Bark & Sparkle, the Blog

Sunday, February 18, 2007

The Talking Dogs Videos on YouTube

Ever need a little pick-me-up? Something to give you a chuckle in the middle of a tough day?

You have to see this (I think it's my favorite thing on the entire internet): the Talking Dogs videos on YouTube.

Your office mates are gonna want to know what you're laughing at.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Need a Valentine for your Puppy Love?

Pawdivaz gourmet dog cookiesIt's almost that time--Valentine's Day--another perfect excuse for showering our doggy family members with expressions of love.

Still digging for ideas for what to get your Valentine puppy love? One of our favorite shops, Puppies With Attitude, can help.

For starters, there's the heart-shaped box shown above, filled with gourmet dog cookies, called "Pawdivaz". (Word on the street is that these are doggone good!)

They have a bright, pretty "spa bed" decorated with a large heart, that comes with a matching toy, Heart pillow bed from Puppies With Attitudeand an assortment of sparkling Swarovski crystal necklaces.

They also have these unbelievably cute and comfy-looking "Snugglebug Beds" ... imagine your little one cuddled up in this! It'll warm both your heart and hers.
Junebuggle bed from Puppies With Attitude
But my hands-down FAVORITE Puppies With Attitude product is this: Cashmere and angora dog sweater
hand-knitted cashmere and angora puppy sweaters. That's right--cashmere AND angora! The pictures simply cannot do them justice--they're quite honestly the s-o-f-t-e-s-t things I've ever felt. I wish there was a way to put a "Feel Me" sample right here on this blog page. They're the ultimate in luxury--like wrapping your puppy in a warm hug.

And they come in lots of colors, not just pink. My boyz wear black.

Puppies With Attitude has worked hard to pull together a nice assortment of quality products that you don't find everywhere else. Do yourself a favor and check them out.

Oh, and say hi to spokesmodels Sophie, Phoebe, Lexie, Gracie, Paolo, Junebug and Toffee while you're there. They all wish you a very Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

We Met A Westminster Winner!

We made friends with a beautiful dog named "Ch. Sterling Ugly From the Front" this past weekend. His nickname is Lyle; he was named after Lyle Lovett, who has a song by that name.

Lyle was at the Green Mountain Scenic Cluster Dog Show in Essex Junction, Vermont. He and his siblings (whose names I unfortunately can't remember due to all the excitement of meeting them) stopped by the Bark & Sparkle booth at the show. Our crystal collars had them drooling! Their mommy generously bought each of them their favorite. When the shopping was done, they graciously posed for us.

Lyle "Ugly From the Front" was Best of Breed winner at Westminster in February 2006, and Best of Show in April 2003. Here he is, in our "Hearts United" style (in honor of his win on Valentine's Day weekend):

Here's Lyle's brother, showing his love for his country in a Patriotic collar:

Finally, here's Lyle's sister, jumping for joy in her new triple strand of pearls:

The dog show was lots of fun. It got us in out of the blistering heat for the day, into a nice, cool air-conditioned building. And the DOGS! They were all incredible. We wanted to take every one home. Thankfully they all have loving owners already.

The great thing about Lyle choosing the Hearts United collar is that we'll send a sizeable portion of the profits from it to HUA, the no-kill shelter we talked about in our last blog entry. Do check them out; there are lots of "gems" there, too.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

A Happy Dog Adoption Story

You may have seen the "Looking for Love" link on Bark & Sparkle's home page. It takes you to the site of a national no-kill shelter and sanctuary called Hearts United for Animals.

One of our customers clicked on that link--and what she found there changed her life.

Lois, the owner of an elegant shop called Puppies With Attitude, already has two beautiful Maltese puppies named Sophie and Phoebe. But there was room in her heart and her home for one more. So she adopted this little sweetheart, named Polo.

Since he's such a regal little fellow, Polo's name was changed slightly to the more worldly "Paolo".

Paolo has made himself right at home with his new family. With Lois's permission, I'd like to share what she told me about him recently:

Paolo (as we now call him) came home on May 24th. He is a very
sweet little guy. When he wakes in the morning (we all sleep in
our Cal-King bed) he kisses my face all over, then he rolls
around on the blankets, then repeats this ritual about 5 more
times. I think he feels safe and loved.

