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    Collars and Leashes With Attitude: Introducing Shed Brooklyn

    Collars and Leashes With Attitude: Introducing Shed Brooklyn

    Some people like to adorn their dogs with clothes and accessories; others prefer to stick to only functional gear. Whichever camp you fall into, there are two essential items that allow room for some fun and expression of taste: a dog's collar and leash. 

    shed brooklynAt our Christmas craft fair last year at School For The Dogs, our clients went nuts for the cute and cheeky printed hemp collars and leashes made by the young company, Shed Brooklyn. There are simply no other products on the market like their eyebrow-raising gear, which features original motifs you're not likely to find on any other dog wear. Boobs, poop-icons, granny panties, and dollar signs are just not among the kinds of things you'd expect to find on a dog gear! We asked Kiah Vidyarthi, one half of the Shed team, to tell us about the products. 

    hemp collars by shed on french bulldog

    How did this business come about?

    We started out making hand-stamped collars as holiday gifts for friends and family in 2014. Kristen and I are best friends, and we're both obsessed with our dogs. She has a background in business, and I've worked in art and textiles, and we are both suckers for cute stuff. 

    After making a few batches, we pretty quickly had a long list of friends who wanted them, so in early 2015 we decided to up our game by adding more designs, starting to screen print each collar. Our vision was to make dog accessories that are cute, affordable, ethically made, vegan and locally-made. 

    shed hemp leashes

    The process took some trial and error! Screen printing can be a tricky process when you're using a textured material. We came up with a bunch of ideas for designs that we felt personified the (weird and charming) pups in our lives. In terms of images, we like things that are a little odd and things that give a nod to our '90s childhoods and pop culture. We have emojis, snacks, girly stuff, and some cool new artist collaborations coming very soon.

    Do you have a favorite?

    All of our collars and leashes are mix-and-match. My favorite leash is probably the forties. I like to keep it classy and pair it with the boobies collar. 

     

    Right now, it's just collars and leashes but we have big plans - beds, goodies, toys, and more! We also just launched our Mom Jeans (recycled denim) collection, which comes in four washes. Acid wash is pretty cool.

    How did “Shed” get its name?

    We came up with the name Shed when were just sitting around my kitchen table, brainstorming. We were getting lost in some pretty embarrassing puns and then it hit us: Shed! We loved that it was a sort of double-entendre, with dog hair shedding and a structure that could contain lots of things. 

    Now, the most important part of this interview: Tell us about your dog!

    Petunia the Pitbull in Shad Collar with LeashTuna! Formally known as Petunia, is a 4ish year old pittie and she's the most wonderful monster in the world. I adopted her when she was about 10 months old from the pound in Jersey City. As she got older, she developed some behavioral issues and decided that she is extremely picky about her dog friends, absolutely hates skateboards, and runs the neighborhood cat-watch. She's forever a work in progress, but she's definitely my canine soulmate.

    You've done a lot of training with Tuna. If you could impart one tip to other dog owners, what would it be? 

    Recognize your dog's individual needs! For the first several years, I couldn't accept that Tuna could lead a happy, fulfilled life if she wasn't running around off leash at the dog park with all the happy-go-lucky dogs. I spent so much time, tears, and not to mention tons of money trying to change the fact that she just isn't one of those dogs. In reality, Tuna has two or three dog friends that she enjoys playing with for a little bit, but she's happiest when she's in the company of her humans. Once I finally accepted it and let her live her truth as a couch-potato, we were all much happier.

     

    Bully sticks: What the heck are they? Glad you asked...

    Bully sticks: What the heck are they? Glad you asked...

    Today, a friend texted me that he'd just learned his dog had a penis... In her mouth. Let me explain. Adam is a new dog owner, and I'd recently recommended that he buy a bully stick for Clover to chew on. Someone -- not me! -- then clued him into what a bully stick is. "She loves them!" he said to me. "But did you know each one is a little cow penis?" It is indeed. Yes, Adam, your dog loves dick. But who doesn't! If there is one thing in this world that I have a lot of, it's bully sticks. Looking for bovine schlong? I'm your girl.

