Pa. — Sandra Smith has been making things her entire
life. So when she couldn’t find a collar that suited
Scout, her 55-pound pit bull mix, she used her sewing
machine to make one.
she saw in pet stores "were too cute-sy," she
said, and many had weak plastic closures or rings to
attach to the leash.
was 8 weeks old when she found him in a ditch 10 years
ago. He is a sweet and loving pet but is sometimes
"reactive" to other dogs. When he reaches the
end of his leash, Smith needed a sturdy collar with
metal hardware to hold him.
years ago, she made a few collars for Scout. Now she
makes 1,000 a year and it’s her second job. Each Scout
Dog collar bears the company name and the profile of a
black dog that looks like Scout. The website is http://scoutdogcollars.com/.
photos, Scout, 10, wears a red-and-white plaid collar
that contrasts nicely with his black fur. Smith’s
other dog, an 11-year-old Great Pyrenees mix named
Gracie, wears a collar with a pink print.
and Gracie each have four collars because Smith says she’s
"a collar junkie." She made each dog a new
collar for classes at the Western Pennsylvania Humane
Society, "like for the first day of school."
highest priced collar is $26; for an additional $6, the
dog’s name and owner’s telephone number can be
embroidered on. Scotchgard is applied to make the
like to use vibrant colors," Smith says.
also sells a $5 "tag caddy" on her website. It
allows collar junkies to easily remove the tags from one
collar and attach them to another.
she used a regular sewing machine in her Shaler, Pa.,
home. "After killing four machines, I invested in
an industrial sewing machine."
full-time job is in the programming department at the
Sen. John Heinz History Center in the Strip District.
She spends about 20 hours a week making the dog collars.
Dog Collars are available online http://scoutdogcollars.com/
and at local shops.