McFarlandcoverbutch

My friends who are authors know that unless you self-publish, you have to accept the fact that when published by others you will not retain the creative control over what your book may look like in its final incarnation. While this may sound discouraging, it can have its rewards and the wonderful process of what I call Universal Collaboration can blossom. Hear me out.

Will Judy, founder of National Dog Week, often commissioned artists to create images to be used for NDW stamps and posters to promote the themes of annual Dog Weeks. You can see some displayed on my NDW Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/National-Dog-Week/218596591491974?fref=photo Of course I desired to use these images in my book, Dog’s Best Friend (McFarland & Co.) and although I, and others, presented information that Judy never called for this artwork to be copyrighted, my publisher chose the safe route and we were not able to include them in the book, and that was bad news for this author.

Among my proposed book covers, I had envisioned a red, white and blue poster stamp of a military man posing with a German shepherd dog, promoting NDW’s theme of “In War and Peace” in 1945. As artists were not generally credited for the work they created for Judy, it was daunting to identify or credit them. My angst set in, how would we find the right cover without being able to obtain publishing rights? I have to admit, I recited the prayer to St. Anthony (Saint of all things lost) often, hoping the answer to my challenge would be found.

But let’s back up a bit. At some point, I had contacted an author named Sharon Damkaer. Sharon is a huge fan of Will Judy’s and wrote a book about the renowned artist, Albert Staehle. http://www.americanartarchives.com/staehle.htm. Sharon understood my dilemma, and, when my publisher contacted her about obtaining the rights of one of Staehle’s works to serve as the cover for my book, she offered to help. She had at one time faced her own similar publishing challenges.

During this process, independent of all of this, an older gentleman named Anthony had called my home and spoke to my husband. He told Rich that he did not own a computer, but someone had told him of my writing project about Judy and National Dog Week. He wanted to know if I would like to have an original poster from National Dog Week 1950. I returned his call and said indeed I would and within days, it arrived in the mail. You guessed it; it was the very same image that had been selected by McFarland & Co. to appear on the book’s cover.

I sent him a thank you note with a copy of my book Something’s Lost and Must be Found. He responded in turn to thank me and said that this volume was now on his library shelf next to his volumes of Will Judy books. That image just put all doubt to rest. All things come full circle. By the way, did you note that his name is Anthony?

And so, while the cover of Dog’s Best Friend is different from the one I envisioned, it shows me that sometimes, if we just chill out and let things happen in their own course, the results can be beautiful. These days I find myself repeating the mantra… Remain Focused, have Faith, be Confident that you’ve done your best work, and move on. Which reminds me, please watch for news on my next book due out shortly! Around the World in 1909: Harriet White Fisher and Her Locomobile (American History Press) the true account of an intrepid New Jersey woman who took the ultimate road trip with a dog on her lap at a time it was most unlikely.

Happy National Dog Week to you all, may its spirit be with you year-round! Next year, we are embracing the way dogs serve humans with a revisited NDW theme of, “At Your Service – All Ways”. It is so good to find so many dog-enthusiasts Finding the spirit of a great American tradition that seemed to have been Lost for awhile! Thank you.

Amazon book link: http://tinyurl.com/qbon8ty
Please note that on October 31st, Dog’s Best Friend will be available in e-reader format.

http://www.lisabegin-kruysmanauthor.com/

Cover of my latest book, the "Dog Week Bible"!

Cover of my latest book, the “Dog Week Bible”!

Please check out my new author website for book links and author/artist news! Four years in the making, Will Judy finally claims his place in Canine History. http://www.lisabegin-kruysmanauthor.com/

Stephen McGarva’s book The Rescue at Dead Dog Beach was successfully launched on National Dog Day in August. The book marketing department at Dey Street Books (Harper Collins) asked me if I could continue to share the book bark during the 86th Observance of National Dog Week. NDW was launched in September 1928 by Captain Will Judy, minister, lawyer, decorated WWI veteran and publisher of Dog World magazine for four decades.

Will Judy wrote, “You strike your dog, you whip, you even lower yourself and debase your soul to kick at him and you really kick your own dignity into the ditch.” If you agree with Judy, then surely, many of the “humans” found on the pages of this book are destined to spend an eternity at the bottom of a ditch. Stephen’s book is his memoir of his time spent in Puerto Rico where a day at the beach turned into a two year personal mission to save the lives of satos (street dogs) in this Commonwealth, often with dire consequences.

Authors are often advised to “show, don’t tell” in their writing. Stephen has done a very good job of that, taking his readers to the trenches of that hellish killing field, surrounded by hundreds of unwanted, neglected, abused albeit loving dogs. I have to admit, while I had read about the sato population in PR, I truly was not aware of how horrifically these dogs were treated; stabbed, shot, hung and run over by cars by “men” who were worried about the tourism dollar or just needed an innocent target on which to vent their depravity. This island is also popularly known in Spanish as la isla del encanto, which translates to “the island of enchantment”. I doubt anyone in their right mind would find anything enchanting about this scenario.

But not all island inhabitants were bad, and Stephen knows that he was just one more soldier in a daily battle trying to win the war on ignorance and abuse and do some good in the world. He makes that clear in this book.

