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Wally, Our Beloved QUEORK Inspiration

July 10, 2017 56 Comments

Wally, Our Beloved QUEORK Inspiration

 

"Dogs do speak, but only to those who know how to listen." —Orhan Pamuk

 

June of 2012 presented to me a monumental break from the struggle my life had become in the 3 years leading up to it.  

I grew up in real estate and then spent my short 10 year adult career 1998-2008 riding the swells in value of real estate that seemingly had no end.  That is, until they did.  In 2009, I filed a no-asset bankruptcy (meaning I kept nothing that a creditor could value and sell) and walked away with a clean slate and a very cleaned out bank account.  Not only did my business come to an end but also my long term relationship, then the house, then my 13 year old lab Riley passed two days after we relocated to Dallas, TX to start anew.  Queue in the country music song!  

The next three years would be the most out of place state of confusion I have ever experienced.  In hind sight I can say it was due to a total lack of identity and a huge chasm in the place where my purpose should have been.  At the time I was becoming the opposite of my previous self who was outgoing and confident.  I became a recluse who couldn't make eye contact even at the grocery store for fear someone would ask me what I did for a living to which my honest answer would be:  

"I slowly deplete my modest 401k while hitting refresh on my email inbox waiting for someone, anyone, to respond to my latest attempt at employment without having to call anyone back or show up to an interview in person."

During that next three years I did a lot of things wrong, which is ok.  But I did do one thing right I know which began with a flight to St Louis to pick up a 7 week old Bernese Mountain Dog, who during the 6 hour ride home with me in a rental car, never even flinched at the 200+ names I suggested for him.  Close to the end of our trip I tried to explain in detail the importance of the right name.  I said, "Although your name is important, it is ok to wait on the right one because we are hitting a wall."  

He looked up with those eyes.  "Wall?"  "Wally?" 

He shot up and grabbed the gear shift with his puppy teeth.  

"Wally No!" 

I had a friend, who had a purpose.  His name was Wally.

Wally and I moved to New Orleans in 2010 where I continued to pursue a real estate career post housing crisis that was now even more crippled by a move to a new city where I had zero real estate connections.  We took long walks in the winter and went to the lakefront or Julie's pool in the hot summer which resulted in a house that usually smelled like a wet dog and 2-3 collars a month ruined by mildew.  Julie invited me to join her on a trip to Monaco for a conference where she had been asked to speak in the spring of 2012.  I declined:

I don't even have a steady job.  Why would I go to Morocco (Monaco!) when I don't even have a plan for next week?   That would be irresponsible.  I need to stay put and refresh my inbox!  

That decision ate at me almost immediately.  I had always lived for adventure, especially travel.  I can still vividly remember my first trip to Europe.  I got off the airplane in Paris to what seemed like an alternative universe where I could not even communicate with other human beings.  I realized in that moment how small my world had been and it was a humbling perspective I hope everyone experiences in their life. Just two days before she was scheduled to leave, Julie's conference in Monaco was canceled. She changed the airline ticket to fly into Portugal and check on her mom's home outside of Lisbon then asked one last time if I would like to join.  I did!

It was a short 4 night trip and on our last day we went walking through the streets of Lisbon visiting restaurants, castles, churches and gift shops.  One shop had tucked away in a corner a hat and belt made of cork.  The best way I can describe my reaction is love at first sight.  It was as if these cork products had physically reached out and grabbed me and I was obsessed!  Julie bought the belt and we stopped into a cafe for coffee where I studied the belt while Julie translated the pamphlet that came with it and explained the benefits of cork fabric.  Lightweight.  Water Resistant.  Anti-Microbial.  Hypo-Allergenic.  Mildew Resistant.

I studied the belt again.  "Wally needs a cork dog collar!  I am sure they exist, the fabric was practically made for collars based on its attributes.  It's basically this belt with a D ring!"

