Happiness, Health, and Pets – Dexter Gets a Sweater!

You may have noticed the presence of an adorable K9 on this blog. She’s sitting on my lap on my About Me Page; she’s featured in my Coaching ad; and she’s licking her lips in my Pumpkin Soup recipe. Oh what the heck, here’s another one.

D1smallI think it’s safe to say that I adore my dog Dexter. But before you start thinking that Loren and I are crazy dog people, consider the fact that having a pet can actually improve your health.

That’s right, studies show that taking care of pets provides us measurable health benefits from stress reduction to cardiovascular health improvement. Pets are used as part of physical and emotional therapy, they’re great companions for the elderly giving them a daily sense of purpose, and they just downright make us feel good when they wag their tails or purr in our laps. (Looking at cute animals on the internet is part of my personal daily stress relief. If you haven’t had your dose of cuteness today, this should do the trick.)

It’s also been shown that infants and children growing up with furry pets in the house (or on a farm with barnyard animals) are far less likely to suffer from allergies or asthma as adults. Compelling arguments have been made that our germaphobic society is the culprit for the ever-rising chronic allergy problems Americans face today, and having extra “pet microbes” around seems to be safe-guarding some of us by building up our immune systems early in life.

Now that I’ve convinced you to head to the shelter for a new pet this week, let me tell you a quick little story about my most recent sewing accomplishment — I promise, it’s related! I made a sweater for Dexter!

Dexter Gets a Sweater!

Two weekends ago, we took Dexter camping for the first time. Unlike most of our other climbing trips, dogs were allowed at the crag, so we decided to see if she could behave herself as we scaled Gold Wall outside of Sonora. The behaving part was questionable, but one thing was certain that night as our group of 8 humans and one dog sat by the fire.

Dexter was cold.


We came prepared with a sweater I’d been planning to donate. (Loren is adamantly against dog clothes, but he was willing to make this one exception for our short-furred friend on a cold evening in the mountains.) Dexter was tripping all over the sweater, and we ended up tying it into a knot so that she could move freely. That’s when I got the idea to turn this “give-away” sweater into a new sweater for Dexter!



  1. Get dog off the couch and put on ill-fitting garment inside-out.
  2. Pin garment using safety pins so
    that she doesn’t get stuck when you pull it back off.
  3. Do the same thing with the sleeves if they’re also ill-fitting (I ended up cuffing these and sewing on a cute green button with pink thread!)
  4. After removing the sweater, replace all safety pins with straight pins for safer, easier sewing.
  5. Sew along the newly created seam, first on the body, then on the sleeves — this material wouldn’t hold tailor’s chalk, but chalk might be helpful with a different fabric since you’re not sewing a straight line.
  6. It’s up to you how fancy you want to get with the raw edges. I didn’t make mine perfect on the body, because this fabric won’t run, but I did cuff the sleeves.
  7. Turn the garment right side-out and dress the dog for a photo shoot.

Considering the fact that I was laughing for the entirety of this sewing project, and I laugh again every time I look at her face in these pictures, I’d say that both Dexter and this project were good for my wellbeing. After all, laughter is the best medicine.

I challenge you to spend time this week relaxing with a furry friend — yours or someone else’s. You won’t regret it.



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