Judi Gullickson said this is her year.

“Up until now, I could say I never win anything,” the Peoria resident said. “But now I have to stop saying that.”


Judi Gullickson said this is her year.

“Up until now, I could say I never win anything,” the Peoria resident said. “But now I have to stop saying that.”

Gullickson, who teaches kindergarten through fifth-grade art at Lincoln Elementary School and Washington Middle School, won a photo contest earlier in the year, with a photo she submitted of her five Shih Tzus. Recently she won another contest, which also had to do with her dogs.

She entered the “Name that Brand” contest offered by Doggy Toyland LLC owner Myra Westphal. Gullickson was one of two who submitted the winning name for the company’s pet-themed jewelry line.

“We never really gave it an official name,” said Westphal, who added that after eight years, the line designed for dog lovers continues to grow. “We just felt our name of Doggy Toyland really didn’t fit the jewelry line. It’s kind of like having an identity crisis in a way.”

About 100 entries were received from the U.S. and Canada. Both Gullickson and Ruth Wenzel of Hutersville, N.C., offered “Dazzle Paws” as a solution to the unnamed line.  

“We changed it just a little bit to fit the line a little more,” Westphal said.

“Dazzling Paws,” which both Gullickson and Wenzel have been given credit for naming, is what the jewelry line will now be called.

The two winners will each receive a custom designed piece of jewelry valued at more than $500 and a $100 gift certificate from Doggy Toyland. 

The jewelry line features dog show-inspired pieces including agility equipment, obedience equipment, rallies, confirmation ribbons and ribbons with the dogs’ titles engraved on them.

“When I got into the pet industry you really couldn’t find any unique pet stuff,” Westphal said. “There are a couple designers out there who are doing dog-themed jewelry, but not speaking to these niched markets.”

Gullickson, who found out about the contest through Doggy Toyland’s newsletter, said she was “flabbergasted” when she found out she had won.

“I had actually kind of forgotten about it,” she said. “I didn’t even tell my husband. I didn’t tell anybody.”

Gullickson said it was at a dog show in Bloomington where she first found out about Doggy Toyland. She signed up to receive the company’s newsletter.

“I’m into dogs,” she said. “I show dogs, I groom dogs and I have five dogs. I train them in obedience and I go to dog shows all the time.”

Westphal met with Gullickson last week to go over the design of the ring she would receive as a part of her winnings.

Gullickson, who said she is not yet sure which design will be used, said her sterling silver ring will feature either a paw and a bone or a paw and a heart.

“I’ll get the first piece of jewelry and then they will donate a percentage of the proceeds, I believe for a year or so, from when they sell this ring of mine, to whatever animal charity I want,” she said.

The charity she has chosen will win the approval of her five Shih Tzus — Sophie, Sadie, Cutter, Cassie and Kippy.

“I’m picking the Shih Tzu rescue,” Gullickson said. “Hopefully the ring will be a big seller.”

For more information, or to view products, visit doggytoyland.com.