The cork collar did not exist, at least not yet!  If you have not heard what happened next, Julie and I tell our story here in a short 2 minute video that's worth a watch.  Needless to say, finding the perfect material for Wally's collar led to 4 cork stores in 4 years and growing. Owning retail cork stores was not at all what I had planned to do but that doesn't mean it was not meant to be, because it was.  

I have come to learn that life has many walls to overcome and by their very nature, walls first force us to look up.   The answers are almost always up there!  

Yesterday, Wally passed peacefully in our arms.  He gave us so much to be thankful for including a million smiles just looking into those eyes of his.  I have comfort in knowing his time with us was a job well done.  For the next wall that I face I will look up, smile at my friend, and listen.  Thank you Wally for such a sweet and magical story.  We love you.

 





56 Responses

Darlene Smith
Darlene Smith

July 13, 2017

Thank you for sharing your incredible story. Coincidence is always God’s way of remaining Anonymous. It was not a coincidence that he came to you when he did. Deeply sorry for your loss, although joyous for your memories during the time Wally was with you. Much love, Darlene

Deb
Deb

July 13, 2017

So very sorry for your loss.

Maureen
Maureen

July 12, 2017

Things truly happen for a reason and our pets are always with us, even when they have to leave for heaven. I know he will be missed and greatly appreciated; I’m sure you have named your dog collar, “The Wally”. I love seeing your success and say “I remember when” every time I see your posts. God bless you and Julie, Amy and Popeye too. XOXO

Lynne Gogo
Lynne Gogo

July 11, 2017

Crying my eyes out reading Wallys life story. Those of us who love dogs, {more than most people}, get it. I lost my companion of 14 years last month. My husband and I went on a trip to Alaska, we weren’t gone 24 hours when I got a phone call from our house sitter that Opus had passed in the night. I’d like to think Opus spared me the pain of watching him get old and frail, that’s what gets me through the lonely days. Miss Wally and grieve for him, the greastest tribute to his memory would be to adopt another.

Leslie
Leslie

July 11, 2017

Hi Amanda, I’m so sorry about your losing Wally. After reading your story I dissolved into tears for our combined loss. My family and I lost our sweet dog two months ago. We’ve all been grieving, even our cat.

I visited NOLA on a girl’s trip and bought a bracelet from your store. I love it and have received many, many complements on it. When we feel the time is right and bring a sweet pup home, I’ll be on your website to purchase a collar.

Although you’re hurting now, I hope you find comfort that you’re living a wonderful journey.

Shannon Gatti
Shannon Gatti

July 11, 2017

What a sweet sweet soul and an even sweeter face. I’m so sorry good your loss, but so happy for the time he had with you.

Dana
Dana

July 11, 2017

His beautiful smile makes it clear what a special boy he was. I’m so sorry for your loss.

Antoinette
Antoinette

July 11, 2017

Thank you for the beautiful story….and the beautiful shop! Sorry for your loss.

LOIS
LOIS

July 11, 2017

I’m so sorry for the loss of your beautiful Wally. THank you for sharing your heart-warming story of his life and your journey! I wish you continued success in your unique business that brings happiness to the many people who appreciate your products!

Andrea
Andrea

July 11, 2017

Very beautiful. How lovely that you and Wally had each other. You write well too BTW.

Amanda Dailey
Amanda Dailey

July 11, 2017

Thank you all for your comments, this has truly been therapeutic. I am not yet savvy enough to figure out how to reply to each comment but I have read them all and they warm my heart!

Claudia Stanley
Claudia Stanley

July 11, 2017

I am so very sorry for your loss. Thank you so much for sharing this story with us who love Queork.

Colleen Coppenger
Colleen Coppenger

July 11, 2017

Hello Amanda and Julie,
I just met you a couple of weeks ago, you live next door to my sister. It was a pleasure to meet you both and I was lucky enough to meet Wally too :)
Please accept my condolences on your loss, my little fellow Paden comes to work every day with me and I can imagine how sad you must be. Thanks for sharing your story and I wish you much happiness and success for the future.

