My dog's costume was inspired by a Halti I bought for training him years ago. When I put it on him, I thought, "Hey! He could be a pony!" Years passed and I never dressed him up as a pony. This year, I finally got around to it. I wove him a saddle blanket, carefully crafted a western saddle from real leather, and tied a lead rope onto his Halti. He also grew out his mane and tail hair for an entire year! I haven't clipped it off him yet, and every time I look at him and his little forelock falls across his face I have to give him a pat. It's just too cute.
The costume was perfect for my little dog, Sketcher. He is a semi-retired service dog. He works for me around the house still doing things like retrieving medication, helping me get undressed, and going to get help when I fall. He used to go everywhere with me, but he's gotten too old to keep up with working 24/7 as a service dog. I'm currently saving up to get a new dog - one that is much, much bigger. I'd like a dog big enough to help me up if I fall or to even do bracing work to help keep me from falling. Of course Sketcher will live out his retirement with me. He's my little baby and my best friend. He thinks he's a big dog and can do anything. He's got the heart of a horse in a miniature schnauzer body!
The saddle is the real special piece of his costume. I spent an entire month just researching how western saddles are created. Then, I came up with creative ways to miniaturize the traditional techniques to make a small dog sized saddle. My goal was to not buy anything to make the costume since I'm disabled, unemployed, and beyond broke as a result. Medical bills will eat anyone alive! My crafting has to be near free for it to happen. I almost made it without buying anything too. The only things I bought were a leather sewing needle and a thimble. The leather I used was a scrap my mom was going to throw away, the bitty conches were from a friend's mom who gave me a box of odd bits when cleaning out her stash, the yarn for the saddle blanket from my stash, the saddle tree (inside the leather) was made from cracker box cardboard, newspaper, and mod podge, and the odds and ends fasteners on the saddle all came from my bead box.
And yes, I took plenty of great photos of the whole process of making that saddle. I figure you all will want a tutorial.
Now that Halloween is over, I think I'm going to have to make a miniature saddle stand to hold up his saddle and blanket. Then I'll use it as a bit of home decor. I'm currently building a small home in the country which is where the photos were taken. Rather, my parents are building a small place for me and I have to slowly pay them back as I'm able. I lost my home when I was disabled in two hit-and-run accidents a year apart (the luck!) and have been living with my two dogs in a roughly 200 sq ft basement since. I know I'll be healing faster and needing less pain meds once I have the house. Space to move around and exercise, the yoga swing my PT wants me to have, a full kitchen (holy cow am I sick of TV dinners, it's been 5 years like this!), and a HUGE studio for the crafting business I want to start. There's even space for me to teach workshops...I was an arts and crafts teacher for adults and children before I was disabled and now unable to work a full-time job. I can't wait to get back to teaching at least part-time!
The property is also to be a small hobby farm. I will be raising small fiber animals. A friend has even given me a donkey to protect my herd. I've been joking that my boy Sketcher has been upset I've been spending so much time training the donkey that he had to dress up as a horse to get my attention back on him!
It worked. I'm now leading my dog about the property, not a donkey.