    Here at School For The Dogs, we have a fridge that contains nothing but bully sticks. Kate and I hand them out like they're samples, but they're not. The peace and pleasure caused by a dog with a cow penis in his mouth is worth more than any profit we'd make if we dealt in a non dog-behavior currency. Bully sticks are all natural -- they contain just one ingredient! -- and the choking hazards are far less than with rawhide. They can keep a dog busy for a long while. I usually recommend that people give them to their dogs as often as once a day. A dog who is chewing on a bully stick is a happy dog--and is also a dog who is less likely to chew on your couch.

    Bully sticks are brown and they look kind of like a cross between a ligament and a cigar. People ask me what they are all the time, and usually, I lie. I say, "They're some kind of bull tendon." Actually, this is not a complete lie. I've always known that they're made from bull penis, but I guessed that maybe a tendon is a kind of muscle? Which is what the penis is? Or maybe it's a tendon that attaches to the penis? I don't know about these things. And could a bull penis really have such little...girth?  I suppose I just chose not to dwell on it. I mean, whatever it is, it's gross. But lots of things we eat are gross if you think too much about them. Anyway, I'm not the one eating the bull penis. The dogs are. And they don't seem to be at all bothered by the "yuck" factor. They also like eating poop.

    But  I decided to try to educate myself about what bully sticks actually are. The ones that Kate and I buy in bulk from BestBullySticks.com are usually only about eight-inches long. I imagine a cow penis would be bigger than that. However, I think they've been chopped up from something longer. I've seen bully sticks that are as tall as I am... and that doesn't seem right either. Maybe they are stretched when they're dried? A penis that is longer than the female cow seems like it would be evolutionarily a bad idea! Then again, I guess most calfs are the product of artificial insemination now, so perhaps the size thing doesn't matter so much. Are we breeding cows to have long dongs for our dogs' chewing pleasure?

    To attempt to answer these questions, I did some online research about cow penises. What do they look like before they're chopped up into small pieces? Is the "bully stick" the actual penis or is it a tendon that attaches to the penis? Or is the penis a tendon? Should they have let me graduate high school without this knowledge?

    What followed was some online research done while I was sitting on a long bus ride this morning; if the guy next to me was looking at my screen, he sure was in for a treat.

    First of all, I looked up a diagram of the human male anatomy as a point of reference. After all, it is the kind of animal penis most of us know best. Below is an arrow to what I'd imagined possibly corresponded to what a bully stick might be.

    But a human male penis is not exactly like a bull penis. Thank God! It is also not a dog penis or a ram penis. Wikivet.net offers this helpful breakdown:

    To get a bit more of a visual idea of what this thing looks like when it is still attached to its owner, here is a screenshot from the Louisiana State University Vet School.

    Of course, according to the caption, the guy at left is not a good example. And I feel a little sad that the heifer has to be restrained... But let's try to stay on topic. How long is the bull dong? I spent quite a while trying to find measurements.  I couldn't find a good figure anywhere, but the LSU Vet School site did provide some idea:

    An adequate length for a bull's penis is that it should come almost between the front legs during a full erection and extension. A bull with a too short penis will not be able to breed.
    Holy moly! Well, this is indeed about the size of some of the biggest bully sticks I've seen. In fact, they're so long that on Etsy, some people even turn them into canes.

    Want a more intimate view? Here are some students at Sam Houston State University dissecting one:

     

    According to BestBullySticks.com, the bully sticks we buy are from South American cattle, and are hanged and cooked to dry them out.  While I've tasted other kinds of dog comestibles, I've never tried a bully stick. But there are other people who are braver than I.

    On Serious Eats, blogger Chichi Wang experimented with various ways of cooking bull penis, which, when consumed by humans, is usually called "pizzle." She writes that, when stewed, she found pizzle to be "soft and sticky with a gummy texture...the chunks tasted curiously neutral—not even bland but simply lacking any flavor whatsoever."  

     Pizzle, aka bull penises, just before blogger Chichi Wang cooked it

    In a later post about cooking with lamb testicles (these proved to be yummier), she explains that the dried pizzle we give to dogs is likely tastier than the stewed version eaten by people (mostly Asian people looking for a non-synthetic ersatz Viagra) because "it is nearly impossible [for us] to digest unless it's stewed for a long time, in which case the vascular tissue breaks down into a gluey, flaccid mess of a dish with virtually no flavor." Noted.

    Now...who's ready for lunch?!