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About “sasha & me” – Designs for Modern Pets

I have been so taken by the products I have seen being produced by sasha & me here in Australia that I sent their Director, Claudia, just a few questions to find out more. I have seen the stylish and modern images posted on Facebook. These include pet beds, blankets, bed covers and accessories like collars and leads and dog neck warmers! On further inspection of their website I notice they also sell the Moso Bamboo Range.. products made from bamboo of course. What I had also read is that sasha & me have heart! They donate 5% of all sales to the Bali (Dog) Adoption and Rehabilitation Centre (BARC).

“sasha & me is a label that offers fashionable, contemporary products for dogs and dog lovers.  Each high quality product and accessory has been designed to enhance and strengthen the relationship between people and their four legged-friends”, says Claudia  in her introduction to my questions that follow.

“The brands philosophy is based upon Contemporary Design, Eco Friendliness and Fair Trade”, said Claudia.

Claudia, to get some background on the creator of sasha & me can you tell us a little about yourself?

“I have spent most of my professional life in fashion. Over the years I gained experience in product development, buying and in senior management”, said Claudia.

“Like so many crucial events in life, I started sasha & me by chance, disillusioned by the Australian retail fashion industry, I wanted to do something that I could be passionate about and make a difference, and this is how sasha & me was borne.

I launched the brand in 2012, in my tiny office and stored all my designs in the garage. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to keep the designs clean and modern without the cliché designs that I have seen around the pet stores. I had no idea if I was doing the right thing but I just keep following my instinct and never gave up my vision”, said Claudia.

How else can you describe the sasha & me product range?

“All of our designs are simple and contemporary; we like to compliment our beds and accessories to the individual style and home design – why have a beautiful home but a very average looking pet bed? I never understood the logic of that. A dog bed is a large and unique piece of furniture in your home – be proud to show it off. Your pet after all is part of your family”, said Claudia.

“The next thing we focus on is quality.  We have never compromised and we never will. I want the brand to be something I would be very proud to purchase myself. Therefore we spend numerous hours searching for the best organic fabrics or eco-friendly materials and focus in attention to details and craftsmanship. For example check out the the Moso Bamboo Range.

Sustainability and transparency are today’s inescapable requirements. Consumers want to know where the product comes from, who makes it, how it is made and what are the long-term benefits, for the buyer, for the people we engage with and the environment”, said Claudia.

What’s next for sasha & me?

“Now a year later, we have moved to a bigger office and we are starting to build a strong relationship with many small retailers. We keep it humble and happy and focus on growing our relationship with like-minded people across the globe”, said Claudia.

“We are currently expanding our range and we’re constantly working on new designs.

Last but not least, our goal this year would be to find a distributor in the USA. We have a strong demand over there so we just need to find a company that would value our vision and share our  philosophy of life with our pets”, said Claudia.

We here at Dogs and Cats of course wish sasha & me all the best!

One more thing Claudia – - do you have a special offer for our readers?

“OK – let’s do the travel mats with your readers. We will offer  free postage”said Claudia. To ensure you get this deal just email and mention “special offer”.

Thanks Claudia! Here is the travel mat again..





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Jan 30, 2013 | 0 | Dog clothing, Interviews, Pampering

Meet Amber from Bali (Dog) Adoption and Rehabilitation Centre (BARC)

The first time Amber went to Bali in 2009 she was shocked by the condition of the Bali street dogs. Amber knew that she was going to be travelling back to Bali so when she got back to her Melbourne home she googled “Bali street dogs”.

It was here where Amber first came across the words “Linda Bullar” and the “Bali Adoptions and Rehabilitation Centre (BARC)” and forever change her life. 

“Linda and BARC came up in my search results bar, so that night at about 2 am in the morning in my hotel room in Sydney I emailed back and forth with this amazing lady.. Linda Buller!


The first time I visited BARC in Ubud, I was greeted with licks and kisses from these tiny hairless little creatures that were being rehabilitated by Australian, Ebony Owens, at BARC – Linda’s accomplice, said Amber.

When Amber was asked about her role as a volunteer with BARC she said “basically in Australia I will collect donations, raise awareness, assist volunteers via email – all in consultation with Linda and Ebony. I do lots of different bits and pieces. I do so much running around that it’s hard to give you an exact list”, said Amber.

