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Meet our Makers: EcoSnuffle Mat

One of the many awesome parts about Raising the RUFF is meeting all of the incredible businesses out there who share our philosophy for quality and sustainable toys and treats. Without these awesome individuals Raising the RUFF would not exist so we are going to do our best to highlight at least one of our makers each month!

First up is the lovely Mary and her EcoSnuffle Mat's, these Mats are handmade, sustainable and fantastic. Get them as part of our Intro to Enrichment Boxes here: enrichment box

Can you tell us more about why and how EcoSnuffle Mat started?

I have a GSP (German Shorthaired Pointer) a breed known for being bright, active dogs who need continuous stimulation. I’m am always looking for ways to her busy at home something that could be used inside and outside, would last longer than 5 minutes and wasn't made from plastic! Because she is a working gun dog its important she has a soft mouth so tug of war type toys aren’t an option.

What did you do before EcoSnuffle Mat?

I used to make interactive toys for her, usually from cardboard but of course they never last!

Do you have dogs yourself?

Yes, at the moment, 1 dog. She is what inspired me to make a snuffle mat in the first place. The EcoSnuffle Mat is designed around her needs ie she loves to use her nose, the mat needed to grip to all surfaces (we have tiled floors and carpet inside, patio outside) whilst she uses it and I also wanted it to be flexible so that I can roll it away for storage. By making her a mat using old clothes and existing materials, I realised that despite it being a harder and a more time consuming process, it was an opportunity to support the environment as well as creating a more enriching experience for pets.

Have you always had dogs?

Yes, and I've always enjoyed having them not just as a companion but for the partnership that we share such as working the dog to use their natural ability to hunt, point and retrieve game or completing an agility course (with my previous dog I was a member of Essex Flyers Agility Group) They love to have a role and purpose and it's really rewarding when you share this with them.

Can you tell us a little bit more about how the mats are made?

They are a labour of love! I collect clothing via donations from people I know and smoke free households. It's mainly clothes that can't be worn again, so essentially saving them from landfill. Most of the time is spent preparing the materials because all the clothes are different sizes, shapes and materials. It's also about understanding how the materials react to being tied into the mat, how to combine these to make the mat look aesthetically pleasing but also to ensure variety for the pet and enough volume within the mat. This can only be done by hand! The Mats themselves are made from rubber, which is recyclable, durable and sturdy yet flexible.

What's been the most exciting part (or parts) about this lovely and creative venture that you have started?

One of most exciting parts about the process of creating EcoSnuffle Mats is matching the colours and materials to use and then seeing the outcomes. I create BESPOKE mats using specific colours or special materials donated by the owner. It's great to see the smiles on people's faces when you show them their BESPOKE mat and how their clothes have been incorporated. Some mats are quite hard to part with but when you see them being used successfully and receive feedback about how the mat has helped their pet to overcome separation anxiety for example, it’s very rewarding. I also love that EcoSnuffle Mats are trying in a small way to support sustainability and the environment, giving clothing a second chance!

Have you got ideas of what else we could expect from EcoSnuffle Mat in the future?

Buying an EcoSnuffle Mat is an investment in a sustainable and robust pet product. This year, I launched EcoSnuffle Mat RENEW, which will become more relevant to existing EcoSnuffle Mat owners in the future. It's an opportunity to upgrade and refresh your snuffle mat, by returning your mat to be rewoven with new colours and new materials. So, if you bought the mat for your puppy for example, who may have been a bit rough with it, you can return it to be refreshed. This not only supports the environment but means it is a fully sustainable product.

And finally - what one thing would you like people to remember about the lovely EcoSnuffle mats?

That they are useful, sustainable, affordable and fun!

See one of Mary's EcoSnuffle Mat's in action with a very satisfied customer:

If you want to find out about more about Mary check out her website here!

We are Raising the RUFF!

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