After ten years of posting on the “Dog Week Book Blog” I’m taking a “paws”. Writing Dog’s Best Friend and blogging about the mission of National Dog Week has been a life-changing process. Many of the posts on this blog, and others, have received nominations and medals from the Dog Writer’s Association of America (DWAA) including Dog’s Best Friend! I began this journey with our beloved, Hooper, a beautiful Portuguese water dog (RIP), at my feet and now a foster-to-forever dog Teddy sits by my side, as he faces his own health challenges, as I draft a memoir based on my experience under the Working Title, THE RISE AND FALL OF NATIONAL DOG WEEK AND A MISSION TO ‘BRING IT BACK’: (MEMOIR OF AN UNDERDOG). I will be posting items from the “Bark-chives” over on the National Dog Week Facebook and my AUTHOR/ARTIST Pages. Here are the links. Please LIKE  and visit for updates I thank you for your readership over the past decade. Inquires and questions?


Teddy Rocks a Maxwell Medallion!

In late February, my husband I commenced a 900 mile move to our new home and community in coastal Georgia. Selling a home and moving several states away during a pandemic has at times taken on a Twilight Zone vibe, but, we’re happy to say that we’re enjoying life in our new community and look forward to settling in.

And I’ve been writing (and painting). In March, when much of the nation began its serious lockdown, I developed a Full Proposal for a memoir with the Working Title FINDING DOG WEEK. For those not in the publishing industry, a proposal is a blueprint for a proposed book stating all the reason it’s a relevant and salable project – no easy task. It is currently being shopped and at the very least, its writing has been therapeutic.

I’m also drafting a new Middle Grade Novel titled PARTY DOG that explores some of the darker elements of the puppy industry while celebrating the triumphant spirit of the dog-human bond. I’m hopeful that both projects will see successful completion and potentially have some positive impact. I know there are so many authors and so little time for reading, so I do appreciate your readership and support – always.

In September 2021, my essay THE GIFT OF DOG, will mark my contribution to a third dog anthology to be published by the venerable Revell-Baker Publishing Group. Compiled and edited by Callie Smith Grant,  I’ll be discussing this project as we near its release date. Last year, Callie’s SECOND CHANCE DOGS won the prestigious Maxwell Medallion in the category of best Rescue/Adoption book and several contributors took Maxwell honors as well.

My poem, GOT THE HOME WITH HUMAN BLUES, presenting a dog’s humorous perspective upon finding himself quarantined with humans, will appear in the next issue of Ruff Drafts, the official publication of the Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) and is now a FINALIST for a Special Award in this year’s DWAA’s Writing Competition!

(UPDATE: COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED, BUT TAKE A LOOK AND PLAN FOR THIS YEAR’S EVENT!) And speaking of the DWAA, as an active member of the organization’s Social Media team, I’d like to share that our annual writing competition is currently open. The DWAA, established in 1935, is the only organization in the world comprised of a community of writers and journalists that produce work pertaining solely to canines. But hurry, only original work published between September 1, 2019 and August 31, 2020 will be accepted. All online entries must be submitted on or before Sunday, September 6, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. EST. Mail-in entries must be postmarked no later than Saturday, September 5, 2020, as evidenced by the postmark.

There are a myriad of Regular and Special Awards categories to explore, many offering monetary grants made possible by our generous sponsors. And the good news is that you DON’T have to be a DWAA member to enter and entrants may work from anywhere in the world! Due to circumstances brought about by our current  pandemic, this year’s award ceremony will be held virtually on February 14th – what better way to celebrate our love affair with dogs!

I’m proud to be a recipient of a few Maxwell Medallions and multi-nominee and encourage you to take a look at our categories to see if something you’ve “produced” might suit a category. Entry fees are reasonable, too. Here is the link to the DWAA Site with more competition details.

Enter soon and be a Dog Star writer under these starry Dog Days of Summer!

New Perspective

A Fresh New Outlook – Good for Creativity!






At the Moose Lodge of Islamorada, in the Florida Keys, our dog Teddy curled up under the table as we enjoyed Sunday brunch. Occasionally, with hopes of scoring a treat, Teddy made his presence known by venturing from under cover. With his adorable face nearly perfectly divided between black and white, he’s always hard to miss, or resist.

From his place on the floor, he sat quietly watching a woman as she poured coffee, his little head tilted to one side in a pronounced manner.

The woman stopped by our table. “Did your dog have an episode of Vestibular Disease?” she asked, leaning over to pet Teddy on the head.

I nodded, smiling, impressed at her observation of Teddy’s tell tale head tilt, an ear mark of Canine Vestibular Disease. 

“I’m a local veterinarian,” she explained.

A member of the Moose organization, she was volunteering at that Sunday’s event.

I explained that it had been almost 6 months since Teddy had scared the daylights out of me when he suddenly appeared to be having a seizure. There had been no warning other than I’d noticed he’d been a little more sleepy on the days leading up to his incident. But I attributed that to seasonal allergies.

