Lottie Long Legs: The Amazing Woman Behind the Stationary and the Philanthropy and………. a great follow up on Bloat
The National German Wirehaired Pointer Rescue Association can only help dogs in need because of the generosity of our donors. One of those angels is a hairdresser from a village in England who is also an accomplished artist. Nicola Spink has an online store and sells art, primarily stationary, and donates part of her profits to dog rescues. She has donated about 10,000 pounds over 5 years, and continues to generously bestow regular donations to our organization. We wanted to know more about one of our benefactors.
Leslie R. Dye, MD, Treasurer, National German Wirehaired Pointer Rescue Association
Her Younger Years
Nicola has always loved the outdoors, spending time as a child riding bikes or roaming the countryside with her family and friends. Meeting friends’ ponies sparked a love for horses, and on days she was forced by the weather to stay inside, she concocted stories and drew cartoons about farm animals. Her favorite subjects in school revolved around art or sport and she loved cooking and baking. Her creativity led to a career in hairdressing that started by cutting her sister’s hair when her Mum was busy.
Her Life Now and Her Love of Dogs
She continues to spend time outside walking, hiking, and sometimes running and cycling. Her first ambition when she left home was to have a dog and she had a Springer Spaniel, called Pickle. He was joined by Monty, and then Scrap, a very naughty Border Terrier crossed with a Jack Russell Terrier. Scrap was too much of a handful for the nursing home where he lived, so he was rehomed with Nicola. Her dogs had to be able to withstand long walks as she and her husband often did walking holidays of 15–20 miles every day for consecutive days. They were one big happy family until Pickle and Monty crossed the Rainbow Bridge, and Scrap was lonely.
They stumbled across their first German Wirehaired Pointers (GWP) at a local gundog/country show and heard that one of the dogs, Kiri, a beautiful one year old German Wirehaired Pointer, needed a new home because she was gun shy. Kiri fit in well with the couple’s active lifestyle. About 18 months later, Scrap passed away, leaving Kiri bereft. Along came a Parson Russell Terrier called Twig, who made Kiri happy again. One day Kiri stopped eating and visited the veterinarian every day for 9 days without a diagnosis and died at age 6 from Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia. Kiri’s impact was so substantial that the family knew it was inevitable that they would get another GWP. They felt whole again when they brought another brown bear, Lottie, home.
The Genesis of Lottie Long Legs
Nicola’s creativity continued, and just after Lottie came into their lives, it was Nicola’s husband’s birthday. As his gift, she drew him a pastel picture of their beloved Kiri Kibble and posted it on a GWP Facebook group. Soon after the posting, she received a request to produce a painting of someone’s dog. She only agreed if those who requested the painting would donate money to a dog rescue. Just by word of mouth (and Internet) she received more requests.
Her membership in the Women’s Institute also allows Nicola to utilize her creative skills, and soon after she started doing commissioned work, she was asked to produce something for the Institute’s Christmas stall. She created a Christmas card with a cartoon of Lottie in a Christmas cap that was another wild success for GWP owners on Facebook, including some in the US. She had many inquiries about purchasing the cards. When choosing a name for her shop, she remembered that someone commented on how long Lottie’s legs were when she was a puppy, hence the name “Lottie Long Legs.”
Philanthropy for the Love of Dogs
“I wake up everyday with funny little ideas of how I can grow my little business and continue to help.”
Unfortunately, through Nicola’s travels abroad, she saw many dogs poorly treated. She says, “I spent many a holiday feeding dogs, tweezering ticks off of their lovely faces, and generally getting upset about it. This made me think I could help rescues here and abroad.” Initially I gave my donations to a third party who could use them as they saw fit, but they I decided I should determine how to distribute them.
Every time she produces a painting that sells, she puts away 50% for donation. The remainder pays for supplies, postage, PayPal fees and tax. Every quarter, she donates to various GWP rescues including one in the UK, Ireland, and our US GWP Rescue. She went on a holiday last year to Devon and wrote a children’s book about a little girl on her holiday at her Grandma Flossie’s in Lincolnshire Village with many of the wildlife characters from her card images. She hopes to find a publisher.
On behalf of the National German Wirehaired Pointer Rescue Association and the dogs all over the world that have been and will be helped by Nicola, I want to express deep gratitude for her willingness to use her creativity as a power for good.
For more information, go to lottielonglegs.com
Update on Bloat-follow up from our last blog
On the Facebook group, “Griffology, Wirehaired Pointing Griffons”, Rayna Longstreet, a Griffon owner posted on June 18 that her dog, Jon Henri, suffered from bloat or GDV, the subject of our last blog published on June 1(“No Time To Spare — Recognizing and Preventing Canine Bloat”).
She said, “THANK YOU Lisa Boyer Miller & Randi M Huff for recently posting the bloat article- I recognized his distress from that article!” Rayna was kind enough to provide more details of the events surrounding his illness and recovery. After a long hike, a common activity for her dogs, they were in the car coming home (about a one hour ride), and she noticed Jon Henri, her 8-year-old Griffon, starting to act a little antsy. He ate and drank some water about 1.5 hours after the hike. About 15 minutes later, he started panting and changing position, as if he could not get comfortable. She was concerned about bloat but his abdomen was not distended and he wasn’t vomiting. Rayna called the veterinarian as a precautionary measure, and they suggested to keep an eye on him. Just as she hung up, he was vomiting without producing anything, running around, and crying out. She called the vet back and told them she was on her way.
On the 40 minute drive to the vet hospital, he was panting, slobbering, and crying out in pain. His abdomen quickly became rock hard and bloated. The emergency vet took him in immediately and performed surgery. Within about 20–30 minutes, the pressure was released, and by the next morning his stomach was tacked. She estimates that they arrived at the vet approximately 2.5 hours from the time he exhibited symptoms at home. He suffered only minor vessel damage to his spleen and made a full recovery. According to Rayna, “I had heard of bloat before, but had never given it much of a thought until your article came out on the Griffology page. Without a doubt, reading that article gave me knowledge and the confidence to recognize that something was really wrong with Henri and that I wasn’t being a helicopter dog mom.” We are so happy that Jon Henri recovered.
National GWP Rescue is a nationwide rescue program whose volunteers work tirelessly to provide funding, foster homes, medical care and training for GWPs found in shelters, animal control facilities and to those GWPs whose current owners are unable to provide a suitable situation.
Working hand- in-hand with governmental and local shelters, NGWPR provides a safe and responsible home for GWP’s in need. Placed with an experienced GWPCA member, fostered GWPs that have been neglected, untrained or have medical issues quickly blossom as they are readied for their “forever” homes.
Prior to releasing our rescued GWPs for adoption, volunteers provide obedience, manners, and house training. We hold to the philosophy that a mannerly dog has a better chance of fitting into a new household.
NGWPR believes that Wires were designed to hunt and unlike some other rescue programs, we are happy to place dogs with field experience or bird instinct with potential owners who enjoy hunting behind a Wire. However, NGWPR insists that any rescue dog first be a house dog and companion, then a weekend hunting partner.
Please go to our website to learn more.
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