Our Pack’s History

The Founding Fathers of our pack started with Philphil way back in 1985. The Best Cat Ever set the bar high. Leo, a Malamute/Shepherd mix was around ten years old when I got him and was my first dog adoption. In Leo’s and Philphil’s golden years, Shermie joined us and became the first unofficial Black Dog, since the Sherminator seemed to believe he was a dog. When Shermie arrived, Leo decided the baby was his, which is probably why Sherm thought he was a dog. My first commercial artwork was creating pet portraits with embroidery software and Shermie was the featured model. Sadie arrived just before Leo passed away and was the best nanny dog ever – she raised every pet (cats, dogs, chickens) we had after that until she passed away in 2015.

Curious Cat logoBut on July 5, 2010 a Black Dog of such epic proportion of influence and personality entered my life and changed it forever. I had rescued his pregnant mama from a neglectful neighbor and can honestly say that I knew My Dog since before he was born. A Great Dane/Black Lab mix, Eeenie Meenie My Nemo, The Chosen One of the Litter, outweighed me. He loved the beach and splashing in the water and at night, we’d walk across into the marina and watch the sunset together. Sadly, my beloved gentle giant who had been born almost into my hands, passed away in my arms on August 10, 2018 from heart failure. Nemo’s biography is on the staff pages.

Nemo was my dog child and was as spoiled as he could be, hard headed as the day is long, and absolutely terrified of the dark and any flying insect that buzzed around his head. He had zero concept of how large he was and often tried to climb in my lap. Nemo was a big, loving moosh requiring several long dog hugs per day, cat-hair-free blanket on memory foam mattress for naps, and a night light to go out after dark. He is the inspiration for my artwork: a dog lover’s mixed media art studio and fan club. Rico spent three years with us in doggie day care while his human travelled for work. Together, they became the official faces of Big Black Dog Studio and known affectionately as My Dog and My Other Dog.

That would be me on the right with My Nemo. I’ve always been artsy and had my hands in creative writing, sewing, needlework, design, paint and other messy stuff as long as I can remember, including home renovations. For over thirty years, I was a music director, as expounded upon on my original blog here.

I’m from a (formerly) very rural part of NW NJ where the 1980 census showed that there were more head of cattle than humans in our county while I was in school. A country girl in her element in a pair of jeans, t-shirt and sandals, I wound up here in Florida because I really hate being cold and I really love living by the beach. I set up shop and began my paint and sculpture projects to combine my love of animals and working with my hands. In addition to custom work, I have taught sculpture classes using recyclable materials at our local senior center and led a few “paint & sip” type art classes. I also paint storefront windows, helping local businesses in my town to draw in more customers.

I grew up in a multi-generational home with the mantra, “waste not, want not.” Recycling, re-using and re-purposing is a lifestyle for me, and I am very happy to be able to create sculptures using cast-off items and turning them into things that make people smile. My life has usually revolved around my pets, as I am one of those who didn’t have children; I had puppies. In fact, a college paper I wrote celebrated tongue-in-cheek the parallels in raising children and puppies, which I happily share here with those visiting my site.

If I had to come up with a philosophical statement that describes my world view and who I am in essence, it would be this:

about me

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