Trudy Kulish
Trudy Kulish

July 11, 2017

Thank you for sharing your story. I have been to New Orleans 3 times and have shopped at the queork store 3 times and have ordered online. I love my queork stuff. I have a hat, an umbrella, and two cell phone cases. I completely understand wanting and having to make a dog collar for Wally. I’m sure he will be missed very much. God bless

Moptop
Moptop

July 11, 2017

Good things come to those who wait, we are surely sorry you had to go though such hard times for such success. I am deeply sorry for your loss, as most all dog lovers animal know, they are part of our family and depend on them more than we realize,….. I love the cork store and all its wonderful items, you have done great!
Wally will always be with you, he may of just inspired you for what is yet to come.
hugs to you and yours.

Bob
Bob

July 11, 2017

“Kids that listen”,that’s what dogs are! Our joy in inviting them into our homes is always tempered by the memory or knowledge that they will pass all too soon. I say that while looking at my 13 yr old lab clearly in decline and as I sit next to my year old golden doodle waiting to go out for an energy packed run. I know your pain and it is deep.

Cork connects us. I visited your store in NO and thoroughly enjoyed it. Walked out with w some gifts and an iPhone cover for myself. I too use cork. I make dog urns from cork. Hollow cork duck decoys. Mostly used by duck hunters so that they can continue to take their hunting dog afield. Duck hunters go through an added pain when a dog dies as not only do they lose a family pet but also a companion in the field.
So, I created Best Friend Pet Urns. You can see it on fb. It’s a hobby not a business yet but upon retirement I will have more business than I can satisfy.
If you have any questions pls give me a call. 804-921-915four.

Bill
Bill

July 11, 2017

Know the feelings you are having.
Take some time before you get Wally 2.
You will get another one you know.

Cherai
Cherai

July 11, 2017

It’s 4 a.m. I have been up for 2 hours now because my dingos have realized that a momma raccoon and her 3 babies are in a tree beside our home. Seems fitting that while awake at this early hour because of my dogs I find your tribute to your very loved Wally. Reading it has helped to curb my current frustration with Ms. Gertrude and Mr. Leo. I know I will be missing them too some day. Very sorry for your loss. ?

Chuck James
Chuck James

July 11, 2017

So sorry your time together has ended for now. I hope the great love and memories will bring you joy and gratitude.

Peggy Gascon
Peggy Gascon

July 11, 2017

What a fabulous story and one that I relate to completely personally and in parallel to yours in many ways. I too had a fabulous furry baby buster my Chesapeake Bay Retriever come in to save my life and show me how to live again. He came to me in 2009 as a baby and I just lost him to lymphoma this February! He literally held my hand and my heart through some very tough times. I discovered your shop 3 years ago on a girlfriend birthday trip to New Orleans with two friends of mine and I now have lots of your beautiful inspired products! You should come to Scottsdale and open a shop! :-) much love

Pam Thomson
Pam Thomson

July 11, 2017

I’m very sorry you have lost your Wally. What a handsome dog he was! i know how deep the hole in your life is right now. In September, I was in New Orleans and bought some things from you. i am glad to read in your story that you have bounced back financially and hope you will open your heart to another great animal when you are readY!
Pam
Sechelt, British Columbia, Canada

Bonnie
Bonnie

July 11, 2017

https://rainbowsbridge.com/Poem.htm

This pet poem always helped me and I hope for you too! Great inspirational companion story of you and Wally! I was in your store last week and purchased a purse n key chain and now home in WA I get nothing but posititive reaction about your products! Keep on shining n growing with Wally always in your heart ❤️

Janet Schwartz
Janet Schwartz

July 10, 2017

Our furry family members have more to say than some of our human family members, without uttering a word. That’s the beauty of having our animal friends as a part of our family, that we are so blessed to know and love.
I know the hurt that you are feeling from your loss because I’ve been there, as well.
On a secondary note, I love your cool, innovative Quoerk products! My handbag is awesome!!
janetschwartzanimalart.com

Janet Schwartz
Janet Schwartz

July 10, 2017

Our furry family members have more to say than our human family members, without uttering a word. That’s the beauty of having our animal friends as a part of our family, that we are so blessed to know and love.
I know the hurt that you are feeling from your loss because I’ve been there, too.
janetschwartzanimalart.com
On a secondary note, I love your cool, innovative Quoerk products! My handbag is awesome!!

