Friday, October 29, 2010

Thanks and more thanks...

Thank you all for the kind and compassionate words, the beautiful flowers, and all the heartfelt wishes this past week. Alex and I are incredibly humbled that in Fiona's name over $300 has been donated to Ohio English Setter Rescue so that other dogs, like our once homeless Fiona can be helped. This is beyond what we could have imagined and are so touched that through this loss some good can come. It is a true testimony to a dog that had such a pure soul, that even in her passing good can still come through in some way. We are fortunate to have our other dogs Dugan, Caelan, Lily and Pogue and our cats Brody and Sully to keep us well loved and comforted this week. They certainly know she is gone and are also mourning, and we are once again reminded of the power and love animals have in our lives but also with each other. In Fiona's memory we will continue to make her collars and keep her name and spirit going. We know that our studio has a beautiful spotty dog angel looking over it and her ashes will be kept there so our Sweet Fee can still watch over all we do.

~ Shannon & Alex

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Losing Lucky Fiona

How do I even begin?
I will try with a simple word of thanks to all who have reached out to us the past 2 days. It has been a great source of comfort for Alex and I to know so many care for us and respect the loss that has occurred within our little family. It helps to have something to hold onto when all feels so hopeless. I have grasped onto all of your words of love and compassion, they mean more than you know.

I have lost things I loved before and it never gets easier. You never become accustomed to having your heart broken. I keep thinking that with age and wisdom I will become a more graceful human, but I am messy. I am in pieces and I hurt. I was so worried about having 5 dogs in the house before adopting Pogue, and now that there is 4 it seems so empty. There are open spaces wherever I look and the feeling of something missing and I wonder how I ever worried about something so silly like a head count of canines under this roof. There could be a hundred dogs here right now and I still am missing one.

We did not know Fiona was sick until Monday. I say that from a clinical standpoint. But in the hindsight that is always clearer, Alex and I both knew. When you live your lives loving your animal companions so deeply, you know when something is off. I had made excuses that were solid, very understandable. I blamed her maturing and slowing down, her ambiguous setter-thyroid, the heat that day, the hyper new puppy in the house causing her to retreat to be by herself. It all looked so fathomable on paper, but in my conscious I knew and I kept my fears deep inside a well of denial. Simply because anything else would cause the pain I am drowning in today.

Our animal companions speak to us in so many ways. While I know it is a privilege to understand them on such a deep level and enjoy the bounty of that understanding, I also have to acknowledge the gift in hearing the truth when you do not want to hear it. The truth behind our beautiful creature's eyes was one of pain, and there was no choice but to relieve her of it. I know some will question that decision, especially with my background and knowledge in veterinary medicine. It is a blessing and a curse to work behind those exam room walls at the vet clinic. With every cure there is a loss and the circle keeps rotating and you jump on and off the ride as long as you can keep your balance. For those that work in animal health care you know of what I speak, you can recognize those around you who should have jumped off the ride long ago, jaded and no longer able to feel. I left the field before I became that, and this is part of that deal. I still feel with every ounce of my being, my blessing and my curse.

Fiona came to us out of nowhere, one of life's most happy surprises. A dog in a poorly run shelter in the middle of acres of farmland, I was only supposed to assess her for adoptability so she could be placed into foster care. Just an informal temperament test, just another volunteer duty. We smelled the facility a half mile before we saw the structure. The shelter staff so untrained they did not know what an English Setter was when I asked to see her. They pointed to a room with a dirt floor and no heat and pens and pens of dogs and told me to see if I could find the setter. I found a setter. Fiona was all a happy setter should be, even in the worst of circumstances. She hopefully licked my fingers through a chain link gate and quickly bewitched Alex with her deep cocoa eyes. While I attempted to "assess" her temperament and give her a mini-health screening, Alex announced we were taking her home forever. I was thinking like a seasoned dog person and my husband as usual was thinking with his heart.

I had to remember to do the same think with my heart. In my head I knew we could start cutting cancer out, do chemo and try to buy time. But ultimately, the time we would be buying would be for ourselves and Fiona deserved more than that. Fiona was most happy when running free and off leash. At our dog park she would bound over the prairie grass effortlessly with that long field setter tongue out the side of her mouth, trying to play catch up with the rest of her. This was how I wanted to remember her, not in a vet hospital with an IV drip.

