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!

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

Sean Martin speaks with Nassau County Legislator, Mike Vendito

Sean Martin speaks with Nassau County Legislator, Mike Vendito

This year’s National Dog Week theme has centered on Kids and Canines. It is a wide and varied topic, and covers lots of ground. In keeping with this theme, I’ve asked young Sean Martin, a 13 year-old animal advocate and actor, to write about his work on behalf of homeless animals. With the help of his mom, Melanie, and other family members, Sean helped to create Kids Adopt a Shelter a few years ago, and has given a lot of thought to making some changes in the lives of our Companion Animals. Here he demonstrates how thoughts, when put into words can inspire one to act (and not only for the camera in this case)! To learn more about Seans’ work, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/KidsAdoptaShelter

Sean has been working with John Vendito, mayor of Oyster Bay, New York, and John’s son, Mike Vendito, Nassau County Legislator, to put some of his ideas into action. Recently, I asked Sean to write about his current mission and here is what he told me:

The most important issues I feel facing the dog population of the nation are backyard breeding, puppy mills, kill shelters, lack of low cost spay and neuter, dog fighting, BSL (breed specific legislation), animal abuse, and the lack of enforcement of animal abuse laws.

I feel backyard breeding and puppy mills are an issue because there are tons of irresponsible people bringing dogs into this world and most wind up not finding homes, and the ones that are not adopted wind up in awful situations. I also feel that dogs should not be permitted to be sold in pet stores, most of the dogs found in pet stores have heath issues and their parents are mistreated and they are inbred which creates more health issues. My solution for these issues would be mandatory licenses for breeders, which would include spontaneous and frequent check-ups, and if they violated the conditions of their licenses, they would lose them, they would be heavily fined, and they would also lose their rights to their animals.

Kill shelters exist due to overpopulation of animals and it is the easiest and cheapest way to run a “shelter.” I think kill shelters should be brought down and animals should only be put down in certain conditions; if they are hurt very badly, reaching old age and have an illness for which there is no cure. The best way to end this and bring those kill shelters down, or turn them into adoption centers is to make laws against animal murder. I think it is murder to give a dog 2 to 7 days to be claimed before being put down in a shelter. We need to make it easier for these animals to be adopted, and help them by giving them all the things they need such as supplies and medicine. Shelters can use these resources to help homeless animals find good homes instead of killing them.

The high cost of spaying and neutering is another reason we have an animal overpopulation problem. It’s easy to make it inexpensive and I think that all shelters and adoption centers should have FREE spay and neuter programs and that every shelter, adpotion center, or breeder should spay and neuter the animals before they go to a new home. I also think that it should be a law to have animals spayed or neutered, if you have animals that are not spayed or neutered, and you can lose your animals if they are not. The only people who could adopt an animal that is not spayed, or neutered, would be a licensed breeder. It’s so much less expensive to Spay and Neuter then to provide 4-10 puppies everything they need, its even less expensive to Spay and Neuter a male and female then to Euthanize 4-10 unwanted dogs. Spay and Neuter should be mandatory.

I think a lot of these issues go hand in hand, I think it all goes to Spay and Neutering. We can save so many animals if we stop them from having unwanted babies. Everyone thinks their dog is the best and they want puppies, but those puppies have puppies, and then we wind up with a major crisis on our hands like we have now.

I am working with legislation for my “Laws for Paws Kids” project, and I plan to work with government to make real changes. I know a lot of people think it’s wrong to make spay and neutering mandatory, but it’s also wrong to KILL dogs. I want to end Puppy mills by creating harsher breeding laws, and end the sale of dogs in pet stores, which will put puppy mills out of business. I want to end Breed Specific Legislation and, “blame the deed not the breed.” I want to help shelters with my Kids Adopt a Shelter mission by off-setting costs so they can stop the killing of innocent dogs and become true NO KILL. I want to pass laws to mandate Spay and neutering and enforce licenses for breeders and end backyard breeding. I want the government to enforce animal abuse laws and make harsher penalties for animal abuse.

I know it seems like I want to do a lot but I am a kid and I have a long time to get these things done. Please support my missions! Thanks.

Happy National Dog Week everyone, and thank you, Sean, for all you do and to so many out there who care and work hard for change. National Dog Week is officially observed the last full week of September, but it’s spirit can be shared all year round.

