Welcome to Personality Prints, an interview series focusing on the bond between creatives/artists/entrepreneurs and their pets. I am so excited to feature the first interviewee, Sandra and her two dogs Scout and Gracie. Sandra is the owner and creative genius behind Scout Dog, a specialty business offering handcrafted dog collars based in Pittsburgh, PA. When I saw her bright and fun dog collars at I Made It Market last summer I knew I had to find out more about her and her business. Sandra is creative, compassionate, and a true animal rescue advocate, and I know you're going to love her story. Want to see Scout Dog's gorgeous collars? Mark your calendar for May 10th when she is doing a trunk show at Petagogy with a portion of the proceeds benefitting The Proper Pit Bull.
Tell me a little bit about your business. I found my dog Scout and his brother on a Sunday morning, sitting on the side of the road in their empty Budweiser box like two teenagers sleeping off a great Saturday night. I brought them home and watched them eat and then sleep in my backyard, alternating between a shady nest under an ancient nandina and a cool spot under the window AC drip.
I never intended to have a dog – I always thought they were too needy and high maintenance – and these two puppies proved me right. They were eight weeks old, skin and bone, bald in spots from ringworm, and with tummies bloated from parasites. Knowing these two would never stand a chance in our overfull shelters, I took them to the vet and began nursing them back to health. Eventually Scout’s brother found his forever home elsewhere, but Scout, ever the ugly duckling, stayed with me.
It’s been nearly six years since the day I brought him home, and he’s changed nearly everything about my life. I adopted a shy Great Pyrenees mix to keep him company, and together the three of us have traveled the country. Scout’s become a Canine Good Citizen, earned his TT through the American Temperament Test Society, his Bachelor’s Degree in Canine Life and Social Skills, and is working towards his Master’s Degree. Gracie also has her CGC, TT and her BA – and has nearly earned her championship in UKC weight pull.
I started Scout Dog because I could never seem to find a collar to suit him – he is by turns a dork, a best friend, a hunter, a lover, and a couch potato – and I figured there must be many dog owners out there like me, who have dogs that need something just a little special.
Tell me about your pets. In addition to Scout and Gracie, I have two cats – Bingley, my first rescue, found in a park when he was a kitten; and Murphy, a Siamese mix who is loud and in charge. Murphy has decided he loves Gracie and follows her everywhere, howling all the while. Poor Gracie.
Do you and your dog (pets) share personality traits that has helped you in life/business? I think we are all excited by change and by travel. Scout and Gracie have been all over the country – seventeen states, by my count – and for the most part they just seem to roll with it. I’m really proud of how they’ve dealt with change, not just the travels and our move to Pittsburgh, but their adaptation to many other changes in our lives.
How do your pets support you and or inspire you and your business? I want to create products that enrich the relationship between people and their dogs. After experiencing the overpopulation problem in San Antonio, this is especially important, because without that bond it’s easier to give pets up. I want people to be able to express the bond they have with their dog and show the world that their dog is unique and special.
Scout and Gracie have both inspired Scout Dog collars. Because of Scout I’ve looked for interesting and vivid masculine fabrics, and for Gracie, I’ve looked for fabrics for a tomboy that likes to show her girly side now and then. Most of all, I’ve wanted to make great collars for big active dogs, ones that are bright and fun but aren’t fussy or frou frou.
Because all my pets are rescues, supporting animal rescue is extremely important to me and to the whole concept behind Scout Dog. I give a portion of my proceeds to local rescue and also volunteer when I can. I think often of the twist of fate that brought Scout into my life at the exact moment he needed me, and of the anonymous rescuer who help me find my underweight and shy Gracie. I want to be able to help others have that same experience that changed my life.
Do you have a favorite quote that you live by? My Latin teacher in high school used to say “Quid Ad Aeternum” whenever we were worried or stressed. It means “What is it in the light of eternity?” I think of that often when there are difficult times, and it helps me keep things in perspective.