We Are Moving

 

We Are Moving

Hi friends and blog followers.  First, thank you all for joining me on this endeavor the last 2 years at RackCityMT.com  We have finally found our identity which is all about the animals we love in our lives.

Through brain storming and feedback from you, we have come up with a new name and have secured the web address to match.  I know some of you may not move over with us and you will be missed.  But my hope is that you will make the move with us to Dogonetuff.com because now is the time it’s getting super fun. 

I will continue blogging there as I learn more, tell dog rescue stories, share where the designated portion of your purchases go and provide tips & tricks. 

Remember, we are still actively selling via Shopify on Facebook at Dogonetuff.com – We Donate to Dog Rescue and are currently offering $10 off all orders of $75 or more (no promo code required).  RackCityMT.com will stay live and working through the end of March (possibly longer) and will announce when Dogonetuff.com launches.

 

March Donation Fostering Bobo For Adoption

March Donation Fostering Bobo For Adoption

As you know, we donate a portion of all our proceeds to dog and/or horse rescues.  I would like to introduce you to Bobo our first sponsored foster dog.  He’s a Boston Terrier Jack Russel cross and is 5 1/2 years old.  He comes from a wonderful home with a wonderful life but due to his human parents living circumstances experiencing a sudden change they took one of the hardest steps a parent can take.  They chose to reach out to others to help them find him a new home with the lifestyle he’s accustomed too rather than asking him to change his lifestyle for them.

Bobo has adjusted quite well to his new foster home with Sparky, Izumi and me.  For those that don’t know, Sparky is my rescue and service dog that’s a Pit mix and Izumi, also a rescue, Egyptian Mau cat.  Bobo has easily found his place in our small pack and respects it.  He’s curious, active, happy and smart. 

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Bobo – March Foster Dog for Adoption

Bobo’s lifestyle is on the ranch.  He knows and respects livestock, loves the freedom of acreage to run and in his mind, work.  He responds to his name almost immediately, waits patiently to be given permission to eat and is kennel trained.  He really likes to load up and go for rides in the truck too.  So if your like me and don’t want to go through teaching a puppy not to chew up one boot of your favorite pair, Bobo could be your new best friend.

Right now he’s not that active because yesterday (2/27/15)  he went to the vet to be neutered.  It’s been 24 hours and he’s recovering quite well.  His appetite is good, he’s drinking water and seems comfortable in his new Westpaw Prozip track jacket, not to mention, quite handsome. 

Bobo is micro-chipped with Tiny Tails K-9 Rescue out of Manhattan, MT.  If you would like to be considered to be his new best friend, please visit their site HERE and fill out an application.  You can also see regular updates and photos of Bobo on our Facebook page at Dog Toys R Us – We Donate to Dog Rescue HERE

Should a person ask a Service Dog Handler what the dogs job is?

Should a Person Ask a Service Dog Handler What the Dogs Job is?

For those of you that are regular readers of mine you know I have PTSD and a service dog named Sparky who goes with me everywhere.  There are educated people out there that know they are not supposed to pet, talk to or give treats to a service dog and talk with me like any other customer.  There are others that have no idea what a service dog is outside of a seeing eye dog or visibly physically impaired making it obvious what the dogs presence is for.

Sparky and I are a little different as are hundreds of service dogs throughout the country.  You can’t see PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and other “non visible” ailments like seizures, diabetics, mobility and anxiety.  People are not as educated on how to respond to these type of service dogs in public places.  In my own experiences, I’ve been asked to leave a business, asked to prove my dogs service paperwork which are both illegal to do.  I’ve had children and adults just walk up to Sparky and start talking to and/or petting him and I’ve seen people turn around and walk away when they saw us walking down an isle.  And on several occasions, been asked what his service is for or what service he is being trained for.

How should we handle these types of reactions?

Personally, I’m still working on how best to handle a couple of them.  But when someone begins to talk to or reach out to touch Sparky, I simply ask them to please not, he’s on duty at the moment but if you would like to meet him you can out at our vehicle and I’ll take his “work uniform” off.  I actually have had a couple people do it and I do encourage it because not only is Sparky a service dog,  he’s also in the “pitbull” category so we have 2 responsibilities of education to offer.

When we were asked to leave a business and when we were asked to prove it I responded with appreciation for their concern and willingness to approach me rather than assume anything negative and/or call the police.  Calling the police hasn’t been something I’ve experienced personally but I have heard of it happening.  Then I respectfully explained the laws governing service dogs and where to find that information themselves to read.  Then I expedited my shopping and left to express my respect for their concerns.  My next trip in I approached the service desk to make sure everyone understands and is comfortable with my having a service dog inside.  They said yes and there has been no questions since.  Had they said no, I would have simply said okay thank you, left and found another store to shop at; simple as that.  And I’m no angel, I most likely would have put them on social media blast.  Just sayin.