Sean Martin meets Dr. Ron Paul

Sean Martin meets Dr. Ron Paul

Teddy and I pose with Elizabeth Ackerman, Chairperson for Brick Township's 2013 DogFest

Teddy and I pose with Elizabeth Ackerman, Chairperson for Brick Township’s 2013 DogFest

I would like to take a moment to thank the over 400 fire-fighters, and first-responders who rushed to battle an eight-alam fire in Seaside Park, New Jersey, last week in an effort to save the Boardwalks. In the end, despite their best efforts, the equivalent of four city blocks, over thirty businesses, and countless memories were consumed by flames. Portions of the Seaside Heights Boardwalk, so severely decimated by Superstorm Sandy were also destroyed by last week’s fire.

It was a massive event that made national news, and it seems we at the Jersey Shore have asked the world for a lot of help in the past year. On that note, I would also like to acknowldedge those who came to the aid of Brick Township’s American Legion Post, which continues to recover from Hurricane Sandy. On August 24th, a terrific fundraiser was held at the Brick Township VFW Post to raise funds to rebuild and restore Post #348. With combined efforts of the Post membership, Ladies Auxiliary, Sons of the American Legion, Legion Riders and our Junior Auxiliary, a significant success was achieved and our inside canteen should be up and running, better than ever, in the very near future. As part of the fundraiser, Susan Barros, President of the Ladies Auxiliary, and her dedicated committee, gathered nearly one-hundred amazing baskets that were raffled at the event. High-end items included golf outings, fishing trips and great Destination packages!

On a personal note, I would like to thank the following who generously donated to a pet-themed basket that was raffled: Dr. Adam Christman and the staff of Brick Township Veterinary Hospital, Elsa Mikus and Barbara Ryan of Tempest and a Teapot (for a sweet piece of doggy artwork), Harbour Pet Supplies in Pt. Pleasant, and A Dog House dog grooming salon, in Brick. Your contribution went to a good cause. If you would like to make a donation to our American Legion Post to further help in their recovery please go to: http://www.brickpost348.org/

Recently, the Township of Brick held their Fourth Annual Dog Fest, sponsored by our local Rotary Club. Teddy and I enjoyed the day, and as a blogger, I am happy to say this was my fourth visit to this event. At its first observance, I asked Mayor Stephen Acropolis to proclaim Brick Township a National Dog Week Community. He did so gladly, and I am happy to see that tradition continues at each Opening Ceremony of Dog Fests in the manner that the late Captain Arthur Haggerty, (aka the Grandfather of American Dog Obedience), and Will Judy intended!

Perhaps we can view this Proclamation as, “just words.” However when those words are incorporated into a event that honors dogs, the spirit of National Dog Week continues, even 85 years after its founding. Those words celebrate and embrace America’s rich canine history, and our love for dogs, while reminding us all that there is still much work to be done to protect their welfare. On that note, I am happy to report that last year, Brick Township banned any new retail sellers of dogs of ever opening in the township, the first city in the Northeast Region of the nation to do so. So a big thanks to Brick Township for making our community one that respects or canines, and provides inspiration for others. I am very proud.

Book News: My book, Dog’s Best Friend:Will Judy, Founder of National Dog Week and Dog World Publisher is in production and will be available I am told by the summer of next year (McFarland & Co.). I would like to thank all of my supporters and those who voted me as “Happening Ocean County AUthor,” in a contest sponsored by Ocean Happening On-line magazine. It is an honor to be singled out among a crowd of very talented people! Please stay on the alert for some special NDW posts in the coming days!

May Your Labor be Your Love….

Working Dogs at rest Working Dogs at rest

Happy Labor Day. This holiday, with origins dating back to 1882, was initially, “dedicated to the social and economic achievements of the American Worker.” Today, with so much economic unrest, and the rapid development of technology, many of us feel fortunate just to have a place at which to labor. However, in many of these cases, most are doing much more work, for far less pay, and dealing with conditions that prey on the fact that there are too many workers vying for too few jobs.

I used to work full-time under some of the best working conditions imaginable. But upon turning 30, I realized that corporate life was not my calling. I became a full-time fine artist instead, and during the good years made a decent living. When times got a little “ruff” I became a substitute teacher to fill in the gaps. I loved working with the kids, and as it turned out, during this time I became inspired to write. This summer, I said farewell to the classroom and now work part-time as the manager of a church as a way to create more structure in my life to allow more time for writing.

My husband is a proud member of the ALA (Amalgamated Lithographers of America) Union. When his company moved their operations to other locales, he chose to “retire” early. Coincidentally, his last full-time job in his field was spent at a company that published Pet Care and Dog Breed books, although at that time, I had not started writing about dogs. Rich, who served our nation as a Navy Corpsman, has happily found labor as a house painter, maintenance manager and now as a Bar Captain at our local American Legion post.

