Sunday, June 12, 2011

Doxie Lovers: Super Cute Dachshund Plush Toy

I have a shop on and if you're not familiar with Etsy, it's a community of entrepreneurs selling handmade or vintage items.  There are some REALLY cool things on Etsy!  If you know me, you know that I am crazy about dogs.  While I have 2 border terriers, I love all dogs and there is a seller on Etsy who has made some really cute stuffed Doxie toys.

Friends of Scoktopus / Black Bird Fashion is an Etsy shop out of Anacortes, Washington and while they also make sock monkey toys and other stuffed toys - all handmade, I'm crazy about their stuffed Dachshunds!  The fabrics are so cute and who can resist a doxie of any kind?  Check them out for yourself here.

And here's a photo of one of my favorite Doxies...

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Pit Bull T-Shirt with Anti-Dog Fighting Message

I am a native Atlantan and was educated about dog fighting when former Atlanta Falcon, Michael Vick was convicted of dog fighting.  I learned more about dog fighting than I probably wished I had, but it was an important education.  Back then, I created a "Neuter Vick" t-shirt and sold out of them fast.  I can't understand why anyone would ever hurt an animal, let alone make them fight one another, this is so foreign to me.  As I've become more and more involved with dogs and shelters, I've seen so many pit bulls who are languishing in shelters, they are tough to adopt out, they've gotten a bad rap. 

I'll admit, I used to be apprehensive around pit bulls, because I was ignorant about them.  I believed what I heard in the media and I wasn't educated about dog training, behavior, etc...I've met many wonderful pit bulls who are sweet as can be.  I understand that dogs are the way they are as a result of how humans have raised them and treated them.  I've seen wonderful stories about rehabilitated Vick dogs at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary and am amazed at how these dogs can learn to trust humans again (

Because of my education and understanding, I created a design that is pro-pit bull and anti-dog fighting.  The shirts reads, "I'm A Lover Not A Fighter" and features a smiling pit bull.  I just love this design and am so proud when I wear one of my shirts.  My goal is to donate $1 per shirt to pro-pit bull or anti-dog fighting groups and I'd love to raise LOTS of money for this cause!  Here's the link to my Etsy shop so you can get a shirt of your own:  There are standard shirts and fitted shirts for those who like a more snug t-shirt.

Do you know of a great organization that supports bully breeds? 
Do you know of a group that aims to end dog fighting?
If so, please share this information with me so I can consider donating proceeds of these shirts to them.

If you live in the Atlanta area, there is a motorcycle ride coming up to raise money for anti-dog fighting efforts: make sure to check it out!

Best, Megan

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Why Don't We Teach Shelter Dogs to Work?

I was recently at the dermatologist to get my yearly mole check since I had melanoma removed 4 years ago...While waiting, I picked up a Newsweek magazine which had a short article called, "Are Dogs Stealing Our Jobs?"  It was a brief article mentioning a Beauceron who was recently at Westminster Kennel Club's Dog Show who sniffs out gluten in food for those with Celiac disease and that canines are increasingly being used to do jobs that don't come as naturally to us humans.  The article mentions several breeds and their specialties, from Jack Russell Terriers who detect bedbugs to Labs that can detect cancers like colorectal cancer.  

You can read the full article here:
and it really got me thinking...

I have seen many, many shows about dogs on television and some of the stories are amazing.  Years ago, I saw one that highlighted a woman whose dog kept nipping at the back of her thigh.  It turned out that she had skin cancer and because this wasn't normal behavior for her dog, she found the spot and got checked out.  She says her dog saved her life.  Studies show that dogs can detect cancer, roadside bombs, drugs, and of course, they can help find missing people.

While humans are more visual, dogs lead with their noses.  According to Wikipedia, "Dogs can discriminate odors at concentrations nearly 100 million times lower than humans can.[110]"  I recently saw a show that showed scientists who have built and are working on a machine that works like a dog's nose to detect things like cancer, drugs, etc...For all the trouble they've gone through and with the machine taking up an entire room, I thought, "why not just train more dogs for things like this?"

