Pawsitive Tales

Sharing heartwarming tales of animals and their humans.

Misty and Me — December 9, 2022

Misty and Me

~ Misty and Me ~

Just after the Covid-19 lockdown in New Zealand, Liezel, with her business partner, Misty the Maltese x Shih Tzu, launched their business, Misty and Me. Through this, Liezel creates beautiful products and accessories for dogs. 

For as long as she can remember, Liezel has always had a passion for fashion and animals. This flourished after watching ‘Legally Blonde’ for the first time. She loved Elle and Bruiser Woods and took this love straight to her sewing machine. At the time, she had a Dachshund named Kylie and decided to make her some matching outfits. This continued on for some time, but Liezel soon lost her motivation and put her sewing on hold. 

Between 2007 and 2008, Liezel studied fashion at the Fashion Institute of Technology. There, she studied garment construction and pattern-making. Initially, she wanted to start a goth clothing label named Lollyrot but unfortunately, this never took off as she didn’t feel like it was quite the right fit at the time. 

Some years later, Liezel adopted a Yorkie named Freddie, who ignited her human’s passion for sewing once again. Sadly, Freddie passed away as a result of granulomatous meningo-encephalomyelitis (GME) which left Liezel heartbroken. Her sewing machine went away again until she adopted Misty. Liezel’s mum also adopted Misty’s sister, Gracie, and the two brought their new humans endless joy. 

Having Misty inspired Liezel to start sewing again. She would make all kinds of outfits and accessories for her canine companion and would often be asked where she got them. When replying that these items of clothing were handmade, many asked if they could have something made for their dogs. This marked the beginning of starting her own business. 

Initially, Liezel and a friend launched a business named Minsbo. Unfortunately, this was difficult to maintain between their day jobs and all that happened with the Covid-19 pandemic, so they decided to start their own individual businesses, thus, leading to the launch of Misty and Me

There are many aspects of running her own business that Liezel enjoys. From discovering new fabrics at her local Spotlight store, where the staff are always more than happy to help her find the perfect one, rewatching ‘Legally Blonde’ for motivation and inspiration every few months, and, her most favourite part, thinking of new ideas for designs and being able to bring them to life for customers all over NZ. 

Each and every design and product that Liezel sells is made with her whole heart and soul. As someone who struggles with chronic illness, finding work was always a challenge and led to her losing her financing job in 2016. However, Misty and Me has become Liezel’s full-time job and something that brings her joy. It means the world to her that her dream job is now a reality. As well as this, seeing dogs within her community or on social media wearing her designs always fills her heart.

Misty and Me is an amazing business. The passion that Liezel has for everything she does shines through each product she creates. If you’re looking for a gorgeous new accessory for your pup, make sure to check out Misty and Me!

Dogs With Jobs — November 21, 2022

Dogs With Jobs

~ Dogs With Jobs ~

A couple of years ago, wanting to promote awareness around service dogs, Natalie published her book, ‘Dogs With Jobs’. As well as this, she has also created a page and community that shows the many amazing ways that dogs can help their humans. 

Wanting to help others and work with animals, Natalie signed up to be a puppy raiser for service dogs. While doing this, often had to explain what she was doing and proper etiquette, such as not distracting a dog on duty. A lot of the time, her explanations went ignored and so, she felt something needed to be done to spread awareness. 

After becoming an aunty, Natalie realised there was a way she could educate both adults and children – by writing a book! With inspiration from some of her foster puppies, including Claudia, Kirree, and many more, she wrote a children’s book about working dogs titled ‘Dogs With Jobs’, with illustrations by Victoria Brown, which was published in 2020. 

Natalie’s book details the jobs of six different dogs. It was popular upon release and provided some much-needed awareness to many people. On top of her book, Natalie also started an Instagram page under the same name. The page, as with her book, has helped educate a lot of people. The first time an account for a service dog liked one of her posts, Natalie was thrilled. She felt that her message was helping not only to teach people but also to help service dog handlers feel seen on a public platform. 

