Sunday, September 20, 2009

Jack one year later ~ Senior Italian Greyhound

We are running a Fundable for sweet Jack who has been with us for almost a year and in rescue for 16 months. He desperately needs a dental and to have his hemangioma's removed, which are little lesions that grow all over his belly and can turn cancerous if not tended to.

He had all of this done last June when he first came in which was funded by generous Silver Hounds supporters but he's in need again.

One lucky donator will win a $100 Gift Card to use in my ArtFire studio or in the Silver Hounds store which offers lovely sterling IG themed jewelry. Please do what you can.

Monday, September 7, 2009

And the winner is......PETE

With half of the votes, Pete walks off with the big prize. Congrats to GrandPrairieWoodworks and adorable Pete. Thanks to EVERYONE who participated. Your dogs are ALL winners in my book.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Cutest Dog Contest on ArtFire~ Win a $50 gift card

Aren't these just the CUTEST dogs? All of these furry faces belong to the talented artisans on ArtFire.
Vote for your favorite over the Labor Day weekend. The dog with the most votes by 3pm (AZ time) Monday Sept. 7th will win a $50 gift certificate to Spoiled Bratwear on Artfire. Please vote in the comment section with the number or letter of your fav picture.
GOOD LUCK! And Happy Labor Day!


. B




































Sunday, July 5, 2009

Also Known As Ruth ~ Farewell Monique

Almost four years ago I met the coolest lady. She was a dog artist in the little town I had recently moved to and I was interested in selling her items in my new store I was opening. We had many lively email discussions before actually meeting in September '05 and I was fascinated with her talent.
Not only was she an artist with hundreds of dogs, cats and other critters in her portfolio but she was a screen printer, putting her images on fabric items and selling them for people to make quilts and other items. Dogonit Gallery has been a staple in the pet world for 30 years.
A champion for everything "animal" and a big pet rescue advocate, she was the president of the Flagstaff Pet Assistance League, a local small group that promotes spay/neuter and responsible pet ownership. She was also an integral force in building both of Flagstaff's Bark Parks. Craft shows, holiday bazaars, the county fair were also favorite venues where she and her helpers would sell homemade dog treats and other goodies the FlagPAL volunteers would make to benefit this worthy organization.

Monique was born "Ruth" on September 12, 1934 and changed her name many years ago. Also Known As Ruth became the acronym for her last name...AKAR. As I got to know this woman I could not imagine all she had been through in her 70 years on the planet, burned over 50% of her body in a gas explosion in 1948 when she was just 14 years old. It took her mother's life and left her with a cruel father who never recovered from his wife dying. She spent two years in a nursing facility with countless medical procedures to repair her damaged body, which was never going to be 100%. Her hands curled from fused skin wouldn't stop her from becoming one of the most gifted pen and ink artists in the animal world....a world that she loved.
I recently had the privilege of meeting her brother who was here visiting from Chicago, a true champion in his own right also surviving the explosion and coaching kid's football for nearly 60 years now. He told me things from their childhood that even she never had, making me respect her strength and fortitude even more.

Monique never talked about herself unless you asked her. She never bragged about her was just something she "did". She was also a teacher, educating small children with her carefully thought out projects. She loved teaching almost as much as she loved dogs...and there were many. Collosus and Lute were dogs she spoke of with great love and most recently Sonny, Lucky and Uno. Her beloved Shadow preceded her in death by just a few months and it comforts me to think that somewhere they are together.
She was divorced many years ago, her 4 children scattered around the west coast where she lived until moving to Flagstaff about 10 years ago. She told of stories of sleeping on the porch in Walnut Creek to be closer to nature. She talked to spiders and elk and revered all living things. She seemed to get great pleasure from the countless friends she made over the years and never remarried. Independent didn't even begin to describe this lady!

I started to apprentice with Monique about 18 months ago. It was getting harder for her to handle the big screens and I was just fascinated with this entire process of pencil to paper to screen to fabric with emulsions, special fabrics and LIGHTS. Amazing really. She taught me how to screen print and while it was not something I would have pursued without her mindful nudges, it taught me a lot about myself and my own persistence!