I thank Dey Street for generously offering several copies of Stephen’s book which will be given away this week on the NDW Face Book Page. Be sure to check daily to see how you can win your own copy! https://www.facebook.com/pages/National-Dog-Week/218596591491974

RescueDeadDogBeach

It strikes me that many authors are also artists, and I understand that you are a Fine Artist. Can you talk about your training and the types of art you produce. As an artist myself, the imagery evoked by your writing lends itself to some potential artistic expression. Are dogs ever the subject of your subject matter, or do you plan to include them at some point?
For the most part, I’m self-trained as an artist. I guess if I had to describe myself, I’d say I’m a sculptor that loves to draw and oil paint. In the past I worked mostly in metal and glass. However, more recently I’ve been working in clay on a series inspired by dogs and their relationship with humans.

You have volunteered elsewhere. Can you tell us about your work with children in Southeast Asia?
As a child I dreamed of traveling and exploring the world. I wanted to do something that would make a difference in the life of someone less fortunate. So, after graduating high school, I volunteered with a non-profit organization and traveled to South East Asia to work with orphaned children. I had no real skill set to offer. But, I was willing to do whatever it took to help. I cooked, cleaned, treated minor injuries and showed love to kids that had nothing – no family, home, or food except that which we provided. It was a rewarding experience and the most fulfilled I’d ever felt.

When did you first conceive the notion of writing a book about your time spent with the dogs of Puerto Rico? How did you go about finding a publisher and what was the feedback received? Do you have a literary agent?
The idea of writing the book came to me shortly after leaving Puerto Rico. I had been struggling with the wreckage of emotions and memories of what had happened. Initially, I wrote the stories just to get them out of my head. I soon realized there was something really powerful in just trying to make sense of my thoughts and then articulate them in sentences. It was a pretty powerful process and often-quite cathartic. My story was pitched to the publisher thru a client I’d taken for a flight in my tandem Paraglider. He asked a lot of questions and showed interest in my story. A few weeks later he called and said that he’d gotten me a contract to write the book. He also helped me to connect with my literary agent at Sterling Lord Literistic, Inc in NYC.

At the end of your book, you list many rescue organizations that exist to serve the dogs of Puerto Rico and elsewhere. But your book includes themes of what I term “Rescue Rivalry”. Do you feel that there are those who have spent many years trying to help these ill-fated dogs who may be resentful of a “newcomer” getting a lot of attention, or succeeding on a larger scale? Do you feel these groups work together for a common goal or does more of this need to happen for true and enduring change
The old saying, ‘Can’t we all just get along’ comes to mind when I think of rescue rivalry. I often find it hard to believe that animal rights groups criticize and fight with one another on public forums. In the fight over the moral high ground, media attention or for the top spot at the money trough, rescuers often lose sight of their original goal to help animals in need. Unfortunately, this sort of behavior makes it very difficult for the general public to take rescuers work seriously. If rescuers spent more time working together rather than against each other, more would be accomplished. At the end of the day, it’s supposed to be about the animals not our egos. I know it has bothered a few individual rescuers that I (the newbie) managed to get international media attention and a book deal. I’ve never had an ulterior motive for anything I’ve done with the dogs. I did what I did because it was the right thing to do… I’m just a guy that stumbled onto a bad situation and chose not to walk away or turn a blind eye.

You also write of some religious and cultural norms of the region that may influence pet welfare, such as the woman who was upset with you for having a severely injured dog euthanized because she felt you should let God take care of these matters, or some males in the Latino culture who do not want male dogs neutered. Does this contribute to the stray dog issue?
There will always be cultural and religious differences impacting the way people think and respond to situations. I’ve always tried to be sensitive and respectful, but when it comes to another living creature suffering due to someone’s inability to make a difficult decision based on religious or so called moral beliefs, I draw the line. It’s not always easy to make hard decisions and I realize I won’t likely win the popularity contest. I try to encourage education and offer statistics on spay and neutering a pet to counter animal population problems that plague most countries in the world.

It saddened me to read that many of the so-called stray dogs, or satos (street dogs) had actually been pets at one time. It was difficult to read that many of the local vets penalized these dogs by refusing them medical treatment without comprehending (or ignoring) the fact that these sickened and injured animals might have been the very same dogs they treated at one time. Were they afraid of not getting paid, disease, or they did not see them as worthy of their time and attention?
Getting medical treatment for a Sato is a complicated situation at best. Considering street dogs are thought of as vermin and nothing more than an eye sore on the island. Vets are often afraid they’ll lose their regular paying customers if they treat a mangy unhealthy ‘Sato’ in the same building as someone’s healthy household pet. When a vet is willing to help, the dreaded topic of money and payment will need to be addressed. Diagnosing and treating a street dog with multiple health issues is very expensive. I know a few vets that have been stuck holding the bill after treatment was done. End result is a leery vet that doesn't want to work with rescuers or street dogs.

What is the current status of the sato population now?
Sadly, the Sato population remains much the same. It’s estimated there are likely a quarter of a million strays roaming the island. Animal rights groups have offered help to create long term sustainable solutions such as education programs in schools and low cost spay and neuter clinics. Unfortunately, in Puerto Rico the Island hotelier association and government officials continue to push back, stating they don’t need any outside help. I believe their pride is clouding good judgement which will ultimately have a negative long term impact on how the world views the island.

Are the problems facing dogs in Mexico similar to those in PR? If not, what different approaches are used in rescue?
The problems facing the dogs are really the same in both countries. However, the major difference I’ve experienced is that like Puerto Rico, Mexico has been willing to accept outside help from rescue groups. Many of the hotelier associations and local government officials are ready and willing to embrace change.

