flying my freak flag high

March 24, 2010

for years now i have amassed a special collection of a very strange nature.  hair pets.  little papier-maché animals covered in fur.  it's easiest to find them at truck stops and tourist destinations, though state fairs have also been a treasure-trove of success.  it has gotten to the point that i haven't bought one in several years because people see them out and about and give them to me as gifts.  well, i suppose i'm glad you associate me with terrifying little animals made of hair?

some of them are from far-off locations. some are from around the corner. some have traveled from here to exotic locales and had their photos taken with famous landmarks. the original one that started it all now lives another life away from me in the home of a very good friend. the one that started it all, Mr. Jingles.

–oh, i didn't mention that? i also used to name most of them. and sometimes they wear tiny hats.

i have pruned my collection recently so only the best of the best are currently around the house.  yes, i display them around my house, much to jon's dismay.  (like i said, i've cut back quite a bit.)  as i've aged i'm not nearly as interested in them as i once was.  it's more about the thrill! of finding one randomly in a strange location!  i always have a eye out for a little display of them next to the rose-shaped lighters and crystal buffalo in the middle of nowhere.

i suppose there are worse things i could collect.  i was young and quite artsy (that's code for... WEIRD)  don't think too poorly of me.

are you ready?

hair pets little fur animals

this is the current group that i pulled out from shelves around the house. i needed subjects to practice my focal sensitivity on the new camera! can you believe i used to have at least twice this many? jon laughed at me when he saw this set up.  laughed.  i'm quite indignant about it.  it's like he thinks i'm some kind of weirdo or something...

let's run through the gamut. don't be frightened.

black and white dog hair pet

this little dog came from a trader's post in alberta, canada on our alaska trip. he actually has a little bed that he is supposed to lay in but i thought it was hokey so i tossed it out. yes, too hokey for me, the woman who owns these things. i vividly remember buying him at a shop in a place so small it isn't on a map. we stopped to eat breakfast and there he was, in the gift shop. the guy who owned the place said, as we walked out, "Enjoy your new life, little guy, eh?" and i was quite charmed by his canadianitude.

black and white cat hair pet

this is an exactly copy of the original that started it all, Mr. Jingles. well, nearly. he doesn't have quite as much evil spark in his eyes. Mr. Jingles is truly terrifying. this guy, meh. we have an ongoing bet about whether he be cat or dog. i vote dog?

brown dog hair pet

this is Captain. he's been around since the beginning and i have no particular recollection of where he came from, but he's one of my favorites for the sheer cuteness factor. and the bow tie.  he has such dignity.

brown squirrel hair pet

this little squirrel was also found on our alaska trip. no idea where.

brown squirrel hair pet

but look at him! he wins the award for most tiny, adorable, and beloved. if any of these were not-at-all creepy, it would be him.

–wait! what happened to my photo of Peter Peterson?? photo fail! uh, so, that big blurry sleeping cat is called Peter Peterson. i have no strong feelings about him, but man oh man is he super soft.

wild boar hair pet

the wild boar! another road trip find, from a gas station in kansas next to a petting zoo. part of the appeal of the hair pet find is not only finding them, it's finding the *rare* ones. i've seen about 500 Mr. Jingles-style ones, but to find other animals besides cats and dogs is quite a special event. see? and you never even knew. i'm enriching your life.

moose hair pet

alaska trip has kind of taken over. they're most of the one's i've kept over the years. plus i don't frequent truck stops as much as i used to so the opportunity for good finds is gone. this moose is from Denali National Park and Preserve.

spotted deer hair pet

this was a gift from one of my coworkers. i love that someone saw this and thought of me. it's both embarrassing and endearing.

polar bear hair pet

i highly prize this very rare polar bear. you guessed it, road trip find.

black poodle hair pet

dun dun dun... i believe this was a gift. he is BY FAR the most fear-inducing of the collection. jon especially HATES this one and we keep him on the back end of a very very tall shelf where we don't ever look at him.

creepy black poodle dog hair pet

you can see why. he strikes fear into the heart of braver citizens than myself. i'm not actually sure why he's still around, other than the pure torture factor.