Last June after being "just not right" for 6 months and blaming the flu, Monique was diagnosed with a form of leukemia that shocked all of us. We knew she was growing thin and sleeping more, but she would not think of seeking help until her friends finally forced her to the doctor. She couldn't be sick...this was Monique! The next year would be one full of experimental treatments that worked for a while, blood transfusions, trips to specialists in Tucson and a "beautiful remission" as stated by her oncologist in early '09!!! She wouldn't need a transfusion from November to April, she was able to drive, she was off her oxygen and she even helped me with the screening! A miracle for sure. We all reveled in her new found health and vigor, if only to see it slip away just a few months later.
She started losing weight again in the late spring, she was back on her oxygen almost full time and her days were mostly spent napping and getting her favorite backrubs. She loved her computer and communicated with her customers and friends in the wee hours when she couldn't sleep.

I tried to spend quality time with her without babying her, but mostly I was there to work and keep up with the orders that just never stopped coming in! I was with her at almost every doctor's appointment, acting as her ears since she didn't always hear so well. She called her oncologist "Dr. Happy" and always cheered everyone up when she went to that mostly sad place. I recall several times accompanying her into the infusion room where patients sit in recliners receiving their chemo treatments. She was there just to get a special shot to help restore her blood and she whispered to me, "Why are we in here with all the sick people?" If anyone could beat this on attitude alone, it would be her.

She lovingly called me her "super slave" and said "everyone should have one". I was her "in case of emergency" person and her hairdresser. Her part time employee and her friend. We laughed a lot. She didn't want pity and I never once heard her complain until Monday, a week ago. I met her in the emergency room and was shocked at her shaky appearance. "This too shall pass" I thought, knowing how she always rallied! It wasn't to be.
She was admitted for observation and I saw her just three times last week, Friday morning being the last. She uttered a few words, and I knew the end was near. Once I heard she was in a coma later that evening, I didn't want to remember her that way. I wanted to remember her as she was, before Monday. And I didn't want her to see me crying.

Ruth died on July 4th, 2009 just before midnight. Leave it to her to go out on a national holiday, one that represents independence, celebration and fireworks. I don't think I will ever see another fireworks display without thinking of her. Part of me is so thankful that she in no longer suffering or confined to the limitations of her body.....her independence day!
There was a very rare occasion in the last year that she didn't say to me, "What would I do without you." I shrugged it off, as that's what friends are for.
I'm not sure now, what I will do without her. She is certainly one of the people I will never, ever forget.

Farewell Monique. I know you are in a better place with all your beloved pets who left before you, I hope that you will take care of mine too. Thank you for all that you've taught me about the things that matter.
We'll miss you.................forever.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Little Furry Miracles


I'm going to try to get through this post without sobbing....oh dear, here come the tears already. I'm such a wimp.
Anyway, many of you know that I lost my sweet old senior IG, Speedo in the fall. After 4 years of teaching us all about starting over and helping other dogs, it was his turn to go the Rainbow Bridge. My heart still aches for this wonderful creature who taught me SO many things.
Just a few weeks ago my dear friend and rescue partner's dog Hank left us too, after just losing her sweet Lily in December who was also a rescue. Hank was with her just 4 short years, his story similar to Speedo's, being adopted at 10 years old from IG rescue.
Lily was also a very special Iggy, unable to see and she had a bad heart. Didn't stop her from loving life. She was a gracious girl with her fancy prance! I truly believe these dogs, our furry miracles, are still with us. They certainly proved that two days ago.

Lily and Hank
I have a forum with members from across the country who volunteer with my rescue group, Silver Hounds. We talk about dogs and dogs and well, dogs. It's a terrific bunch of people. Monday morning one of the members posted about a 12 year old dog who was being advertised on an online classified board in Ohio..."FREE to good home". Now, the first thing I think when I see these poor old dogs being given away for free is...FIGHT DOG BAIT. They train the puppies on helpless older dogs who don't have a chance. I digress and don't want to be gruesome, but it happens.
I contacted the man with the posting telling him all about Silver Hounds and asked him if he would give the dog to a rescue group. He checked out the website and decided it would be a great place for his old dog to "retire".
I live in Arizona.
The dog is in Ohio.
...and somehow Speedo, Hank & Lily with their infinite "old dog" wisdom coordinated it all from the shade of the Cookie Tree which surely grows tall at the Rainbow Bridge.

