Lola is a very high energy bulldog, and her activity level is even more striking when you factor in that she is on the North side of 9 years old. For those who have never had an English bully, they're wonderful family members that generally have their mind made up on what they're going to do. And they also break your heart because they do not live long, mostly from all the crappy genetic legacy that keeps being bred into them (breathing problems, skin issues, bad knees, hips, etc). We were lucky that Mr. Bishi lived to 12.5, which is an awesome run. Maggie and Big Tuna both passed at 8.5 and 8, respectively.
Lol would play around 6 to 7 hours a day if one were so inclined ton engage with her. And along with playing come the vocals that only a bully can make. Those of you who share your lives with a bully breed will understand this. Bulldogs sometimes make sounds that would never be mistaken for a dog. The sound is similar to what we imagine an alien or alien - human hybrid might utter. I believe that is the sound they're going for.
I've posted a short clip so you get an idea of the demanding nature of Lola's rants. Wouldn't trade her for the world, though.
Joie at the Humane Society's Mutt March
At the Humane Society's Mutt March, we had the pleasure of having our booth right beside The Stuart Fence company. We had a chance to chat with Chet Richmond, president of Stuart Fence and later, we had a chance to chat with Julie and meet Joie, their rescue dog.
Stuart Fence has been in business since 2003 and they install all types of fences and gates for both residential and commercial properties. But their is another layer to what they do and who they are. Turns out both Chet and Julie are passionate about dogs - and when people are really passionate about animals, it tells you a lot about their character and what kind of people they are. As Julie stated, "Not having animals in our lives would mean we'd be missing out of love without the animals to share it with."
Julie's favorite breed is "rescued Cocker Spaniel" and, as it turns out, she is also involved in rescue work. "After we adopted Jypsie from a rescue in 2016, I got involved with transporting furbabies for rescues. Transports take the animals from shelters or owner surrenders and bring them to rescue or fosters...or even sometimes approved adopters."
Now, we all know how fostering typically works. You foster an rescue with the intention of finding it a home, and before you know it, you have another family member. Julie also ended up fostering as well. "We also foster to help get them reay for "furever" homes, as some have no idea what it is like to be safe, loved, and in a home."
Dogs have also been in Julie and Chet's lives. In fact, when Julie showed up later, she had with her Joie, a rescue they adopted from Palm Beach County Animal Control in June of 2009. Joie couldn't have looked happier and I suspect, so are Chet and Julie. Chet and Julie can be reached at 772-288-1151 or you can visit stuartfence.com.
We participated in the Humane Society's of the Treasure Coast's annual Mutt March and had an awesome time! Not only was this the first exposure of our designs to a whole new crowd, but we also met a lot of very nice and good hearted people. Needless to say, we will be back next year.
As far as the reception we received, people really appreciated that our designs weren't anything like they've ever seen. They admired the messages, and equally as important, we had a number of people who excitedly told us that they loved the artwork because it was so unique. As an artist, I can't tell you how much it means to see someone walk up, scan a design and a smile washes over their face. Even if they don't buy the product, it put a smile on their face because they found some meaning to it. We appreciate the comments, the patronage and support!
We'll let you know which show we will be vendors at next.
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.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.