I read how many tourist resorts had a big hand in the maiming and killing of unwanted dogs. Have the tourist resorts had a change of heart with the your work and the release of the book. Do you think tourists can use “tourism” dollar-power” to influence the situation positively. If yes, how so?
Tourist dollars are a powerful tool for implementing change to the problem of animal welfare in Puerto Rico and other tourist destinations. The Puerto Rico tourism board as well as the hotelier association on the island have been slow to respond and reluctant to change their current practices of rounding-up and killing unwanted dogs. This practice has to change or tourists will stop spending their money vacationing on the island. In recent past, threats of a tourist boycott inspired the government to listen and begin to address the issue of animal welfare. I hope that the release of my book will re-apply pressure and spur officials to do the right thing.

You mention that the book is dedicated to your beloved dog Achates and that you had formed a non-profit foundation in his memory. What is the current status of this Foundation? If no longer active, how can people help fund your work
The Achates Legacy foundation operated for approximately 4 years until the board members voted to dissolve the foundation due to a lack of funding. I continue to support several groups working on and off the island and Mexico. The organizations I mention in the back of the book are a few of the groups I have worked with and support their efforts.

Do you think that your book would translate well to film?
I do think that the book would translate nicely to film. I’m a very visual person, so I was always able to imagine my journey with the dogs as a movie. Now that the book is out, many people have asked if there’s any possibility it will be made into film. During a few recent radio interviews, the on-air personalities asked if I’d thought about what actor I’d like to have playing the part of me when the movie comes out. I just laugh saying I really have no idea… They suggested a couple of possible actors and said they hope it makes it to film.

Do you prefer the writing process to that of creative art? Do you have plans for another book project?
I prefer to work in my studio creating and expressing myself thru fine arts, but I have learned to enjoy expressing myself thru writing as well. I think I’d like to give illustrate children’s books a shot. I’ve already started working on some ideas. Kids and dogs are my two favorite subjects. I’m sure I’ll find a way to combine the two.

Happy National Dog Week to all those who rescue, foster, transport, arrange for spay and neuter clinics, combat puppy mills, fight Breed Specific Legislation, volunteer and raise funds for displaced Companion Animals, train our service, military, police and therapy dogs, represent dog’s in art, music and words, practice responsible pet ownership and at the very least, show some compassion to man’s best friend with a kind word and show of affection whenever possible. Thank you Stephen, too, for sharing your story and for your support on my work on behalf of National Dog Week. Thanks to Parkeast Literary Agency and McFarland & Co. also.

Teddy meets a sweet sato named Louie who awaits his new home through the efforts of Wag-on-Inn Rescue in NJ - Finding homes for satos for over seven years!

Teddy meets a sweet sato named Louie who awaits his new home through the efforts of Wag-on-Inn Rescue in NJ – Finding homes for satos for over seven years!

Hooper celebrates National Dog Week

Hooper celebrates National Dog Week

August 27th marks the two year anniversary of the passing of our beloved Portuguese water dog, Hooper. Hooper was eleven years and eight months old when her health took a turn for the worse, but up to that point she was full of energy and feisty, so the suddenness of the event left us devastated.

“Hoops” and I had a special history. She was curled up at my feet when I first learned about National Dog Week while mindlessly surfing the internet. I recall excitedly informing her that she, and her four-legged friends, were entitled to an entire week of celebration each September.

But the human was more enthusiastic about this news. Hooper got up, yawned, and went to find a spot on the sofa as if to say, “I thought every week was dog week!” But I wasn’t discouraged. I told her that I was going to write a book about National Dog Week someday and we would travel the country together telling the world about it!

So I got to work. I learned how to create a non-fiction proposal, wrote one, and then set out to find a literary agent and a publisher. How hard could it be? America is a dog-obsessed nation, wouldn’t everyone want to know about this venerable event just for dogs?

But I quickly came to realize that the work of an unknown author with no contacts in the world of publishing or the dog world, was not the pick the slush pile, that heap of manuscripts and proposals that accumulate on the desks of agents and editors.

It may sound cliché, but if you truly believe in a course of action, and apply yourself with the help of supportive people, your work will become known, slowly, but surely. The keys is to have faith and patience. I eventually found a literary agent willing to take on my project and two years later, signed a book contract.

As I write and remember our Hooper today, I recall how she sat with me day after long dog day, patiently waiting for our debut! With her passing, it was difficult to continue writing about dogs. I took a break and worked on another book, and lo and behold, I found a publisher for that project, too.

But without a dog, our house was way too quiet. I thought fostering dogs would help fill our home with the spirit of dog, and do some good, too. Soon, a little black and white dog named Teddy came our way. It was evident in a week’s time, he was here to stay.

I returned to my work on the Dog Week book, with Teddy at my feet now, but unlike Hooper, who had known love and care from the first moment of birth, Teddy came from a situation of neglect and had faced some tough times. He seemed to understand that some dogs never even have their day, let alone their week.

Over the past four years, in my writing of Dog’s Best Friend: Will Judy, Founder of National Dog Week and Dog World Publisher, I have come to form relationships with many in the dog and publishing industry who have been generous with their knowledge and experience. They understand that National Dog Week was established in 1928 not to bring more dogs into the world, but to make humans more responsible for the ones that are already here.

As an elderly woman at Assisted Living said to me recently, “You know a house just isn’t a home without a dog.” If you are up to the responsibility, I highly recommend having one.

Romp in Peace “Hoop Girl”.