Hank & Lily's mom just happened to be in Ohio the past few days, visiting with friends. I alerted her via text that there was a senior who needed help and she called IMMEDIATELY to get the details. Turns out, he's only about 2 hours from where she was staying and like the superhero she is, she flipped on her cape and went and rescued that old dog from the people who had owned him since he was a pup. Don't get me started about how people can own a dog for 12 years and toss it out like old socks. That's another post, but suffice to say these people did this dog a HUGE favor.
Calls to the airlines, emails to potential foster homes and other rescue groups in Ohio, calls to vets to get a health certificate to fly JUST IN CASE and finding a travel bag in a little town didn't stop Hank & Lily's mom...who was flying BACK to Arizona the very next day (yesterday).

They didn't get home until midnight last night after a VERY long day. We watched their flight online, hoping that he was being good for her. She texted me when they landed...all was GOOD! Another almost 2 hour drive home to meet his new housemates, which also went off without a hitch. One big happy Iggy family :)

I imagine Donny will never leave Hank & Lily's house. I imagine they are really happy that mommy saved that old dog from an unknown fate had he gotten into the wrong hands. I imagine that Hank, Lily and Speedo are smiling down on all of us and just looking for the next little furry miracle who needs a soft place to land to spend their golden years. I feel blessed and honored to be a part of these amazing dogs' lives.

This is certainly not the first dog that Tammy has rescued and won't be the last. Aside from Hank & Lily, AJ & Styx who she adopted, there is Princessa, Buster, Jocko, Cisco and Twig that she's driven THOUSANDS of miles for and spent nearly millions of dollars on.
Thanks, Tammy. You are my hero :)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Thank You to Sadie's Fans!

Sadie's Fundable has reached it's $950 goal and will end tonight. Thanks to EVERYONE who helped this little dog on her journey to wellness. She still has some surgery to face to repair the broken jaw but is well on her way to finding her forever home, happy, healthy and WHOLE!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Cute Overload

How excited am I for my bloomin' hatz to be featured on Cute Overload?

Friday, April 10, 2009


Good Friday always has me thinking about the stories from my youth, about Jesus hanging on a cross dying for our sins, making the ultimate sacrifice. It's always cloudy on Good Friday, even here in Arizona where we get 300+ days of sunshine a year so I'm reminded especially today of someone who died for what they believed in.
I'm not a religious person...rather spiritual in my beliefs. Knowing there is something greater than us that guides us, and a plan. I totally believe in angels and that we should try to be good people and make our own sacrifices in life.

You hear the current administration talking about sacrifices, but I'm not talking about foregoing that Starbuck's every morning. I'm talking about changing your life to help another living being in a time when so many are struggling.
My "living beings" happen to have 4 legs and bark, but they are in my soul and I count my blessings for everything they have taught me over the that it's OK not to wear mascara every day and that love stinks....well, only when they need a bath :)
I used to wear awesome clothes and have the latest hairstyle, shopped whenever I wanted to and answered to no I sit home and laugh when they spin and twirl for a treat, knowing that this once homeless little dog is now safe in my care until we find them a forever home that will cherish them. Fostering dogs has been one of my most rewarding and challenging endeavors EVER. And the thing I am most proud of.
I never had skin kids, y'know the ones that need college educations, braces and cars. I don't feel like I've missed out on anything and some of the things my friends have been through with their kids makes me cringe at the thought of dealing with that guilt. Maybe I'm just a big chicken, unwilling to make that sacrifice. Or maybe I'm just selfish.

I guess I found something that I am willing to sacrifice for, and I will not apologize for their fur.
Happy Easter. May all your chocolate bunnies have two ears (they are so much fun to bite off!) and may you be blessed with something worth sacrificing for ;)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Fun Easter Egg Soap Giveaway

Oh I hope I win!

I love Shine Your Hiney's yummy soaps and lotions. I recently got some black raspberry and pear vanilla Pamper Your Hiney lotion and it smells divine. So lightweight, but it really keeps your skin moist. The pink sugar soap sample smells great too!
Anyway, Shine Your Hiney is running an Easter soap giveaway...12 little egg-shaped soaps and a jar of lotion! You pick the scents. HURRY! Offer ends tomorrow :)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

What are you feeding your pets?

From my website, Holistic Hounds. So important to know what we are feeding our fur kids!

