Kathy Dannel Vitcak – All the Scoop
Helping Your Blissful Dog Live a Better Life!
Just like you, we are dog loving people! Some may have used the term “Crazy Dog Woman” about me and you may be smiling in recognition. We are the kind of people who care enough to seek out a dog balm or salve to get the crust off our dog’s noses or to soften ugly elbows. I wonder how many of you have your dog as your profile picture on Facebook or as your go-to password? Yep, dog people.
The Blissful Dog is our family owned business located in the far, far north woods of Minnesota, a bit northwest of Bemidji. Yes, it absolutely gets that cold here in the winter, science fiction cold, “your-nose-freezes-shut-when-you-breathe” cold. And this transplanted Southerner has her SAD lamp at full force all day, every day! We also operate Dancing Bear Resort, a super pet-friendly resort, right on Balm Lake. Our motto is “We do not just accept pets, we welcome them.”
By the way, something we want to do more of is host dog related activities at Dancing Bear Resort. For years we held Frenchie Fun Camp here and had a blast. If you or your breed club, rescue group or agility team want a fun place to come that welcomes lots of dogs – contact us! OK, back to the About part.
CBO (Chief Bliss Officer) is my title and Steve is the Transportation Director, which means he takes The Blissful Dog packages to the Post Office. Steve also helps with blessing the items, as he loves adding extra “Love and Good Energy” to the various Butters as I mix them and package them. He often comes into my office and tells me to “Be The Butter.” I am not sure what tv show he got that from!
Gio, myEnglish Toy Spaniel, sits in my chair behind me all day, every day. Mudd, Tiara and Dude, our French Bulldogs, step in front of me as I walk and remind me to savor the moment. Pagel, our Frenglish-yeah, figure that one out, struts around like the little king he is and Zoe, the fabulous Great Pyrenees, takes care of everything outside for miles around. I would have better pictures of Dude if he ever slowed down.
On to the rest of the critters! We also have Nyker, the mini-horse who is our #1 apple eater. Of course, we cannot forget Kundun, my pet YAK, yes, a yak! He is three now and lots bigger than in this picture. The chickens, guinea hens and our turkeys round out the bunch.
Now for a bit about ME! I grew up in Mississippi, moved to Dallas after graduating from college and had a blast working in the fashion and then the pet industry. It was the 80s and 90s and I remember my blond hair being ever, ever-so BIG! The pet industry must have been in my blood, as I was an area manager for Petsmart and store manager for Petco and loved working with both companies. About 16 years ago, I took a position in St. Paul as an apprentice graphic designer for a French Bulldog magazine and headed north on I-35. The rest is history!
Literally a week after I moved to St. Paul, I met Steve and that was that! I was smitten, head-over-heels, plus, the dogs loved him. I wanted to get married on the second date, he wanted to wait…and wait…and wait, so we finally got married in 2001 (five years after we met). Then Steve decided he wanted a fishing resort and here we are at Dancing Bear Resort!
For almost twenty years I bred and showed purebred dogs (Chinese Shar-Pei and then French Bulldogs). Over time I bred many Number One dogs, Top Ten French Bulldogs, Best in Show winners and more under the Jackpot! French Bulldog kennel name. Actually, BOTH of Martha Stewart’s French Bulldogs were bred, born and raised here at Jackpot! Francesca’s mom is Favor and dad is Keeper. I met so many amazing people from my years of breeding and showing dogs and continue to do so. Great memories!
One of the things I am proudest of is that I bred the very FIRST OFA Excellent Hip French Bulldog in the history of the breed. The VERY FIRST Registry of Merit (ROM) awarded by the French Bulldog Club of America (CH. Jackpot! Money Money Money, CGC, ROM-pictured left) was also bred by me. Money was the SIRE of CH. Jackpot! For the Love of Money, the OFA Excellent boy I mentioned.
One of the other things I am so proud of is that I still get emails from people sharing how their Jackpot! Frenchie lived to 12, 13, 14 (those are advanced ages for a French Bulldog). That makes me feel so good.
It is also my honor to be available to mentor, support and cheer on those who are new to the breed and the sport of dogs. So, if you ever want to chat Frenchie or even dogs in general – contact me!
I also wrote The French Bulldog, Happy Healthy Dogs for Howell, now Wiley books and it is still a top seller. I wrote many articles for a wide variety of dog magazines over my decades in dogs and have been interviewed by many top dog publications.
In 2008 I was honored to judge Sweepstakes at the French Bulldog National Specialty (a very big deal in the dog show world) and I so enjoyed it! I also was blessed to judge the Top Twenty Competition at the 2012 FBDCA Nationals with esteemed breeder, Nannette Goldberg of Marianette French Bulldogs and AKC Judge Robin Stansell. What a BLAST!
But over the course of the last few years I lost the “fire in my belly” for competition, so the Frenchies are our pets now, with no job to do but entertain us all. We still have three the Frenchie gremlins I mentioned above and we will never be without a French Bulldog…that is for sure!
How We Began to Help Your Dog”s Dry Nose
I have enjoyed using more organic, natural products on us and our animals. Who wants to use a lot of ingredients that we cannot pronounce on ourselves OR our dogs? I sure don’t! One day back in 2003, I rubbed some shea butter onto my dry, winter brutalized Minnesota legs and the Frenches kept trying to lick them…it was creepy (but also nice…hmmmm?). Without thinking I dabbed some on their noses and noticed a couple of days later that their noses looked great!
The idea popped into my head that they LIKED the shea butter, so why not make something healthy to moisturize their noses with! My EUREKA moment…not quite like discovering the Earth was round or whatever that was Archimedes did…but it worked for ME! And thus, it all began. More is here…