Teddy

Teddy

Recently, on the banks of the Metedeconk River in Brick Township, NJ, American Legion Post 348 hosted their First Annual Lappy Hour on the ‘Cric. While sixteen happy dogs lapped up the sunshine and canine companionship, their humans enjoyed socializing with other dog-lovers and enjoyed the beautiful setting on the water.
Lappy Hour 1

Lappy Hour was held to raise awareness of Military Dogs and those Service Dogs that are trained to help veterans navigate the challenges of daily life. The entry fee for the event and money raised through a doggy-bag raffle will be donated to an organization that assists the nation’s Military Dog program. I was so happy to see these well-behaved dogs that belong to post-members, have a great time of socializing with other dogs. Many people, who are not aware of the benefit of these events often make the mistake of thinking the worst when dogs are allowed to congregate. Trust me, there was no fighting, but many showed a great deal of affection for each other!
LappHour2

The “rules” of this event called for dogs to be leashed, and to have them stay out of the Tiki Bar. Within an hour, however, many dogs roamed free, finding companionship and shade in the shelter of…you guessed it, the Tiki Bar. Don’t worry, nothing stronger than cold water was served to these thirsty pooches.
From the tiniest of tea-cup Yorkies, to a 90 pound Therapy Airedale named Lily, these dogs got the day they deserved, and I think their humans had a great time, too. We hope to repeat this event in the Fall.
LappyHour3
LappyHour4
LappyHour5
LappyHour6
LappyHour7
Update on the fight against puppy millers:
Janice Patterson Fisher reports that last month, a “dog registry” known as American Canine Association, together with four pet stores including a local store, Breeder’s Association of America, Brick, NJ, went to the Office of Legislative Services in Trenton AND to Sen. Holzapfel’s office, in Brick Township, to request changes to the Pet Store Disclosure bill (SB1870) that would have effectually “gutted” the essence of the bill. The senator’s office recognized the importance of maintaining the integrity of the bill and did not opt to make any of the changes. The NJ Senate subsequently voted UNANIMOUSLY to pass the bill as was written by Sen. Holzapfel.

Janice explains that once the AKC started doing inspections of the breeders of the puppies registered by these stores, the ACA came into play with a vengeance. The ACA started registering the pet store/puppy mill puppies with no scrutiny. It has been reported that many of these dog registries do not inspect breeders or guarantee that a puppy is healthy, but simply they register a puppy upon receipt of an application by the puppy’s parent’s owner.

When the above said “reps” arrived at Senator Holzapfel’s office, they called Janice to ask who these people were and she explained to the senator’s office that these businesses were less than stellar. The senator then elected not to make any of the changes they requested. These groups want to be able to buy from hobby breeders rather than be held to buying only from USDA-licensed breeders (as is required in the bill). This is not an option since many puppy mill breeders are unlicensed and could call themselves hobby breeders. They want to knock out the provision that would require that the pet stores NOT buy from any USDA-licensed breeder with one direct violation or more than three indirect violations. These were the main objections.

Congratulations to Senator Holzapfel for standing up to these money-grubbing bullies who have no regard for the welfare of man’s best friend and many thanks to Janice and her hard working volunteers who made this bill possible. New Jersey is leading the pack for Puppy Mill reform. To read more: http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2014/06/nj_bill_would_allow_kitten_and_puppy_buyers_know_where_there_pet_is_coming_from.html

A Muna look-alike

A Muna look-alike


Each year, on the anniversary of my sister’s birthday, I haul out this little family treasure because it is one of my favorite “tails”, a family story that always makes my sister laugh. Although it isn’t until Monday, I wish my sis a Happy Birthday Weekend, and look forward to celebrating with her in the very near future. This story ‘splains so much as to why we never really make plans in our family and we just keep going no matter what life throws at us. We are fortunate to have so many great memories. Sadly, as many of you know, Hooper is among those memories now, but we are all so happy to make new memories with Teddy, the Foster who came to Stay and has been with us for a year and a half now. We also love, “cousin Styles” the Staffordshire terrier, who came to reside at my sister’s home a couple of years ago, rescued from a Bergen Co. Shelter. Thanks to Manette, her husband author David Lender, and son, Zac Loudon, Styles has enjoyed the life he deserves.

Thanks, again for being a great little sis! In your honor, I once again present a rerun, originally posted a few years back…

I grew up in Hackensack, NJ, and have had the good fortune to claim many great places as temporary home, or hang out. For the past 15 years, I’ve lived in a beautiful wooded waterfront community in Ocean County, with my husband, Rich, and 8-year-old Hooper, the dog.

Before living this peaceful life, I was caught up in the hustle and bustle of New York City, working as a recruiter for what was called then, Home Box Office, Inc. I had an office, with a view of Bryant Park and even an assistant, all before turning 30! What did I do? I resigned, traveled to an art school in Italy and came home to become a full-time artist. (sounds way more exciting than it was). Some days I think of what could have been, but then I look out my studio window, at my dog, and hubby and wonder no more. Living by the water, isn’t too shabby.

I just want to say a thank you to my “kid” sister, Manette. She has been invaluable to me, helping with this Blog, for instance. I am a noted techno-klutz, and she has been my Blog coach. I ‘ve grown used to her text alerts about my typos, or incomplete thoughts.

My sister likes dogs, but if there was a National Horse Week, she would be saddling up and blazing the trail. When she was twelve and I was one year older, my parents whisked us away from Hackensack, to Boulder, Colorado, for a year. Six of us and a gassy toy poodle made the trek in a station wagon. Along the way, just 2 hours from our destination, our car was flattened by a double-wide. Our car was totalled, but we all miraculously survived. Did I mention, my parents hadn’t secured housing for us in Boulder? So carless, and temporarily homeless, we entered Boulder in a police cruiser! Oh, but here is the “funniest” part, in the middle of all of this, my sister asked my parents if she could have a horse when we got to Boulder.

