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Stray Dog Designs

Stray Dog Designs

I love the personal back-stories of companies that make such environmental commitments, whether it’s an established business or a handmade Etsy shop. The face behind the business makes a difference.

Let me be right up front, endorsement is not what the EcoNesting blog is about. It is a green-leaning design blog. It’s meant to be encouraging, enlightening, educative and hopefully, sometimes entertaining. With that said, I’m going to deviate from my path a bit to tell you about a company that I learned about via ecofabulous, because I just loved the back-story so much.

Stray Dog Designs has all the green elements that give it an eco-friendly seal of approval, but it is the story thread about the commitment of its founders and partners that caught my interest and prompted me to share it here:

“In the picturesque village of San Miguel de Allende, high in central Mexico’s mountainous desert, the stray dogs make a life for themselves. They wander down narrow cobblestone streets, past wooden doors laden with flowery vines, in search of cafes where a hasty diner might have dropped a morsel or two. Independent, true survivors, these street dogs are not known for their looks, and are seldom loved.

“Back in 1994, La Princessa stood above the rest. She was no beauty, just a black, shorthaired mutt with two tan dots over her eyes, and ears that stuck out something fierce. ‘She looked like a bat,’ one observer noted, ‘and her figure was unfortunate.’

“Yet what the princess lacked in grace, she made up for in timing; during a pivotal moment she wandered into the apartment of two young expats, Bill Pritchard and Jane Gray.

“Bill and Jane were newlyweds. After a marriage so hasty it could have been part of a reality television show, they fled to Mexico to ‘get to know one another.’ Fresh out of ideas for the remainder of their lives together, the two eagerly took on La Princessa as their first joint project. They fattened her up and took her for walks in the hills and rides in Bill’s red pick-up. Seeing how well they worked together gave the new couple courage to go full speed ahead with their next venture, importing Mexican pottery. With La Princessa in tow they scoured the back roads of Mexico for original items to sell back home.

“Over a decade later, Stray Dog Designs’ core design principles are simple: all items are handmade with careful construction from quality and recycled materials, melding quirky charm and true artistry, and providing fair wages for local workers.

“It’s true that some companies, like some dogs, are all bark and no backup, but not so with Stray Dog Designs. Sadly, La Princessa is long gone. Yet the pair she helped turn into a family — and a business — is thriving.”

Let me add that Stray Dog Designs make some mighty attractive and sustainable home décor products. So, when you make choices about where your hard earned cash lands, read those “About Us” sections on company websites like Stray Dog Designs, and let your choices be led by your “ecological intelligence.”

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Ronnie Citron-Fink

Ronnie Citron-Fink is a writer, editor and educator. She has written hundreds of articles about sustainable living, the environment, design, and family life for websites, books and magazines. Ronnie is the creator of Econesting, and the managing editor of Moms Clean Air Force. Ronnie was named one of the Top Ten Living Green Experts by Yahoo. Ronnie lives in New York with her family.


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12:26PM PDT on Aug 9, 2009

Great blog, and great commitment. I have recently added an Etsy shop with "critters" in mind, and am donating a portion of the proceeds to Defenders of Wildlife. My shop is To read more about our business ethic has a lot more. It's all about giving back!

11:21AM PDT on Aug 9, 2009

How dool to read your post today! I went to visit a friend who was living in San Miquel de Allende about six years ago. She had a business in town teaching cooking classes in a store that was filled with dishes, cookware, all sorts of things for putting on a formal/informal dinner. And she went "shopping" once a week through all the smaller surrounding towns/villages and purchased directly from local artisans. I got to go with her while there and was blown away by the beauty of the work and the craftsmanship of these artists through the area. Glad to know that someone else is bringing their work to people's attention (as my friend sold her business and moved back to the states. I will go check out the site!

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