Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Poop Happens

Today in suburban Chicagoland the sun shone once more and I had to face the inevitable...the back yard. Those without dogs or back yards will not have the foggiest of what I speak, but I know some of you out there will commiserate. You see we've had a very snowy and cold and weather confused December around here. We've had snowstorm after snowstorm and then wicked freezing temps and wind storms in between. Then starting this weekend we had rain and more rain and flooding and then a great thaw. Until yesterday and today when it was dare I say...somewhat mild and dry.
I had to go out there. It's been almost 2 weeks folks and with 3 dogs and multiple potty trips per day you know what was out there. Poop. And lots of it.
When I got my cute knee high plaid wellie rubber boots I pictured myself skipping along the English countryside jumping mud puddles like a J Crew model. I really didn't picture myself plodding along my melted back yard dodging doggie land mines in them like a drunk hopscotch player. They're too cute for that...alas there I was. Cuteness factor cut down dramatically by the ugly metal pooper scooper I was wielding like a weapon in the fight against poo-poo. I have had dogs for years and have long suffered the delusion that underneath the layers of snow the dog poop will just disintegrate. Poof! It's gone! Yet every thaw shocks me back into reality - that stuff does not go anywhere. It's like being a dog-doo-paleontologist as the layers of snow and ice melt to reveal little piles of history just waiting to be discovered and examined. "Oh my look here! That pile has some digested red cardboard in it from when Fiona ate an ornament box... must be early December era. Fascinating!"
Oh sure...some of you will get on your high horse and get snarky and say I should just follow the dogs out each trip and scoop as they go to avoid this Poopapoolaza. But did I mention it's been really cold and snowy and we've had wind and ice storms? Did I mention I have 3 dogs, none of whom poop in synchronicity? Did I mention how cold it is out?
It occured to me as I was out there scooping (as this took quite a bit of time and the mind does wander) that my backyard is like a metaphor for the nation and the change of presidents approaching. Sure my back yard may be snow covered again by the end of January and look pretty innocent and clean and like a clean slate of new beginnings, but underneath there will be a lot of poop to clean up. A lot.
I hope Obama looks as cute in wellies and has a bigger scooper than me.

Fiona is set for Super-Stardom! (Let's Keep Our Fingers Crossed!)

Excerpt from a letter we received Saturday from the editor in chief of Bark Magazine:

Shannon -I am so happy to announce that the photo you submitted to Bark’s Smiling Dog (or Cover Dog) contest is under consideration for placement in our book, DogJoy: The Happiest Dogs in the Universe, to be published by Rodale in October 2009. As the editor of the book (and the magazine) I have the double pleasure of not only selecting the photos for this project but also in delivering the good news to you. Although it is still up to the publisher to make the final decisions, I am hopeful that yours will be included. If your dog’s photo appears in the book, it will be in a chapter called Laughers. For your participation, you will receive a copy of the hardcover book, and a three-year subscription (or renewal) to Bark. Also attached is a “fact sheet” that summarizes pertinent information about DogJoy. We are hoping to include around 500 photos (which have been selected from our large pool of reader submitted photos numbering around 15,000)! If you have any questions, do let me know. Thank you again for sharing your wonderful dog with us, and I am thrilled that we have this very special book project to spread his/her talents and charms to thousands of other dog lovers.

All my best -

Claudia Kawczynska Editor in chief, The Bark

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Is There Anything Cuter than Well Dressed Labradors?

Just dropping a note to say I loved the collars and Moose and Bella did too!!!
Thanks a bunch!
Lacey Westman

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Keep 'em coming...we love fan mail...

Just a quick picture of Maisy in her new collar - - she was so excited to find it under the tree yesterday!! The stuffed duck in the picture was also under the tree - - she won't put it down!!!! Thanks, too, for the adorable gift from Fiona - - what a wonderful, CUTE surprise. Hope you have a wonderful holiday season and a great 2009. We look forward to many fabulous collars for Maisy in the new year!!
Thanks Again!!
Maisy and The Schultz Family

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Fiona says thanks...

