Laura Pierpont, an artist and photographer who hails from Tennessee, shot some awesome product shots for Keep Wagging and we are thrilled with the results! She has a knack for capturing a moment that is so much more than just the moment. Hayley, the model and writer, was just as awesome! While playing with Lola, our spirited bully (click here to see the ultimate Lola I want to play now" picture ) even took a piece of her thumb, accident of course, and Hayley still soldiered on through the shoot. I suspect we'll hear about it from her agent though. And here's the icing on the cake - In addition to both of them being a serious artists, they are genuinely super nice. I don't know if that's a special category of niceness, but it should be for them. We'd adopt them if we could. You can check out Laura's work here:
A special thank you to all the wonderful people who stopped by our booth and supported us, shared a story about their companion animals, and laughed with us. Thanks to your support, we were able to make donations to the ASPCA and Joyful Heart Foundation.
Random observations - I loved hearing someone discuss how a rescue pot-belly pig helped them through some hard times and bonded with her; Meeting a dog with my never favorite dog name: Mayhem. And of course the girl with the tail. We're looking forward to next years show, seeing some old friends, and rolling out some new designs.
If you spend any time around us at shows or read our blogs, you'll quickly come to the realization that a companion animals health is critically important and a responsibility that some owners may not realize how daunting a task it is to maintain. Case in point, the bully breeds, i.e. English Bulldogs, Pugs, Bull Mastiffs, French Bulldogs and any other smoosh faced dogs. The first step, way before you even consider buying a dog from a breeder, is to understand what you are getting into. Once you realize the full breadth of problems and issues associated with pure bred dogs and that most likely you'll be shelling out some serious cash each month to maintain their health, you might think twice about getting a dog because you like the look of it. If there is one thing you'll learn from these tremendously informative articles, it's that mutts make the healthiest family members.
We highly recommend reading this article on Bulldog health. It's quite an eye-opener and really underscores the issues this breed faces and offers an idea of what we need to do to prevent these problems in the future. Another powerful article on dog health issues is one that appeared in the Guardian. It's a wonderful article that helps to illustrate issues that many breeds face when bad breeders get involved. You can read the article here.
Medicating your dog's eyes doesn't have to be torture for either of you. After watching my husband waltzing across the kitchen trying to pry Lola's open only to coat the side of her face with her eye drops, I decided it was time to pass along some knowledge. And after thirty years of working with dogs, I've seen all sorts of techniques. I'm going to show you how to do this quickly and easy.
"What I love is that they aren't really pretty...they're disheveled...you're not emphasizing their looks or their size."
I really didn't have that high-minded criticism of current advertising's long running obsession with thin people and what is perceived as beautiful. But beauty comes in all shapes and forms and it is indeed in the eye of the beholder. That is what continues to impress with our best selling design - everyone see's something a bit differently in it. I had never considered drawing something ugly or pretty - I just draw and it comes out. So I was impressed by this observation and happy that it resonated with someone and made a statement to them. Others immediately see the parallels on a bigger level - that humans are one big family, brown, black, Asian, Latino ad infinitum. And that many of us have four-leggeds companions that we also consider family. But there is also something else that bonds us together, other than our love of companion animals, and having families that are as diverse as the next. It's that we're all after the same things - we want to work, be productive, be loved and love, be happy, and have a frickin' awesome time until we leave the face of this earth.
Bulldogs are not naturally "fat" or have big bones. Sure, they might be stocky, like Lola is (below). But they don't have to be overweight. Bottom line is that people love when their dogs are happy, and they are happy when they are being fed. But if you keep them on a strict diet and don't feed them a lot of empty calories, they'll be fine. Lola gets a half cup, twice a day. You read that right - one half cup per meal. Sure she gets treats as well, but we don't go overboard.
The problem with any dog really becoming overweight are the health issues. Bulldogs in particular have really bad elbows, hips and knees - and if they're overweight, that puts more pressure on already comprised limbs and joints.
Imagine if you had a gimpy knee - you probably would be thinking about loosing weight, rather than gaining, right?
The side view below illustrates how your dog should look from the side - the belly should have a nice curve before the hind leg. Note that her stomach isn't touching the floor while she's standing. This is good thing.
Keep Wagging will be attending Woofstock in Sunrise, Florida on February 2rd. And on February 23rd, we will be in Gulfport, Florida for the "Get Rescued" event. For the Sunrise show, we will be unveiling four new Valentines Day designs for dog and cat lovers. If you have a companion animal, love cats or dogs, or simply like artwork that isn't like all the other stuff out there, stop by our booth and say "Hello."
This will be our second time at Gulfports Get Rescued event. We had an excellent show the first time and met some wonderful, and wonderfully strange people. I mean that as a compliment as well - their unofficial motto is "Keep Gulfport Weird" so you expect some vibrancy. That's our kind of crowd too. Click here to learn more about Gulfport's Get Rescued and Woofstock. We're also keeping our eye on a third February event in Tradition (Port St. Lucie) and we'll keep you informed as we learn more!
We like to keep things very upbeat and optimistic (you know, Keep Wagging and all that), but you can't ignore the dark side, particularly when it points to a much larger issue. You might find it odd that we make donations to the Joyful Heart Foundation, an organization focused on helping women and children who have been victims of sexual assault and domestic abuse. Someone who abuses animals will eventually hurt a human, because these monsters don't count the number of legs on their victims. In the past, animal abuse was virtually ignored. These warning signs weren't heeded, and the connection wasn't being made. If someone doesn't respect one life form, they will not respect another. These are the Dexter's in training and penalties for animal abuse need to be ramped up and treated for what it is.
Back to our elusive point - Keep Wagging makes donations to organizations that help those who need help - two legs or four. Because they are different sides of the same coin.
Apologies for dragging you into this darkness, but this is a topic that we are very passionate about. As always, we appreciate your business. If you would like to learn more about The Joyful Heart Foundation, please visit their website http://www.joyfulheartfoundation.org/
We don't have all the details yet but we will be a vendor at the Gulfport "Get Rescued" show in February. We did the show before and had a great time in Gulfport. We absolutely loved the vibe and the people we met. And we did well at the show.
I was particularly fond of the "Keep Gulfport Weird" signs and T-shirts that we saw scattered around - it was a sort of Key West vibe to the laid back area and it's worth the trip if you've never visited the area. We'll keep you updated with the specifics once we receive them!
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