Recently I saw a card that really made me think. It read:
"We will never be the same as we were before this loss, but are ever so much better for having had something so great to lose."
I read it several times so it really sunk in. How true.
It may be a person or a companion animal who provided strength, direction, love, passion, levity, companionship among other things in life. Simply put, they made your life and you better. When you lose someone so special, the hole left behind is deep. Everyone loves and grieves differently, but over time we can come to realize that we were fortunate to be enriched by their presence.
If the bond wasn't so special and strong, the pain of the loss wouldn't be so numbing and sad.
The unexpected loss of my constant companion Jack Russell Ben on Thanksgiving 2015 was devastating and I know I will never be the same. Today I'm trying to learn how I am better for having had him in my life.
I like to think he selected Thanksgiving to teach me my last lesson on thankfulness. As I continue to process the loss today, I also realize what I have gained. This one dog heightened my level of passion to make a positive difference. My involvement with the animal welfare movement increased and allowed me to meet so many amazing people. I became especially active with Animal Legal Defense Fund who rescued Ben along with 300+ other dogs from an unthinkable environment with a hoarder. Thanks to Ben, we made a difference together. He touched many people in his journey through our fundraiser events and in Paws pet boutique as our store dog. Just last month someone stopped in the store asking if Ben was there so they could visit with him. He was one-of-a-kind and I truly was lucky to have him in my life as a soulmate for the time I did. There is no doubt he made me a better person.
With a loss you find the good in people. During a difficult time your senses are heightened and it becomes clear the people and things that are truly important to you. Thanks to special people in my life Ben's legacy will live on with Ben's Memorial Fund through Animal Legal Defense Fund. Donations support prosecution of animal cruelty and fighting puppy mills. Ben made a difference in my life and will continue to do so in many other lives as his legacy continues. Today I am more grateful for the people in my life thanks to Ben.
Paws pet boutique continues to hold events to support ALDF, and now Ben's Memorial Fund. September 30, 2016 we partner with the Loews Annapolis Hotel to host a dog-friendly happy hour, Canines & Cocktails for a Cause. Generous businesses have donated prizes for the raffle and auction that support Ben's Fund. If you're reading this and the event hasn't happened yet, we hope you can join us at 5:30 pm.
Additionally, Paws pet boutique donates $1 from every box of "Give" dog treats to Ben's Fund. Choose from 3 yummy flavors. The treats make a unique and perfect dog gift too. They are of course heart-shaped.
As I continue to work through my loss, I can see I am better for having the opportunity to have one of the funniest, engaging and loving Jack Russells in my life for 10 short years. If you are feeling the loss of a loved one, I hope you reach out to your family and friends and take the time to realize how you are better for having your lost loved one in your life for the time you did. Loss is hard. My hope is that by sharing this I help someone see a brighter side.
"We will never be the same as we were before this loss, but are ever so much better for having had something so great to lose."
Make time to find why you are better and make today count.
So you're in the know here's a quick history of why and when Maryland Day began...
The holiday marks the anniversary of when the first European settlers arrived in Maryland. The date was March 25,1634 when two ships, The Ark and The Dove, landed in what is now St. Mary's County. While the date began to be formally observed in 1903 to celebrate Maryland's history, it wasn't until 1916 when the State legislature authorized March 25 as "Maryland Day", a legal holiday. The Day continues to be a commemoration of the state's history and heritage...and of course provides a good reason to come together and celebrate!
Events celebrating this history can be found across the state on and around Maryland Day. However, you will find Marylanders enjoy showing their state spirit year-round. Visit Maryland and it's hard to leave without seeing something that features the Maryland flag in all its artistic design and vibrant glory.
The celebration of Maryland doesn't fall short then it comes to man's best friend. Canines hold their tails high sporting Maryland flag collars and Maryland flag crab collars, while their humans tag along holding a Maryland flag leash. Paws pet boutique is anchored in the state capital of Annapolis, which is always voted one of the top dog-friendly towns in America. In addition to noticing water bowls in front of shops and restaurants, you'll see plenty of car bumpers displaying their love of dog and state with Maryland Flag dog magnets and stickers. Homes and yards are decorated year-round with Maryland Flag dog flags, door mats and sun catchers. People even wear charms in the shape of Maryland with a paw print marking the state capital. Yes, Marylanders are a little fanatical when it comes to celebrating their state pride, but we like it that way!
Whether you are a state resident or just want to join in the fun, you're sure to enjoy the spirit of all things Maryland on Maryland Day or any day. Life is short. Make today count.