 “In Bali I gather information for our Facebook group!/groups/19687946558/ and our website to update the site with follow-up information on the dogs as people are keen to know how the dogs are coming along. I pick up scabby, bald pups off the streets/rice fields/cemeteries/beaches, etc, and these findings are usually not planned. I have helped with many different hands-on types of animal work over my time with BARC. I could tell you in detail about the obstacles they are faced with in Bali on a day-to-day basis, the diseases, the neglect, the suffering and the fine job they do considering they have no financial support,” said a passionate Amber.

“We do adoption days in the areas of Jaln Petitengit and Seminyak, we make up banners for the refuge and for the stalls we plan to have in Australia.

 We have a great team of supporters in Australia, and the world! Everyone brings something to the table”, said Amber.

Keen to know how people in Australia can help, Amber said that people can help by:

  • sponsoring a dog online
  • doing some fundraising within their community/workplace, etc
  • creating awareness
  • Encouraging friends and/or family who are visiting Bali to take a full suitcase of clothes and bric-a-brac to drop off at BARC’s charity shop in Ubud. Fill up that suitcase space with some new purchases from Bali  to bring home?

BARC survives solely on the kindness of your donations. The crew at BARC rescue, rehabilitate and re-home all the dogs they can. They give nurturing, unconditional love.

“Linda and Ebony do such an amazing job and they do it seven days a week.  From an outsider’s perspective these girls are saints! Each dog has a name, has no time limit for how long it can stay at the refuge and is treated with love and care which is tailored to each dog’s personal medical and personality needs, said Amber.

If you would like to find out more about BARC, visit their website here -

Here are just a couple of the dogs that have needed help from BARC:


P.S. Don’t forget to visit us at dogs and cats

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Aug 23, 2011 | 0 | Interviews, Stray dogs, Uncategorized

Meet Dr Joanne Righetti And Learn The Role Of An Animal Behaviourist,

Dr Jo

Here at Dogs and Cats, we are so privileged to have Dr Joanne Righetti on board to answer questions for Angelique, who has a new puppy, “Charlie”. It can be a real challenge for a new puppy  owner to know exactly how to manage issues as they arise and know how to properly manage these to have a healthy, well-adjusted dog down the track.

I wanted to find out exactly what Dr Jo’s role is so I posed these questions to her:

What exactly is an animal behaviourist?

An animal behaviourist is someone who understands animals and their behaviour. Most people who call themselves animal behaviourists have some level of qualifications, often zoology or psychology degrees. In Australia anyone can call themselves an animal behaviourist so it up to the pet owners to check qualifications of anyone they ask to help with their animal companions.

An animal behaviourist differs from a veterinary behaviourist in that they do not prescribe medication for problems, though they may work with vets to do so. Dog trainers may also help solve canine behaviour problems.

What qualifications did you achieve for this role?

I have a degree in zoology, a PhD in animal behaviour and a diploma in counselling. I have been running my business for around 12 years which has given me lots of experience in cats and dogs (and other animals too even the human variety!).

Are you the same a pet psychologist?

I don’t have a degree in psychology. I do have qualifications in counselling, however, which helps me understand problem solving with people (many pet behaviour problems have their route in human behaviour). But pet psychologist is used as a general term and I don’t object to that.

What made you want to specialise in this area?

I can’t remember when I wasn’t fascinated by animal behaviour. It was logical for me to go down this career path and I have been lucky that I have achieved what I have so far. Though there has been a bit of hard work too!!

Do you have a pet yourself? If so, would you mind sharing with us?

I have a dog a one year old mixed breed (Terrier cross of some sort?) who I got from the pound as a puppy. Her name is Chilli. I also have four cats:

- Clyde, 18 yr old ginger male

- Mew, 10 year old Siamese x Tabby female

- Ginger, 8 year old ginger male

- Leo, 1 yr old Maine Coon

I have two  ferrets too, from Ferret Rescue, who are about three years old and are called “Thunder” and “Lightning”. In my garden I have lots of fish in a pond. And at various times in the past we have had birds, mice and hermit crabs too. I live at home with my three sons and a husband!

What sort of problems would a pet owner to come you for?

Anything that involves their animal misbehaving. This may be serious eg. aggression or fairly trivial eg. jumping up. I take each problem seriously as it is interfering with the human-animal relationship.

Do you offer ‘overnight’ solutions, or is the work you do more long term?

Definitely long term. Often you get some “aha” moments when owners finally understand their pets behaviour (this why I enjoy doing radio shows as this often happens) but mostly it is hard work and most of the hard work is by the owner. I wish I could wave a magic wand but short term fixes are generally not long term solutions. A long term solution depends on understanding the cause of the unwanted behaviour and working towards solving that. As well as working with pet owners I work with commercial companies, Universities, government bodies and media too. I enjoy talking to people so I spend a bit of time on my website and on social media – Twitter, Facebook too.

