I had the pleasure of interviewing local dog business, Rust Dawg Pet Products.
What kind of Dog Business do you do?
I sell primarily eco friendly and handmade products for dogs and cats and I also sell gifts for people. For dogs, I carry buckle collars, martingale collars, leashes, harnesses, beds, fleece throws, tank tops, toys, treats & chews, collar charms & ID tags etc. Many of the items are handmade and some are made using eco friendly materials such as hemp and cotton webbing, Malden Mills Polartec Polar Fleece, repurposed fabric, fibre fill derived from plastic bottles, hemp and cotton fabrics and reclaimed wood.
How did you get into doing dog-related business? What is it that inspires you to create your pieces?
Rusty-Dawg Pet Products was established in memory of my beloved 14 year old Border Collie/Corgi named Rusty who passed away very unexpectedly on April 08, 2009. Rusty was my constant companion, my protector, my little man and to this day, my heart is still broken and the mere thought of him makes me cry. We always assume we have tomorrow, but sometimes tomorrow never comes, as I sadly learned. I had been thinking about ways to work from home so I could spend more quality time with my dogs and cats who I absolutely adore, but all I was doing was thinking about it, I hadn’t put anything into action, and now Rusty is gone. The sudden loss of Rusty is what has inspired me to put my thoughts into action and create a business that I truly believe in which will eventually allow me to spend less time at my office job and a bit more time at home with my dogs and cats.
Could you tell us some more about your work?
I am very concerned about the environment and I am also very concerned about the health and well being of our dogs and cats. As a result of that concern, I have personally selected products for the health, safety, and love of our dogs and cats.
The eco-friendly pet products that I have selected are made from renewable, repurposed and/or recycled materials, and they are sustainable and biodegradable.
I have also selected a variety of handmade items made from conventionally sourced materials. By purchasing these quality handmade items you are supporting the individual as opposed to the big box stores, thus reducing our collective carbon footprint.
Some of the items available for sale are drop shipped from the maker, meaning that after you place your order with Rusty-Dawg Pet Products, the actual manufacturer will ship the products directly to you. This reduces our carbon footprint a great deal because the item is only being shipped once, as opposed to twice if it were shipped to Rusty-Dawg Pet Products first and then shipped to you.
I am striving to offer primarily Canadian made products, but you will also find great products on my website that come from the United States.
Rusty-Dawg Pet Products is also offering our own line of handmade dog and cat products. Items that I have made myself include sac beds for dogs and cats, fleece throws for dogs and cats, dog toys, cat toys and treat bags. In the future I will be making buckle and martingale dog collars as well as break away cat collars, dog harnesses and leashes.
You’ll see on the main page on my website that a portion of sales of some of the martingale collars goes to the Ottawa Humane Society and I’m always trying to help raise funds for Big on Beagles. I recently donated some food, toys and blankets to The Cat Rescue Network in Ottawa for the Dog Days of Summer Food and Supplies Drive (which was put on by Be the Change for Pets http://www.facebook.com/bethechangeforpets, it was a worldwide drive to help rescues and shelters around the world). I have another batch of donations for Tiny Paws Dog Rescue as well for the same food drive but I haven’t been able to meet up yet with their contact in Ottawa. I donated a treat bag to BHRR’s online auction for Ava Marie that’s going on right now and I also donated two treat bags to the Carpe Canem auction to raise funds for the 28 Greyhounds in Texas that were recently seized from a hoarding situation. I can’t do a whole lot but I do what I can to help out rescues and the homeless animals that need us.
What do you do for fun?
After working full time at my office job, I come home to my dogs and cats. They take up a lot of my time and between feeding them (they all eat homemade food), walking dogs, grooming dogs and cats, playing with dogs and cats, cleaning litter boxes, etc, I don’t really have a lot of spare time, but my fun involves caring for and spending time with my animals and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I also really enjoy the outdoors, photography and I love to read. I’m also trying hard to get back into physical fitness which right now includes running, roller blading and yoga. I try to include at least one of my dogs whenever I leave the house, whether it’s just a trip to the grocery store or a special outing to the park so we can go on a nice walk.
What inspires you to create and how do you keep motivated when things get tough in the studio?
I haven’t had a lot of time to create my own items but I’m trying to find the time and I have created some items such as beds, blankets, toys and treat bags. My inspiration and motivation both stem from the fact that I’d love nothing more than to quit my day job, so I can spend more time at home with the dogs and cats that I love, running a business that I love!
How have you handled the business side of being an dogentrepneur?
Rusty-Dawg Pet Products was launched in August 2009 so it’s still young. I’m still going through the growing pains of operating a new business, trying to establish a clientele, and trying to find the items that both fit in with my philosophy and that people and their dogs and cats will enjoy! It’s a learning experience, that’s for sure, and a lot of work, but in the end it’ll be more than worth it.
Do you have a dog(s)? if yes, what kind, please brag about your pooch(es) here
I currently share my home with 2 dogs (and cats too). It still feels odd to say that I only have 2 dogs when for so long the answer was always 3 dogs.
Rusty was a Border Collie/Corgi and he was the first dog to come into my life. He was 8 months old and his previous people were going to send him to the pound because they just didn’t want him anymore. Luckily I found out about him, went to see him, and it was love at first sight! My boy was home! Rusty was 14 years old when he passed away and that was one of the worst days of my life. I miss Rusty every single day.
Next came Jingles! Jingles is a Red Beagle (red and white markings) and he’s 18 years old. Jingles was a stray, wondering down a busy highway, skin and bones when I found him. He was guessed to be about 5 years old at that time. Jingles was not trained at all, he didn’t even know “sit” and I don’t think he’d ever even seen the inside of a house, but he quickly learned the ropes! He’s a spoiled beagle who loves his comfort and going for walks! Jingles has Chronic Renal Failure but you’d never know it and you’d never guess his age. He’s in great shape and he’s as active and crazy as ever! He doesn’t realize he’s 18 years old and I love him for his crazy beagle antics!
Sandy was the third dog to come into my life. Sandy is a lab X and she’s 11 years old. She was about 3 months old when she was abandoned at a shopping mall. She was the cutest and sweetest puppy ever! I don’t know how anyone could have walked away from her! I tried to find her a home, but was unable to, and she had already won a place in my heart so she stayed with me and the boys! Sandy is a very exuberant dog, so silly and playful, and also a real love bug. She’s a wonderful girl!