What happened was so awful that it took me over a year to write about it. Remembering Bailey; My Crazy Cover Dog
She was, literally, a good girl. To dispute Billy Joel, not only the good die young, but this one did. She was only eight years old when she developed a sore on her hock. It was exactly where her weight went when she shifted her fanny to the side as she sat down, and every time she did the sore was being abraded; covered with dirt. It was nigh impossible to keep clean. In spite of about eight miles of Vet Wrap, it was continually irritated. She couldn’t stop bothering it. Thinking it was just a lick granuloma, I bought miracle salves, protective braces, and finally, a cone.

Farm dogs and cones are not a good mix. I repaired the cone with Gorilla Tape multiple times after it got ripped on the fence. I retrieved it from under trees even though I had it fastened as tightly around her neck as I dared. My legs were covered with bruises from being rammed by that damn cone. I can’t imagine how sore her neck must have been. But she remained cheery and unaffected by her miserable situation. And persistently licking that wound, no matter what I did to thwart her. By the time I sought veterinary intervention it was too late. It was cancer and it had spread to her lymph nodes. It’s been over a year and I couldn’t bring myself to share her story until now.
For years, Bailey was my shadow. No matter where I went on the farm, she was with me. Rob could always tell where I was; if I was not in the warehouse, Bailey's position in the yard outside the house would pinpoint which room I was in. Any time someone would give her attention, she'd offer up her paw as if to try and pat them back.
She cheerfully trotted alongside as I logged many miles as I walked in an effort to lose a few pounds.

She didn't judge on the days that I instead sat on the deck with unhealthy snacks and/or adult beverages.

She was content to snooze on her bed under the table in my office during busy season when I spent long hours in the warehouse.
NEW and HALF PRICE: Luke & Forrest - My Saviors, My Salvation
Renowned fashion photographer Donna DeMari has shot the most prominent names in the industry - Naomi, Kate, Heidi, Helena - but it is two names we do not recognize, Luke and Forrest, sibling Labrador Retrievers, who have impacted her life most. "At a time when my world seemed to collapse, Luke and Forrest were my source of love, strength and inspiration," says DeMari. "Their loving presence transformed my life from days of darkness to days of joy through their boundless generosity of spirit and the endearing qualities that made two Labs from the same litter as different as night and day, but united in their devotion to me and to each other." This is a deeply moving story, told in word and picture, of love and trust lost and regained, of salvation and saviors. It is a tribute to two dogs with big hearts, fierce loyalty and nurturing spirits who carried the author through the most difficult years of her life.
HoofPrints owner Gina Keesling's review of Luke & Forrest:
Having loved and lost a couple Black Labradors, I know how intensely moving it is when they look at you with wise, soulful eyes. I also know that it's difficult to capture this beauty with a camera. Black dogs are notoriously hard to photograph, at all, let alone capture the emotion that emanates from those gold/brown eyes. Donna DeMari has done just that, and more. This beautiful hardcover book is impeccably designed, would be a prize even without the moving story that she tells along with.
NEW and HALF PRICE: Dogs and Their People: Photos & Stories of Life with a Four-Legged Love
Mostly community-sourced and filled with never-before-told anecdotes, stories, photos, and intimate insights, Dogs and Their People spotlights over 200 unique and remarkable dogs. Some are celebri-dogs while others are just making their debut; some will make your heart ache, while others will make it soar; and others simply look really dapper in color. All bring to life and celebrate the crazy, consuming, insatiable love we feel for the World’s Ultimate Best Friend.
HoofPrints owner Gina Keesling's review:
The best way to describe this book is "The Very Best of all Dog Pictures and Stories from Instagram." Like Luke and Forrest above, it's impeccably designed: each page filled to the brim with photos, stories, fun and funny facts. Also hardcover, it's a great way to enjoy what community-sourced content has to offer, without the hassle of wading through distracting or negative content or comments. The folks at BarkBox have curated the best of the best - all in this one book. They've thoughtfully included all the sources, so if you're inspired by a picture or story, you can go online and see more of the same.
Another "goodbye:" to Carolina Dog Honeybun; the dog that inspired I'm Listening With A Broken Ear
Read more about the story about an impossible stray dog that sparked an author's career here. This book, along with Vicky's others, is self published. That means the whole load is on her to decide if a story merits the idea that others would like to read it. Then to type out and edit all those pages, clarifying and refining the story as you go - and then send it off to a publisher - before she ever knew anyone would buy a single book.
That takes some real guts. She took her good deed (rescuing a dog) and documented how it went wrong, multiple times; sharing her own role in the goings-wrong. She turned it into a story that makes you want to cheer; that's an entrepreneurial endeavor well worth appreciating.
Life is Short - Play With Your Dog T-shirt
A great gift for a dog-loving friend, or a reminder for yourself!
I love helping with gift giving... It's probably a dumb idea to promote a service I offer that doesn't make a single penny for the company, but it's one of those feel-good things that I like to share stories about. I offer to include a gift card at no charge should the customer be needing to send the item directly to it's intended recipient. Probably the big companies have a clever computerized way to handle this, but HoofPrints doesn't. It involves choosing an actual card from the specially reserved stash, and hand-writing the requested sentiment inside. It can get to be time-consuming, especially if it's a long message, or one with a lot of names that I need to make sure are spelled correctly, etc.
But I always appreciate being a part of a kind gesture between one person and another - even if it's two folks I don't even know. The Life is Short, Play with Your Dog T-shirt shown here was recently ordered by a woman, to be sent as a get-well gift to a friend who'd sustained a broken leg. She hurt herself PLAYING WITH HER DOG!
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ABOUT THE COMPANY
Gina Keesling started HoofPrints in 1986 to provide helpful promotional materials for farrier husband Rob. Along the way she added a fun selection of horse and dog products geared toward women of a certain age. This newsletter is emailed to subscribers a few times a month. Watch for sales, stories (including dog-bathing instructions) and more.
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Overly ambitious DIY ideas that I may never do
I have awesome customer service reps available 24/7 to take your order or answer questions at 765-724-7004, or email gina@hoofprints.com