Niris
Niris

July 10, 2017

I’m sorry for the loss of Wally. He was a great inspiration that led to successful stores. I visited your shop while vacationing in New Orleans last week and loved it. I purchased a phone wallet and purse but plan on ordering additional items as well. I wish you much success in the future and a hopeful expansion to California.

Jen
Jen

July 10, 2017

Thank you for sharing your beautiful story. I’m very sorry for your loss. Our fur babies always love us unconditionally and we love them back. You were both lucky to have each other! I have 3 rescues and the joy that they give me is hard to describe. Congratulations on your continued success!!

Jen
Jen

July 10, 2017

Thank you for sharing your beautiful story. I’m very sorry for your loss. Our fur babies always love us unconditionally and we love them back. You were both lucky to have each other! I have 3 rescues and the joy that they give me is hard to describe. Congratulations on your continued success!!

Vicki
Vicki

July 10, 2017

I already started crying when I saw your email come into my inbox. Crying from my heart with you for your loss and yet it is bittersweet as we know that we live in a finite world but some of the gifts that were shared with you both can live on. Many blessings. Much love…Vicki

Kathy
Kathy

July 10, 2017

Such a touching story about Wally. I know how much our dogs become family… my heart goes out to you. I’m a new customer , just love my purse ! I will definitely be getting Riley a collar❤️

Jan Bertman
Jan Bertman

July 10, 2017

Such a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing. I’m so sorry to hear Wally passed, I wasn’t expecting that and found myself tearing up at the end. I hope your heart heals soon. Godspeed Wally, a job well done indeed, run free and keep giving great advice to whoever will listen. :)

I’m glad you listened to your gut and went on the trip, I will definitely be purchasing a cork collar for both my dogs! I’ve shopped at your store before (FQ) but didn’t see them. Wishing you much deserved continued success!

Mari
Mari

July 10, 2017

My husband and I have been owned by 5 different Bernese Mtn. Dogs over the past 34 years – Dudley, Sophie, Gus, Keiki, and, currently, Willoughby. They have helped to raise our 2 sons, they have brought amazing joy and comfort to our lives. I feel your loss and hope that there might be another Berner in your future. They are such incredibly special dogs!
And I’m a continuing Queork customer, too!

Roz LaBarbera
Roz LaBarbera

July 10, 2017

Amanda,
I am a huge fan of Queork! I , like you,was immediately attracted to your store and the beautiful product, even more with its story! I had not brought a raincoat on that weekend trip to NO. Big mistake! The good news is I bought my Panama hat which I love and still looks good even after a lot of rain and being st the beach! Love that it is waterproof and mosquito resistant. I did buy 2 dog collars but they were too large for my doxies, so I have them to my brothers Schnauzers!
Recently just purchased a baseball hat in the dark brown and have enjoyed it too
I know your loss and feel your pain. May your wonderful memories of Wally lift you up and give you peace and comfort.
Congrats on your great success! Ever thought of opening a store in Houston?
Let me know, I’d be interested in talking with you!
Wishing continued success!
Roz LaBarbera

Rick
Rick

July 10, 2017

Thank you for being with your boy at the end. It’s selfless of you, and it will always mean everything to Wally.

Kathy
Kathy

July 10, 2017

so sorry for your loss. You need to go get another furr baby. And i love my cork purse that i got in New Orleans.

Kristen
Kristen

July 10, 2017

I am so sorry for your loss. It sounds like Wally was a very special boy.

Linnea Murphy
Linnea Murphy

July 10, 2017

I’m so sorry for your loss. We also lost our dog this year, Maggie. She was named after the Rod Stewart song. The journey you all took was amazing. I wish you all well.

