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Sorry…if you want the dark and snarky…go over the other “Post.” But if you want a nice story of a task well-done…read on.
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” Dr. Seuss, from the Lorax
The other day I got a call from Domenic, a young man who works at an Assisted Living Facility in town. He said that someone had given him a flyer they had taken from a booth I had sponsored for Covers for Critters at our local Dog Fest event last September. Dog Fest is a terrific event held here each year, sponsored by the Brick Township Rotary Club. (See post of May 1, 2011 for details).
Domenic asked if I was still interested in receiving old bedding, towels and sheets, etc. for a local Animal Shelters. I said I was, but I also recalled that back in October another facility had offered, only to go back on their promised donation due to a “management decision” that said these items were needed elsewhere. Domenic assured me it wasn’t them (there are many establishments of this type in my town) and I told him I would be there early the next morning.
He then asked if we needed sheets and I said I would gladly take them….
I thanked him for taking the time and making the effort to contact after almost three months had gone by…he said he was a dog lover and hoped to have more for us in the future.
At this year’s Dog Fest event, I also had young people participate in Nikki Moustaki’s Pet Postcard Project by making a slew of postcards at my booth. The PPP is a unique and fun way for people to help feed Shelter Pets one cup of kibble at a time…Nikki, an accomplished Dog Obedience Trainer, author and animal advocate is now blogging for the Dog Channel and tells me she has some exciting events planned in the New Year. http://betterwords.typepad.com/petpostcardproject/
Some people rescue, others rehab, some Foster and others cross post adoptable dogs and cats on Facebook…there are many ways everyone can contribute. I write about issues affecting our Companion Animals, with these blog posts and the books I write. My short story collection continues to do well as a Kindle Download and now is available in a Soft Cover version http://www.amazon.com/Somethings-Lost-Must-Found-ebook/dp/B0051ZMYG2 My first donation from some of my proceeds will go to Project Pets, Spay, Neuter, Love https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Project-Pets-Spay-Neuter-Love/160594203971240and will pay for the S/N of one pet. According to the group’s vice president, “Willie Wonka,” “$50 pays for one dog to be neutered or one cat to be spayed. You know that means the world will have 1/2million less cats in ten years – or 300,000 dogs.” Those are powerful statistics…and that’s just with the “fixing” on one animal…
In the coming weeks, I am planning a special two-year anniversary post and then hope to present the forces behind the Ray of Hope Program of Kansas City http://hsgkc.org/rayofhopepage.html and a young man named Sean Martin who started the Kids Adopt a Shelter Campaign on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/#!/KidsAdoptaShelter as well as some other individuals who are using their time and talents to make some lasting and significant changes in the way our Companion Animals are treated.
Happy New Year’s all and thank you for your quiet support.
“National Dog Week is not only relevant, but is quite necessary now. First, our violent society needs positive issues to focus on. This is a healthy and encouraging subject. NDW helps counter the effect of prolific violent crime and violent sports has on our youth.
Second, our society is going through a transition period. Many Americans are changing from the old way of viewing our “pets” as mere personal property. That old dishonoring attitude is giving way to many Americans seeing their companions as valuable family members.
We, in this enlightened group, are recognizing our responsibilities as guardians (like parents) over these vulnerable family members. This will help reduce the number of “irresponsible pet owners” who surrender huge number of companion animals to shelters and pounds.” Thomas Cole, Founder of Shelter Revolution http://www.shelterrevolution.org/
Today’s Daily Pet Post: Rain Humane of Nassau County (Northern FL) needs HELP…On October 9 and October 13th, they need Walkers to ready pets for their ride on the RAIN Train to Broward County where they will get perhaps one more chance for adoption. If you live in that area and can help contact email@example.com.
BLOG NOTES: Congratulations! Our NDW Community Page has over 400 LIKERS as of today, October 7. Our Canines on Canvas Contest ends at midnight. You must LIKE and post your pooch on our page’s wall for a chance to win an original pet portrait by our NDW Artist, Donald E. Brown. https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/National-Dog-Week/218596591491974
This month brings us Adopt a Shelter Pet Month and Animal Safety and Protection Month. In honor of these occasions, Dr. Patrick Mahaney will appear in our next post in his ongoing role as our National Dog Week Pet Health Consultant. He will discuss the vital role of Spay and Neuter initiatives in curbing the number of unhomed Companion Animals in the nation. Plus, a special endorsement from the Pet Postcard Project’s Nikki Moustaki on the relevance of National Dog Week…bark on!
