I started to learn how to make jewelry with my oxygen and propane torch about three years ago. I instantly fell in love and was out in my coop studio almost every day since! Over the years I have tried to learn all kinds of crafts and arts so that I could help support animals. Since I have started this business, on day 1, it has been important to me to donate money to help those helping animals. I often talk about who I am trying to help on my Instagram page and I will share photos of some of the animals as well. Currently I am donating money from sales to two different rescues helping two very different groups of animals.
I met Heidi from Smokey Chestnut Rescue because of The Vegan Maker Collective I put together. I invited her to have a table to let people know about her rescued horses, and to sell some of the most beautiful handmade items that she, her daughter Brianna, and Brianna's friend Jocelyn create. They are such heart warming people and I am so glad that they are in my life! I love that they advocate helping all animals in need and show the world that even animals that are normally raised for food are instead deserving of love and need to be cared for. You can read more about Heidi and what she does to help horses on her website at https://smokeychestnutfarm.com/
The second rescue is pretty new to me but I fell in love with their mission the first time I read about them. A husband and wife team in Indiana helping the tiny and often mistreated and unloved called The Pipsqueakery. Alex and her husband specialize in helping the small animals like hamsters, rats, mice, rabbits, guinea pigs, and treat them with just as much love and respect as any other part of one's family. They often get calls about the animals that are in the most need of emergency vet care and really depend on our help to saves these animal's lives. I want to help them to do this! http://thepipsqueakery.org/
For a few years before making jewelry I learned to sew dog collars, harnesses, and leashes so that I could donate money to dogs rescued from the illegal dog meat trade in Thailand. That is where our Dingo girl came from. She was rescued from off the back of a dog meat smugglers truck that was abandoned in the forest on the way to Vietnam or Cambodia. It was assumed that they must have thought the authorities were following them because the truck was left abandoned. Most of the dogs were dead when the truck was found, but our Dingo girl and several others had made it.
I was following a woman online at the time who lived in Thailand and would photograph the dogs that were at the government run shelter in hopes to get people from all over the world to help her get them out of there and into homes. You see, there are so many stray and free roaming cats and dogs in Thailand and spaying and neutering is not something that is done. Many people that live in Thailand are Buddhist and do not believe in euthanizing animals. So, there are animals *everywhere* breeding, having babies, making babies, and often suffering. That is one reason why it is so easy for dog meat smugglers to find animals to sell for the dog meat festivals and for the dog meat vendors. Dogs and cats are not eaten there just because they eat them like we eat pigs, cows, and chickens. They eat dogs because they are thought of as medicinal and prepared in a special way, I will spare you from learning about, during their annual dog meat festivals. For vitality and strength. Even beloved pets are allowed to free roam and they are stolen by the dog meat smugglers. You will often see photographs of cats and dogs on the back of smuggler's trucks with collars on. Even after these animals are rescued, they are placed within chain linked fence areas that are considered "shelters". There are so many animals, and so little money to help them, that even these rescued animals die of starvation, dehydration, diseases like distemper and rabies, and suffer. That is why my heart needed to step up and see what I could do to help.
This was Dingo girl right after she was taken from off of the truck and put into a shelter.
There was no way that I could have walked away from her without trying to help her after knowing her life so far. She was originally going to come to me as a *foster* dog. After she got better, was a confident and happy pup, we would find her a forever home. She never left. The life that she lived before coming to us did life long damage that I just couldn't put her through any heartbreak again. She did help us with many other dogs that flew to us from Thailand, though, and they found forever homes. Dingo girl would show these nervous dogs that humans were kind and that they were now safe to play and eat and sleep soundly <3 Dingo is so amazing with all of our other animals, even our chickens and lizards, and asks for nothing other than love and attention. She is a really amazing dog in our family of 4. She just wants nothing at all to do with any other humans outside of our family. Everyone scares her so we decided to keep her here with us. You will often find her and the cats cuddled up together snoozing in the sunbeams.
I have written a bit more about my journey in another blog post here. I talk about why I make the jewelry that I do :)