When people consult you, do you visit them or do they come to you?

Mostly they go to their local vet clinic and we meet there. This ensures that the animal has had a check up and a clean physiological bill of health. At times their vet may ask me to visit them in their home and this is applicable for some problems. Pet owners can come to any of the clinics where I consult regularly or ask their vet to contact me.

If people don’t live in Sydney, can they still use your services?

If they live outside Sydney, I can sometimes do phone consults and I keep meaning to set up internet consults but haven’t quite got there yet! I do, however, answer questions, very briefly, on radio or on Facebook. And sometimes on Twitter too (though it’s hard to solve a problem in 140 characters!!). Occasionally I visit areas out of Sydney to do dog days out or information evenings where the public can come along. Usually I will post these on my website.

More about Dr Jo and Pet Problems Solved at


P.S. Don’t forget to visit us at dogs and cats

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Jun 14, 2010 | 0 | A++++ Watching Charlie The Pup Grow, dog behavior, Interviews, Tips

Australian Woman, Lynne Williams, Travels to Phuket (Thailand) Each Year to Volunteer and Help Dogs!

I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Lynne Williams, an Australian woman, who heads off to Phuket in Thailand yearly to help the stray dogs and cats there. I wanted to share the conversation with you..

1. Lynne, how did you find out about the stray dog issue in Phuket?

After the devastating Boxing Day 2004 tsunami, there was an outpouring of money in aid for the human victims in a number of countries. Whilst still acknowledging this huge human tragedy and suffering, I thought there must also be a lot of animals suffering and with the priority being people, I wanted to direct my money towards any animal charities who were working to help the suffering of the animals. I checked the internet for any charities who were helping and discovered the Soi Dog Foundation. I immediately started sponsoring a dog called Violet.

2. Do you know who started the Soi Dog Foundation (SDF)? Was it the Thai people themselves?

The Soi Dog Foundation was originally started by a Dutch ex pat, Margot Park, who at her own expense would take dogs from her own neighborhood to her local vet in Bangkok. In 2003 she moved to Phuket and started doing the same thing there. At the same time, John and Gill Dalley retired to Phuket and decided to do something about the horrendous condition of the street dogs. They met Margot and started to work together. At the same time, an existing project started by Australian vet Alison Montgomery, whereby volunteer vets would visit and work at mobile clinics in the regions temples and other locations was having to close because Alison was moving to Hong Kong. She asked SDF to take over the running of it. Other volunteers also joined, notably Australian ex pat Leone Cosens who had spent years looking after the dogs in the south of the island and had been a founder member of The Phuket Animal Welfare Society which had unfortunately become inactive at that time. Sadly Leone was to lose her life in the tsunami going to the aid of others. Gill lost both her lower legs rescuing a dog from a flooded water buffalo field in the same year. Despite this, with increased support generated by the tsunami, SDF began to expand its work and the target of reducing the increasing number of strays a reality.

‘Soi’ is the Thai word for ‘street’, so in English, Soi Dog Foundation means Street Dog Foundation.

There are no government or charitable agencies to protect animals from abuse in Phuket – only a few local animal lovers who house large numbers of them, using their own funds and manpower and Soi Dog Foundation. Laws governing responsible animal ownership or animal abuse don’t exist. The only humane shelters are those set up by concerned ex pats.

Early in 2006 Margot resigned owing to ill health and returned to Bangkok so for the last three years and to the current day, the majority of the day to day running of SDF has been done by John and Gill Dalley. Their roles include the upkeep and management of the shelter, employment of dog catchers and vets and other maintenance staff, export of animals who have been adopted to overseas destinations, collection of leftover food from tourist hotels to be fed to temple animals, actual feeding and health care of all temple animals and of course constantly trying to raise funds to keep things going. They work entirely at their own expense but employ 11 local staff; vets, dog catchers, shelter and clinic staff. To maintain the operation at its current level costs 500,000thb per month. They are also trying to raise an additional 12 million thb to purchase the land on which the current shelter stands to provide a secure future for dogs who have been the victims of cruelty and abuse and have nowhere else to go.

As of November 2008, SDF has sterilized over 21,000 dogs and cats and now operates regular field clinics in other provinces.