It was rewarding to see a widespread and greater awareness of this year’s 83rd Observance of National Dog Week. I thank those in the media who mentioned my work, blog, and our National Dog Week Community Page that is growing steadily. The Canines on Canvas Contest runs through October 7 https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/National-Dog-Week/218596591491974 I hope to have some fun give-aways for each month, with some artwork or dog-related products…keep watching for announcements here.
Each day I will post a Link, a photo, a plug for a book that I think is fun, poignant, thought-provoking, etc…the Canine Clock tells me there are 50 more weeks and 352 days until NDW 2012…plenty of time to get it together~!
Although NDW was established in 1928, due to wartime and economic influences, it wasn’t always recorded in history, leading many to think it went unobserved at times, thus breaking up its timeline. But each year, it was given some notice in the nation, so it deserves its full credit for 83 continuous years served! Also, many think NDW ends tomorrow…but it has always been observed the last FULL week of September…that’s okay, a bonus week never hurt and yes, I KNOW most say every week is dog week, but National Dog Week is the source of potential for (here are seven for each day of the dog week):
Focus- it can be a time of organized reflection and action, each year a new theme can FOCUS attention on energy on a specific cause or concerns. Spay and Neuter issues, for example, face different challenges within specific regions of the country…each region could focus on these particulars to bring about effective change.
Fundraising – in addition to raising awareness, monies needed for these specific causes can be acquired through creative events in different parts of the country during this week. For example, parts of the country blessed with wineries could host “Canines among the Vines” – once again, areas of the United States can use their unique regional or seasonal characteristics to help a cause. Like I say, be creative.
Fitness – emotional and physical fitness can be promoted through our pets – NDW reminds us to keep an eye on our diets and to get moving – dog walking is a great opportunity for that. Service and Therapy Dogs can also help individuals with special needs be an active part of society.
Friendship – Many social connections are made among like-minded individuals over concern for our companion animals – the dog at the end of the leash can be a friend finder, too… a love for pets can be forged and cemented through social media and awareness can spread here, too.
Fashion – Many of my friends on Facebook are designers of doggy wear…perhaps National Dog Week deserves its own signature leash, collar or bandana…this can be both profitable to a business person and can also raise FUNDS!
Fun – National Dog Week reminds us to take some time and really enjoy our dogs and human friends, visit a Dog Park or beach. Even schools and libraries can include our canines in an entertaining manner as a way to enjoy our dogs while educating our young about the special place dogs have in our nation’s history. I had the pleasure of sharing National Dog Week by sponsoring a booth at the Brick Township’s Dog Fest for The Pet Postcard Project and Covers for Critters (launched by Willie Wonka and Brenda Yohman Frick). I also used our Township’s library display case to promote National Dog Week(see photos above and below) filled with some relevant books and memorabilia of Dog Weeks dog-gone by!
Thank you for all the searches that are bringing so many to this site today, the first day of National Dog Week! Very excited to be recording a great segment for ImpactRado.com with Dr. Patrick Mahaney and NDW Artist Donald Brown this evening. Today, I asked Robert Cabral, Founder of Bound Angels and a guest of this Blog in July and August, for his take on National Dog Week…Robert is pictured here at a recent Fundraiser for Bound Angels in Malibu, CA.
“National Dog Week brings recognition to man’s best friend. A deserving tribute to a creature that has walked by our side and slept at our feet for thousands of years. Celebrating his life and legacy is a celebration of love and dedication. To celebrate National Dog Week, please watch Orlando Brown’s tribute to dogs and their humans -HERO.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3n4tTBTCdY (Directed by Robert, too).
I would like to personally thank the Brick Township Rotary for their hard work in presenting this Festival and for donating the material for the Pet Postcards. My friends from the Ladies Auxiliary of Brick Township’s American Legion Post 348 supported me by bringing used linens and blankets to the Festival. These items will be shared with local animal shelters.
I would also like to thank Dr. Patrick Mahaney and Artist Donald E. Brown for their work on behalf of National Dog Week. Their knowledge and talent have really helped me reach out to so many. I truly hope we will continue to work together.
During this week, and beyond, I will look back at some earlier posts that inspired me and others. Please remember to go to the National Dog Week Community Page and LIKE us and Post a picture of your dogs to be eligible to win an original canine portrait by Donald Brown (ends on October 7). I will also present some of the special dogs I have come to know through this Blog on that page.
Today, like many times before, I was struck by how young people respond to animals. As one little girl made a postcard today, she said, “I am so happy that I am helping dogs today.” On that note, I will also be presenting an essay written by a 10-year old girl who exemplifies the true spirit of National Dog Week. Children, without pretense or falsehood, are the true messengers of what this week is all about.
The spirit of National Dog Week remains strong, and I thank everyone who supports this blog, my writing and my efforts…by doing so, you are part of the history of this special Movement that can show no weakness…Its Founder, Captain Will Judy, would be proud.