To All Our Friends -
Fiona was very spoiled by Lucky Fiona clients this holiday season and she would like to give a big tail waggin' THANK YOU to everybody who thought of her. She appreciates all the lovely Holiday Cards she received and also the wonderful gifts from her friends across the country. It warms her little setter heart to know that people and pooches love our collars so much and thought of her when holiday shopping. (She is so in the spirit she is not even jealous that some of you remembered her doggie sister Caelan and brother Dugan too!)
Making connections to animal lovers and their beloved animal companions is what Lucky Fiona is all about. This will remain the focus of our little collar company and we adore you for sharing your stories of love and devotion with your four pawed pals throughout the year. Warm setter smooches and Merry Christmas to all -
Shannon & Fiona
Carter - the lovely portrait you sent has been framed and hangs proudly in our studio so Fiona can gaze at your handsome snout all year long.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Why I Love Santa

It's important when you love animals that you marry somebody that shares this love or at least loves you enough to tolerate your cuckoo-ness over animals. I got lucky on many levels by not only marrying a man that adores creatures of this world, but also adores me enough to support me in every way as I journey through life with a great focus on our animal companions.
Case in point - my darling husband Alex, my partner in everything big and small agreed to play Santa for a charity photo shoot at a local dog store we wholesale collars to. Proceeds went to one of our favorite charities - Save Our Setters Inc.
I don't know too many men who would so readily say "Sure! My one day off a week? I'll put on a beard and a hot furry costume that will make me feel like my core temperature is 160 degrees and let dogs jump/ sit/pee/shed and express anal glands on me for 5 hours! Sign me up!"
He's a prince among men I tell you. (and yes he really did have anal glands expressed on him by a rather nervous pug who released this "special gift" on Santa's lap - not the smell of Gingerbread and Cinnamon I tell you)
Indeed, my hubby is a special guy. The type of guy who will wrestle a 3 legged labrador named Licorice who just didn't want to sit still for a Holiday Photo and gave the photographer and Santa an aerobic workout that left them panting harder than her. Licorice with her 3 legs just about knocked over the set and had Santa's beard and hat askew by the time the photo was finally taken. Alex's comment as an exhausted Licorice left the photo area "We should all be so excited for Christmas! We need to rescue a labrador!"
I should add by the end of the event he also thought we should adopt a Great Dane, a Dachshund and at least 3 greyhounds.
I love my Santa for many reasons and after 14 years of marriage and 20 years of being together I keep finding new reasons, animal related and otherwise. Playing Santa on his day off with so much enthusiasm is just a small nugget of him, but one I had to talk about nonetheless. Watching him love animals in a way I know some people will never have the capacity to makes me love him even more... and was the nicest Christmas present this animal loving wife could ask for.

More Seasons Greetings...

Shannon & Fiona,
Maddie and Maizie just wanted to wish Fiona, Dugan and everyone a very Merry Christmas! Also, they wanted you to meet their friend Gracie. She came to visit for Christmas and her mommy took these wonderful pictures!
PS...Her mommy fell in love with Maddie and Maizie's Lucky Fiona collars and HAS to have one!
Merry Christmas!
The Law Family

Friday, December 19, 2008

This Week's "Friend Of Fiona" is Breck!

Let it Snow...Let it Snow, Let it Snow! That is what we are singing here in the Midwest and from what I hear in many other parts of the country too. Hence we had to pick a "Happy Snowhound" enjoying a snow day today as our Official Friend of Fiona. This is Breck the 5 month old Labradoodle looking festive in his Howliday Custom Lucky Fiona Collar. We really like how he has accessorized his collar with a little snow on his snout...very dashing indeed. Tell your Dogmom to pick out a free collar for you Breck for being this week's winner! Breck reminds us all of a very worthy dog lesson - it's good to just get out and enjoy the snow a bit.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Yes I'm still here!