I've had the pleasure of working with companion animals for several years, starting my Scottsdale, AZ petsitting business in 1995. Seeing the benefits of feeding natural and whole foods not only to my pets, but to my clients pets and foster dogs we've hosted has been very eye-opening!
Let me share with you what I have learned from my extensive personal research involving holistic pet care. My goal is to help you realize exactly what is in commercial pet foods and treats and how to avoid them and their potential risks to your dog's health. I truly believe many people just don't know about these chemicals and how they are potentially sickening our beloved pets or they would certainly not be feeding them.
Our first dog Mugzy was a sickly puppy, likely from the brightly colored cornstarch chews (Booda Bones) I was giving him as an alternative to rawhide. I just didn't know they were dangerous, as probably many of YOU don't. At 12 years old, he still battles pancreatic, joint and digestive issues which I believe are a direct result of these fake chews. He's had both ACL's repaired and is our "million dollar baby."
He is the reason I started researching pet foods and what I discovered made me ANGRY and sad that dogs are suffering from what their humans are feeding them without knowing it.

I continue to be horrified at the inferior quality of commercially available dog foods and treats. Taking a walk down the pet food aisle at any grocery store (which happens to be bigger than the baby food aisle) is maddening. Preservatives, artificial coloring, inferior by-products and chemicals added that have been reported to cause degenerative illness in dogs. Treats that are so brightly colored you just have to wonder what's in them. If a dog food resembles candy, it's probably a close equivalent. Dogs don't care what color their food is ! These chemical colorings are added to please YOU....the unwary consumer. Why are these potentially disease-causing chemicals and cheap fillers used, you ask? Money, big money. Over $10 billion is spent in the US per year on pet food and the competition is steep.

Current marketing research shows that people are seeking natural alternatives not only for themselves but for their pets as well and several large pet food companies were quick to respond with their own version of "natural" or "holistic" dog foods. Just because there is a picture of a vegetable on the pretty glossy bag, or the trendy marketing buzz-words "natural" and "holistic", doesn't mean that anything that closely resembles a vegetable or anything natural is inside. These so called "healthy" foods are not all that healthy and certainly FAR from natural!

WHY ARE THEY ALLOWED TO DO THIS??? This deception has to stop, and only we as consumers can see that it happens. Stop buying those "pretty" bags of dog food and learn what is in them. Call the toll-free number on the bag and ASK! Don't be fooled by clever marketing schemes. There is very little policing of the pet food companies claims of "healthy" and "natural".
Because of the HUGE Menu pet food recall in March 2007, many people are FINALLY paying attention to what they are feeding. I am saddened that it's taken so many pets dying for them to do so, and I blame only the pet food companies for their deceptive practices. I've talked to so many owners who have lost beloved pets because of the tainted wheat gluten from China added to their pet's food to boost the protein content. It's heartbreaking....

Please know what you are feeding your fur family. Email me anytime with questions and please visit Holistic Hounds to see what we use and recommend.

Gone to the dogs,

Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Season

It's been a whole season since my precious Speedo went to the Rainbow Bridge. The first few days after he left I could barely breathe. I don't think I'd ever really experienced a broken heart. He didn't leave softly and I relive those dark moments over and over again, wishing I could have somehow helped him. I guess I did in a way....I held him and sang to him in the wee hours in the dark, telling him it was OK to go if he needed to. It was so unexpected....
A few weeks passed, 1....2....3....and then began the months. Now it's been a whole season since he went away and my heart still aches and I miss him. His tag sits here on my keyboard, his collar with his "rescued" charm dangling from a corner of my monitor and of course his picture on my screensaver. I like to keep him close by since he's always been my muse, my inspiration and the reason I started Silver Hounds and can help so many seniors like him, who became a burden to his person who could not afford his extensive medical care.
He would have been with us only four short years this past February 1. I somehow forgot that if he didn't want me to be sad, so it just slipped my mind. I thought I heard him bark the other day and I can't bear to throw away his special kidney medicine in the 'fridge that kept him healthy right up to the end.
The other dogs don't seem to know he's not here anymore, or maybe he still is and I just can't see him. I couldn't have gotten through that loss without them, nudging me to be happy that THEY are here and alive and SO loving.
My life really has gone to the dogs and I embrace it. I've recently reconnected with some old high school friends on Facebook and I'm sure they all think I'm a little daft that I never followed the rules and had a tribe of kids, and surround myself with dogs instead. Let them think it. I know what I do every day and I'm honored to keep such good company with my little pack of fur who teach me SO much.

Little did I know when I wrote this poem for Speedo two years ago that it would bring me such comfort after his passing. For all the senior dogs now and in the future who have lost their way, I hope a loving human finds you...and teaches you that you can love again.