Welcome to my blog, established to promote the intelligent dialogue about the state of the dog in the states of the nation. To learn more about the National Dog Week Movement please read ABOUT.
“…Dogs have given us their absolute all. We are the center of their universe, we are the focus of their love and faith and trust. They serve us in return for scraps. It is without a doubt the best deal man has ever made.” Roger Caras, American, 1928-2001.
The other day, I posted on my Facebook wall that it was International Pooper Scooper Month (I guess it’s a problem in all corners of the dog world) and that the last week of April is Scoop the Poop Week. A few friends wondered if I was serious and I provided a link to an Examiner article I had written last year on the subject. One of the original tenets of National Dog Week was that dog owners be more responsible and considerate of the rights on non-dog owners, a concept that its founder, Captain William Lewis Judy, understood (even 83-years ago) helped to make the world a dog-friendlier place.
As it was just Earth Day, you can also think of it as a way to be kind to Mother Earth. I actually had someone say to me that squirrels, rabbits and deer freely make deposits on our lawns, so why should she pick up after her dogs? I explained that those animals have a vegetarian based diet, and that is very different from most dog-diets in this nation. I’ve also been told by my friends who live on the water that the rain will just wash it away into the creeks, bays and rivers, and nature will take care of it. They are obviously wrong. So be a good citizen, be considerate of your neighbors, the health of other dogs (dog poop can transport worms and parasites) and honor the planet you inhabit.
The month of May is Go Fetch! Food Drive for Homeless Animals Month and its first two weeks bring us Be Kind to Animals and National Pet Week. If you go to http://www.examiner.com/pets-in-newark/lisa-begin-kruysman you can read related articles on these topics. This past week, I found myself thinking about the goodness of some people as I read posts on the walls of many of my pet-loving friends. If I could blog for a decade, posting every day, I still could not credit everyone, but I do try to write about people who rarely get any notice for what they do for the animals. Many of them work behind the scenes, asking only that attention be directed toward their cause. Many reach into their own pockets to help when funds run out to save a pet from an overcrowded shelter, spay and neuter dogs and cats, or get animals transported to safe shelters where their lives just might be spared.
In May, I’ll be writing about Covers for Critters launched under Willie Wonka’s Project Pets and organized by Brenda Yohman Frick, Kathy Hart’s Mats4Mutts, catch up with Erika Friedman about her Kong project for shelter dogs and talk again about how Nikki Moustaki’s Pet Postcard Project is such a terrific and creative way to help shelters, among others.
But first, I would like to wish Second Acts and its founder Michael S. Brown, my new Facebook friend, a happy birthday. Founded in 2008 by Michael, Second Acts is a non-profit fundraising organization distributing 100% of all donations it receives to small volunteer and animal rescue groups throughout the nation that adopt a no-kill policy. Michael also just celebrated his birthday this month, and speaking of that, if you would like to use the occasion of your birthday to make a difference for animals, you can go to the organization’s website to find out how http://www.secondactsfoundation.org. Please Like them on Facebook, too. Congratulations and Happy Birthday Michael.
And on a final note for the month of April, I thank all of you who have supported me and my blog; by the end of March, we had celebrated 100 posts together. In May, I will be publishing a collection of short-tales with dog themes on Amazon, many inspired by the posts I have written on behalf of the National Dog Week Movement. With so many disturbing stories and wall postings out there in the world of social networking, sometimes people tune out and shut down. With my stories, I am trying to use a different approach to be thought-provoking, to inspire people to find some way to connect on an emotional level, and then be inspired to take a practical approach to help in their own way.
I will be calling on some of my friends to help me with this new venture and I am confident this will be a win-win situation for all. If all goes as planned, I hope to help some causes that are dear to my heart and “write” some wrongs, one short story at a time, but I will need the support of many.
Happy Pooper Scooper Week to all!
Welcome to a blog established to educate dog-lovers across America about the 83-year old tradition of National Dog Week, and a great writing project I am involved in. To read more, please see ABOUT.
Congratulations to Nikki and her numerous radio and television appearances, including her interview with Wolf Blitzer of CNN…In my next post I’ll tell you how Bocker the Labradoodle is eating human food for Nitro’s Law and how your dog can get in on the action!
Nitro was a beautiful healthy Rottweiler dog born and bred in Ohio, who came to be part of a very loving family in New York. But when Nitro was sent back to Ohio to enjoy some advanced training time with his breeder at a “Summer Camp” at High-Caliber K-9 in Youngstown, Ohio, his life and that of six other dogs would come to an incomprehensible and horribly cruel end at the hands of his own breeder, a man by the name of Steve Croley. Mr. Croley basically got away with murder, but Liz (Nitro’s Mom) and her family have made it their mission to, “help change laws in Ohio to make animal cruelty a felony.” To read the full story, please go to http://www.nitrofoundation.com.