The one I’m still struggling with is when I’m asked “What is his service for?” or “What is he service training for?”.  On one hand, I think it’s just rude.  It’s the same as asking a person physically different, “What’s wrong with you?” while standing in line at the grocery store.  Would you agree that’s kind of rude?  Then flip side of that, it’s an opportunity to educate.  And to be perfectly transparent, how I feel; either uncomfortable and slightly offended or as an educational opportunity is usually based on my mood at the time.  Hence why I still feel it as an internal struggle.

In the end, no matter what peoples responses are, respect should be number one from both them and myself.  So, the question remains; Should a person ask a service dog handler what the dogs job is?  If you would like a custom made “Service Dog” leather dog collar, be sure to let me know and I would be happy to make one for you.  And as always, a portion of all sales profit from RackCityMT.com will be donated to a dog rescue.  Who knows, the dog you save could end up being yours.

Even a Blind Squirrel Finds a Nut Once in a While

Even a Blind Squirrel Finds a Nut Once in a While

The last two weeks have been equally chaos and fantasma beyond expectations.  But let me back up a few weeks before revealing the results.  November 2014 began the Christmas holiday shopping and for the first time since opening I began breaking even.  On line shopping was increasing by the day into December and beginning my leather making business was also gaining attention.  This was the beginning of the chaos.

Leather making inherently creates some noisy productions.  Hand pounding the stitching holes, snaps and rivets are done with a hammer.  I’d been in a 500 sq ft facility running 3 businesses that was quite crowded as you can imagine.  On line sales were now hitting 20-30 and up to 50 packages daily.  This new leather making caused frustration with a neighbor so he decided to “return the favor”.  Packages were stolen, there was beating on the walls, nasty notes left, vandalism and finally escalated to physical threats to my dog.

I began a search of curiosity into other places and located one quickly as though it was waiting patiently for me.  The perfect location, 3x the size and 3x the rent.  We met & I got the place.  So in a matter of a couple days I began packing and preparing for the move.  It turned out to be what I’d been needing and didn’t even know it.  I was blinded by fear and stubbornness not to move but quickly embraced it with the support of some amazing women around me.

Now Sparky, Izumi & I are settled into our new facility, sales are continuing to grow, I’m able to open additional onquote_winnersdontquitline stores because I can keep a larger inventory stock, the organization has cleared my mind for the creativity to just flow.  I’m making snake skin collars and tack in various skin colors, coming up with new designs and making them successfully.  So, when some kind of adversity presents itself in front of you, just remember, even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while.  Don’t stop seeking your dreams no matter what objections may arise.  Keep your mind open to alternate trees and you too could find the big winter nut hiding under a dead leaf.

What Would You Like Dog Collars Horse Tack

What Would You Like Dog Collars Horse Tack

I’ve spent the last 2 years watching, asking and learning what people want while finding what I love to do best and marry the two.  When a person gets to do for a living what they love best not only is it a blessing but you will receive the best experience and products you’ve ever known because it’s built and shipped to you with love and perfection.  Secondary, working with the small business owner, you will always get the specialized attention before during and after your purchase because you matter most.  You are not just a number, we know your names, we remember conversations with you and you essentially become our friend.

When I started working leather as a child it wasn’t my priority.  All I wanted to do was ride horses.  But, my mom insisted I help her before I could go riding.  She started me off tanning rabbit hides while she got to do the fun stuff which was creating things out of those hides.  She made all sorts of things and I watched barely paying attention as she talked about what she was doing.  Hey I was a kid.  Kids don’t pay attention to their parents any more than they have too.

Once I became a teen, I found ways to get out of it.  And you know how much energy and creativity a teen can put into NOT doing something they don’t want to do.  Eventually, she stopped trying and I got to train and show horses, wooppyy for me.  I moved forward in my horse career for years as a quarter horse racing jockey, starting the young horses, western pleasure, dressage, jumping, reining, cutting, reined cow horse and for fun, team penning.

Now I’ve gone full circle.  I retired from riding a few years ago but still attend and spectate at shows.  I started taking notice of their tack choices and my mind began spinning.  Or maybe it’s my version of a mid life crisis but I began remembering what I learned as a kid and having a desire to bring my skills back to the forefront.  The more I started playing with leather again, the more ideas I came up with.  But just because they’re my ideas, doesn’t make them good ones.  I tend to think outside the box and do what no one else is.  This way of thinking has gotten me in more trouble than I care to remember.  If you would like to keep up with me on a more regular basis of what leather projects I’m working on as it’s happening, feel free to like me on Facebook at Hawley Horse Custom Leather (just click the link and you’ll go straight to it).