There you have it. You now have a taste of how Maryland Day started and know that the appreciation of Maryland continues to this day!
Valentine's Day is always a holiday that sneaks up on you. To be a little better prepared to celebrate unconditional love we came up with 12 Special Valentine gifts for pets and their people at Paws pet boutique.
Check out these unique dog collars for your furry valentines, heart paw print jewelry for you, or a special someone, and fun pet signs that make perfect gifts for animal lovers!
#1. Feeling Happy and Loved Emoji Dog Toys for your furry valentines.
#3. Valentine Pink Dog Leashes with Hearts above make it a perfect pair. (made in USA)
#4. Bones and Heart Collars are sharp Valentine collars for boy dogs. (made in USA)
#5. Bones and Hearts Dog Leashes pair with collars for dapper dogs. (made in USA)
#7. Always in your Heart Paw Charms by Tracy add a little love to any necklace & make you feel good. (USA)
#8. Loving Dog Heart Signs remind us of the power of dogs' love. Follow your dog's lead.
#9. Cats Leave Paw Prints on Your Heart Signs remind us of the impact of furry feline valentines.
#10.Kiss Your Dog Daily Signs...Well that's a given, need we say more?
#11.Beware Dog Can't Hold It's Licker Signs caution you of free doggie kisses ahead!
#12. Stainless Heart Pet ID Tags are the most important item on our list. Make sure your best friend is wearing an up-to-date tag. ID Tags ship FREE too!
BONUS Idea...All You Need is Love and a Dog Pillow (Kona you look like a Valentines Day dog!)
So remember to share the love with your furry valentines on February 14th! We wouldn't want to imagine a world without companion animals by our sides, so lets celebrate them. Have a happy-tail kind of day!
One by one...that's how our silver paw print jewelry is created thanks to Tracy Menz Designs. Wanting to learn a little more about what inspires Tracy and the steps involved in making her artistic jewelry, we set up an interview with her. We learned there is a lot of work that goes into each piece of dog jewelry or cat jewelry!
Q: The jewelry you create is very organic with a nod to nature. What led you to design a line of animal-inspired jewelry?
A: My inspiration flows from how our natural surroundings create an authentic beauty that is organic and textural. I have an unbridled love for all things outdoors... the water, animals, and sunshine. I grew up in a rural setting and was exposed to horses, rabbits, dogs, cats, fish and guinea pigs at an early age. I developed a keen appreciation to love all creatures great and small. I raised my children on the water and they too have a love for nature. Because of this exposure to nature, I create pieces reflective of this love for the outdoors and the ocean.
Q: What types of materials do you use to make your one-of-a-kind pieces?
A: In keeping with my love of nature, my work is centered on reclaimed product... metals and gems. My material of choice is Pure Metal Clay (PMC). PMC is a fabulous medium I fell in love with the first time I touched it. It is made of reclaimed silver nano particles and is 99.99% pure silver. PMC is mixed with an organic binder that allows the precious metal to become malleable, so I am able to carve, mold and design products to fit a clients request. Once a charm is carved, formed and textured, the metal clay is dried slowly, then fired in a kiln, polished, and finished. To bring out textures, I use an organic oxidizer to darken areas for added depth, and then polished the piece again. I like to add local sea glass that I have found on the Eastern Shore, as well as shells and gemstones. Additionally I enjoy incorporating antique wax seals and stamps or molds I have created into my pieces.
Q: Knowing you Tracy, a lot of love goes into
each of your pieces. From start to finish how long does it take to make a charm
and what steps are involved with its creation?
A: Thank you Michelle! I definitely try to put effort and personalize artistic touch into each piece. Every piece is handmade, one at a time, so no two are ever the same. Each one will be “imperfectly perfect” as I am not perfect but diligently strive to make each piece so. It takes approximately 3-4 days to design a piece
start to finish. This includes the drawing, the PMC work, the firing and the final polishing. Some pieces can take longer, depending on the complexity and intricacy of the design. For example, my “Love Maryland Paw Charm” took several weeks to complete from preliminary design to finished product. Once I have a vision of the piece I want to create, I first render a rough drawing, and then I work out the size and shape with paper. I then move on to creating the drawing in Pure Metal Clay. The “Love Maryland Paw Charm” took several iterations in order for the state of Maryland design to lie correctly when placed on a chain. Using PMC, I am able to carve, mold and design to fit my needs as well as the client’s needs. Once the charm is carved and formed, and texture added (I like using what nature provides... a shell, pine needle, nuts, leaves etc.). The metal clay is dried slowly and then any final touches such as creating the hole or bail for the charm to hang are added. The piece is then hand-sanded, and placed in the kiln to be fired from 1290 - 1650 degrees. The finished product comes out of the kiln perfectly hardened into Fine Silver. I then hand polish and sand each piece until “charmingly” finished. There will be slight imperfections. Just like nature, not perfect but still unique and beautiful.