grey donkey hair pet

we discovered this donkey at the indiana state fair behind a belt buckle display. it was an exciting find, though he's seen better days and he's looking quite worn.

dead plant

more proof of my quite deserved reputation as the plant killer. whoops.  in my defense... well, not much to say in my defense.  i'll try again this year.

hair pets little fur animals

so there. i've shown you my dirty secret. well, one of them anyway. we'll stick to one per day, for now. it's all i can handle. keep your eyes peeled for hair friends in the future and think of me.

any embarrassing collections you want to own up to today? fly your freak flag with me, baby.


hand pecked debb

WHOAH no wonder you wanted Biscuit's squirrel to complete your freak, I mean, artful, finds.

my own dork collection is I'm such a nerd that I love geology and has made my parents haul rocks with every move. I still have all my corals and rocks, yes they are on display...


Captain is too cute! I have a chihuahua like your little friends. Micah found it at a truck stop and said that was the only way I could ever have one of the little 'ankle biters.' Maybe I'll send it your way with Adam one of these days?

Sarah W

I collect Moose (or, Moosen if you like Brian Regan)... especially those of the Christmas variety.

So, I kinda want your moose hairy pet. :)

Also, nice photo skillz.


well, you've already seen my stuffed squirrel that I dust with Pledge routinely and have positioned just so on my ROCK uh....there's that.

Glad I'm not alone in this crazy world.

Betsy B. Honest

Darling, I LOVE this post.

I am from a tiny town in Northern Alberta, btw.

My sister had an Ookpik that I coveted. Do you know what an Ookpik is?

She was always saving up her allowance money to buy the awesomest things ever. While mine was blown on Tahiti Treat and candy cigarettes. Sigh.

Also, I vote cat. What a bizarre quality for a thing to have - to embody catness and dogness by different measures. It's like trans-species androgyny.


I like this! Those things would freak me out though, I'm afraid. Especially if I woke up to one staring at me from across the room :)I think Mr. Jingles may just be a distant relative of Ferby.

Great pictures, what kind of camera are you using?

the grumbles

Wow! From these comments I had no idea that rock collecting was still so prevalent. Or, we're all nerds.

Betsy- I got the little dog here at the Rochfort Bridge Trading Post and YES! I know what an Ookpik is! So cool! Jon got a Billikin while we were up there that I love as well.

Allie- You're right! I never really said specifically what camera I got. It's a Nikon D80.

Ashley, The Accidental Olympian


And also kind of wanting the boar...


I liked to collect those little porcelain animals you could find at trading posts and tourist shops in Maine (I'm sure they sell them elsewhere as well, but all of mine are from Maine trips). I'd get one every year we went up. I had an awful lot of cats.


My mom has a chow chow that looks like your collectibles. It scares the CRAP out of me.

I collect beauty products and can't throw any of them away. IT IS SEVERE... I mean featured on "Hoarders" severe.

Iris Took

These photos are really quite amazing!

I have to chime in on the rock collecting - but it is about my little sister. She would collect rocks, but only small, round, smooth ones when she was little. Then she would place them carefully and specifically in our house mostly in the corners of all the chair rails. To this day, I have one in all the corners of my house just because I think it is so cute and it's an amazing conversation piece.

hand pecked debb

yeah huh I'm coming back to this post. DID YOU SEE DOOCE'S MOM'S HOUSE? I have a feelign she woudl understand our little artswhimsical 'collections'.

Lauren @ Hobo Mama

I am quite taken with the donkey, bedraggled or no. weirdest collection. Used to be hedgehogs, but now they're becoming quite common. (You would know this if you were a hedgehog collector.) Not real hedgehogs, mind you. I'm not some hedgehog hoarder.

My FIL probably has the weirdest collections I know of. One is antique cigar clippers, which is weird by virtue of the fact that he has never smoked cigars (even antique cigars). He also loves scrimshaw. Loves-loves it. And I won't tell you what all else he collects, because you'll all giggle too much. And if you're caught looking at any of his collections, he'll go through each piece's history with you. Only superficially like your post here, because it's much, much more detailed.


Reminds me that I need to mail you the one I got in Malta. I'm so good with post cards yet so bad with domestic mail.

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