New York City. June 26, 2020. It’s hard to believe, but one year has passed since I flew home with Elsa, our rescued Russian Bear dog, or Caucasian Shepherd, from Sarajevo. For the past year, Elsa has obviously been a big part of my personal life, and she has also been the subject of a number of articles written to cast a spotlight on her Bosnian rescuer, Milena Malesevic, and her organization, Saving Suffering Strays (SSS). You may recall the series I wrote last year about my volunteer vacation and flying home with our 100-plus-pound former street dog. It was a powerful experience. (Click to read Parts I, II, III, and IV.)
Elsa, our Caucasian Shepherd/Russian Bear dog rescue from Sarajevo
After a social media post about Elsa this spring, a jewelry designer named Beth Wagner, of Pinky Swear Jewelry, asked me if I was interested in a custom piece of dog-motif jewelry that she would sell with proceeds benefitting Milena’s rescue work. Um, YES! It was so generous of her to offer. Beth had already done the same for a peer who fund raises for street dogs in another part of the world, and now she was offering to do it for Milena and SSS.
After seeing photos of my Elsa (think fluffy fur, a big rump, and a sweeping feathery tail), Beth created a stately, heraldic-inspired styling of a standing body as opposed to rearing up (“It was purely an aesthetic choice,” she explains). For a little more meaning, she researched the Bosnian flag and saw its line of stars; for her dog design, she borrowed three. The final piece has a coat-of-arms-like effect that she first sketched and then carved in wax.
“The three stars call to mind the stars in the Bosnian flag and represent the journeys of these rescue dogs: their difficult past, uncertain present as they heal and wait, and their bright beautiful futures, with loving families,” she explains.
For sure, Russian Bear dogs are uncommon in the U.S., so to have a piece made in Elsa’s likeness is incredibly special. I’ll be hash tagging photos on Instagram so breed owners worldwide can see what is now available to them thanks to Beth’s generosity.
And today, on Elsa’s Gotcha Day—we landed in Philadelphia on June 26, 2019—the jewelry is ready to sell! I bought an 18k rose gold number for myself. Wagner is donating a massively generous sum of 85 percent of her profit! That means for the $990 piece I bought, $680 of that goes to Milena’s efforts under SSS. Having seen Milena’s efforts firsthand last year, and following her for seven years, I can tell you that that money goes a long way toward saving street dogs and rehoming them.
My 18k rose gold Elsa necklace made by Beth Wagner of Pinky Swear Jewelry
Elsa necklaces start at $180 in sterling silver but are also available in 14k gold for $750 and 18k gold for $990. To see all the jewelry available for purchase, click here. For every silver necklace sold, SSS and Milena receive $120. For every 14k gold piece sold, Milena and SSS get $500. All of the money goes to dog rescue; Milena does not personally benefit.
Meanwhile, learn more about SSS on its website or on any of its social media channels, @savingsufferingstrays on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. Yesterday, I conducted an Instagram Live with Maria Slough, one of the key players in SSS in the U.K., who helps get Milena’s rescued dogs into homes. Learn more about SSS and available dogs by watching the interview on my Instagram feed @jenniferheebner. See all adoptable Bosnian dogs online by clicking here.
Elsa necklaces start at $180 in sterling silver but are also available in 14k gold for $750 and 18k gold for $990. All are available for purchase on PinkySwear.com.
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