Q: While we love offering your line of jewelry that celebrates companion animals at Paws, you design many other types of jewelry pieces. Where can people find your jewelry?
A: I love creating my pet jewelry line exclusively for Paws Pet Boutique. You cannot find these pieces anywhere else. However, you can find my other jewelry designs locally at Whole Foods Markets in Annapolis and Columbia MD. My gemstone and luxe collections can be found at Wrabyn in West Annapolis, Meadow Hill Wellness Center in Annapolis, and if you happen to be on the West Coast, please visit Europa Boutique in Mendocino, CA for authentic Fort Bragg Sea Glass creations. In prehistoric time, the Fort Bragg, CA area was home to the Native Americans, most of whom belonged to the Pomo tribe. Glass Beach is on the edge of town, along the Pacific Ocean. The tides in the area bring old, discarded glass pieces to the beach daily. A friend collects the Fort Bragg glass and sends them to me for my uniquely California designs.
Thanks for sharing a behind-the-scenes look at your beautiful jewelry Tracy! We've always liked to call it feel-good jewelry because you can feel the love that goes into each piece. Come see Tracy's pieces at Paws pet boutique downtown Annapolis or check out her paw print jewelry and other dog jewelry and cat jewelry lines on our website.
Here we are one week into 2016. A new day, week or year can provide a feeling of a fresh start. While some people make resolutions for guidance in their lives, I have found some of the best mentors of everyday life right in front of me...my companion animals!
Your pet knows how to make today really count. Appreciate the simple things like smelling the air on a clear day, meeting someone new, enjoying a special snack and spending time with those important to you, while always greeting them with appreciation. Get out and exercise and take advantage of napping opportunities especially in sunny spots.
Here are four items that may help to remind you to stay on track with your pet today...this week and in the year ahead.
Always in My Heart Silver Pet Paw Charms remind you to follow your heart.
Our furry friends may not have all the answers, but if you're open they'll teach you a whole lot about life and yourself.
Wishing you a good day, week and year ahead with those important to you.
Make a tail wag for a guaranteed smile. Now is the time.
If we're lucky once in a lifetime we'll have an opportunity to live with a soul mate dog. Ben our beloved Jack Russell was just that dog.
He had existed with 300+ other dogs until Animal Legal Defense Fund took the hoarder to court and eventually won their freedom for a life of love. We saw his photo and knew we wanted to foster and adopt him once the case was won. It was 2006 when he arrived at Paws pet boutique thanks to an animal-lover helping transport dogs from Sanford, NC. Scared stiff with big innocent eyes and yellow fur from living in urine, he was beautiful to us.
Amazing what love can do. Over time he became less timid and actually enjoyed meeting people ready to give him a treat or a belly rub. He always remained tentative until he got to know you, but once he did he never forgot you. Greeting guests in our store especially other dogs became his specialty...along with sitting by the treat jar. Gentle Ben was a lovable, funny and memorable fellow that turned out to be cute as a button with gorgeous white fur and perky ears. A friend summed him up perfectly describing him as a little dapper man in a Jack Russell suit.
He was bigger than life and was the master at seizing the moments. From jumping on the bed first thing in the morning to throw his favorite egg balls in the air to barking in the air to let the world know he was happy to rolling on his back in the car every time he jumped in, Ben loved life. Never a complainer, he would even wait in line behind the cat for the water bowl. There was no question though that his Mom was his soul mate and he always looked to her for guidance and reassurance.
Ben was the inspiration for us. We were so moved by him that we started fundraisers in his name sake to benefit the group that rescued him. From 5 Ben's Cruises to Ben's Waterfront Bash to Ben's Dazzling Online Auction and many Ben's Raffles, thousands of dollars were raised to help other animals and bring awareness to this important charity. Ben learned to love being the center of attention and having his photo taken. He knew when to turn it on. His last social appearance was November 18 when a group of government officials came to the store to present a certificate of recognition for the store. He was looking dapper as ever, wearing a red tux bandanna and doing his part socializing better than any other dog could. We would love to do that day all over again.
