December 06, 2008 02:00 PM

Artist K. Stahler loves animals big and small, but especially small. As the proprietor of Kay’s K9s, she creates perfectly formed, amazingly tiny sculptures of pets from felted wool. Stahler, who shares her home with three dogs and a parrot, works her miniature magic using photos as a reference, capturing details down to subtle variations in coat color, a quizzical head tilt, and an animal’s favorite toy.

Though each wool critter is a small delight, each requires a big effort–normally from 20-25 hours, Stahler says. “I do offer various sizes, though smaller size does not always mean less time,” she says. “It is far more tedious work that I end up using a magnifying lamp for.” Each mini animal costs $200, and smaller brooches and key chains can be commissioned for $65.

But all of it is a labor of love. Stahler donates a portion of every commission to animal welfare groups in her native Canada–even during months where she doesn’t see a profit. Now that’s an animal lover. To learn more about a Kay’s K9s creation that you’re sure to love, visit Stahler’s website or shop online at the Kay’s K9s Etsy site.

–Mary Sheely

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