Long story short, within 48 hours of arriving in Boulder, we had rented a beautiful ranch house on North Broadway, just a few miles from Colorado University where my dad would work. The house came equipped with a few acres and, conveniently, a horse stable. Of course, after the first day of school, my sister arrived home, horse in hand. A beautiful half Arabian, half quarter horse named Muna del Adrienne. The horse had been abused and in need of safekeeping. My sister was happy to oblige. She spent a memorable 10 months with that horse, they were inseparable. It was a sad day for all when we left Boulder and returned to Hackensack and had to say good-bye to Muna.

I tell this story because it highlights the power of creative visualization and faith, (okay, maybe some luck and the right attitude), and a lesson for everyone that it doesn’t hurt to think big. Manette, by the way, is a talented documentary producer, her documentaries on serious subjects like the overmedicating of our children and our autism epidemic (The Drugging of our Children, Autism: Made in the USA) have won awards at the Hoboken and Key West Film festivals, among others.

So on this June 30th, dream on sis, and keep up the great work!

Teddy with his Mom

Teddy with his Mom


“If you can’t have a child, have a dog. If you can, have both of them.”
William Lewis Judy, 1949 (Founder of National Dog Week)

Today, we celebrate the day devoted to mothers. If you are not fortunate to have a mother, or mother-in-law in your life, and if they are advocates for animals, consider making a donation in their name to support a favorite cause. Consider donating to groups that help to pay for the spaying and neutering of cats and dogs. There are so many animals that are brought to shelters that are about to, or have just given birth. Although they will make good moms, they probably will never have the chance to be and they, and their litters, face an uncertain fate.

The following is a post from Mother’s Day 2011.

Dog breeders, and dog trainers like to remind us all that dogs are not our children. But most of you who have dogs and cats, probably think of your pets as part of the family. Pets, especially our dogs, are in many ways, perpetual four-year olds, constantly in need of our services in order to survive and in their advanced age, need us even more.

And in many ways, our pets may be easier to love, from what I hear. It happens all the time, wherever I go, people seem to be talking about… their dogs. At bars, restaurants, and teacher’s rooms, women, and some men, often talk more about the dogs of their families than about their kids! It isn’t that they don’t love their kids, but talk of them sometimes brings up stressful topics about difficulties involving them, something that talking about dogs usually does not. Along with the talk, comes pictures in wallets, and on cell phones. One women I spoke with recently, had more photos of her dog than of her children!

Sunday is Mother’s Day, a day to celebrate the mothers of the nation. And there go those show off dogs again, during National Dog Week, they get a full seven days of honor during the last full week of September (see what I mean). But, I would like to give humans their due, and write about some special mothers that I know. My own mother for instance, someone with great style, and sense of humor; her house was and still is always filled with great food, lots of laughs, and pets a-plenty. At any given time of my youth, there was either a turtle, snake, dog or gerbil, on the loose, and a cat happy to help look for them. She always encouraged all of us to pursue our dreams and thought it was great that I left a good job in New York to become an artist.

Then there is my mother-in-law, Charlotte. She will turn 95 in July, and still drives a sports car with a spoiler and goes to Atlantic City! Charlotte always had a dog and loves to reminisce about each one. My sister, Manette, documentary film maker, and mother to handsome Zac, who she raised as a single mom, my sister-in-law, Gigi, FIT Grad, and fashion designer, now a fine artist and mom to four beautiful and creative kids.

And I extend my Mother’s Day greetings to all my friends and their terrific kids who call me aunt, and my friends whose kids are more of the K-9 or Feline kind!

In 1949, Will Judy, founder of National Dog Week, commented on the stigma his society placed on childless women who mothered their dogs when he wrote in their defense, “…some of the women cannot have children;…some of these women do not have husbands.” He went on to write, “If you can’t have a child, have a dog. If you can, have both of them.”

Remember, when your kids go off to college, or to live some place far off, you can comfort yourself with the dogs they may leave behind, knowing that in some magical way, time seems to stand still for our canines, and that they will love, need, and appreciate you, “fur-ever.”

Please see the last post for details on the Covers for Critters Project. Also, please check out Project Pets – Spay, Neuter, Love on Facebook!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Teddy dons his lucky March Madness Hat to Help the Huskies to Victory!

Teddy dons his lucky March Madness Hat to Help the Huskies to Victory!

AN UPDATE RE: PUP SHOP DISCLOSURE LEGISLATION

Some Good News from Janice Fisher Patterson!

I hope my NJ friends will help here! Please share if you do.
WE NEED YOUR HELP ASAP!
NJ SENATE BILL (S1870) has been introduced by Sen. James Holzapfel (District 10 – Ocean). It will require pet stores to provide very specific breeder information on each cage card for every animal offered for sale. It will provide a USDA website where buyers can research breeder inspection reports PRIOR TO BUYING A PUPPY.
PLEASE e-mail YOUR SENATOR and ask him/her to co-sponsor S1870.

Tell them that you want pet stores held to a higher standard. Tell them that you want more consumer protection. Tell them that you have a RIGHT TO KNOW where a puppy comes from PRIOR TO PURCHASE.