Upon hearing of their story, Miami-based animal activist and author, Nikki Moustaki, made it her mission to help bring attention to the plight of animals in Ohio, and other states. The following is my interview with Nikki, whom I had the pleasure to meet at a Pre-Westminster event last week in New York City.
Please tell everyone why you are eating one meal of dog food each day? I first read about Nitro’s Law on Facebook and I was immediately upset by the situation that brought the need for this law to be written. I have three dogs and I can’t imagine not feeding them for half a day, much less not feeding them at all. I have real empathy for other creatures, both human and animal, and it literally hurt me to think of the suffering that the starving dogs incurred at the boarding facility in Ohio where they were tortured to death by being denied food.
I discovered that the Nitro’s Law did pass the House of Representatives in Ohio — obviously it was a viable law — but it did not pass the senate. I wondered why.
What steps did you take to find out more about this law? I got in touch with Nitro’s human mom because I wanted to know more about the situation. She told me, with heartbreak in her voice, that she believed that the law did not pass, in part, because it didn’t get enough attention. She told me that the senators were campaigning in 2010 for reelection, so Nitro’s Law wasn’t a priority. Perhaps it can be a priority in 2011 if some attention is brought to it. The potential solution came to me in a “light bulb” moment. I would eat dog food every day and ask other animal lovers to eat dog food with me, and in this way we could get some attention for the law. I decided to post my campaign to YouTube every day to sort of “prove” that I was doing it and to encourage others to do the same. Eating dog food is a very off-the-wall, strange thing to do! I realize that. But I also realize that if someone doesn’t take a stand for injustice, it will continue. Honestly, this is a very small sacrifice compared to the good that can come out of it.
When did you start? February 1, 2011
Can you tell us about the brand you are consuming? Any good recipes you care to share? The dog food I am eating is called Lucky Dog Cuisine (http://www.luckydogcuisine.com) and it’s the “Porsche of dog foods.” It’s human-grade, meaning that everything in it is fresh and consumable by humans, and the meat is from a butcher. It’s very safe to eat, which is why I chose it. I wanted to choose a food whose ingredients were sourced strictly in the USA. I have also met the owners of the company and I know that the food is made by hand in small batches, which makes me feel safe. I also feel good feeding it to my dogs. And no, Lucky Dog Cuisine is not paying me to say this or do this! I just want to stress that if anyone else joins me they should choose a human grade food — I want this law to pass, but I also want everyone to stay healthy.
I can cook well, I just tend to be lazy and order or eat out. I’ve been mixing the dog food with food I get from the store or restaurants, and that has been good. I’m planning some recipes, but that means dirtying up pots and pans!
How can others join in this cause? People can join as a “team member,” eating dog food every day with me until this law is reintroduced, or as a “cheerleader,” eating dog food occasionally or eating biscuits, etc. They should see this link for details: http://betterwords.typepad.com/nikki_moustaki/requirements-to-join-the-nitros-law-eating-dog-food-campaign.html.
How will you make sure the right powers learn about your mission and what do you hope to accomplish? Have you contacted any senators or congress people who can help you?
The idea behind this is to get as much attention for Nitro’s Law as possible. That’s my role in the team. The other people working toward getting Nitro’s Law passed, including Nitro’s mom and other supporters, are the ones calling the congressmen, writing letters etc. It’s definitely a team effort.
Have you reached out to Ellen DeGenares, or anyone with her power, for national exposure? I think that some of my supporters have contacted Ellen. I know that she’s an animal lover and it would be amazing to get onto her show because it would give a lot of exposure to Nitro’s Law.
How do people react in general upon hearing about your mission? From the very beginning, day one, people have rallied behind this cause and jumped on board to eat dog food with me. About 90% of people are very supportive and think it’s a great idea, and 10% think I’m crazy, but sometimes it takes being a little crazy to get something great done. It’s “good crazy.”
Eating dog food once a day is the craziest thing I have done to help animals, but I do a lot of other things to help animals as well. I run a site called The Pet Postcard Project (www.petpostcardproject.com) where people send me postcards in the mail and some dog food goes to animal shelters for each postcard I receive. I have raised over 116,000 pounds of dog food this way. I also take dogs out of my local shelter and find them homes.
I am not unsympathetic to human causes, such as hunger, disease, and the environment. But those are such huge issues with a lot of people working on them already, and I choose to focus on issues where I feel I can make the most impact.