Shannon
Shannon

July 10, 2017

My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Sally
Sally

July 10, 2017

I lost my beloved Abby 3 months ago so I know your feelings. I thank you for your stores. Saw bracelets in NOLA several weeks ago & didn’t get back to buy. Thank you for your website that allowed me to buy items I just adopted a new pal from humane society & will be ordering a collar. Thank you for your story

Amy
Amy

July 10, 2017

The sweetest tribute to our gentle giant. I am going to miss seeing him he has just been an extension of you, your esophagopulus that loved to get belly rubs

Karen
Karen

July 10, 2017

Thank you for sharing your sweet story. I love your products, and I know that you gave Wally a loving and happy home. Losing a pet is losing a family member.

Z
Z

July 10, 2017

Your story touched my heart Thank you. Wally was quite the beauty. May his memory be for a blessing

Becky
Becky

July 10, 2017

Amanda, I’m so sorry to hear about Wally. What a loss. I’m glad you have wonderful memories to cherish and that he showed the way for your next chapter in life.

Debbi
Debbi

July 10, 2017

I don’t know you or Wally but I have a cork purse I got at your shop in NOLA last year and I love it! I also have a 13 yr old Bassett Hound that I love more than anything so I feel we have a connection.I pray my sweet girl passes in my arms
So as hard as that was for you I know it is a blessing. Both of my dear parents passed in my arms and as hard as that was there is a sense of peace in knowing someone you loved was with you in the end.Your sweet pup is in your heart always.

Dana Gutt
Dana Gutt

July 10, 2017

I am so sad for your loss. Wally was such an inspiration for you. Our pets are family members. Remember to take time out for yourself. Congrats on your success. I adore my Queork shoes and wore them almost everyday while on vacation just last week.

Cathy
Cathy

July 10, 2017

A beautiful story and tribute…“our perfect companions never have fewer than four feet…..Collette”

Kara
Kara

July 10, 2017

While I am sitting here in a mess of tears …. your story hits a place in my heart that is indescribable. Your story, your vulnerabitly, your success. I am so proud to call you friend. These fur children of ours … way more than a dog bed and a couple bowls. Maverick saved me. I get it. All my love to you. This was the most beautiful of tributes I’ve ever read.

Kara
Kara

July 10, 2017

While I am sitting here in a mess of tears …. your story hits a place in my heart that is indescribable. Your story, your vulnerabitly, your success. I am so proud to call you friend. These fur children of ours … way more than a dog bed and a couple bowls. Maverick saved me. I get it. All my love to you. This was the most beautiful of tributes I’ve ever read.

Jenni
Jenni

July 10, 2017

Oh, Big. I am so sorry. Your love for Wally has been palpable and I am so happy that he was there for you through such an amazing journey. What an honor it was for him to have you as his mom. ❤️

Jackie
Jackie

July 10, 2017

What a wonderful story. You had an amazing Wally!!

Karen
Karen

July 10, 2017

I am so sorry about your sweet Wally. He loved you at a time you were having a hard time loving yourself. I am sending you something that I hope you enjoy in honor of Wally. He was a big, protective, gentle boy. He will be missed. xo

Cyndy
Cyndy

July 10, 2017

Thank you for sharing this beautiful and touching story. I am so sorry for your loss.

Tiffany Brown
Tiffany Brown

July 10, 2017

I’m all teared up over here. I loved Wally for the short time I knew him. What a wonderful tribute to him. ❤️

Liz
Liz

July 10, 2017

What a wonderful story. I love you! Mom

Amanda
Amanda

July 10, 2017

Thank you Tina. I am very much looking forward to our get together!

Mary Ehret
Mary Ehret

July 10, 2017

This is beautiful, Amanda.

Tina
Tina

July 10, 2017

Mandy- what a great but heartbreaking story-
Thanks for sharing and I am so sorry for your loss- congrats on your success! Looking forward to seeing you soon!

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