Stockings & Mutts

I was hounded for years about getting a dog. My husband and son desperately wanted one but I refused to deal with the mess, aggravation and the expense of having a dog. I was the pet killjoy. But as my son was getting to the age of really wanting a buddy and swore he would help take care of a dog, I relented with several conditions – the dog would have to be an adult female, house broken and crate-trained. My foot was firmly down.
So we searched out the local animal shelter and my son and I went to visit. As we entered, a cacophony of barking voices reverberated off the concrete walls. It was HIGH energy in there! My skin began to crawl as every dog was barking and bouncing, drooling and pacing.
Except this guy.
I mean look at that face…those longing, hopeful eyes. He did not bark or bounce or pace. He just looked right at me as if to say, “you know we’re meant to be together, just do the deal and let’s get out of here”. The sign on his crate said he was a “hound mix” and his name was Banjo. I was smitten.
We decided to come back later with my husband before meeting him for real. When we did, Banjo came bolting out to the three of us and all my demands fell away as this four-month old, male puppy peed all over my feet.
Banjo is eleven now. He is as much a family member as any of us. We all love him insanely and he has a different relationship with each of us. He adds energy to the household or he can be a calming influence as well. And he still locks in those longing, hopeful eyes when wanting a walk or a treat.
I know these four-legged friends have rescued many of us, so when The Haley Graves Foundation approached me about a holiday fundraiser to help with adoption of shelter animals, it was a no brainer. 
The Haley Graves Foundation is a local shelter where many of the animals have been on the code red list for various reasons or are owner surrenders. Since 2012, they have transferred and placed more than 3,000 animals into loving homes. The Foundation was inspired by the founder’s own rescue named Haley who had a distinctive trait of one ear down and one ear up.
After kicking around some ideas with Anne, Vice President of Haley Graves, we decided a holiday stocking would be the perfect way to celebrate our furry friends.
So I got to work. I wanted to honor Haley through the design so I created a cat & dog with the same one ear down and one ear up trait as Haley. And I wanted to include a heart as the nose of the cat and an eye patch for the dog because of the love these animals bring to our lives.

These downloadable stocking patterns are easy and fun to make and 75% of the proceeds directly benefit the Foundation. The patterns are available on my website here.
We hope you will create a stocking for each of the furry friends in your family and fill them with all the treats they love! Let’s celebrate these beautiful animals that warm our hearts and enrich our families.
There is no better gift this holiday than providing a home to a dog or cat in need. The rewards will be ten fold.
Happy Holidays!