Paws pet boutique would not be what it is today without Ben. There will never be another Ben.
Ben passed away on Thanksgiving 2015 from unexpected gallbladder surgery. He will always be missed deeply by his family. A friend pondered why it was on Thanksgiving that he passed away and shared "Maybe it's because of the huge positive impact that his life had on so many people and animals in this world. Maybe to remind us to give thanks for the special people and animals in our lives and the wonderful connections that we share with them." We like to think this was the reason. Almost ten years with him wasn't enough and the ending was so unexpected. He will always be in our hearts and we can't wait to be reunited with him in another life. Ben rescued us.
Pair dog lovers and wine lovers together and you come up with some wonderfully unique gifts!
For those who love wine and dogs, or simply entertaining with a cheerful twist, you don't want to miss these 8 canine-vino finds...
#1. Dog and Drink Napkins: "Sit, Stay, Drink" ($4.95) - Don't Hudson and Fitz look right at home with the napkins and wine?
#2. Dog and Wine Sign: "You're not Really Drinking Alone When the Dog is Home" ($12.95)
#3. Stemless Dog Wine Glasses: Swimming Dog Stemless Wine Glasses ($16.95)
#4. Wine Dog Corkscrew Opener: "Sit, Stay, Drink" Stainless Corkscrew ($9.50)
#5. Dog Lover/Wine Lover Sign: "I just want to Drink Wine and Pet my Dog" ($16.50)
#6. Wine Bottle Dog Toy: Kennel Relaxin' Squeaky Dog Toys ($12)
#7. Dogs Wineing Drink Coasters: Set of 4 Dogs Drinking Wine Coasters; Many breeds from which to select! ($36.50)
# 8. Wine Dog Cocktail Napkins: "Wine More, Bark Less" Dog Cocktail Napkins ($4.95 )
We had to throw in a 9th favorite for the feline-vino lovers....
#9*. Wine Cat Cocktail Napkins: "Wine Stalker" Cat Napkins ($4.95)
There you have it. Great gifts for those dog lovers on your list who also like to sip a glass of wine from time to time. If you're planning gatherings during the holidays we've found the napkins add a fun conversation element to parties. Don't forget our dog boutique always offers complimentary gift wrapping all the time.
Wishing you a cheerful day today and during the holiday season!
The season to spruce up your dog's neck attire is coming! Are you in search for the perfect Christmas collar that suits your best friend? You're looking for something that matches their personality with a little bit of your style, right? Our dog boutique searches high and low to find unique holiday collars made in USA for the dapper to the whimsical. Take a look at twelve of our favorite collars and you'll likely find a holiday dog collar that's perfect for your constant companion. Better yet, all these dog collars are under $25!
CLASSIC HOUNDSTOOTH and FROSTY!
Black and White Houndstooth Bow-Tie Dog Collars for stylish party attire or any day.
Frosty the Snowman Dog Collars for those that love the snow and winter season.
RED PLAIDS and BOATS!
Red Plaid Flower Christmas Dog Collars made in USA feature a detachable flower.
Cool bobbing boats with trees and buoys make the perfect nautical holiday dog collars!
STRIPES, GINGERBREAD and DOTS!
Candy Cane Bone Dog Collars made in USA to look great on 2 pound dogs to 120 pound dogs!
Gingerbread Dog Collars aren't too bright or too dull, they are just right and fit even the big dogs.
Whimsical and fun our Green Dot Dog Holiday Collars add a splash of color and can style through March.
NAUGHTY/NICE, SPARKLE and CRISP!
Nice-Naughty Dog Collars have your dog's behavior covered for the year. Let's start fresh with a new year!
Bone Ornaments Sparkle on these Red Holiday Dog Collars. Just enough bling to stand out in the pack.
Green Gingham Bow-tie Collars are nice for the holiday season or anytime! Bow-tie detaches if desired.
So there you have it. Cute holiday dog collars for the twelve days of Christmas and more! All of these unique holiday dog collars are made in USA and nicely priced. Every day of the season you'll enjoy seeing your best friend wearing a special collar selected just for them. May your holidays be happy and allow you time to make your best furry friend's days bright. Happy memories are the best gift.
While I may be bias, the Maryland flag is the most colorful and hip state flag out there. On top of that, the state capital of Annapolis is one of the most dog-friendly towns you'll find in the country. So of course our dog boutique offers the best selection of Maryland dog flag items.
