Ideas to inspire
by Richard Rowlands | 5 months, 2 weeks ago
Lisa Holloway had an unusual start to her handmade business. She worked in the fire service for over 27 years, and it was during that time she met a firefighter, engineer, and paramedic who became a canine handler on the Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team.
Her colleague would bring his Golden Retriever, Nikko, to work with him. Lisa became very attached to Nikko and developed an interest in the training of search and rescue dogs.She later joined the USAR team herself, and her interest in search and rescue dog training continued to develop.
"Nikko’s handler used a piece of fire hose with webbing sewn on the end as a reward for correctly locating and alerting to a live victim. I thought the toys were great and started helping the handler make them," says Lisa.
"He would then take the toys to be sewn and we'd sell them to other canine handlers and for fundraising purposes. After I purchased a sewing machine to sew the toys myself, I decided to increase production and donate the proceeds from sales to animal rescue groups in the Riverside area of California where I work, live, and volunteer," she explains.
Lisa's business,Tiller Tugs, continues to raise funds for local rescue groups in Southern Californiathrough the sale of quality dog toys made with recycled fire hose.
Tiller Tugs are super durable dog tug toys made from real recycled fire hose. They are cut and sewn by hand in Lisa's workshop, and each one-of-a-kind toy has an authentic worn look that adds to their handmade charm.
Lisa's favorite part of her handmade business is seeing the photos that customers send her of their dogs playing with Tiller Tugs.
"I swear the dogs are smiling. And to think that Tiller Tugs are in homes across the United States is very exciting. The cherry on top is knowing that profits from Tiller Tug sales are helping animals receive medical attention and find forever homes," says Lisa.
Looking to the future, Lisa plans to keep fundraising for animal rescues by continuing to create quality Tiller Tug products and selling them at local marketplaces, animal rescue and adoption events, and on the internet.
Sadly, Nikko passed awayfrom lymphoma on May 1, 2017, just months after retiring from USAR. But the Tiller Tugs logo featured an image of a Golden Retriever in his honor.
"My inspiration came from Nikko, the search and rescue dog. He was amazing. His handler, Tim, used to call him Super Dog.My hope is that other dogs get as much enjoyment from Tiller Tugs as Nikko did, and that working dogs and their handlers find them a useful tool to increase a dog's motivation and job performance," Lisa says.
Lisa is a huge pet lover and lives alongside her Shih Tzu mix, Brandi and five awesome cats; Dinah, Pewter, Monty, Fritz, and Gideon. She also considers her mom's two dogs Jasper and LuLu to be part of the family. All of Lisa's pets are rescues, and she also fosters cats from time to time.
When asked what excites you the most about joining forces and partnering with Art of the Pet, Lisa replied, "For me, it’s the collective love for animals with the twist of creativity. I am inspired that the participants choose to use their time, talents, & creativity to provide quality pet products."
She continued by adding, "I know how much i enjoy the annual Orange County Pet Expo with so many vendors in one spot. I’m excited that there could be a website offering the same only with unique homemade products supporting small business & in some cases charitable causes such as pet rescue."
In her free time Lisa enjoys golf, volunteering at local pet adoption centers, spending quality time with her family and attending concerts and musicals. She also works part time as a firefighter at Disneyland Resort.