Paolo loves to help me decorate; he has such a talent. Because of Paolo's expertise, all our trash bins are now on top of chairs. It's very charming; he is so clever. Here he is rearranging the hallway runner:

And here he is sleeping with his sisters in a chair with their duvet comforter and his blankie:

Paolo sure looks happy with his new family, doesn't he?

All I can say is thank goodness for places like HUA, and for people like Lois, who see the need for love and compassion for these precious creatures and are more than willing to offer it.

Why don't you go take a look on Hearts United for Animals right now? Tell them we sent you. I'm sure there's a perfect best friend waiting there just for you, too.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

How Could You?

This is an excellent article that will make anyone who has ever loved a dog cry their eyes out.

Credit for the writer follows the article.


When I was a puppy, I entertained you with my antics and made you laugh.
You called me your child, and despite a number of chewed shoes and a couple of murdered throw pillows, I became your best friend. Whenever I was "bad", you'd shake your finger at me and ask, "How could you?" -- but then you'd relent, and roll me over for a belly rub. My housebreaking took a little longer than expected, because you were terribly busy, but we worked on that together. I remember those nights of nuzzling you in bed and listening to your confidences and secret dreams, and I believed that life could not be any more perfect. We went for long walks and runs in the park, car rides, stops for ice cream (I only got the cone because "ice cream is bad for dogs," you said), and I took long naps in the sun waiting for you to come home at the end of the day. Gradually, you began spending more time at work and on your career, and more time searching for a human mate. I waited for you patiently, comforted you through heartbreaks and disappointments, never chided you about bad decisions, and romped with glee at your homecomings, and when you fell in love.

She, now your wife, is not a "dog person" - still I welcomed her into our home, tried to show her affection, and obeyed her. I was happy because you were happy. Then the human babies came along and I shared your excitement. I was fascinated by their pinkness, how they smelled, and I wanted to mother them, too. Only she and you worried that I might hurt them, and I spent most of my time banished to another room, or to a dog crate. Oh, how I wanted to love them, but I became "prisoner of love."

As they began to grow, I became their friend. They clung to my fur and pulled themselves up on wobbly legs, poked fingers in my eyes, investigated my ears, and gave me kisses on my nose. I loved everything about them and their touch -- because your touch was now so infrequent -- and I would have defended them with my life if need be. I would sneak into their beds and listen to their worries and secret dreams, and together we waited for the sound of your car in the driveway. There had been a time, when others asked you if you had a dog, that you produced a photo of me from your wallet and told them stories about me.

These past few years, you just answered "yes" and changed the subject. I had gone from being "your dog" to "just a dog," and you resented every expenditure on my behalf. Now, you have a new career opportunity in another city, and you and they will be moving to an apartment that does not allow pets. You've made the right decision for your "family," but there was a time when I was your only family. I was excited about the car ride until we arrived at the animal shelter. It smelled of dogs and cats, of fear, of hopelessness. You filled out the paperwork and said "I know you will find a good home for her." They shrugged and gave you a pained look. They understand the realities facing a middle-aged dog, even one with "papers."

You had to pry your son's fingers loose from my collar as he screamed, "No, Daddy! Please don't let them take my dog!" And I worried for him, and what lessons you had just taught him about friendship and loyalty, about love and responsibility, and about respect for all life.

You gave me a good-bye pat on the head, avoided my eyes, and politely refused to take my collar and leash with you. You had a deadline to meet and now I have one, too. After you left, the two nice ladies said you probably knew about your upcoming move months ago and made no attempt to find me another good home. They shook their heads and asked, "How could you?" They are as attentive to us here in the shelter as their busy schedules allow. They feed us, of course, but I lost my appetite days ago. At first, whenever anyone passed my pen, I rushed to the front, hoping it was you that you had changed your mind -- that this was all a bad dream ...or I hoped it would at least be someone who cared, anyone who might save me.

