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The New Barker - January 2008

There seems to be something
karmic going on around the
Fernandez home in Brandon.
Jennifer, a metalsmith who works
in her home studio, believes stray
dogs find their way to her home,
perhaps knowing she will take care of them and help them find their owners.
There was Oliver, the Schnauzer Poodle mix who traveled more than a mile
before finding the Fernandez home. He appeared in front of her garage one day,
where Jennifer was using her blow
torch to create a piece of jewelry.
Then there was the Beagle strutting
along-side Jen's car as she was
coming home from the dog trainer
with her own two dogs. This little fellow
was an insured show dog who
lived four blocks away.
A few days after Oliver appeared,
Jennifer was driving out of her subdivision
when a white Pit Bull showed
up and stood in front of her truck.
There she was in the middle of the
road looking into the eyes of the dog,
hearing her husbands words, "Jen, you
can't save them all." In her rearview
mirror she saw a guy in a Jeep barreling
down the road, honking his horn.
The jeep drove up on the grass to get
around Jen and the Pit Bull. When Jen
looked back at the dog, he had a look
on his face that seemed to say "Hey,
I'm okay now;and walked on. Lucky
for the dog,Jen was in the right place,
at the right time that day.
Jennifer has a degree in design from the University of Florida. She first
became interested in jewelry as a little girl when her grandmother gave her a
bracelet with Jennifer's name on it. Aware of Jennifer's appreciation for sentimental
jewelry, her grandmother continued giving her jewelry throughout the years.
Once her Jack Russell Terriers, Chili and Ernie, came into her life,Jennifer
began looking for sentimental jewelry that would define her with her dogs but
couldn't find anything. After learning how to metalsmith at Hyde Park Art
Center, she began making her own jewelry. Chili and Ernie inspired her to create
her jewelry line, A Tail of Two.
"From the moment we got the dogs, my husband and I knew
our lives would never be the same. They've made us laugh, they've
made us cry, but mostly they've kept me very busy making dog lockets
and sharing stories with others about life with a dog;' said Jennifer.
Jennifer now teaches at the Hyde Park Art Center. She loves
making jewelry so much, she has to have a girlfriend call and remind
her to leave the house for appointments. She is such a perfectionist
with each piece she creates that no piece leaves until she is happy
with it.
Recently, Jennifer was working on a memorial piece for a
woman who had lost her dog, Tulip, in the California wildfires. "I
can't fathom going to work one day and coming home to find both
your home and dog gone;' said Jen. She said in creating the memorial she was so
overwhelmed with heartbreak and found it hard to let the piece go. "I just
wanted to be sure it would be perfect before I released it;' she said.

Metal smith, jewelry designer, dog rescuer,
Jennifer has created pieces of jewelry to
raise funds for The SPCA of Tampa
Bay, The Humane Society of Tampa
Bay, Pet Pal Rescue, Atlanta Animal
Rescue Friends(AARF),
The Haven House and
The Leukemia& Lymphoma Society.

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