Since launching Dogs With Jobs, Natalie has received endless support. It has meant a lot to her to be able to help spread awareness about the incredible jobs that dogs can have. One day, Natalie hopes to make her book available to everyone. As well as this, seeing service dogs from all over the world doing their jobs never fails to brighten her day. 

Currently, Natalie is fostering an 11-week-old assistance dog named Irving. Whenever they’re training or going out and about, it warms Natalie’s heart to know that, one day, he will be able to help change someone’s life. It’s never easy for her to give a dog back to the trainer after creating such a beautiful bond, but she knows it’s for the best and will give someone independence, confidence and companionship.

The impact that Natalie’s work has had is incredible. Through her book and page, she is helping more people understand the incomparable difference these dogs can make. The passion she has is evident in everything she does, from every book sold to each post and message. 

Love and Above Cat Club — November 9, 2022

Love and Above Cat Club

~ Love and Above Cat Club ~

In 2021, the Love and Above Cat Club was launched. A page, and now community, dedicated to helping provide cat parents with ways to better care for themselves and time some time out to focus on their own wellbeing. 

Founder and cat lover, Siena Lee-Tajiri, lost her soulcat, Cumin, in 2016. Cumin had been in her human’s life for over 19 years and, sadly, passed away from oral squamous cell cancer. Siena was heartbroken and felt like all the love in her life had left with Cumin. Soon, she felt that she had relied on her soulcat for love and wasn’t able to cultivate her own self-love. The love they shared was enough for them both. It was from this that she realised that sometimes, people go above and beyond for their furbabies, but can often neglect themselves. 

Siena remembers journalling after losing Cumin. She wanted to help other pet parents love themselves in the same way they love their furbabies. From this, she had come up with an idea and a name – Love and Above Cat Club: Self Care for Cat Lovers. However, from 2016-2020, this was put on hold for a while due to her heavy work schedule. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, Siena had the time to plan and, before she knew it, the Love and Above Cat Club had flourished! 

While on Christmas vacation, Siena and her partner were excitedly writing and designing the website. Then, the following year on Cumin’s birthday, March 9th, Love and Above Cat Club launched! 

The main motivation behind Love and Above Cat Club is aiding others in their spiritual and self-love journey. Each follow, comment, like and share helps Siena to do this by sharing awareness and spreading her message. As well as this, she sells a variety of products on her website including essential oils, journals, healing gemstone bracelets, and more! 

The love between a cat and their human is truly special. Being able to nurture this and help people channel the same love towards themselves encourages and motivates Siena daily. It fills her heart and seeing photos of happy cats AND their humans proves to her that her work is making a difference in the lives of many people and cats. As well as this, she’s able to share this experience with her furry assistant, Bear. Bear features a lot on Love and Above Cat Club page, helping to share tips and tricks or simply brightening everyone’s day with his adorable face. 

The Love and Above Cat Club is amazing. It’s obvious just how passionate Siena is about cats and the bonds they share with their humans. Make sure you go support her by checking out her page – a page full of love and cats, what more could you ask for?

Lisa and Portia — October 14, 2022

Lisa and Portia

~ Lisa and Portia ~

Five years ago, Lisa and her beautiful doggo, Portia, launched their business, Clothes By Portia. Since then, they have created a lovely community and shared so much positivity. 

In 2015, Lisa met Lhasa Apso x Shitzu pup, Portia. In the seven years since, they have created a very special bond. Lisa has struggled with some health conditions over the last few years, but having her canine companion has helped hugely. Whenever things are tough, she knows Portia will be right there for her. 

The impact Portia has had on her human has also inspired her to start her own business. In 2017, Lisa felt there needed to be more of a variety of bandanas and accessories for dogs. Thus, the beginning of Clothes By Portia. For as long as she can remember, Lisa has always had a passion for sewing, and so wanted to make and sell bandanas. Ones that could be customised for dogs, ones that were unique and a bit different to the ones she saw in pet stores as well as being of good quality.