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Raw Snake Skins for Leather Projects

Most recently I ordered some beautifully colored snake skins which I think will be fun to make. And it will continue improving my leather working skills by adding in other materials besides leather.  So, what would you like?  Please comment your ideas, suggestions, favorites you have or dream of having and I am at your service.  Use the contact form anytime to ask me about a custom dog collar or headstall.

Good Service Dog Responsible Handler

Good Service Dog Responsible Handler

Hope everyone had a great Christmas Day celebration with your 2 legged and 4 legged family.  Had lots of laughs, made memories and shared stories with good food.  Sparky & I went to our friends at Tiny Tails k9 Rescue in Manhattan Montana and did have a wonderful time.

Some of you may already know, Sparky is my service dog.  I was diagnosed with PTSD and depression a few years ago.  For me, that isn’t something I’m used to dealing with because I was always the outspoken, Type A, problem solving person.  An adrenaline junkie, rode race horses, dispatched for law enforcement and a volunteer firefighter.  Suddenly not even being able to walk out the door without having a panic attack was out of my realm of things I’d ever dealt with and wasn’t willing to be honest with a psychologist to help in fear that she would send me to an inpatient care facility which I couldn’t afford to go and would lose everything I owned not being able to keep my job.

Ultimately, I lost my job anyway.  When that happened, I curled up in a corner in my truck (homeless) and hid from the world for a few months.  I finally got a temporary job with the United States, saved up enough for an apartment in the next city 40 miles away.   That job ended and I got another one which I absolutely loved dearly and moved up the ranks fairly quick to a road manager with a team of employees for a National Company.  When that company closed I was back home and going backwards again.

Fast forward to meeting Sparky.  You already know from last weeks blog how we met.  I registered him with the US Service Dog Registry and he became my Service Animal.  Almost everywhere we go we are greeted with a welcoming smile and not treated with any more or less service than any other patron in the business.  Until the day after Christmas.

We went into the same grocery store we’ve been in more times than I can count over the past year and a half.  Because we’ve gotten so comfortable I’ve slacked on having him wear his Service Dog vest.  We were in the store 2 minutes and asked to leave by a gentleman saying he received a complaint and wanted the dog to leave.  I did tell him Sparky is a service dog but I take responsibility for him not having his vest on and we will go.  We went through the check out and exited without further incident.

Now, according to the ADA a service dog is NOT required to wear gear/clothing outwardly announcing services provided to the handler, BUT it is the responsible, respectful thing to do and can alleviate inquiries like the one I had which resulted in our respectfully exiting.  Wearing a vest announcing the animal is a service animal also helps the business owners because it answers customers questions before they can even ask it.  That question being, “Her dog is in here, why can’t I bring my pet?”  I had forgotten about this and upon writing this blog remembered not only that but I am representing all service animals both visibly ADA patrons as well as “invisible” ADA service needs.  It’s my job to be a good service dog responsible handler and leave the public with a good impression.

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Sparky The Staffy in Service Dog Mode

In closing I would like to remind everyone both with and without service dogs and miniature horses, sometimes we get complacent or sometimes too embarrassed to outwardly announce our disabilities through a vest and be labeled and judged by others.  Please be respectful of people with service dogs.  And service dog handlers, remember to be respectful to the business, all the patrons inside with you and responsible at all times.  I got a nice reminder today and it was worth it.

Sparky & Me

Sparky & Me

sparky_and_me_onfloorI met Sparky about a year and a half ago.  He was posted on line at a shelter in Polson, MT called All Hearts Rescue on a Sunday morning when I decided it would be a good idea to have a store mascot.  I continued looking around for other dogs but kept being drawn back to Sparky.

I closed the store 2 hours early and began the 4 hour drive to Polson to meet him.  I had the adoption fee in cash on me and filled the tank.  I guess my mind was already made up before I even realized it.  When we met, it wasn’t love at first sight or that immediate connection people talk about but I brought him home anyway.

Being of the “pitbull” category I wasn’t sure how well he would be received but I was determined to change peoples minds with this beautiful white dog and his goofy stand up 1.5 ears and black dot over his right eye.  The store regulars which were mostly under 18 just loved him and wanted to take him on walks.  Other kids happily approached and loved on him without reservation.  It was the adults that were a little different and made fearful apprehensive judgements but eventually, after seeing him all the time they too learned Sparky was a cool dude who just wanted to meet and love on anyone that would let him.