When I realized I could not compete with the frolicking for attention of happy puppies, oblivious to their own fate, I retreated to a far corner and waited. I heard her footsteps as she came for me at the end of the day, and I padded along the aisle after her to a separate room. A blissfully quiet room. She placed me on the table and rubbed my ears, and told me not to worry. My heart pounded in anticipation of what was to come, but there was also a sense of relief. The prisoner of love had run out of days. As is my nature, I was more concerned about her. The burden which she bears weighs heavily on her, and I know that, the same way I knew your every mood. She gently placed a tourniquet around my foreleg as a tear ran down her cheek.

I licked her hand in the same way I used to comfort you so many years ago. She expertly slid the hypodermic needle into my vein. As I felt the sting and the cool liquid coursing through my body, I lay down sleepily, looked into her kind eyes and murmured, "How could you?" Perhaps because she understood my dogspeak, she said, "I'm so sorry." She hugged me, and hurriedly explained it was her job to make sure I went to a better place, where I wouldn't be ignored or abused or abandoned, or have to fend for myself -- a place of love and light so very different from this earthly place. And with my last bit of energy, I tried to convey to her with a thump of my tail that my "How could you?" was not directed at her. It was you, My Beloved Master, I was thinking of. I will think of you and wait for you forever. May everyone in your life continue to show you so much loyalty.

Copyright Jim Willis 2001

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Lots Going On at Bark & Sparkle

Wow, it's been a busy month! We have lots of exciting things going on.

We've been asked to create some special collars to be worn in the finale of the annual MSPCA-Angell Animal Medical Center fundraiser's Doggy Fashion Show, to be held at Louis Boston in May.

Lucky Dog Magazine is putting our collars on their "Bark List" (kinda like an 'Oprah's Favorite Things' list for dogs) in April.

We're working on a signature design for canine travelers who stay at the Ritz-Carlton in Oconee, Georgia.

Pet Product News featured Bark & Sparkle products in their Boutique section this month.

We updated our website and added lots of new designs, plus a page of people jewelry. If you haven't seen it yet, take a look at our new Testimonials page. There are some adorable photos of our customers modeling their favorite collars (Bark & Sparkle collars, of course!)

The Pampered Puppy did a wonderful review of our collars for this month's newsletter, which has brought us a lot of attention.

And the Sydney, Australia, Sunday Telegraph interviewed me for a piece they're doing in March on pet birthday parties.

It's been a very busy, very exciting month.

Have you visited us lately?

Monday, February 06, 2006

Cataract Surgery for Noelle

One of Bark & Sparkle's collars--a Sapphire Blue Solitaire--will be among the terrific prizes for an online raffle taking place this month.

The raffle is the brainchild of a young woman named Brittany who started an organization called PetMatch. She's raising funds for a beautiful dog named Noelle, who needs cataract surgery. This pretty girl is Noelle.

Won't you please go buy a $1 ticket or two and help Noelle get the surgery she needs? It's very easy--you can buy thru Paypal here.

Or find out more about Noelle, her brave friend China, and more beautiful dogs at here at Miss Alli's Rescue.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Shades of Purple - Perfect for Spring

It's not even Valentine's Day yet, but we're thinking ahead to Spring. Your dog should be, too.

Help her get ready for those balmy spring walks in the park by getting her this incredible Galaxy collar in shades of purple. (While you're at it, why not order a matching bracelet for yourself? You deserve some pampering, too.)

Imagine how your little darling will look in the Easter parade in this beauty!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Somewhere Over the Rainbow ...

... there's a place where all the dogs wear this smashing, statement-making collar (or necklace, if you prefer). Rainbow is the latest design from Bark & Sparkle.

Like all our dog jewelry designs, it's handwoven of all Swarovski crystal in our Vermont studio.

If you go to our website and it's not posted there yet, email us and say "Hey--*I* want a Rainbow!"

We'll have one on the way to you before you can say pot o' gold.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

This is Just Cute.

I found this photo and just had to post it for the sheer cuteness.

It's a blind puppy named Guido frolicking in his first snow in Vail, Colorado in November.

It can't always be about business.