can stimulate and immune response that attacks the cancer cells.

Sully and I head to see a specialist on Thursday to discuss his treatment options. Something else I've learned in a few short days is how expensive this is going to be... Sullivan will require an initial treatment of four vaccines and my upfront cost to just start treatment will be around $2000.

Please keep us in your prayers... please pray that he will respond well to treatment and that I will be able to afford everything he needs. If you're interested in helping, please take a moment to forward out a link to my store and Sully's story. Every penny I make from my collar sales will be spent on his treatment, and we can definitely use all the prayers we can get.

I will fight this with him as long as he is comfortable and relatively healthy. I just hope that I am lucky enough to have a little more time with him.

Sweet Sullivan after his surgery to remove his toe

holiday time!

I'm super excited to debut my first line of holiday and Christmas collars! All of these are available for purchase at my online store. And of course I'm always willing to put my different snap-ons on different collars if you'd like a custom order. Feel free to email me or contact me through my store.

Oh, and the tartan collars above are all handcrafted using Carolina Tartan - the official tartan of North and South Carolina. It was recorded by both the General Assemblies of both states as the official state tartan. The Carolina Tartan was designed to emphasize the historical connection between the Carolinas and the Stuart kings, Charles I and II. The design is based on a fragment of Royal Stewart Tartan worn by Charles II at his wedding in 1661. So there's your history lesson for today!

November 3, 2008

mona mae trick-or-treats as coco chanel

I think Miss Mona Mae does a pretty good Coco Chanel impression... don't you?

October 29, 2008

little pies

Sweet Potato & Chicken flavored Secret Squirrels

I'm excited to introduce everyone to an Etsy seller I discovered recently - Little Pies. "Pies" is the Polish word for dog and it's pronounced like "peas." All of their cookies are made with certified organic ingredients, and never contain butter, animal by-products, salt or added sugars. And all ingredients are listed online. And I really like that they have unique flavors and concepts. I'll be stuffing my puppies' stockings with all of these this Christmas.

Above, L to R: How You Like Them Apples? treats, Tiny Turkey treats, and Plummy Tummy treats (packed full of ginger for upset tummies!)

Mint Mojito treats for nice breath!

October 28, 2008

halloween safety tips for dogs

As Halloween approaches, it's important to remember some safety tips for our pups. Below are some good pointers courtesy of Dogster:

* Don’t leave your dog outside. Even if you have a fenced yard, bring your dog inside where it is safe. If your dog is usually kept outside, bring him in a few times before the big night to get him used to being indoors. Your dog may be used to strangers, but so many little ghouls and goblins running about may be too much. Remember also that it is a natural instinct for dogs to protect the family from strangers, and on Halloween there will be no shortage of strangers.

* Keep your dog restrained. If your dog is timid or scared, or if he tends to love people a little too much, it is best to put him in a separate room away from the front door to limit his excitability, aggression, and chance of running outside and becoming lost.

* Reassure your dog. The best thing you can do for your dog when he is feeling unsettled by Halloween activities is to act as you normally would. By over-reassuring your dog or giving him an unusual amount of attention, you inadvertently can communicate to him that because you are acting differently, there must be something to worry about.

* Have your dog get used to costumes. Your dog may see his family members as strangers once they don their Halloween costumes. Before the kids put them on, allow your dog to scent the costumes. If your costume has a mask, keep the mask off when you are with your dog because dogs can become confused when they can’t see our faces.

* Check your dog’s ID tag. Be sure identification tags are secure on your dog’s collar-just in case.

* Keep candy away from your dog. Many candies-especially chocolate-are toxic to dogs. The severity of the toxicity depends greatly on factors such as breed, age, size, and how much candy was ingested. Problems may range from a mild upset tummy to vomiting and diarrhea, or even death. If you have any concerns at all, consult with a veterinarian immediately. If you want to keep your dog safe, make certain that sweets, including their wrappers, are kept well away from your dog.

* Protect dogs from candles and pumpkins. Excited or agitated dogs can easily knock over a lit candle or pumpkin. Be sure those items are away from your dog’s reach, or consider a battery-powered candle that does not burn.

* Think twice about dressing your dog in a costume. While some dogs might enjoy being dressed up, many don’t. Experiment first to see if your dog likes being in a costume. If so, fine-he’ll most likely enjoy himself and the extra attention it brings. However, if he shows any resistance, don’t do it. Dogs feel enough stress around Halloween without also having to endure the discomfort and peculiarity of wearing a strange costume.

* Be prepared. If you take your dog with you while trick-or-treating, be prepared at all times. Do not let your dog approach the door of a house, and stay clear of possible gags or gangs of goblins who will gather at the door. Dogs do not understand that the person jumping out at you will not hurt you; they often think they can only help you by acting aggressively. Neither children nor adults in costumes should approach a dog without the owner’s consent.

* Have fun but think of your dog’s safety. Finally, if you want your dog to be included in Halloween festivities, think about his safety much as you would the safety of a small child. Your dog does not understand Halloween, so he needs you to provide the guidance and safety that you always do.

October 27, 2008

this one's for the boys...

So, you've asked for them and here they are... my two new snap-on collars for boys! These two styles are just the beginning - I'll be rolling out a couple more in the next week or so. The fire hydrant is my absolute favorite...

And the fabric on the puppy paw collar (brown/orange/blue/green) is super cute. I do realize that the orange paw, although not intended to be a tiger paw, does look a lot like one in the orange color. So if anyone out there likes the paw collar, but doesn't want orange, just let me know. I can do it in pretty much any color you want.

They'll be up for sale in my shop by this afternoon.

October 26, 2008

fun news

I'll be posting some fun pictures tomorrow morning of my new projects... but in the meantime, here's a clue below. Stay tuned!

What are little boys made of?

Frogs and snails and puppy dog tails

That's what little boys are made of...

October 24, 2008

so... i'm back

Sorry for my hiatus this week... I am participating in an art show that kicked off last night, so I've been spending every spare moment this week working on collars. Above is a picture of my little table at the show.

Heather LaHaise was another local artist participating in the show. I had seen her work before and was totally impressed, but after being surrounded by it last night, I was seriously in love. She is truly able to capture that special something about each dog that makes them unique. You can learn more about her here. And check out some of her work below:

The piece above was my absolute favorite!

October 17, 2008

pecan pie... kittens?

So I'm typically a dog rescuer... I only have one cat at home, Scarlett, that I've had about seven years. But when a good friend of mine told me she was ready for another kitten, I told her I would rescue one for her from the euthanize list at a local shelter.

It had been a while since I'd been around a tiny kitten... and this little bundle of orange fur was too adorable. She's seven weeks old, and was found in a Food Lion grocery parking lot.

She now resides in Columbia with my friend (who, incidentally, also adopted Amos, one of my rescue puppies). Please excuse the poor quality photos. The little furball wouldn't be still!

October 16, 2008

just a pretty picture

Not much of a post today... I've got to head out early to go pick up a rescue - look for pictures tomorrow! But wanted to pass along this delightful picture of Lena Corwin's wedding via Absolutely Beautiful Things.

October 15, 2008

dogs & kids

There are some really cute new dog-based kids items that I've discovered lately... and the two stores that really have a great selection are Pottery Barn Kids and J. Crew's Crewcuts.

Forget kids... These sheets are so cute - I want them for MY bed.

And all the J. Crew items below are just a small sampling of what's available through their store. Just go to Crewcuts online and search for "dog" and you'll find all kinds of cute "doggie-inspired" clothing.