Please follow these instructions (they are not complicated):

To find your state Senator, click on the link below and find your town from the drop-down box. Once you choose your town, then click on the tab “Select Your Representative(s)” and it will list your one Senator and two Assembly representatives. Check only your “Senator” (as this is a senate bill) and then click on the tab “Select Your Representative(s)” again. An email- page will appear which you can complete and submit.

http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/SelectMun.asp

(cut and paste into browser if needed)

IMPORTANT: If you have time, follow up with a phone call to your senator’s office. Please let me know if you are able to get your senator to either support or co-sponsor the bill by e-mailing me.
Thank you so much,

Janice Fisher
Coordinator Puppy Mill Awareness Campaign
FAUN-NJ
http://www.faunnj.
THANKS JANICE!

Happy Spring to all. I realize it has been three months since my last post, but it was time to take a little break. Besides, there are like a million plus blogs out there to enlighten and entertain you, and many are written just for dog-lovers like you! Although I was not writing posts…I was writing.

For the past five years, I have been hard at work on two non-fiction projects and happy to say, both will be published this year. As you may have noticed, the name of the working title of the Dog Week book has changed over the years, but it is officially now titled, Dog’s Best Friend: Will Judy, Founder of National Dog Week and Dog World Publisher (McFarland & Co.). This book will be out during the Dog Days of Summer, just a few weeks before National Dog Week enjoys its 86th Observance. I can’t tell you how rewarding this experience has been. When I started this blog in 2010, a book was merely a concept.

The First Draft of my other book, Around the World in 1909: Harriet White Fisher and Her Locomobile (American History Press) will be complete by month’s end and will be available in the Fall of this year! Loved writing this, too. It is the real-life story of Trenton Industrialist, Harriet White Fisher, who took an automobile to places where no car, had ever ventured. It is the ultimate road trip taken by a dynamic woman and her entourage, and I feel so privileged to be the one to tell their story.

My Middle Grade book, When We Fostered Furley (the proposed first book of the Collar and a Dream Series) is just about ready to roll-over, hopefully sometime next month. It will be good to get back to some fiction writing. The follow-up to Something’s Lost and Must be Found is in the works, too,and will eventually make its crate escape.

Last week, a friend, Martin O’Sullivan of the Marty O’ Show! (YFN Radio), announced that he was going to be adding a pet segment to his show. What’s more, he said that I was one of the people who inspired this. That is the ultimate compliment, because as a blogger and an author in a crowded, busy on-line world, it is validating to know that one’s words are impacting others. We will tape a segment tomorrow morning and provide a link as soon as it becomes available. In the future, Marty hopes to be able to talk about issues surrounding our Companion Animals in the Garden State and across the nation. Tomorrow’s taping will discuss some pending legislation that will impact the way dogs are sold in retail shops, and will feature an update from Janice Patterson Fisher, who has been a such an informative and influential guest on this blog.

Our Foster-turned-Furever dog Teddy continues to be our pride and joy. It is amazing that even after a year, his true colors and confidence are still evolving as he enjoys the good life! I thank everyone who has followed our story, and that of the positive power of fostering.

And one more thing, can I just celebrate March Gladness one more time. As a UCONN Grad and Forever Husky, I congratulate Coaches Ollie and Auriemma on their “Double Dog” Victories! Somehow, I think Teddy’s wearing of his lucky hat had something to do with it.

After a winter that felt like a very bad dream, we look forward long walks, and long talks, on-air, on pages of magazine, and anywhere anyone will listen to our stories. Writing is the practice of putting one word in front of the other and hoping some day, all those words come together to inspire and entertain many. I look forward to getting back to posting, launching a new website…and hearing from you all.

http://www.mcfarlandpub.com/book-2.php?id=978-0-7864-7120-1 (will also be available as an e-book).
Please check us out on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/National-Dog-Week/218596591491974

A little dog named Teddy arrives!

A little dog named Teddy arrives!

For Book Information please see ABOUT!

Happy New Year! For a certain dog I know, it truly was.

Last year at this time, as some might recall, I tried my paw at fostering dogs. As we had lost our beloved PWD, Hooper earlier in the year, I thought it would fill the void of a home that had weathered some difficult times. The dogs would come and go…we would enjoy them for a bit, give them love, see them to safety, and then await our next charge. That is what “we” had planned.

I must say that my husband, Rich, was not sold on this idea. “Danger, Danger, Will Robinson,” I could almost hear him say. He seemed to sense that this could lead to some emotional snags (he is more sensitive than he looks). Me on the other hand?…I said, “Buck up. This will help the dogs…and us, I have it under control, no problem.”

Our first foster, Ginger Snap, a rescue from Appalachia, came and went. She was a cute terrier mix, so insecure that she would fall asleep standing up while perched on our staircase looking out the front door window. Due to great networking, she found a nice home right in town.

And then I saw that picture of Teddy, his real name. I thought he was a Sheep Dog puppy. I asked if I could foster him. He would be easy to place and I would be ready for my next foster! Teddy’s owner could not keep him. She was having some troubles and had to move; it was apparent that there was no time or money to give Teddy the life he deserved.

On January 2nd, we picked him up on I-95, at a Rest Stop on the exit for Great Adventure. Rich was not a happy camper. He said I was on my own that day…but as I left the house for the 45-minute drive, he followed me out the door and commanded me to move over, he was driving. We pulled off into the parking lot and watched as a car came and parked next to us. There he was, that half black, half white face peering through the car window at us. Then he
turned and I saw that flash of white at the end of his beautiful tail.

