On a whim, Andrea Loucks created Charlie’s Bandanas, a custom dog bandana outfitter guaranteed to keep any pup in style. Loucks named the venture after her dog, Charlie, who is training to become a therapy dog, and she intends to use the funds raised to help offset the costs of the sessions.
“I could never find cute bandanas that fit Charlie and actually stayed on her. I searched online and found the prices were not in my favor, so I thought, ‘what if I just make them myself?’” Loucks said. “Fast forward a couple of weeks, and Charlie has an entire wardrobe of bandanas, and I have a new hobby.”
Charlie’s bananas soon caught the attention of Madison Durham, who owns Paws Town, a local doggy daycare. Durham suggested that Loucks begin making them in bulk to sell at the daycare, assuring her that clients would “love them.”
So she did. The bandanas are also available at Pet Manny or by ordering directly from Loucks on social media here. They are also on Instagram at @charlies_dogbandanas.
The bandana journey came at the perfect time, as Charlie had just begun training sessions at Kentucky Canine Campus to become a therapy dog. Loucks said the sessions are costly, and the funds generated from the bandana sales play a pivotal role in her ultimate goal: introducing Owensboro to more therapy dogs.
“I have always known I wanted to get a therapy dog ever since I went into the field of Occupational Therapy,” she said. “Most people don’t realize that a therapy dog is different from a service dog. A therapy dog is there for you emotionally. They help people with anxiety, depression, pain, fatigue, mood, energy levels, self-esteem, and much more.”
Before crafting the bandanas, Loucks had never sewn anything. While attending school, she worked for Jennifer Tinius at Embellish Boutique, who she considers “the best seamstress in town.”
“Jennifer showed me how to recreate a bandana I had purchased,” Loucks said. “After realizing how to do it, I dug out my mom’s old sewing machine and got to work on the bandanas.”
Charlie is an 8-month-old F1-b Mini Goldendoodle from Brook and Bay in Utica. Loucks said she is stopped countless times in the Paws Town parking lot by clients who are in awe of Charlie’s friendliness and welcoming personality.
Loucks first discovered Charlie’s comforting touch when she would take the dog to visit her mother’s preschool class at Deer Park. She witnessed Charlie’s passion for kids and knew she was destined to be a therapy dog.
“She is going to make a great therapy dog, and I hope to have her working with special needs children in the future,” she said. “She would have the best time playing with the kids and was great with them. Kids from all grades on the playground would see her and come running to love on Charlie. She loved every second of it.”
The bandanas range in sizes from XS to XL and are available in “over-the-collar” or “snap-on” styles. The over-the-collar bandanas slide onto the dog and provide added comfort because they stay out of the way when eating, drinking, and playing. The snap-on style connects around their neck, making it easier to put on or remove.
The bandanas vary by price, but none exceed $20. For $2, Loucks will customize the bandana with the dog’s name.
“I am so thankful for the love and support I have received since starting this bandanas business, hoping to raise money for Charlie’s therapy dog trainings,” Loucks said. “I have worked so hard and poured my heart and soul into making these bandanas. I can’t think everyone enough for all of the support.”