I brought her home Monday night and brushed her even though she hated being brushed, I always told her she was the face of a collar company and must look her best. I put a brand new collar on her and whispered to her softly how much she was loved and how she will always be our "Sweet Fee" Alex fed her ice cream and we sat with her on the floor and stroked those lovely spotty ears. Yesterday morning the tornado sirens went off at 6:00 a.m. and I awoke to a feeling of dread that had nothing to do with the impending bad weather. I don't remember going to the vet, but we got there. At 9:00a.m. we set her free and I know in her heart, even with a tumor encasing it, she loved us for letting her go, for letting her run free forever. I asked our other dogs that have passed to meet her at the bridge and for my sister Mary, whom Fiona was named in honor of to care for her on the other side.

We will move on slowly from this loss and I am incredibly grateful to all who have contacted us to share their thoughts and love. I am especially humbled by those that have donated to OESR ( in her name. I hope through these donations, other homeless setters can be as lucky as Fiona was. I did not know how many people and their animals have been influenced however small in life by our dear Fiona. I realize how lucky we are for this.
~ Shannon & Alex

Friday, October 22, 2010

Lucky Fiona Gets Green!

Lucky Fiona is changing up our packaging! No worries though as they will be as gorgeous as ever. In an effort to be more "green" and reduce our carbon paw print we will now gift wrap our collars with eco-friendly materials made in the USA! We love wrapping your purchases to give the most "wow" upon receipt and now we can do it using earth friendly materials. Now that is something we can all howl about!
Lucky Fiona collars will now be gorgeously wrapped in compostable & biodegradable cello bags and tied with colorful eco-friendly ribbon. Below are details on our new packaging.
Nature Flex Cello Bags are certified biodegradable & compostable.
Nature Flex Cello bags are made from wood cellulose fibers sourced with sustainable forestry principles. Certified biodegradable, compostable and made carbon zero. Meets ASTM D6400, EN13432 standards for CA and other states. Meets all FDA requirements.
100% Recycled Fiber Rebbon™ is made in the USA.
100% Recycled Fiber Rebbon™ is made in the USA from 65% reclaimed cotton and 35% recycled plastic bottles. A cotton curling ribbon product from Green Way ® packaging line of eco-friendly products.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

This Weeks Official Friend of Fiona is Molly!

Thank you so much for my mollys new collar. she loves it. Here are a couple of pics of molly modeling it!
- Megan
*Thanks for the great photos Megan and we are pleased to announce that Molly is our Official Friend of Fiona! Please let us know what custom collar print she would like as her prize! Reminder to all: Calendar contest deadline is tomorrow! October 20th - so get those pics in! Email images to:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mail Bag!

Hi Shannon -
I am glad to hear that Alex is doing better! Truly the best part of owning animals they are what keep us going during the hard times! And of course I am going to re-up my Collar of the Month subscription :) and thank you for the discount, that is very sweet of you! I love how amazing Ginger looks in each collar as well as getting guaranteed mail each month! I am loving every collar we get! Today she is wearing her sunflower one and she looks great! I have attached a photo to make you smile, I figured I was going to wait to show you when I submit it to the calendar contest but it is a good pick me up photo. :)
Best to all!
Ayres (DogMom to Ginger and CatMom & GoatMom to a whole clan of animal companions in California!)
* Thank you Ayres and to all who sent well wishes to my husband, he is on the mend and every day we are thankful to see any type of improvement, no matter how small. I adore this photo and it will be entered into our calendar contest! It also brought big smiles so I had to share it with all. Thanks for making what we do so worthwhile, we love our clients, both human and four pawed!

Monday, October 11, 2010

2 for 1 Collar of the Month Special...Only 6 subscriptions available!

We run this sale once a year prior to the holiday season so here it is! 6 subscriptions ONLY available at this steal of a price...
-2 DOGS FOR 1 - Collar of the Month SPECIAL - GET 2 COLLAR OF THE MONTH SUBSCRIPTIONS FOR THE PRICE OF ONE SUBSCRIPTION $150 (which is a $251 value which makes this deal a HUGE deal paying $150 for $503 in value!) PERFECT FOR THE 2 DOG HOUSEHOLD! (DOGS MUST BE AT SAME MAILING ADDRESS TO BE ELIGIBLE FOR SALE, how will Fiona know if you split the cost with somebody but have the collars go to one address? Well um, she wont, so keep that under your hat.)***
Subscription runs 12 months and can start at any time you wish, so keep it in mind as a wonderful holiday gift for the 2 dog guardian you can never find the perfect gift for. Imagine the joy of a custom monthly collar being mailed to your fave pooches!
Email w/questions!