I write all this because life is uncertain. We make choices, but often, choices are made for us. We must be open to change and ready to adjust. At this rate, neither of will probably ever really retire, but that is okay with us. Work keeps us mentally and physically active, and there is always some good experience to be derived from each “job stop,” along the way.

Will Judy, the founder of National Dog Week, truly understood this. As a youth, he was trained as a minister and was the school teacher for his small rural community in Western Pennsylvania. But he had a larger vision and a need to get out in the world. His restless and inquisitive nature lead him far from home. He served his nation during WWI, became a lawyer, and when he had the opportunity, he purchased Dog World Magazine and served as its publisher for several decades.

Long before the concept was widely-embraced, Judy saw the value of the dog in the workplace. He wrote about their use in military and police work and their value as therapy dogs in the treatment of patients in VA hospitals. He knew that dogs labored in a union powered by loyalty, love and devotion to their humans no matter what the circumstances.

I thank you to all of you who have supported me during the writing of Will Judy’s story. I am now writing my 200 word “marketing description” for its publisher and bandying about titles. This has truly been a labor of love (i.e. no advance), but I hope that someday a copy of this book will be found on the library shelves of municipalities and schools across the nation. Judy was a complex and articulate man. A man of his times, yet one who foresaw how important dogs would become to the nation’s huge population of dog owners, and wanted to ensure all who “owned” them would do so responsibly.

I am now fortunate to be working on my next true-life story and will share that soon. I love writing about little-known people and obscure histories, it is so rewarding to see all of them, “have their day,” and receive credit for their labors. I hope their stories inspire others to explore the path not so clearly marked.

May all of you find a way to make your labor your love, and your love, your labor.

Hooper and Rich

Hooper and Rich

It seems like it was just yesterday that we said goodbye to our beloved Portuguese water dog, Hooper. I even felt a twinge of jealousy when The First Family welcomed there second Portie, Sunny, into the White House just last week.

Lately, it seems like many of my friends are saying good bye to their own dogs and cats, and I relive my personal experience each time I hear of their sad news.

When Hooper passed quite unexpectedly, a year ago Tuesday, I was surprised when some told me to just go and get another dog to help ease the loss. My husband, Rich, said, “No way. We are never going to go through this again.” After a while he spoke of having another Portuguese water dog. Just three weeks after our loss, we participated in a Puppy-mill awareness event, surrounded by so many dogs and dog-related vendors. I recall Rich taking note of a dog park in the immediate vicinity. I became distracted and realized Rich was not around. Remembering his comment about a dog park, I looked in that direction. There I saw him bending down and petting…a beautiful black and white Portie pup. It was heartbreaking. I watched as he conversed with the dog’s owner, knowing full-well what was being said.

Five months later, I tried my hand at fostering dogs. I believed that this would be a great way to welcome dogs into our lives, do something good, and not fully commit to full-time dog “ownership.” But, as fate would have it, I “failed” as a foster with my second “ward,” a sweet black and white shih-poo mix named Teddy. As most of you know, Teddy was the “Stray who came to Stay.” He has become a much-needed friend for Rich after a somewhat challenging year.

The other day I told a friend how much I still missed Hooper. She said, “But look, you have Teddy.” That is true for we love Teddy beyond words. But no dog can take the place of another, truly. Each dog has its unique personality. Hooper was scared of her own shadow, Teddy is one of the bravest dogs I have met. Hooper loved humans, but did not love other dogs. We call Teddy the Mayor of Dogville. Hooper was a drama queen and a diva, never a dull moment with her around. Teddy is as cool as a cucumber. Teddy has a good barker if need be, but he is pretty quiet most of the time. Hooper, a typical Portie, had a whole litany of vocalizations for all occasions. I remember one occasion when she had a particular “ruff” day (by dog standards). She came into the room and started her conversation. “Whoa, whoa…whooooa, Woah…it went on for some time. With her big portie rudder tail wagging away, I called that scene, “Hooper’s Tail of Woe.” I never could figure out what the problem was, but that was how she rolled. She always had a story to tell and we always were ready to listen.

Each dog has a gift and a lesson. They come to us when we are ready and leave when their work is done. The best advice
I ever got on the occasion of losing a beloved pet was to always remember the happiness they brought us and the good life we were able to give them.

I leave you with this classic and moving essay on losing a good dog.