If people do not wish to join in and eat along, is there anything they can do to help build awareness of this cause? People can share this on Facebook and Twitter, subscribe to my YouTube videos, and tell everyone they know about it. If they live in Ohio, they can call their local politicians and tell them that they want Nitro’s Law reintroduced into the House of Representatives.
After this interview, I contacted Liz who is grateful for the attention Nikki is bringing to their cause. But her appreciation is bittersweet as she states, “Honestly I think it’s very sad that we’ve had to resort to eating dog food to get a law passed to protect our companion animals. I do believe it will continue to generate awareness which is a very important first step to bring about this necessary change.”
Congratulations to Nikki for putting her money (or dog food) where her mouth is and walking the walk for an issue that is so important. I wish her, and all involved in this cause much success. Nikki has suggested we do lunch one day in the Keys while I am down there and I am thinking that this just might mean there is a Lucky Dog meal, or at least a dog biscuit, in my future. If anyone reading has any influence in the state of Ohio, please use it.
Welcome to my Blog…established to promote the teachings of Captain Will Judy, founder of the National Dog Week Movement launched in 1928…A week that celebrates the way we Americans bond with over 70 million dogs sharing our homes and in shelters across the nation…
The holiday season always brings out some great opportunities to have fun with our dogs and help great causes. Like Erika Freidman’s (Canine Celebration, New York-see post of Oct. 21st) recent Hound-o-Ween event and Carla Gambescia’s Dogs in Party Hats contest which has been extended to December 12 (see previous post) and of course Christmas Feet which will be held on November 20th in Bryant Park, New York. It will feature a fashion show directed by Ada Nieves, Pawty Planner extraordinaire. I will post my interview with Ada shortly.
This week, I had several occasions when people came to me to seek some advice about issues surrounding dogs…I am by no means an expert, all I can do is share with people the experiences of others in helping them to make some difficult or important decisions regarding their dogs.
(photo at left courtesy of Dogs in Party Hats, a great event to raise money for service dogs)
On Monday, I spent the day working with a Fifth Grade Class. They made Thanksgiving postcards for our Troops and while they were at it, I shared with them Nikki Moustaki’s Pet Postcard Project. Many offered to make postcards with dog and cat themes, which I will submit to the Project so that kibble will be donated to animal shelters across the nation (www.petpostcardproject.com). On Friday, one of these students saw me in the hallway in the morning, and while I was on lunch duty, presented me with a few more! Bless her heart…
On Tuesday, I received a tearful phone call about a situation in which a beloved dog was to be put down that afternoon. This dog has been having seizures, and struggles with her medication for them. She is a dog that was brought up from the Shenandoah Valley over ten years ago, so her exact age was never known. At first a difficult dog, Cody calmed down and became a part of our lives (she lived down the road). My dog Hooper, not one to like other dogs, found a true canine friend in Cody. The caller wanted me to intervene, to buy Cody more time. I didn’t, because I think this is a personal decision, one that was so hard for the dog’s owner, and I truly could offer no help. I felt guilty and sad, and still do. We need to enjoy our dogs each day, and focus on the good memories of them.
During the course of the week, someone I am related too asked if she should get another dog to keep their Golden retriever company. I have trouble with this, because if you aren’t able to give your dog the time and attention it deserves (this has been an issue for me before with this party) then another dog isn’t the answer. You can’t ask another dog to be a surrogate care-giver. You must put the time in. Another family member is trying to add a dog to their life. They have put in an application for a pit-mix in the city, but they are disappointed on how many shelters do not respond to their queries. I advise them to take their time and let the right dog and situation come to them at the right time…Another friend has to surrender a recently adopted pit bull today because another dog in the house will not accept it. She is heartbroken but was wise enough to find another home for him.
As for me, I am suffering along with my Portuguese water dog, Hooper, as she deals with a “ruff” and prolonged flea season. We try everything, natural and commercial, combing, bathing, lemon, eucalyptus….you name it…hopefully a hard freeze will help to alleviate the situation.
This morning, I listened to a television talk show about pets and a woman from a local shelter who talked about “black dog syndrome.” She said that black dogs do not photograph as well as light-colored dogs, sometimes preventing them from being adopted more quickly. As my dog is predominantly black, I do know that it is difficult to photograph her…but she is a beauty, photogenic or not, so when looking at photos on Petfinder.com or elsewhere, please keep this in mind when trying to add a pooch to your life.
Rest in Peace, Cody girl…
Welcome to my Blog, a place for those with a “weekness” for dogs. This post presents Nikki Moustaki of the Pet Postcard Project. Nikki’s tireless work on behalf of homeless dogs is worth noting, and you can learn about the special way she helps shelter dogs in this post.