Old Dog,
for Speedo
A senior dog is always there come sunny days or rain,
Their gentle ways through lazy days are sometimes filled with pain.
With cloudy eyes and toothless smiles they shower you with care,
Grateful, Quiet, Meek and Mild, Peaceful, Kind & Fair.
They teach us all how we should be, not afraid to live and love
For someday soon they'll leave us and we'll know from up above.
Their guidance will embrace us and they'll lead us on you see,
For another senior needs's just how it should be.

Holly Mastromatto 2007

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Good News

Well, seems that little mass was just a benign reaction to the dental infection, so all is well with the "kid". Phew...what a relief. He's acting normal for the most part, still a little sleepy but eating just takes him longer now with the loss of so many teeth.
So, back to modeling for Tino. Honestly, I think he missed it ;)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Poor little Bean

My little heartdog, Valentino is under the weather. The other day he lost 9 teeth and had a bunch of precancerous lesions burned off. They also found a wierd mass under his tongue which they removed and we await biopsy results on Monday....we're hoping it's not hemangiosarcoma, which claimed the life of his daddy about a month ago at 15+. Tino will be 11 in July.
Last night and again this afternoon two of the lesions ruptured and we had a bloody mess that thankfully we got under control with some yunnan baiyao...a Chinese herb that stops bleeding, which he's had issues with before. We suspect he has a slight clotting disorder on top of everything else. My dear pal and rescue partner Tammy the flying nurse walked me through it (thanks Tam...I owe ya one) and saved me a trip to the ER vet at 10pm on a Friday night...and probably $200.

What is it about these little dogs that consumes me? Yesterday I had one of the foster dogs, Jack at the vet just to drop something off and get him weighed. I've had no less than 8 dogs there in the last few months, mine and the fosters, and the receptionist made a comment that really struck a chord. She said, "These dogs all look at you with such love in their eyes." I guess I never really noticed, since I'm looking at all of them the same way....especially the ones that society has tossed away like old shoes. They were great when they were pretty and new but lose the shine, get a few scuffs and it's off to the shelter or worse...just open the door and let them run. That's how Jack was found last May. Fending for himself in the hot AZ desert with his pal Buster. We're still searching for the perfect home for him.
The Jocko Silver Hounds auction did really well last week and I think we have almost his entire vet bill raised! We have the BEST supporters!

Anyway, please say a little doggie prayer for my Bean. Short for Teeny Beanie Bumbaleeny, my Valentino, the famous pink hat model....the one who started my fascination with this precious little breed just about 11 years ago.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Groovy Baby

Artfire is turning out to be a wonderful place to sell my petwear and I've bought some great items there too. The people are SO nice and supportive of the whole handmade thing, which is hopefully the wave of the future. Why support Walmart when you can support your neighbor by buying handmade from sites like Artfire and Etsy?
Of course the #1 selling items are my Pee-liminator belly bands...can't get away from dog pee it seems!

I found some really FUN fleece online and it arrived last night, so I was up at the crack of dawn sewing jammies and bribing the dogs away from the warmth of the fireplace to PLEASE be good models for Mommy!
I really love this smiley hippie print and the flamingos just made me laugh.

My dear pal Chris with Sit Up 'n Beg has a bunch of my dog coats down at the Scottsdale dog show this weekend. Her collars and leads are really unique and several of the handlers at the recent Westminster dog show are using them so she is LOVING that! I'm forever indebted to her for peddling my doggie wear, as it's hard for me to travel with all the little charges I'm responsible for here at home.

I'm launching another Silver Hounds Auction this weekend to raise some much needed funds for the vet bills we've piled up this year so far. Poor Jocko, the senior that came to us via New Mexico in the fall, needed to have another 11 teeth pulled to the tune of about $1000.00 so we are in the hole deep! His previous bills were about $800 which the last auction covered. Thankfully his awesome foster mom is floating the bill until we can reimburse her.
Anyway, take a peek if you have the time and please share it. It's just in album format on my petsitting website and it's not live, but it's I update it twice a day. We did well with our auction in the fall so hopefully this one will succeed too.

We're still hanging out on Etsy, but Artfire has really proven to be a better venue, and since I was able to get 10 people signed up, my membership is FREE...for life. Almost too good to be true. And they don't take a commission like Etsy does.
I have high hopes for my future as a petwear designer, I certainly am having fun with it! Gosh...wouldn't that be amazing if I've FINALLY found my calling?

If not, it's back to hairdressing! Ugh.