Wendy Foskey, owner and designer of Katie’s Carriage, is very modest when it comes to her intricately designed dog carriages.
For many dog owners, their animal represents a companion they can take on walks, play ball with and snuggle.
For a select few dog owners, their canine companion is all these things and also a show dog.
Show dogs are just like any other dog. They run and play and give sloppy kisses until show day, when they don their couture finery and walk the runway, competing against other show canines for top prizes.
Generally, dogs participating in shows will walk alongside their owners who are dressed to match them.
Wendy Foskey’s custom made carriages have changed the focus of the audience and judges so that their attention is unwaveringly drawn to the dog.
When we drove up to Wendy’s home studio, we could already hear her six little dogs barking.
They are tiny fur balls that look like stuffed dogs come to life. “All together they weigh under twenty pounds” Wendy told us.
Wendy’s first carriage was made for Katie, her aging show dog. Katie was no longer able to walk comfortably on her own, so Wendy created a vehicle that would be beautiful as well as functional.
Wendy’s skills have come a long way since that first carriage. The skills she has acquired to make the stunning creations she turns out today are mostly self taught.
Walking through her studio, our eyes were dazzled by the array of glittering baubles and silky fabrics.
Each carriage is inspired by an overarching theme. From Gone With the Wind to Indian architecture, Wendy uses these larger themes as a jumping off point.
Sometimes the theme is chosen by her client, and sometimes an entire theme is inspired by a single piece of jewelry or fabric.
Once Wendy has been inspired, there is little that can stop her from achieving her finished piece. We listened in fascination as she recounted some of the innovative methods she has come up with to achieve a desired result.
The final products show her devotion to detail. Hand beading representing hundreds of hours of work sparkles on one carriage. Another is adorned with thousands of yards of tulle.
Attention to detail and perfectionism are present in every single piece of art she completes. “I have a really good relationship with my seam ripper” Wendy tells us jokingly.
When you look at one of her carriages, it feels as if you could look forever and still not take in all the details.
One of her main goals with each creation is to bring attention to the dog without having it get lost in the carriage.
Each carriage takes months to complete, and since she does everything by hand, she can only fill a few orders a year.
When we visited, she was just putting the finishing touches on two carriages to be used in a dog cotillion.
She showed us how she inserts two foam pads into each carriage so the dogs will be comfortable and visible. Each carriage also has a Fabuleash as a safety feature to keep the dogs from falling out.