Friday, October 8, 2010


Free Autumnal Dot Collar w/any purchase today. Simply put code "FALLDOT" in notes section along with sizing needs and we'll add a freebie onto your order. Extra wide and martingale charges still apply. 2 Free Autumnal Dot Collar limit per household. Convo on Etsy or email with any questions prior to ordering.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Finding a little piece of peace in the company of dogs.

This past week has been a nightmare. My husband, my rock, my everything... has been in and out of the hospital and various doctor's offices with diagnosed blood clots, some superficial, one deep. Each day we think we are getting past it and the next day a new clot appears. It's disheartening, it's maddening, it's all consuming. Blood clots are horrible little creatures, they are often hard to find and once you know they are there they are impossible to forget. The treatment is an ever increasing dose of self-injectible blood thinners and in the words of the doctor "Going on with life as you know it." You just hope the body dissolves them and they never return, but alas this is easier said than done. My mind goes to the worse case scenario and I quickly shake it away, but much like the clots themselves the thought is there and impossible to forget...I just wait for time to make my mind slowly dissolve it.
So this week I find myself seeking small pieces of peace in a warm and comfortable place. In the company of the dogs. They sense something is off and do what they do best, love us and make us laugh. After a 7 hour ER visit there is no medicine like watching your puppy navigate the front of his body into a garbage pail then once accomplished look up at you and whine because he is now stuck in said garbage pail and needs help out of it. The dogs stick to Alex like velcro, they sense something is hurting him. If sheer love of setters could cure any ill he would have been healthy days ago. The 5 of them encase Alex wherever he rests, one on his head, one on either side and two grumbling over who lays on his feet. It's a race to see what dogs can get closest to him with Caelan hoping to crawl inside his skin if she was able. It's moments like this I always think of the vet I worked for who said dogs are not capable of emotion. I could prove this theory wrong in moments as I see them congregate around my husband this week, they know, there is little doubt in my mind.
Watching the dogs off leash has long been my anti-depressant. Years ago when we lived in Washington State near a bay I would take our first setter Seamus and our lab Fergus to the water at the end of particularly bad days. Seeing them so happy, paddling around in the setting sun soothed me. I find here in the Midwest the expansive dog park has the same effect. Alex and I walked hand in hand the other day along the prairie grass and late season flowers, the autumn sunlight painting the landscape. The dogs were beyond ecstatic. Leaping over tall brush like bunnies and pointing snouts in the air in a most regal fashion, tapping instincts that have been waiting to explode. It's impossible to feel worry when you are witnessing such pure happiness. It's contagious, it's obvious, it's exactly what we needed.
So things will get better, I am confident. If I took a poll every person out there has a worry, a crisis, a reason to feel hopeless. Until these things leave my world I will just keep turning to the dogs. Unlike most humans I know they will not fail in giving us uninhibited love, devotion and much needed laughter.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Mail Bag!

Shannon & Fiona -
Thought you'd get a kick out of this. She ripped into the package!
Must smell like setters or something? :O) I'll get a pic of Maddie and
Maizie with their collars on when the rain finally stops!
- Melissa
* We've heard of being excited about a Lucky Fiona mail delivery, but this brings it to a new level! Smooches to the Pooches and thanks for sharing the pics!
~ Shannon & Fiona
Mail your photos and comments to

Friday, October 1, 2010

Mail Bag!

Hi Shannon,
I've gotten several Lucky Fiona collars for our three lovely rescue puppies over the past couple of years and am always recommending them to people. I just thought you'd like to see a couple of pictures of how well they work to keep an Elizabethan collar on (really well!). Our poor little pug Maeby had the misfortune of having her eye proptosed last week (such a hazard for pugs - our other dog accidentally chomped her too hard when they were playing). It was a truly horrifying event, of course, and we are still not sure if her eye will be saved, but she is a brave little trooper about it and doesn't seem too phased. Anyway, hopefully it isn't too horrifying, but I do appreciate the great collars and all your work with rescue. Thanks! Leela
Dear Leela -
I'm so sorry Maeby had to go through that and all of us here at Lucky Fiona wish her a speedy recovery. I appreciate your kind words and I have to agree with you about how well the collars work with the E-Collars. Our puppy Pogue got stitches a 2 weeks ago and I was thrilled how nicely a 3/4 inch width collar worked with his Comfy Cone. The joy of making these collars custom - we can fashion the widths and lengths for any need. While we want them to be comfy and fashionable, I am glad your Lucky Fiona Collar served a great purpose here.
Give Maeby a big smooch and many happy setter wishes for a full recovery!
- Shannon & Fiona