I would also like to thank Renee Premaza, NJ Dog Trainer, for interviewing me this morning about my work on behalf of Will Judy’s National Dog Week and my book Every Dog has its Week. It was so great to be able to talk about this deserving subject….My pre-taped segment with her will air on Thursday, October 14 from 10-10:30am on WNJC-1360 AM. It will also be available in her radio archives at www.jerseydogtrainer.com.
Long before the internet, cell phones, even rotary phones, Americans relied on a pencil, a pen (if they were lucky to have one), a one-cent stamp and a small rectangular piece of paper, to communicate all kinds of personal messages with friends and family.
This tiny, but powerful, writing tool was called the Picture Postcard and during the early part of the Twentieth Century it was the way Americans communicated by the billions! Industries and shops sprung up just to keep up with the public’s obsession with them. American and foreign cities and towns, flowers, beach scenes, buildings, landmarks, birthdays, holidays, and yes, cats and dogs, all could be found gracing one side of these miniature works of art. Picture postals were also a unique way for those without cameras to capture the exciting experience of foreign and domestic travel that was increasingly available to many.
Before the backs of these cards were “divided,” senders of postcards were only allowed to write the intended recipient’s address, sometimes only using the street name, followed by “City.” Somehow they got delivered, often three times a day, at one time in our postal history.
Lucky for us, so many postcards survived and are still available to a new generation of collectors. I came upon my first antique postcards in a shop in Vermont over twenty years ago. I began using them in my paintings and a business was born. My work allows me to present images that are between fifty and one hundred years old. I work with my own collection and the cards of others, and these pictures hang in homes and offices throughout the world.
In the past year, my energy and attention has turned toward writing, and if you are a regular visitor to this Blog, you know it was set up to educate the public about the legacy of Captain Will Judy’s National Dog Week Movement and my book, Every Dog has its Week, that documents the history of the week from its inception in 1928. Even Will Judy, Founder of National Dog Week, published his own set of cards called “Dog Sentiments,” featuring poems and writings about his favorite subject.
Speaking of dogs and postcards, in January of this year I happened upon something called the Pet Postcard Project. What a concept! Started by Nikki Moustaki in Miami, this deserving effort converts postcards into food for shelter pets. I wrote an Examiner piece about Nikki that can be viewed at www.examiner.com/pets-in-newark/lisa-begin-kruysman.
Because I believe that change comes about through “small” collective acts, I think Nikki’s program is genius! To read more about Nikki’s work please see www.betterwords.typepad.com/petpostcardproject.
I had the pleasure of meeting Bocker Labradoodle in Paw-son in late August. He was attending a birthday bash for his two friends, King Charles Cavalier spaniels Penny Lane and Lilly Pads at the home of Rose Russo in Westchester County, New York. The day was scorching hot, and Bocker had just finished a photo shoot in New York City. He was cordial and accommodating to his fans but it was clear, Bocker was off-duty, ready to party with a dozen of his canine friends. Later, he sat and stayed long enough to share a little of his life in the fast lane, while his guardian, Marie Shelto helped him find his words.
How old are you Bocker? I am seven years old.
How did your human “find” you? Before all the “doodle” craze, Dad had seen an article about Labradoodles and the mention that they were hypoallergenic. Mom and Dad really wanted a dog but Dad, who is a professional singer, has asthma. So they looked into Labradoodles and found a wonderful breeder. There were twelve in my litter and Mom and Dad wanted a tan male. Every photo of the three tan males always showed two who were really getting into things and one who sat very pensive, almost to say, “I am here for a purpose”. So from birth, it seemed like I was a very special pup (that’s what Mom says). So, at seven weeks old, I became part of a wonderful family.
How did you become an actor? How long have you been working in the entertainment industry?
From early on, I always knew when the camera was pointed in my direction and I had a really good “head tilt” that everyone loved. Everyone said, “he should be in commercials, ads, movies”. So mom contacted a few agents in NYC and after some training, I started to get called for jobs! So my first “gig” was for Tommy Hilfiger and I was only eighteen months old. Pretty cool.
Can you tell us a little about what commercials you are appearing in, TV shows, or movies?After that I was called for more fashion ads and commercials for Ralph Lauren, Barney’s NY, Target, Chase Bank, Wal-Mart, Optimum Online, GQ Magazine, and Getty Images. I was on Good Morning America, and The View, where Joy Behar gave me a bath, and on a morning show segment “If the political candidates were dogs” where I represented Hillary Clinton. I actually got a hand-written note from Mrs. Clinton thanking me and asking me for a pawtographed photo for her desk! I was featured on Animal Planets, DOGS 101 in their segment on labradoodles. I did extra work in Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds and also filmed a family scene for Julia Robert’s Eat Pray Love, which was cut from the movie. But, I did meet Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt, who was one of the co-producers, and I did get paid. Maybe I’ll show up in the director’s cut!!! I played a girl, Carmel Barkshaw, in Lorenzo Borghese’s webisode spoof of The Bachelor, America’s Next Princess. I just finished working on a short film with terrific (and handsome) actor, Rider Strong, written and directed by brother’s Alex and Paul Cannon, to be released to film festivals around the country in the fall.
