If you’ve read ‘From Cat Person to Dog Mom,’ you will know the story of Ellie, my beloved Mexican street mutt who affirmed to me that the human | dog relationship can smite the heart as profoundly as any human relationship, and that a dog’s purpose is to show us people the true essence of life: unconditional love. After all, dog is God spelled backwards.

As I began to understand the value of my canine companions, and how deeply soulful our connection was, I wanted a way to honor them. I wanted to honor our bond, to celebrate the joy and unflagging love and loyalty Ellie - and Francis - offered so simply and naturally.  Francis had joined the family a bit later. I discovered him curled into a tight ball under a bougainvillea bush, a tiny bedraggled puppy, and he had become inseparable from me.  I knew that I wasn’t the only person to feel this way about a dog, so a simple, beautiful piece of jewelry wouldn’t be hard to find. Searching high and low all I could see were trinkets, dog-themed charms that were cute but not substantial, and I realized that quality dog-themed jewelry for dog lovers didn’t exist. I realized I would have to create it myself. I put down my paint brushes and turned to silversmithing.

From a design aspect, inspired by promise and posy rings inscribed with simple but powerful declarations of commitment, I wanted to incorporate words. Adapting the ring worn on a finger to an over-sized ring worn as a pendant on a chain, I experimented with stamping ‘messages’ or sentiments with individual letter stamps. But the perfectly messy, organic vision in my mind would not translate. I changed the shape to long narrow rectangles with less words stamped with a single stamp and started to add paw prints and hearts. Still, the shape was problematic, and I played with it over and over. And over. I tried a simple circle shape. I tried connecting the two together. Nothing was completely working and I began to feel defeated. Then one day I was in an army supply shop (helping my son outfit some actors for a small film he was making) and a military dog tag caught my eye. The shape and size seemed so right, so universal.  That was the ah-ha moment that lead to success, and my collection was born. The pieces as they are now marry the dog tag shape with the look and feel of a soft-edged stone, worn by sand and sea. A word or two, or even none. One of my personal favorites is just a paw print and heart symbolic of the idea that our dogs leave paw prints on our hearts.

People have been commemorating human relationships through symbolic talismans since the beginning of time. Now dogs and their humans can do the same.

francis and me austin jewelry for dog moms and dads.jpg
kate holmes