Talk about “Bringing the Wild Inside” with Rita’s column on “Going to the Dogs,” where she details 2 projects for your 4-legged friends.
Our canine companions are not exactly WILD, but sometimes while living inside the house with us, it can sure seem like they are not so domesticated!
I love dogs and am especially fond of the sporting breeds, dogs that were bred to hunt and work in the wild. In this post, we are going to explore a couple of ways to make dogs and their trappings more attractive in your home — along with a couple of DIY projects, such as an attractive dog bed and a hidden bin for toys, treats and mats.
Project #1 is a wine barrel bed made by my Boykin Spaniel friend Mark Reilly. Mark says it is super easy to build. Just contact a local winery and purchase a decommissioned barrel. It usually costs less than $50 and you can get 2 beds out of one barrel. Or use for Project #2 below. Cut in 2 and then cut a little half opening and toss in a comfy pillow! I have seen many new ready to purchase for between $195 and $250.
I found this attractive modern leash holder of a spaniel several years ago. It is modeled after an antique one I had long admired. I have the one pictured by the front door, holding a leash and my beloved Kate’s old collar. I also have a Labrador holder stationed by the back door; so, either way, we have leashes at the ready!
I love to collect old and new dog-related items and group them together. The little Scottie bookends are from the 1940s and were handed down from my husband’s mom. They guard several volumes of books on “dogs in art through the ages.”
Project #2 is a storage bin made out of the other half of the wine barrel to hold mats, treats and toys. Mine is actually an antique hand-painted barrel that belonged to my great grandfather and used as a toy bin for my mother when she was a child. I put mine on rollers and it slips under the coffee table for easy access when the dogs come inside.
Because it was an antique, I had a friend (in the roofing business) line it with copper that can easily be taken out if need be, but protects the original inside paint.
And, since I wanted it to slide easily under my coffee table and not drill into the antique, I attached rollers to a piece of round plywood that fit just inside the bottom lip. All my dogs quickly learned that this was their bin and will wait for me to set out their mats and then give treats. They each have a special toy that they pull out – I have not yet taught them how to put up their toys, unfortunately.
This hound lithograph is very special to me since it used to hang in my grandfather’s study at our farm where I spent many wonderful years growing up and where I took my first deer (not the one pictured). Before that, this handsome print hung in my grandfather’s grandfather’s saloon! The artist is Henry Rankin Poore and it is commonly known as the Winchester Dogs, but also as the Bear Dogs. The artist was commissioned by Winchester Repeating Arms to paint the original ca 1907 for advertising.
Heritage Game Mounts has started a new custom line of sporting dog portraits painted on a mounting board for stag and elk – wouldn’t you like to see your canine friend immortalized? Prices start at $950 for frame and painting.
There are so many ways to decorate and enjoy our canine subjects inside – be it through books and art, vintage collectibles or just making a nice nest for the dogs. Hope these tips inspire and earn you and your furry companions a pat and a treat while keeping the house neat!
Rita Schimpff is an artist and designer who grew up hunting, fishing and enjoying outdoor life in Oklahoma and Texas, thus developing an early love and respect for wildlife and their habitat. She has carried this love to her art and her long involvement with many local and national conservation associations. As a member of the first Junior League San Antonio Mitchell Lake Wetlands Project, she created its logo and illustrated Mitchell Lake Wildlife Refuge: an Illustrated History.
A graduate of Texas Christian University with a BFA in Commercial Art and Textile Design, Rita retired after more than 30 years in an interior design field. She launched her Texas based company, Heritage Game Mounts. She creates elegant, Old-World-inspired panels to display domestic and exotic game. She pens a blog called “Bring The Wild Inside” at the site, and at The WON, that offers ways to bring beauty and balance to the shared hunter/non-hunter home.
Rita and her husband, Skip, have made hunting and fishing a large priority with their children. Along with two Boykin Spaniels and numerous adopted rescues, all aspects of hunting are very much a family affair.
All of Heritage Game Mounts’ products are American made.