“Danger, Danger,” I said out loud. He sat and slept on my lap on the way home. When we got into town, Rich pulled into the driveway of an expensive specialty food store where we don’t even shop. “I’ll be right back, the dog
looks hungry.” Teddy watched him intently as he disappeared into the store, his little nose twitching. Looking back, I knew he had our number right then and there.

Teddy was all scraggly looking and so quiet he was almost boring. He slept most of the time. He was being treated for Lyme disease and it turned out, he had a bad tooth that needed to be removed. I think he was also emotionally weary and very sad and confused.

I went through the motions of being a good foster. I found Teddy a home, obtained an adoption contract and a check for the adoption fee, and informed Oodles of Doodles Rescue Collective that I had Foster No. 2 down pat…no problem. I rocked….I could do this!

Oh, but dogs, they do have other plans for us…

It quickly became clear that Teddy was not about to accept the home I had chosen. My neighbor, a dog lover, and one who is loved by dogs, was not being loved by Teddy. For some inexplicable reason, Teddy knew what our plan was, and went on his own personal campaign to literally voice
his opinion.

On her third visit to my home to get to know Teddy, she tearfully told me she could not take him. “Look at Rich’s face,” she said. “He wants this dog and he just won’t accept the dog wants him.” When I asked my husband what he wanted me to do (picture three of sitting around a living
room) he paused and then said, “Tear up her check,” put on his coat and left us to talk. It was quite a Hallmark moment.

I was, and will someday in the future, be a good Foster Dog Parent. I think it’s a terrific concept and if my
husband and I had not gone back to work due to financial necessity, I would still be fostering. Will I run the risk of “acquiring” a sibling for Teddy, yes, but I will run the greater chance of giving a deserving dog, its day, its week, its fur-ever home, too. And that’s what it’s all about.

Today Teddy is a happy, sweet and loving companion. It amazes us that he is still learning how to be a dog. I truly wish that every family could foster even just one dog. You never know how much good it might bring into your life, and you know the good it will bring for that one dog.

Have a safe and happy new year…and take some chances, too.

Teddy gets a brushing from Dad.

Teddy gets a brushing from Dad.

Newtown, CT student Glenn and Bocker share a special bond

Newtown, CT student Glenn and Bocker share a special bond

“Dogs are doctors and psychiatrists as well as teachers” Will Judy, 1949

As of today, it is reported that in Ocean County, where I reside, 107 young people have died of drug overdoses this year. That is a staggering figure.I know that a complex mix of factors have brought about this tragic loss of life, but I do sometimes wonder if the stressful circumstances experienced by many families here over the past year have not somehow played a part in this sorrowful trend in an effort to escape some harsh realities. That would be a matter for a mental health expert, I suppose.

I watched news coverage of drug-sniffing dogs deployed in the halls of a local Ocean County school the other night. The hope was that this would serve as a detriment for drug use, at least on school grounds. These highly trained dogs have an amazingly accurate success rate at drug detection.

Watching, I also recalled how dogs were used here after Hurricane Sandy, for the purpose of Search and Rescue, once again serving us in dark times.

As the nation recalls the terrible tragedy of Newtown, Connecticut, we find a dog connection, too. Dogs like Bocker-the-Labradoodle, have become an important part of healing and recovery for the residents of this traumatized community.

This got me to thinking. Why do we often only “bring in the dogs” after things have gone so wrong. In the cases of Ocean County and Newtown, am I naïve to think that perhaps if the care of dogs, and other pets, were part of an educational and therapeutic curriculum, perhaps there might be a decrease in mental illness, isolation, and subsequent drug use? I know there is no sure way to solve all these problems, but I think that many places, including schools, might “turn to the dogs” as they search for ways to detect and treat many who need help, but slip through the cracks, and in doing so, keeps us in the dark ages.

The following is post written by Marie Shelto, a great supporter and friend of National Dog Week. She and her lovely dog, Bocker, have always been there to lend a paw, in good times and bad. We need more of them in this world.

Thank you, Marie, and Bocker.

There has always been something very special about Bocker. Even as a very young pup, Bocker the Labradoodle pondered on where his life would lead, what was his purpose in life. Whether it was his human eyes, head tilt or calm demeanor, he was packaged with love and with the ability to make people smile. A friend wrote about him saying, “Bocker never gets his curls in a knot.” Children always comment on how big he is, but I think because he is tall, he can look the children in the eye and a certain bond is created. Bocker is very huggable and he is a great kisser. All of these attributes make him the perfect candidate for therapy work. It just seems like it is his nature and it came built in.
Young or old, whomever Bocker visits, he is able to make a lasting impression and surely brings lots of smiles. Bocker can sense if the person he is visiting wants big loving kisses or would rather he just stand next to them and provide support. He has worked as a “Tail Waggin Tutor” helping children improve their reading skills and actually help them think of reading as fun. He is invited to schools where he visits classrooms and is most happy to pose for photos and give his famous “Bocker head tilt” when smiling for the camera.
Through tragedy great friendships are born and so was the case when Bocker was asked to visit Newtown, CT after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary. He was invited to the C. H. Booth Library in Newtown to have children sit with him and read their stories as well as his book, “Chasing Bocker’s Tale”. What a wonderful day. Bocker’s book is his own tale of his amazing journey and how he has touched the lives of so many throughout the world. It has now been made into a DVD for younger children and had its debut in Newtown.
After Bocker’s initial visit to Newtown, he has been invited to almost every event that goes on in the town and has developed many lasting friendships. He makes everyone smile and spreads lots of love. Now when he walks down the street, he is sure to hear someone say “That’s Bocker.” Even The Toy Tree store in Sandy Hook has a poster of Bocker, as well as selling his plush toy, book and DVD. A very lucky doodle for sure. Bocker no doubt makes a difference and that makes me very proud.
Bocker is always ready to lend a helping paw. He is very much an advocate and activist for animal rights, being the SpokesDog for NYS Animal Advocacy Day. He is also always on hand at fundraising events for shelters and rescue organizations. Yes, he has done movies, appeared on tv and in fashion ads and has friends all over the world, but his most important work is with children and in helping those less fortunate than he. I am very lucky to follow in his “paw” steps. He is definitely leading me down the right path.