I have a friend who is the President of her area Humane Society and they have a program, as many shelters do, which pairs dogs with inmates to train dogs.  In some instances, the inmates are training dogs to be service dogs.  With all the unwanted pets we have in this country alone, why not create a non-profit to teach dogs to use their natural abilities to help us and give the dogs work to do and a good life?

If you know about a group that is already doing this, please let me know.  Otherwise, we should suggest this to Oprah since she has a passion for dogs and the pocketbook to fund something like this!  ;)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Japanese Disaster Shows Emotional Intelligence of Dogs

I'm sure by now you've heard the story of the Japanese dog who stood guard at the side of his fallen friend...another dog.  I am not a scientist, but I am extremely passionate about dogs and have spent years learning about them and I feel this recent story proves that dogs are quite intelligent beings.  If you're a dog lover like me, you probably already believe this to be true as there are other stories like this one...

  • Greyfriars Bobby, a Skye terrier, who visited his owner's grave for years until his own death.
  • Stubby aka Sgt. Stubby, a Pit Bull terrier, was America's first decorated War Dog having saved his regimen from a mustard gas attack in World War I
  • Hachiko, an Akita, remained so loyal to his owner for years after his death would wait for his owner at the train station where they routinely greeted each other daily before the owner's death
I have a friend whose husband recently passed away at home after a long illness and the dog, a Jack Russell terrier, was so distraught that upon his owner's death, he went into his crate and cried for hours.  I'm sure there are countless stories like this across the world.  I know my dogs grin a lot, cuddle when they feel like it and have real emotions.  They are amazing creatures and I think they are often underestimated.

Please feel free to share your favorite story like this with us, whether famous or personal.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Lesson I Learned from a German Shepherd Dog Named Molly

My sister and I with our first dog.

To say that I am a dog lover is an understatement.  As long as I can remember, I have been in love with dogs.  I was really shy and timid growing up, but I always felt comfortable around dogs.  Dogs don't judge, they give back what you give them, and they give unconditional love.  I was always excited to meet a new dog, but that may not have been the case if I didn't have neighbors like Mrs. V and her dog, Molly.

On my route to the school bus stop, there was a German Shepherd Dog named Molly.  I was in Elementary school and Molly must have only been a year or two old because I remember her being around for a very long time.  To get to the bus stop, I had to go through Molly's side yard and when Molly saw us, she would run up and down along the chain link fence and bark.  One day, my friend told me that Molly had jumped over the fence and attacked her, scratching her arms.  This scared me...a lot.  While I loved dogs, the largest dog we had was our basset hound, Mamie - not a high energy dog!  So, this story about Molly scared me enough to start taking the "long way" home.  I really don't know how long I took the "long way", but that route was streets only, no yards with large, barking dogs.  I do recall some of the older girls whispering and giggling at me, but I continued to take the "long way" because I was now scared of Molly.

One afternoon, Molly's owner waited for me to get off the bus.  This was back in the day when it was safe enough to get off the bus and walk home without worry.  Mrs. V asked me why I didn't go through her yard anymore, so I told her the story my friend told me.  Mrs. V told me that the story was not true, that the girls were playing a trick on me.  She then invited me to meet Molly.  I would say this was a very pivotal point in my life.

Mrs. V went and got Molly so I could meet her.  She had me hold out my hand so Molly could "meet me".  Mrs. V told me to pet Molly on her chest as that made Molly feel safe.  Molly was so sweet and gentle and I had a new friend!  From that day on, every day when I got off the bus, I would spend some time with Molly; talking to her and petting her.  Every day I looked forward to getting off the bus and hanging out with Molly before heading home.

It seems Molly was around forever.  I don't remember when it happened, but I remember not seeing Molly for a couple of days and then Mrs. V telling me that Molly had passed away.  Molly and I kind of grew up together.  Obviously, I was really sad and I'm even getting tears in my eyes as I write this.  While it makes me sad to think about it now, it also makes me very happy to have had that experience and to have known Molly.  Molly and her owner educated a young girl on dogs and dog behavior and I am so fortunate to have had that lesson.  Even though Molly died many, many years ago, her legacy lives on with me.