Since launching Clothes By Portia, Lisa has had many exciting opportunities and experiences. One of her most memorable was at the start of 2022 when she was filmed for Digital Boost‘s website and used as part of their online advertising. Lisa has created bandanas for mental health awareness week 2022 and even her newly released upcycled range. This entails sending old pieces of clothing to be made into apparel or accessories for dogs!

One of Lisa’s favourite things about Clothes By Portia is seeing pups and dogs in their new clothes or accessories. Knowing that people and dogs love her products means so much. 

Clothes By Portia is an awesome business and it’s obvious just how passionate Lisa is about what she does. If you’re looking for a stylish bandana, accessory or apparel, check out Clothes By Portia now!

Ruffles Pet Wear — May 26, 2021

Ruffles Pet Wear

~ Ruffles Pet Wear ~

In 2019, Ruffles Pet Wear launched.  Ruffles Pet Wear is a New Zealand business that hand-makes quality coats, raincoats, pyjamas, and more for dogs.  

Founder, Liv, had the idea to make coats when she was 15 years old.  Her family had a mini fox terrier who, while always on the go, was always cold.  Her mum would buy jumpers for her until one day, Liv decided to make some.  She bought a pattern and some material and started making what is now her pattern for the pyjamas that are now part of their catalogue.  

Soon, Liv began selling her coats through vet clinics, grooming salons, and TradeMe.  At the time, she was selling these through her business, then called Poppy’s PJs.  This continued for a few years but soon stopped.  It wasn’t until 10 years later when Liv got her own down that she pulled out her old patterns and materials.  She found some beautiful wool blankets and decided to repurpose them, making her creations warmer, more colourful and more sustainable.  

From this, in 2019, Ruffles Pet Wear was born.  This has allowed Liv to build a community from her business.  From communicating with customers to help create their dog the perfect coat, to seeing them out and about, it brings Liv so much happiness and encourages her to continue her work.  

Aside from the coats, Liv has a passion for animals.  Both Liv’s dogs, Aero and Jet, are rescues and now occasionally model for Ruffles Pet Wear.  Liv wanted to give both Aero and Jet a chance at having a good life, one they might not have had before being rescued.  Because of her passion for supporting animals and rescues, Liv has done a lot of charity work.  She has held fundraisers and occasionally drops off coats to animal shelters to help keep some of the dogs warm.  

In 2020, Liv supported different animal rescues by creating special one-off coats and selling them at an auction.  All the proceeds made went to the rescues.  Not only this, but she also arranged a donation drop and collected dog food, toys, bedding and grooming tools, too.  

One of Liv’s biggest motivations for Ruffles Pet Wear is simply the dogs.  She enjoys creating the perfect coat for each dog.  Seeing their happy faces when wearing the coats and, of course, adding a bit of cosiness to a cold day.  

Each and every purchase helps Ruffles Pet Wear.  As it is a small business, any support helps, big or small.  From liking a post, sharing a cute picture or buying a coat for your dog, it all means a lot.  

Amid the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic, Liv had struggled with a greatly reduced income.  Being able to create and sell coats helped support her and her family during this time.  Unfortunately, she had been made redundant by the end of the year, however, she has now made Ruffles Pet Wear a full-time job.  Just this year, she released limited winter collection in a wide range of colours!  

Having Ruffles Pet Wear empowers Liv.  She is able to combine her passion for dogs and design through her business.  It makes her feel proud being able to work from home, work for herself, support her family and to help dogs within her community.  The passion Liv has for her business is amazing.  It is evident how much she cares for her creations and for the four-legged customers she makes them for.  

Ruffles Pet Wear is an amazing New Zealand business.  If you would like to purchase your own Ruffles dog coat, check out their page.  There are so many colours and they can be made for dogs of all shapes and sizes.  Go check them out now!