Sewing, cutting, packing, sewing, ironing, folding, sewing, cutting, shipping...it's been a busy little studio as we are still working every minute of the day to get your collar orders out by the holiday!
The dogs say Mommy hasn't even had time to kiss Santa Claus! (Even though I had some cuddles with him as seen here)
Thank you all for your orders and for making this holiday bright. We'll be back to blogging and creating more fun products when this holiday din settles down.
Until then your collar getting under the tree for your beloved pooch is my main focus. ( I do lose sleep over the dog out there waiting for the mail to arrive with his or her's special holiday gift! I really do!)
Smooches to the Pooches-
Head (and tired) Bitch Around Here

Monday, December 15, 2008

Inspiration Come in the Form of a Happy Aussie

Some days when you are knee deep in Holiday-Hub-bub and collar orders are coming out of your ears you feel like crawling under the warm covers and waiting for spring to arrive...then you get a letter like this one and you feel inspired TO KEEP GOING!

Dear Fiona,
Today was a good day. First my people presented me with two brand new snazzy collars that were amazingly just my size! Now, I may be young (about 6 months) but I know style when I see it! I can't wait to show them off at my weekly romp at the dog park. But wait, it gets better! I was strutting around the house showing off my new collar, and my people bring out the treats. You know, the REALLY good ones. All I had to do was sit still and be my normal adorable self and they kept shelling out the treats. It was great. Reminds me of the day my smallest person left her peanut butter sandwhich unattended on the coffee table. Ah... life is good.
So here's a few pictures of me to add to your collection. I like how the brightly colored collars compliment my merle coat and accent my fluffy neck fur (Australian Shepherds like me have a lot of neck fur). I also enjoyed reading your blog, especially the pictures of snow. We don't have snow down here in Florida, but it looks like the sand at one of my favorite places - dog beach. I wonder if it's as fun to romp around in.
Thanks for inspiring your people to make such stylish collars. I'll be sure to tell all my furry friends about you!
Aussie Puppy
Sarasota, FL

Friday, December 12, 2008

This Week's Official Friend of Fiona is...Bogey!

Oh me oh my...such a distinguished looking gentleman isn't he? Fiona is proud to announce this week's winner of her "Official Friend of Fiona" photo contest: Bogey!
Bogey looks dashing in his "Holly Jolly" Howliday Collection Custom Collar from Lucky Fiona and we just know he will pick out an equally charming collar as his prize for submitting the winning pic this week. His Dogmom is quick to point out the wine glass was photo-shopped into the picture so don't start any crazy rumors about Bogey and his alleged drinking problem! Or his supposed stint in a Malibu rehab facility with that famous Animal Planet dog he supposedly had an affair with. All lies we tell you. Lies. Bogey is a true pillar of dog-society and would never stoop to such levels! I mean look at that face? Would he ever make trouble? Fiona thinks not and that's our story and we are sticking to it.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Fiona knows the Truth about Santa's Little Helper

I think I figured out this week how Santa does it all...it has to be steroids. All those toys, all those chimneys, all the travel and lists! No mere man can do it all unassisted! Speaking of being super busy - we are! Our Lucky Fiona studio has been blessed with many, many orders this holiday season. Like many. A lot. In these hard economic times we realize this is truly a gift to us - thank you. To be able to make high quality products and bring custom made collars to your beloved dogs and cats is what we love to do. We are pulling many late nighters but want our dear customers to know we are running at the 10 day max on fabrication. We are going to insert hours into the day to get all orders to destinations by the holiday, so we appreciate your patience in our turnaround time.
Last Sunday I woke up with a really sore hip and truly is there anything sadder than a 37 year old complaining about her "bad hip"? (I imagine people picturing me with a walker hobbling to my sewing machine) At any rate I like Santa have a workshop of collars to measure, cut, press, sew and send off to well behaved dogs and cats! No time to be down and out with a bad hip! A trip to the doctor on Monday resulted in some steroidal treatment and let me tell you I am zipping around now like a bat out of hell! It dawned on me that Santa too must be fully loaded with 'roids this time of year. It's really the only explanation. I realized the full spectrum of my "Roid-Rage" yesterday when I recounted I had been to the post office 3 times in one day mailing out collars and I was happy and full of zest each time. What normal person is happy at the Post Office this time of year? I think the one postal worker on my last trip was pressing a little white button under the counter as I rambled on about "how the lines were not that bad and heck I'm thirsty why isn't there a water fountain or soda machine here or a latte stand? Wouldn't that be great?Do postal workers get a lot of overtime this time of year or are they in the same budget crunch most companies are? And why do I have to fill out a Confirmation form in person when online when I print postage I don't have to fill out the form and do you have any Nutcracker stamps left?" All while smiling like a maniac and craving a cheeseburger.

