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Retired Working Dog

Joyce Michels MCPF

Certification Board
Certification Board
Master Certified Picture Framer®
St Robert, MO
Michels Frames & Things
Staff Sergeant Lady was a working dog for the US Army, doing tours in Iraq and Afghanistan with her handler. She recently retired and has gone home to be a pet to her handler and his family. This project contains her Honorable Discharge papers, some photos of her and her handler, her collar and her leash, along with her favorite toy, the tennis ball. She played with the tennis ball during her overseas tours and when it got in really bad shape, the medics "bandaged" it with surgical tape and anything else that was handy since it couldn't be easily replaced. The customer wanted this integrated into the design but did not want a deep shadowbox. So we came up with this idea:smile: I had Gemini make a small acrylic case with a 1/4" flange on the bottom that I could hide under the mat. Since the piece was fairly large, we decided that we could cut the opening in the glazing acrylic for the tennis ball case to stick out from. Well, that turned out to be trickier than I thought it would be! I kept getting little feathery cracks around the cut and couldn't figure out how to fix it. So, after a few phone calls, we tried again. Long story short - we finally got it by using a board with a hole cut in it underneath the acrylic for stability and support, clamped together and then taped over the marked opening with masking tape to provide a little more grip on the front side and a straight edge to keep me from going completely crazy with the jigsaw! It only took several scraps, 3 large pieces of acrylic and a lot of cursing :mad-new: to get it right. The customer loved it and we were proud to do it!


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Great design Joyce. The acrylic work is excellent. (I saw a display of quilts, displayed in acrylic boxes at an airport, and noticed all the edges had severe cracking. Wondered why. Was it age related or because of a manufacturing process?)
Thanks for all the great feedback! Ellen - you're so right about us framers always looking at the frame. When MJ and I were in Germany, we were always trying to see the backsides of everything to see how they put things together. Sometimes they looked at us kind of cross-eyed in those castles!
Funny Joyce. I do the same by pressing my head against the wall and pushing the framed picture slightly forward while it is still hanging on the wall. I have to be careful, that by doing so the frame doesn't drop onto the ground.
Quite a masterpiece you made with the retired working dog encasement.
Isn't that so typical of framers? We don't look at the art; we look at the frame.

When I took my grandchildren to the Prado, they got really snappish when I kept saying "Just LOOK at that frame!"

Shame on them. I have not yet been to the Prado, but I can just imagine some of the wonderful frames there!

I have my family now trained. And one of my art clients invited me to an opening of her art group and "She" went around and said "Just LOOK at that frame ... they should have used you."
Just an update to the working dog piece - Sheila Pursglove saw this thread and asked to do an article about the Soldier and SSG Lady. I pointed her in the direction of Public Affairs for the local
Army post here, where she was very well received and was granted an interview with SSG Espinoza. Sheila did a great job with her article which will appear in one of the upcoming FMO's - so watch for it there! Another local reporter also wrote an article for SGT Espinoza's unit website where it has been featured all week. Of course, it is on my Facebook page as well :)

I never though putting a photo here would lead to so much exposure for this working dog's story or for my framing!

Thank you Sheila for making that happen!

You're welcome, Joyce! I just thought the human interest angle was great - a dog and the military! The PR folks at Fort Leonard Wood were great, as was Sgt. Espinoza. I have a great photo of him with Lady and with the shadow box.

I plan to put this on PMA Newsline this week, which can then feed into the Framers Corner and would be an easy link for Facebook, the PPFA Find A Picture Framer new site, etc., and hopefully to catch some media attention as well. And "Lady" will definitely star in our July/August issue of the "For Members Only" (FMO) newsletter.

I welcome stories like this - keep me posted, framing folks!