I'm sure if Mrs. V read this story today, she would be surprised that I remember it and how much it impacted me.  Mrs. V taught me a very special lesson about dogs and if she hadn't, it's possible that I might have always been fearful of large dogs which would have been such a tragedy.  Molly, this one's for you!

Do you have a "Molly" story?  If so, please share it with us.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Hound and Thistle Loves Etsy

I am in's a new love...but a true love.  I am in love with Etsy and you might be too.  If you're not familiar with Etsy, it's a site that allows one to sell their handmade and vintage items.  It's a friendly place for crafters and budding entrepreneurs, like me!  Hound and Thistle has had a profile for a while now and it took me way too long to jump in to the warm Etsy waters and I'm so glad I did!  I've been officially selling on Etsy for approximately 4 months and while sales aren't through the roof (yet), I've sold to nice folks across the US and in Canada, Australia, and the UK.

Etsy provides its sellers with an abundance of resources to promote their businesses and is so easy to use!  Etsy members can create "treasuries" which feature items of a certain theme and Hound and Thistle has been lucky enough to be featured in several treasuries so far!  It's nice to be loved.  :)

If you aren't a seller, Etsy is a cool place to shop online.  You can find the most unique gifts AND support a community of craftspeople, designers, and those with a keen eye for vintage items.  If you're looking for a special gift for mom, or something unique for your picky sister, check out Etsy, I don't think you'll be disappointed!

Thanks to Etsy's cool tools, you can now see some of my items for sale at the top of my blog...and of course, on the Hound and Thistle Facebook page, you can view Hound and Thistle items by clicking "My Etsy".  If you haven't been to the H&T Facebook page, be sure to stop by and "like" us...we'd love to have you!

Stop by Hound and Thistle's Etsy Shop and let me know what you think!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

My Passion is Dogs and Design...What's Your Passion?

I just read a great blog post which asked readers to determine what their passion is.  Mine is easy:  dogs.  I started my business, Hound and Thistle, because I am passionate about dogs.  Of course I've known what my passion is for a while, but had a reaffirmation of just how much I love dogs this weekend.  Yesterday I helped the Atlanta Terrier Club prep their tunnels for their earthdog tests in two weeks.  After the work was done, we got to practice with the dogs.  Finlay dug so much while "working" that I was covered with dirt when I grabbed him from the tunnel.  I was covered in dirt and I liked it!  It's not that I like being covered in dirt, but it was the experience of doing something with my dog that my dog loves to do that made me so happy.  With unseasonably warm weather this weekend (65 degrees and sunny!), it was such a joy to be out in a field with my dogs as they got to do the work they are bred for.  Plus, I had to do some digging myself while prepping the tunnels and doing manual labor can feel good...sometimes!

Today, we were invited to another border terrier owner's home to do some more earthdog practicing.  Again, it was a beautiful day and we had a ball!  This time, Riley really got some good instructional time and I do believe she had more fun today than yesterday.  Boy, was she digging!  After we practiced, we went inside for a bit where I got to hang out with 3 border terriers...I was in heaven.  I got to love on three little borders who were so sweet and so fun; it's easy to see why dogs can lower your blood pressure!  They just make me so darn happy.

With Hound and Thistle, I get to share my love of dogs and design...and paper.  Oh, how I do love paper.  I love working with pet owners and design lovers who appreciate what I do. I get to meet people who are happy to be able to get custom note cards with a Wire-Haired Pointing Griffon and which are pretty to boot!  Of course the other wonderful thing about Hound and Thistle is that my dogs can come to work with me.  They switch between laying at my feet to laying by the window keeping their eyes peeled for any passers-by!

I hope you are doing something you are passionate about.  Whether it's fly-fishing or flowers, accounting or architecture...everyone is passionate about something.  It took me a while to realize how I could use my passion as my work (and it's still not full-time), but it's the thing I love to do the most...aside from getting dirty with the dogs, of course!  ;)

Here's the blog on Scoutie Girl by Danielle LaPorte that inspired this post:[UNIQID]