“There is one best place to bury a dog.
“If you bury him in this spot, he will
come to you when you call – come to you
over the grim, dim frontier of death,
and down the well-remembered path,
and to your side again.
“And though you call a dozen living
dogs to heel, they shall not growl at
him, nor resent his coming,
for he belongs there.
“People may scoff at you, who see
no lightest blade of grass bent by his
footfall, who hear no whimper, people
who may never really have had a dog.
Smile at them, for you shall know
something that is hidden from them,
and which is well worth the knowing.
“The one best place to bury a good
dog is in the heart of his master.”
Ben Hur Lampman —
from the Portland Oregonian Sept. 11, 1925

The Dog Daze of Teddy

The Dog Daze of Teddy


These Dog Days of Summer have certainly created some hazy daze! Despite the heat, The Will Judy book project is complete and its fate rests in the hands of its publisher. Another project is now underway; a book that chronicles the journey of Harriet White Fisher, who, in 1909 launched a 13-month long journey with her entourage that brought them to the most unlikely places. Traveling with her was Honkie, an alleged “Boston bull dog” making him the first, and possibly only, dog to make a worldwide trek in an automobile. You can learn more about this exciting project to be published by American History Press at https://www.facebook.com/HarrietWhiteFisherandherLocomobile

Also, our dog Teddy is entered in the “Cutest Spokespet” Contest which will end on July 31st. You can vote once a day. You must LIKE the page and then scroll down to Teddy’s photo to vote. Thanks for all who have been able to do so and for those who have shared! Teddy is currently the leader of the “cute pack.” https://www.facebook.com/traciehotchner/app_303363723112198

A few weeks ago Nikki Moustaki, an animal advocate and author, founder of the Pet Postcard Project, wrote to me about The Better Way Project and how it was helping animal lovers and advocates to carry out important work and projects with much-needed funding. She asked if she could share it with my readers. Please welcome my guest blogger, Nikki!

Please tell us about the Better Way Project. The Better Way Project program was recently launched by Canyon Creek Ranch, but it will be exciting to see what typed of projects come in and how creative people will be in helping animals in their communities and beyond. The Better Way Project completed three trial projects last fall as “sample” projects to give consumers ideas and to show how involved Canyon Creek Ranch will be with the projects. See the videos from these projects here: http://canyoncreekranch.com/betterwayproject/see-the-results

The first project was at the Northeast Animal Shelter in Salem, MA, New England’s largest no-kill animal shelter that provides a wonderful safe haven for felines awaiting their forever homes. However, the shelter lacked stimulating play rooms that would allow the cats and kittens to show off their personalities to potential adopters. The Canyon Creek Ranch® Better Way Project learned of this need and helped by renovating three of the cat play rooms at the shelter. The Canyon Creek Ranch team provided on-the-ground help, including painting the custom built walkways and perches in the rooms, and retailer Pet Supplies Plus donated products for the new play space. The project was funded by a $50,000 in-kind donation from the Better Way Project.

The Canyon Creek Ranch Better Way Project donated $25,000 to Therapy Dogs of Johnson County (TDJC), a non-profit organization in Iowa City that helps people live healthier and happier lives through therapy visits with dogs. The donation will be used to help support and expand this meaningful local program which visits schools and nursing homes in the area. In addition to providing funding, the Canyon Creek Ranch team visited Iowa City to help TDJC hold its first public event to recruit more dog/handler teams.

The Greenwood Urban Wetland Park in Orlando, FL, is a popular destination for local residents. However, the city park lacked dog-friendly features for four-legged visitors and their owners. The Canyon Creek Ranch Better Way Project made a $50,000 in-kind donation to the City of Orlando that was used to add three new dog-friendly activity areas in the park: a play station with agility equipment; a rest station with comfortable seating; and a wash station with fountains for drinking and hosing dogs off after playing in the park. Canyon Creek Ranch managed the renovation with a local contractor and sent a team to Orlando to help bring the project to life.

What impact have these projects generated? The three seed projects had amazing affects in their communities. Orlando now has a great dog park, the Northeast Animal shelter has seen an uptick in cat adoptions, and the Therapy Dogs of Johnson County is using the funds to expand their program. These three projects showed the Better Way Project that the idea of being hands-on involved with projects, rather than just offering a straight donation, made a big difference.

Thank you, Nikki! I just love to see thought turned into action. So…when your kids are whining the Summer Blues, maybe you can sit down with them and think of a great project of your own and see it through! This would make a nice school and Scout project, too. I hope you will let us know if you present a project to the Canyon Creek folks. I have one of my own clanging about in my mind and will share that in time.

I truly want to thank so many who have helped me on my journey in the writing of the first biography of William Lewis Judy. In establishing this blog, and maintaining it over the past three and a half years, I often wondered if it had any impact. Believe me, when I get a response from someone who has read and now thinks differently about an important issue, I feel gratified that I have done some good in the world. I am grateful to all the positive people who make a difference for humans and their animals, like my guest, Nikki Moustaki! Check out her Pet Postcard Project at https://www.facebook.com/petpostcardproject

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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