Dawn, and Miles on a trip across the U.S. - the Oregon
name is Tracy, and I make the Pet-Paws. I live on the
Palouse in the state of Washington with my husband and
all our animals. Some of them are pictured above at the
top of this website. From left to right: Molly, the best
little Schnauzer pup in the world; Wotsie, the Asparagus
Forest cat; Sun, Star, and Moon, my babies; Planet, or
Acktwillinhannering as I call him (rest in peace Planet,
I love you); Ghoulie, my beautiful Border Collie; and
Tripper, Ghoulie's brother. Other beautiful individuals
in the family include: horses, cows, a yak, chickens,
Ancona ducks, peafowl, turkeys, pigeons, and fish in the
ponds. Our cats all have rescue stories. They are all
spayed and neutered and they eat homemade catfood. They
all have their very own Pet-Paws! Some of my chickens
do too. We practice "coyote curfew" every night
with our cats. At dusk, when the coyotes start to howl,
we call our kitties inside and lock their cat-door for
the night. In the morning, their cat-door is opened up
and they are free to come and go as they please. You can
read the stories about our cats and how we make their
catfood here: www.starsunmoon.com
I have always followed my dreams. When I was 8 years old
I announced to my mother and father that I was going to
ride horseback across the United States (I also told them
that I was going to rope a wild zebra in Africa, but that
hasn't happened yet). Thirteen years later, I left New
Hampshire with my horse and dog and rode for 3-1/2 years
through 23 states to Washington. You can read about my
horseback journey here: www.starsunmoon.com
also sell Egyptian Walking Onions: www.egyptianwalkingonion.com
do I make Pet-Paws?
upon a time I went to Washington State University to become
a veterinarian. I signed up for a sculpture class in between
my heavy load of science classes. I wanted a "fun"
class and I loved art and working with my hands. Going to
sculpture class was such a joy. It turned out to be my favorite
part of going to college. I loved working with the clay.
My hands magically sculpted a lump of clay into two tigers
playing together. I was taught how to transform them into
wax and then into bronze. I was blown away. To me, it was
pure magic to melt a chunk of metal into liquid and pour
it like water.
I graduated college, it was ok that I never made it into
vet school. I thought that being a veterinarian would be
my key to living a life with animals and helping animals,
but I was already living with animals and helping them right
in my own home. After I got my BS degree in Zoology I was
done with school and I went on to get jobs (one was even
based on my degree!). But I never stopped thinking about
sculpting and that molten metal pouring like water into
my mold. I knew I would be building my own backyard foundry
someday, there was no question about it. I thought about
the things I would make and turn into bronze.
the years I have shared my life with many special cats and
dogs, and many of them have passed. I was always drawn to
their paws. Zuzu, my beautiful Husky/Wolf always slapped
her paw into my hand when I offered her mine. I have always
held my cats' paws and kissed them. I thought how great
it would be to have each of their paws in bronze to hold.
I went about getting paw impressions from all my cats and
dogs, and even some of the cows, chickens, and pigeons.
There was a bit of a learning curve as to what made the
best impression material, and just how do you go about getting
a paw impression from a cat? It was actually pretty easy,
and the cats actually enjoyed it because they got to have
their favorite treats in the process. The dogs didn't really
care one way or another, they were just happy that I was
holding their paw. I poured wax into all the impressions
and wound up with little wax "sculptures" of all
the paws. I still didn't have a foundry, but I had the paws!
My first foundry was a waste oil burner that I built myself.
It was unpredictable, dirty, smoky, stinky, and hard to
get fired up. But I did get bronze to melt in it and I poured
my first Pet-Paws back in 2008. I was elated! I carried
my little kitty-cat Pet-Paws around with me everywhere.
It was sad for me to make the Pet-Paws from the cats that
had passed on, but I was so glad to have them. I could hold
their little paws in my hand once again. It doesn't bring
them back, but it's something physical and permanent that
was made from them that I will always have. All my Pet-Paws
are very sacred to me. Every so often I will get a new impression
from one of my cats or dogs (or chickens) and make another
Pet-Paw, maybe this time it will be in brass, or aluminum.
I love having Pet-Paws from all my animals so much. Since
it brings me so much joy, I thought that other people would
love to have them made from their pets as well. So I created