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Sparky – Frisbee Jump

Since then, Sparky has been certified with the United States as my service dog, has made visits to kids in a classroom environment, met homeless people and their pets to deliver personal hygiene products, learned parkour and most recently taken a serious liking to playing frisbee.  Sparky was my inspiration to begin selling exclusively Westpaw Design dog & cat toys.  He has destroyed MANY toys by various brands in sometimes mere minutes but the Zogoflex® toys are another story in the grips of his young, strong teeth and jaws all together.  His Jive ball has been around for nearly a year now and only has some puncture holes in it.  However, he has figured out how to destroy the Zisc frisbee so our solution is he can only play with it while we are using it for actual frisbee purposes, then it goes on the shelf.  My favorite thing about Westpaw though is their lifetime guarantee on all the Zogoflex® toys.  If your dog destroys it they will replace it or refund your purchase price one time.  How many other companies make a promise like that.

There are hours and hours of stories I can tell about Sparky & Me but I’ll break ‘em down so as not to bore you.  Until next time, feel free to follow the above links and learn more about All Hearts Rescue and all our dog toys and apparel available.  Thank you for reading and comments/questions are welcomed.

Amazing New WestPaw Toys

Amazing New WestPaw Toys

 

Is it a treat dispenser?  Is it a toy?  No, it’s a Treat Puzzle!  Does your dog get bored due to lack of mental challenge?  Meet the new WestPaw toy called Toppl.

Available in Small (3″) and large (4″) and colors Tangerine Orange, Aqua Blue, Granny Smith Green.

Individually, place a treat in the claws and let your pooch work it out.  Get one of each size, place the treat in the claws and simply snap them together to give your k9kiddo a total puzzle to work out.

As with all Westpaw ZogoFlex® toys, after you purchase one, your receipt provides you a one time free replacement should your kid somehow manage to destroy it.

 

Small Business Week 2014

Small Business Week 2014

 

Small business week is May 12-16th.  Show your support by shopping local at least once this week for something special to remind yourself and others that small business loves and supports this country by offering quality product at fair prices while upholding the highest standard of customer service.

Take every opportunity this year to experience walking into a small business you’ve never been in and find out for yourself the difference between small business and big box corporate.  You will receive complete attention to every question and no smoking mirrors.  You will find that yes, small business prices are higher than big box but that it’s a smaller increase than you suspected.  Along with that you’ll be remembered the next time you walk in, you’ll be greeted with a smile and you’ll be able to check out! 

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April Showers May Flowers

April Showers May Flowers

 

Breathing New Life

This week has been quite the chaotic and equally reviving of weeks since I opened a year ago.  RackCityMT began as a brick and mortar.  I added a website, then joined eBay and later decided to build a mobile boutique.  After a visit from a wonderful friend of mine and a mind for business he helped me re-write my business plan.  The actions weren’t supposed to begin until July of this year but I’m not one for keeping schedules.  Once I decide to do something, I’m on it and it’s done.

So in less than 2 weeks time, I decided the best plan for RackCityMT was to remove it from the brick & mortar and focus on the mobile boutique and on line.  About 3 weeks ago, I opened an Amazon store with the new line of gun parts and accessories that I was set up with and it took off.  So that eased the change over from retail store to e-commerce.

Knocked the Sense Right Out of Me

Last week I took a shake weight to the face from 3′ above me while taking a tote down from the top shelf in my closet while looking for the title to my car that I sold.  Somehow it didn’t break my nose or knock me out.  About 48 hours later I had 2 black eyes and a purple nose though.  It must have jarred my brain a little because I made some shipping mistakes on eBay and some, well, less than perfect feedback scores out the gate with my Amazon store.

Shake It Off

Once again, I’ve lost sleep over the mistakes I made last week with several customers BUT I took immediate action to correct the them and then took it one step further.  I think I’ve earned a second chance from most of them but for those that I didn’t, I am truly sorry.  I know I can’t please everyone.  So now I shall shake it off, learn from it, get my brain cells back in their proper place and move forward knowing it will take 2 to 4 times the amount of time to overcome the negative reviews.  Count on this though, I WILL.

Moving Right Along

There are some awesome projects now in the works because for the first time in a year, I am current on my bills and taking care of myself at the same time.  I just secured www.PunisherGirlz.com and will be building that site from the ground.  Punisher Girlz is my brand encompassing cowgirls and guns.  The gun parts & accessories for Glock and AR15.  The new conceal carry wear that’s in the making right now by women for women and the Punisher Girlz clothing line that will be ready by the end of summer.  I’m also making some pretty cool blinged out survivor bracelets and other accessories for you and your horse out of paracord.

So be sure to follow Punisher Girlz on Facebook and check out the photo album called Our Clothing.  Right now, they are amateur mock ups that I designed but I have a professional creating them now.  There will be random giveaways, promo codes to use here for discounts and follower posted photos of women and their guns (hopefully with my accessories mounted), shooting range info and links to other women’s shooting pages, blogs and sites for your convenience. 

Thanks for hanging with me and I hope your as excited as I am about what’s to come.