http://www.bocker.tv

http://www.facebook.com/bocker

@bocker on Twitter
bockerdoodle – Instagram

Teddylooksup

Publishing bark outs:

Happy to announce that my book will be out next spring. My publisher has listed it for pre-order so please share this information with your public and school libraries. An e-version will also be available at some point. http://www.mcfarlandpub.com/book-2.php?id=978-0-7864-7120-1

Last Wednesday, I was thrilled to accept my “Best Author” award from Ocean Happening On-Line Magazine at a terrific event http://ocean.happeningmag.com/photos-2013-happening-list-bash#1.

It is always so rewarding to be recognized for your work, and I again thank all of those responsible for this honor. Now, one week later, Teddy and I prepare for our 15-minute segment with Tracie Hotchner for her Radio Pet Lady Network, a prize that was won by Teddy when he was voted Cutest Spokespet. Although one prepares for interviews with care, once the interview begins, you never know where it will go. Therefore, I asked Teddy, “What would you say if you could be interviewed?” and this is what he wrote. (The actual interview will air the evening of November 27th, while most are preparing for Thanksgiving feasts).

Hi everyone,

I would like to thank you all for electing me Cutest Spokespet in the fun contest sponsored by the Radio Pet Lady, Tracie Hotchner. The competition sure was fur-ocious, with so many adorable contestants!

Mom loves that photo of me that she entered on Tracie’s site (see above) because she says my expression shows everyone how sweet and soulful I am. She calls me her, “stray that came to stay.” I wasn’t a stray roaming the streets, but a pet that had strayed from the physical and emotion care of my humans; they just couldn’t provide the time and attention I needed.

I was Mom’s foster dog, rescued by a group called Oodles of Doodles Rescue Collective, when one of their dedicated volunteers learned I was losing my home. After just a few days of staying with my foster parents, however, it became clear we were all looking at a long-term commitment. I never left.

My mom, by-the-way, is dog-blogger and author, Lisa Begin-Kruysman. Many have enjoyed her short story collection, Something Lost and Must be Found, which is filled with thought-provoking tales filled with dogs. Her next book, Dog’s Best Friend (McFarland & Co.-2014), tells the true-story of Captain William Lewis Judy, the man who published Dog World Magazine for five decades.

Captain Will Judy, as he was called, greatly influenced America’s current fascination with man’s best friend. In the 1940s and 50s, he condemned all those involved with organized dog-fighting, warned that dogs should not be sold like grocery items in a store, and spoke out against what he called “puppy factories,” now known as Puppy Mills.

In 1928, Will Judy launched National Dog Week as a means to officially acknowledge all the ways dogs serve mankind, and to urge humans to be more responsible for our welfare. One of the early slogans for National Dog Week was ‘A Good Home for Every Dog,’ but over the years, Will Judy came to the conclusion that not every home was a good one for a dog. He began to write about the spiritual and emotional lives of dogs, and asked those who wished to share their homes with us, to understand and respect those needs.

My mom says that when people say to her, “How could anyone give up such a cute little dog?” she reminds them that sometimes life gets hard and bad things happen; people get sick, lose their jobs, get deployed to serve our nation; hurricanes and floods ruin homes and businesses. She knows it must have been very sad for my humans to surrender me, but she says that they were being truly responsible in allowing me to have a better life with another family.

Will Judy said the only thing that kept dogs from being equal to humans was their lack of thumbs, and an “alfabet” (he liked to spell silly). He thought most dogs had better characters than most humans! As a young man, was trained to be his town’s minister, and they were not too pleased when life took him in another direction around the world. But his training never really left him, and you can see this influence in his inspirational messages such as, “Try to be the god on earth, the all-powerful and all-mighty your dog thinks you are. Never let him learn his mistake.”

As you all prepare for Thanksgiving, and the holiday season, please take time to be thankful for what is good in your life, be the best human you can be, and, most importantly, remember to save some leftovers for us (and then take us for long walks). Thank you again for all your votes and love.

With much gratitude,

Teddy Kruysman

P.S. Mom says to check out her blog’s ‘About’ section, her Facebook page, dedicated to National Dog Week, and her author’s page, to find out about all her writing news, books, and good “dog stuff!” Please remember to LIKE those pages, too!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/National-Dog-Week/218596591491974

https://www.facebook.com/LisaBeginKruysmanAuthorAndArtist

Hooper

"Is it dog week yet?"

"Is it dog week yet?"

Michelle Mongelli and Wheezey

Pike, at Geiger Key

Hooper in the Keys

Hooper in the Keys

“Two Culprits” by Steven Hall

Logan & Koda

DJ

DJ Goes to Westminster

Zac and Cooper

"Look daddy, I can fly!"

“Hooper” – Best in Snow

Pita in Matt’s Garden

Hooper with cousin Roxy, Summer 2009

Me and my “Hoop”

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