What advice do you give other dogs that want to be in your industry? I always was a very calm pup. You have to be willing to “hurry up and wait” and enjoy what you are doing. When I hear the word “work”, I know where I’m going. The only advice is, “Only do it, if you enjoy it”.
I hear you do some great charity and work with kids, can you tell us a little bit about that?At this point, I really feel that my work with kids and helping those less fortunate than I am, are major parts of my life. I am always ready to lend a helping paw! I love working with children, support Autism Awareness, and since I am a certified therapy dog, I work as a Tail Wagging Tutor, helping children improve their reading by reading to me; go to Boys and Girls Clubs, hospitals, nursing homes…anywhere where friends are in need of a smile. Have to say, all the extra hugs and kisses I get aren’t bad either!! I support many shelters around New York and help with fundraising. Why shouldn’t every animal be as lucky as I am and as long as I can help, I will.
Can you tell us a little about your work on behalf of Nikki Moustaki’s Pet Postcard Project? The Pet PostCard Project is a fun and creative program that helps provide much-needed food for shelter animals. One bowl (or one pound or more) of pet food for every qualifying postcard received goes to animal shelters! The Pet Postcard Project is made possible by the kindness and generosity of its pet food sponsors, who donate literally tons of kibble to animal shelters and rescues in exchange for the creative postcards. I’ve been involved with the Pet PostCard Project for some time, sending postcards which my mom helps me create. Knowing that I am helping feed my shelter friends is the most important thing to me, but also my post cards have actually won some pretty cool prizes too. I have even taken some of the prizes I have won and donated them back to shelters that I support. Nikki asked me if I would be one of the Spokes Dogs for September and October and head up Team Bocker the Labradoodle in support of Sabbath Memorial DogRescue in Miami. I have enlisted some of my younger fans to help and it become a school project which helps the children be creative, have fun and also learn the importance of helping those in need.
How will you spend some of your down time during National Dog Week?
I do get time to be a dog, which of course is fun too. Maybe a few extra trips to the Paw Park would be in order, but what I love most is to just be able to sit in my yard and watch all the nature around me. Love sharing my space with deer, rabbits, and birds and enjoying the country air when I don’t have to be in the city. There’s always work to be done and right now I’m working on my book. Am I a lucky doodle or what!??
You certainly are, Bock. Thank you Bocker Labradoodle and Marie for all the good you do for dogs and their humans! To learn more about Bocker’s career go to www.bocker.tv/ You’ll be glad you did!
Welcome Dogasaur Fans as well as my loyal readers. You are a writer’s best friend. This Blog is written for those who have a “Weekness for Dogs!” Please remember to visit this Thursday, August 26th, for a special post about Rose Russo, followed by some great posts honoring dogs’ best friends from across the nation on a variety of topics about man’s best friend. Don’t miss out-Subscribe now!
In launching his Dogasaur website, Josh Abrams, much like Will Judy, Founder of National Dog Week, has dedicated his life to the mission of “making our dogs’ lives better, even if only by a little each day.” Thank you, Josh and Steve, for posting about Every Dog has its Week on your fan page. www.Dogasaur.com Last Sunday, 625 of you came to read! With over 70 million dogs taking up residence in our nation, we need to honor man’s best friend by keeping the bark in National Dog Week, September 19-25.
A big bark out to Michele Adams and all the volunteers working to make the Big Pine Bark Park down in the Florida Keys a reality by the time National Dog Week un-fur-ls this September. Stay tuned for a posting on their big fundraiser on August 29th and their progress!
I received lots of comments about how you will spend National Dog Week this September. Here’s one:
GFM wrote: “Lots of treats, walks and love for my 4 dogs…I would also like to donate supplies to “Angels in Fur” Rescue. They are doing great work…On that note:
Saturday was National Homeless Pet Day. Started by the International Society for Animal Rights (ISAR) in 1992, this observation always occurs the third Saturday in August, bringing to light the ongoing plight of homeless pets in America. It is estimated that there are over 8 million pets without homes in this country and only about half of them will ever find permanent homes.