Then I got home and shoveled the driveway.

So you see if everybody just dosed themselves with some steroids holiday tasks would be done with lots of energy and vigor! Bad hip? What the heck- I forgot all about it - I'm already planning my prescription refill request for next holiday season.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Special Thanks to Go Dog Go

Lucky Fiona was so pleased to take
part in our favorite local dog shop's Holiday Open house yesterday. Go Dog Go is a wonderful store that not only takes care of our nutrition needs for all our dogs and cats but is also is our favorite stop for one of a kind gifts for four pawed kids. Go Dog Go was kind enough to donate a portion of their "Photos with Santa Paws" sales to a charity close to Lucky Fiona's heart...Save Our Setters and Sarah's vet bill fund. Thank you Go Dog Go and if you are in the suburban Chicago area stop in their wonderful store at :
4050 Wolf's Crossing
Oswego, Illinois 60543

Friday, December 5, 2008

This Week's Official Friend of Fiona is...Lulu!

Her entry was a wee bit late for our calendar contest but we could not deny the lovely Lulu the honor of being this week's "Official Friend of Fiona"! Little Lulu looks positively smashing in her limited edition custom Fluffernutter collar courtesy of Lucky Fiona. We know she will have no problem picking a new favorite from our shop and as our winner she gets her choice of any custom collar. Congrats Lulu!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A New Christmas Carol for English Setter Lovers

While driving to the groomers with Fiona this morning and listening to Christmas Carols on the radio I sang my new rendition Of "Sleigh Ride" to her. She didn't howl so I think she liked it! Sing along dog lovers...and feel free to insert your own doggie lyrics too!

Just hear those sleigh bells jingling, ring ting tingling too
Come on, it's lovely weather for an english setter and you
Outside the snow is falling and friends are calling "yoo hoo",
Come on, it's lovely weather for an english setter and you
Giddy yap, giddy yap, giddy yap, let's go,
Let's look at the snow, We're riding to get treats at Go Dog Go! (our favorite store)
Giddy yap, giddy yap, gidd yap, it's grand, Just holding your paw,
We're gliding along with a song of a wintry fairy land
Your cheeks are spotty and whiskered and comfy cozy are we
We're snuggled up together like two sweet setters would be
Let's take that road before us and sing a chorus or two
Come on, it's lovely weather for an english setter and you.
There's a holiday party at the dog park today.
It'll be the perfect ending of a perfect day!
We'll be pointing the birds we love to point without a single stop
At the fireplace while we watch the doggie pupcorn pop. pop! pop! pop!
There's a happy feeling nothing in the world can buy
When they pass around the pigs ears and the raw tripe pie,
It'll nearly be like a picture print by Currier and Ives
These wonderful things are the things we remember all through our lives!
Just hear those sleigh bells jingling, ring ting tingling too
Come on, it's lovely weather for an english setter and you
Outside the snow is falling and friends are calling "yoo hoo",
Come on, it's lovely weather for an english setter and you.
It's lovely weather for an english setter and you
It's lovely weather for an english setter and you

Lucky Fiona Testimonial

Fiona & Shannon,
Maizie asked me to email you and tell you her testimonial. She has been doing much better. She can jump on the bed, countersurf, and even run up and down the stairs like a speedy gonzales. When I asked her how she can do all that, she said it is because of her Lucky Fiona collar. She insists that it gives her superpowers (the hip surgery at NC State doesn't have anything to do with it!). She sends her high fives to Fiona for sharing these superpowers with her! :O) Oh yeah, and a kiss for Dugan too.

Melissa Law