Here are our Top 9 Canine Maryland Flag items...
Chesapeake Bay Retriever Maryland Flag - Did you know the Chesapeake Bay Retriever is Maryland state dog? This beautiful retriever was designated as the state's dog in 1964.
Maryland Flag Dog Collars - Made in USA Dog Collars
Did you know the year was 1880 when the Maryland State Flag was first flown in Baltimore at a parade marking the 150th Anniversary of the founding of Baltimore? The flag was officially adopted as the State Flag in 1904.
Maryland Flag Dog Leashes to Enjoy Dog-friendly Annapolis
Maryland Dog Flags featuring a Yellow Lab - Designed by an Annapolis artist!
These dog garden flags always look so happy and colorful in our flower pots in front of our pet boutique.
Maryland Dog Flags featuring Black Lab - Share your Love of Dogs and Pride of State
Maryland Flag Dog Decals and Magnets - Personalize your car, binder, laptop, refrigerator, file cabinet...
Maryland Flag Crab Unique Dog Collars - Did you know the Maryland Blue Crab was designated the official State Crustacean in 1989? Just a little taste of Maryland history.
Maryland Crab Flag Dog Leashes - Coordinate with your Maryland Flag Collar or Crab Collar
Whether you live/lived in Maryland or simply love the groovy flag design, share your love of the Chesapeake region and canine companions with one of these unique items. They make great gifts too.
You may not admit it, but if you're like me the majority of the photos on your phone are of your best friends
with fur. My Jack Russells and brave cat make me smile, so I'm always trying to capture a happy moment with them. I find that my images don't always reflect the moment, so I thought we'd touch base with Lori of Red Leash Pet Photography for some photo tips! Here's what we found out...
Q. Today cell phones are always handy to catch a quick moment you want to remember. Are there tips you could share on taking photos with cell phones and are there any apps you like to use?
A. Mobile phones today have amazing cameras and what is great is that the camera is always with you. However, these cameras still have limitations. For example, they are not very good at capturing fast moving subjects. Your best photos will be portraits where your pet is still. I recommend you fill the entire frame with your pet. Once you have the photo composed, tap the screen on your pet’s face and the camera will automatically focus and choose proper exposure. Try to photograph your pet in enough light so that you do not have to use your flash, since the flash will cause the dreaded glowing eye.
Some of my favorite apps for mobile photo processing are Snapseed, Camera+ and VSCO Cam. These apps give you the creative control to adjust exposure and colors, as well as fine-tune the details. Don’t forget to post your photos to Instagram and Facebook! And most importantly, make sure you have your photos backed up somewhere.
Q. Knowing pets can be difficult to photograph, what are some tricks you find work well to catch their attention?
A. I love photos where pets are looking right at my camera. Their eyes are so expressive and it truly is a window into their soul. But getting them to look directly into the camera is easier said than done. I find that interesting noises give me the most natural looks. Use squeaky toys (I have a bunch from Paws!) or just make a whining noise. Try not to call their name as that often makes them come to you. Sometimes I use treats, but that can produce what I like to call “treat face”, where the dog looks less relaxed. And remember, pets will bore quickly with noises so make sure you are quick with taking your photo or have a lot of different sounding noise makers on hand.
Q. When you are photographing a subject matter do you always center it in the frame or do you suggest other framing options?
A. Certain images have more visual appeal than others. This is no coincidence. Often, images that draw us in are the ones that use diagonal leading lines to draw our eye into the frame or by keeping to the “rule of thirds”. For the “rule of thirds” imagine a grid on top of your image. Try and put the important elements along one of the grid lines, or at the intersection of two lines.
Additionally, a simple change in perspective can greatly impact the emotion of an image. Shooting from a pet’s perspective makes the photo more intimate. Kneel down or even lay on the ground with your pet.
Thanks to Lori for these great photo taking tips! We enjoy posting images of our Paws pet boutique guests to our Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest pages, so we'll put these suggestions to good use. If you have a good pet photo check out the PawsLiving Photo Share with Paws pet boutique too. Your photo may end up featured on www.pawspetboutique.com.
Bottomline though, there is nothing like having professional photos taken of your best friend. If you're like me, you'll be grateful to have a special image to cherish for your lifetime. The photo above was taken of Paws pet boutique's mascot Ben by Lori. For more information on photos by Red Leash Pet Photography based in Annapolis, Maryland, visit their website at www.redleash.com.
Thank you Lori for taking the time to share your photography insights. Happy snapping!