One of the more frustrating aspects of my research performed on Will Judy’s National Dog Week is the fact that the more things change the more they remain the same. In 1928, just like today, many of the nation’s pets suffered during hard economic times. Then, it was hard for a dog to even get its day, let alone a week! Nowadays, my Facebook wall is covered with photos and pleas for 11th Hour rescues, many too heartbreaking to even read.
Will Judy started the National Dog Week movement to honor the silent canine heroes of WWI and, as a responsible breeder, trainer, and dog expert, said that he did not want to see more dogs in American homes, but better dog owners and a society that took care of the dogs that were already here.
This year, the theme of the day is focused on the importance of spaying and neutering our pets. This is certainly one good idea to help control our nation’s pet overpopulation problem, but surprisingly, many feel they are not obligated to do so. This procedure not only stops unwanted litters, but has some health benefits for your animals. DO IT! But sometimes, unexpected or sudden life changes can put our beloved, well-cared for pets in jeopardy. Foreclosure, military deployment, even domestic abuse can find pets on the street.
There are too many people to cite for their work on behalf of these hapless animals, and in the effort of being brief, I offer just a few for now….
Every day, somewhere in America, volunteers work hard to pull endangered dogs from high-kill shelters, transporting them to safety, often at great distances. For example, last week RAIN (Rescuing Animals in Nassau) in Fernandina Beach, FL, transported dogs to a shelter all the way in Tampa. Just a few weeks ago, dogs suffering from the fall out of the BP debacle in Louisiana were transported to St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison, NJ (www.sthuberts.org). Eight of those dogs were taken in by my local shelter here in Brick, NJ for placement (www.jerseyshoreanimalcenter.org).
Laura Pople, Executive Director and Founder of Seer Farms, runs a successful people-centered animal sanctuary in Jackson, NJ, providing emergency extended care and housing for pets that find themselves victims of natural disasters, or situations arising from the misfortunes of their owners. On Sunday, September 26, the event, “Walk for the Cause of Foreclosed Paws,” will be held to benefit the animals of Seer Farm. Go to www.Seersfarm.org for details.
And how do all these pets get fed while they await new homes. People like Nikki Moustaki, founder of the Pet Postcard Project, have come up with creative and fun ways for everyone to get involved. Nikki, a writer, obedience trainer, TV personality, and active rescuer is definitely a champion of homeless cats and dogs. To learn how to be part of the PPP, go to www.betterwords.typepad.com/petpostcardproject/.
Do you have ideas on how we can alleviate America’s pet overpopulation dilemma? I welcome well-thought out essays no longer than 500 words on the topic. I look forward to reading them. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, if you are sending dog week stories, they must be about organized plans you have for the week. Thanks.
Read related article: www.examiner.com/pets-in-newark/lisa-begin-kruysman.
Most people know David Bryan, 48 year-old keyboardist for the band Bon Jovi for well, his keyboard talent, and maybe that big mop of wavy blond hair. But David’s talents go beyond popular music as his recent Tony award for Best Musical shows. Last Sunday night, David, who co-wrote the lyrics for the award-winning Broadway Musical, Memphis, shared in a great victory in receiving the highest honor bestowed on a Broadway production. He even won out over Green Day’s very popular American Idiot. If you haven’t seen Memphis, it really is special, and worth the trip to the city. I saw it in January and blogged about David and his accomplishments in the post Lyrics Made In Jersey (see Archives for January 21).
Staying on a Jersey theme, and of course going to the dogs, please help Nikki Mousaki of the Pet Postcard Project as she tries to get enough votes to help her land her very own Oprah show. Nikki, who has Jersey connections, now splits her time between Manhattan and Miami. She is a prolific writer, and tv personality who has done so much to help shelter animals, especially with her Pet Postcard Project (see my article about her in a recent Newark Pets Examiner). To learn more about Nikki’s Oprah ambitions, and to vote for her go to http://myown.oprah.com/audition/index.html?request=video_details&response_id=7717&promo_id=1. Nikki also maintains a Facebook page and a website for the Pet Postcard Project.
Also, this week I will posting a Father’s Day piece featuring David Muriello, CPDT, of Biscuits and Bath Training in Manhattan. David, (a resident of New Jersey) has appeared on ABC’s Rachael Ray Show and is a new father. He will talk about that special bond that exists between dog, dad, and kid and may have some advice to the dads out there dealing with that eternal question, “Dad, can we please get a dog?” Oh now, don’t be so quick to say no…..And stay tuned for many other great stories of people who make a difference in the way we look at man’s best friend.
David and Nikki exemplify the spirit of Will Judy’s National Dog Week Movement, and by movement, we mean ongoing. Don’t let a great American tradition fall by the wayside. This year, honor this seven-day observance of the dog the last full week of September. And hats off to some very talented people with Jersey credits!