3. You live here in Australia, what made you realize you could do something to help?

I first visited SDF in early July 2007 and saw firsthand the work that SDF perform on a shoestring budget. They are 100% reliant on donations and sponsors. When I visited the Centre and saw the injuries that the animals had had inflicted upon them and the diseases they were suffering from, I was horrified. I know a lot of people who say to me, ‘why don’t you help the dogs in Australia who are homeless and need help?’ My answer to them is that it’s bad enough being a homeless animal in Australia. In Thailand, it’s just that much worse being a stray, what with animals regularly being poisoned, intentionally hit with motorbikes, having acid thrown on them and basically being ignored even though they are literally starving to death in front of your eyes on the streets and the beaches. Lately, the dogs of Phuket have suffered a spate of machete attacks where their tails have been chopped off, or – even worse – some dogs have survived attempted beheadings and we have been treating neck and throat injuries where the beheadings were unsuccessful.

4. What do you and the other volunteers do in Phuket to help the dogs?

As a volunteer, you may think there’s nothing much you can offer if you visit the Centre, but in truth, if you are prepared to just love the dogs, pay them attention, take them for a walk, give them a bath, brush them and play with them, you will be rewarded with the love and exuberance of as many dogs as you can handle. There are over 200 at the Centre who live in eight separate compounds with approximately 25 dogs in each compound. Can you imagine the joy and excitement of 25 happy dogs all clamoring for your attention? What a great way to spend a day of your holidays! Even if you have no special animals skills, just come and ‘spread the love’ and you will get it back tenfold from the dogs – guaranteed!

Or you can spend some quiet, gentle time in the hospital just sitting quietly with the dogs who are recovering from a whole range of injuries and abuse. Sometimes, just by having someone sit with them, it can set them on the road to recovery. The vets do their very best to treat them medically, but sometimes, the prescription needs ‘love’ added and there are not enough staff to go around, so this is where volunteers can really help.

Of course, if you are full of energy, you can spend your time in the puppy compound – enough said! They will definitely wear you out.

Personally, I like to bathe dogs as there are some who have never been bathed before and rarely get any human attention. So, not only are you performing a therapeutic service for the dog in getting him/her clean and helping in tick and flea prevention, but you are also giving them some human contact, love and attention which the majority have NEVER experienced in their entire lives. Can you imagine the sheer joy of a dog being massaged/shampooed who has never felt the loving hands of a human massaging and stroking them? Bliss.

If you are so inclined, you can help in the clinic preparing animals for surgery, for example, weighing them for the vets so they know how much anesthetic needs to be administered; shaving them ready for neutering, etc… – nothing really dramatic!

Volunteers can also help John when he goes to feed the animals at a number of temples around the island. There are a lot of buckets of food to be distributed! John also checks the health of the animals when he visits and if any need attention, you can assist in taking the animal to the nearest vet or back to the SDF Centre in Mai Khao. Because a number of temple animals are sponsored, we always need update photographs of specific animals to be taken. John always has his hands full on the temple runs, so volunteers are welcome.

5. I imagine you see a lot of awful sights with the dogs but can you give me an example of a good news story?

Joya was found on the side of the main road about two years ago. She had been attacked with a machete but nevertheless was nursing no less than 13 puppies and as a result was just skin and bone. After surgery on her wounds and good food, she recovered and became a shelter dog. Despite all she had suffered, it is hard to imagine a more loving or affectionate dog. Last year a visiting Swiss tourist saw Joya and decided to sponsor her. On December 13 2008 – two years after arriving at the shelter – Joya will leave Phuket for her first taste of a loving home in Switzerland. Yes, that Swiss tourist not only sponsored Joya – she adopted her!

6. How can other people help?

We need volunteers help us write letters to Oprah and other celebrities to help us try to raise the profile of SDF internationally. There is also a mountain of administrative work which needs doing. For example we have a volunteer writing the updates of sponsored animals who live at the Centre to send to their relevant sponsors. Another volunteer writes the updates for the animals who live at the temples for their sponsors. Yet another volunteer looks after our website and another follows up renewal requests. There is always plenty of administrative work which we need help with.

We also need volunteers to run fundraisers for us in their relevant country. For example, our Melbourne ‘crew’ recently held a charity dog walk, similar to the RSPCA Million Paws Walk. Proceeds from the day were distributed amongst two Australian animal charities and SDF.

7. Does it matter where you live?

No! We have volunteers living in Phuket, The Netherlands, Australia, Saudi Arabia, France, UK and Switzerland to name just a few. If you want to help, we have something you can do!

8. Do you have a website people can visit?


On behalf of the dogs and cats of Phuket, I would ask that you visit our website and help us to help them.

Please feel free to share this interview and let me know if you’d like to get in touch with Lynne.


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Aug 16, 2009 | 0 | Interviews