For Vancouver seamstress and fashion designer Mishel Bouillet, saving homeless dogs has become a family legacy.
Her sister Lindz recently adopted a “Mexi mutt” named Stella from Sayulita, Mexico, and since then has taken in a number of foster dogs until they could be placed into a forever home.
It’s Lindz’s dedication that inspired Mishel and her partner to bring a new furry family member into their lives.
“We have watched Lindz’s journey with Stella and have seen the joy they bring to each other’s lives,” Mishel says.
“My partner and I realized we were ready to find our own perfect little dude.”
In this edition of Rescue Me, Mishel describes in her own words how she fell in love with a little one-eyed Mexican street dog, and how the pint-sized pup has inspired her newest fashion line.
Searching casually on Petfinder one day I came across Gerri (formerly known as Twinkie). Her photos spoke to us. We connected right away and it instantly felt right.
When I saw Gerri it didn’t phase me at all that she had one eye. It sounds cheesy but she just seemed perfect to me in every way. To be honest, it even drew us to her in the end. I could tell she had a story and I wanted give her the happy ending she deserved.
She was found on a beach in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and was already without her eye. We don’t know how she lost it and it doesn’t seem to bother her in the slightest. The group that rescued her is called the SPCA PV, a partner of the SPCA which works out of Puerto Vallarta.
Gerri is two years old and has the physical signs of carrying a few litters of puppies already so we suspect she was used for breeding. When we first got her she was very nervous around traffic and any loud noises. We can only guess what hurdles she has overcome.
Gerri really loves socializing with other dogs and kids. She is shy with humans at times but is quickly getting the idea that her struggles are over and she can rest easy in this new chapter of her life. We notice positive changes in her everyday – it’s amazing to watch. We also have a black cat named Skid who has been with me for 10 years, they get along like brother and sister.
If you are ready and willing to put in the time to welcome a dog with a past into your life the rewards are endless. It’s work for sure but I see the world day to day in a different light. Helping my dog understand the world around her has helped me understand it as well. Some days I’m not sure who’s teaching who.
Gerri comes everywhere with me. She has a charisma people are just drawn to. My dream for her is to have be social enough to make hospital visits. She really connects with kids so I thought it would be great to have her visit children while they receive treatment. She’s missing an eye herself and she’s just beautiful so if she could bring joy to someone else going through the same journey, I could see her bringing some real joy to some hard stories of struggle.
I am a seamstress/fashion designer by trade so when I adopted a 10-pound Chihuahua in rainy Vancouver I knew I’d need to at some point dress my pup in some duds. My sister and I were chatting one day about what is out there for dogwear and how much our pups end up representing us the owner by default. We decided that we wanted to make a line that not only complimented the dog’s personality but the owners as well.
We want to create a line that is obviously made for dogs but also for owners to feel they can connect with the pieces as well. We are going in the direction of made to measure dog wear because every dog is different and requires different fits. Our company is called Bad Dog Clothing so look out for us online and in stores this coming fall!
SPCA PV regularly flies dogs to B.C. for rehoming, and is always looking for foster families and adopters. They are also in need of “air angels” — people flying from Mexico to Vancouver, Victoria and Seattle — that can escort the pups to their new homes. They handle all the paperwork and costs.