Diesel, Oliver, Millie

meet the pets

emma jane powell

pet patrol

It never fails. Any time I ever lay a quilt on the floor or the ground to have a look or to baste it, my dogs come from out of nowhere to stomp across it. Every time! It used to irritate me, but I just have to laugh as by now I’ve learned to expect it. They are such curious creatures. Your dog, cat, ferret, etc. probably does the same.

I’ve grown to love the companionship my pets provide me in my sewing room. When I retreat there to quilt, piece, or design, they pitter-patter in at some point and settle down. They seem relieved to have an excuse to relax in the quiet of my sewing room.

My husband and I just recently married (our second marriages), and I became the proud stepmother to nine and twelve-year-old girls. We also combined not only our households, but also our pets. I’ve been a long time lover of Dachshunds, little dogs whose size prevents them from getting into the trash, and whose advanced age deterred them from chewing things up and tearing through the house at breakneck speed. Enter Jason’s dogs, an over-sized Weimaraner and a one-eyed Beagle.

Of course, I could never get all three dogs on the quilt at the same time. It’s like posing toddlers!

It took seven months for us to integrate our four dogs! Seven. Long. Months. We started the process in January of that year, as we were getting married and moving in together that July. When I stayed over the weekends, we’d barricade them in different areas of the house, then rotate their living room, backyard, and crate time. The dog trainer we consulted said this was best for getting them used to the smells and my dogs’ presence in the house. We also walked them in packs on leashes. It worked! The final push was our wedding week, when we boarded them at the dog trainer facility and they had an intense week of getting used to each other. We were still cautious for about a month after that.

Consider pet adoption

Have your pets spayed or neutered

Miss Priss, my 16-year-old dachshund passed away not long after we married. What a wonderful, long life she lived and I was so grateful she had Jason’s big backyard to explore and bathe in the sun for the last months of her life. It has been an adjustment for me to get used to larger dogs in the house. Larger means they are able to jump on tables and upend trash cans. Millie, our young, energetic beagle, tears through the house like a bullet and still chews things up. Sigh. Oliver, the weimaraner, is a bull in a china shop in our house. Diesel, my rescue doxie, is a great companion dog, but is unpredictable and feisty. Whoever said being a step-parent is hard? They must not have had dogs! Being a step-doggy-mommy is much harder (his dogs just don’t listen to me) than step-parenting the girls, who are a delight.

Dang! She chewed up my itty-bitty book.

Miss Priss, a good long life (March 2000-November 2016)

A big adjustment I had to make was sharing my sewing space with all of the dog crates. There was just no other place to house these crates out of the way (they sleep in them). I made creative use of the space and it has worked out. I actually enjoy my sewing room being home base, as they often toddle into the room and lounge in their crates while I’m sewing. Like many pet owners, I consider our pets to be another member of the family. Sewists often use their creativity to honor their pets. Below I have links to many resources which combine our love for our pets, with quilting projects. Enjoy!

sharing my sewing space

heather valentine

The Sewing Loft

quiltmaker magazine

Quilters and Their Dogs blog post

petfinder foundation

How You Can Help Shelter Pets with Quilts

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