That morning in October, the sun shone brightly as I prepared to go to work as a substitute teacher. My husband Rich had left to play golf. As I gathered up my things to get out the door, I could see in my dog’s eyes a look that seemed to be pleading for me to stay.

I scooped him up and rushed him outside to his favorite tree, but once down on the ground it was evident that something was very wrong. Teddy circled, stumbled and wobbled like a late night bar patron who’d had one too many. Believing he was having a stroke or a seizure, I scooped him up again and rushed him back inside the house.



With shaking hands, I canceled my substitute assignment. and got the number for Teddy’s vet. I grabbled a pillow and once I got him secured in his seat, drove to our vet’s practice on the other side of town.

Not even 8:30 in the morning, I was relieved to see staff members at the front desk of the Brick Township (NJ) Veterinary Hospital. I whisked Teddy in and explained the situation. Within moments, a Vet Tech came out. He stooped and looked at Teddy’s eyes, then smiled reassuringly.

“His eyes are moving side to side. That’s a sign of Old Dog Vestibular Disease. He’ll be okay,” he assured.

His words brought me some relief, but the term Old Dog Vestibular Disease was perplexing.

Dr. Adam Christman, Teddy’s regular veterinarian at the time was not in yet, so one of his colleagues examined him and prescribed bonine to relieve Teddy’s dizziness. As there were no indications of an ear infection, nothing more was done.

Teddy lived a guarded life for several days. No stairs, and he slept with me on the sofa safely ensconced in a deep nest located at my feet. Stubborn as he is, he’d find a way to squirm off the sofa and crawl to his pee pad (he’s a pee pad pro) and water dish and then return to sleep on the floor below my head where I’d find him in the morning.

After a few nights of this, I called Dr. Adam to say that Teddy kept shaking his head as if he had water in his ear. Antibiotics were immediately prescribed to which Teddy responded beautifully within a three week period. In fact, he seemed to have more energy than before his incident leading me to wonder if he’d been living with a low grade ear infection for a prolonged period of time.

Thinking back to that frightful incident in October, my fears had been warranted. Symptoms of Canine Idiopathic Vestibular disease, also known as “old dog disease” or “old rolling dog syndrome”, may mimic serious, life threatening conditions such as stroke or a brain tumor.

According to Mimi Raleigh, DVM, of Hudson, NY, “Nine out of ten cases on which I was called because the owner believed their old dog had a “stroke”, were actually incidents of “idiopathic vestibular disease.” Dr. Raleigh further adds that of the geriatric dogs who survive more than a year, many have a recurrence on the other side.

The vestibular system, which has components in the brain and peripheral components in the inner and middle ear, is responsible for maintaining normal balance. The term idiopathic means that veterinarians can’t identify what is causing a dog’s sudden lack of balance. Veterinarians liken it to a case of vertigo in humans. Causes range from hypothyroidism, ear infections, head trauma, toxins or just plain old age. The condition is non-breed specific and usually dissipates within a matter of days.

Despite being fairly common, I’m still surprised by how many dog owners are unaware of Vestibular Disease in dogs. Hopefully by educating other dog lovers, I can minimize the fear should you find your older dog displaying symptoms, although it’s always best to get your dog medical attention to rule out more serious conditions.

And then there’s that tell tale head tilt that made Teddy oh-so photo ready. Many dogs never lose it, but our Teddy, perhaps due to having terrific restorative powers, and in need of no more cuteness, has managed to lose his.

He still likes to dine with us, and scout for treats, but these days, his endearing head tilt is of his own choosing and duration, not as a result of some “old dog” disease, and employed until he gets the attention, or tidbit, he feels he deserves.

That never gets old.





In my last post on April 25th, I was inspired to write, and then post, a story for young people told from the POV of a dog dealing with quarantine. After I posted  I’ve Got the Stuck at Home with My Humans Blues, I asked a third grade teacher at Midstreams Elementary School in Brick Township, NJ, to share the story with her students and to let me know what they thought. 

As a former Substitute Teacher (Guest Educator) I’ve enjoyed working with some of these students since they were first graders. I’ve always enjoyed writing for kids and I’m so thankful for their heartfelt responses.

Some thought it was a song – would it be Country, Rap or Pop? If anyone is so inclined, I’d love to hear your musical version. Others, I’m told, have been inspired to create some illustrations of this dog with the stay-at-home blues. I love this creative energy especially during this time of great change and challenge.

Like many other dog, and pet-lovers, I’ve derived much comfort from my own dog, Teddy. Happy Dog Mom’s and Pet Parents Day, and a very Happy Mother’s Day Weekend to all, and of course, much love sent to my own mom, who is doing well – hope to see her and my dad, soon. 

Thanks again to Mrs. Mciver’s class in NJ. If anyone else has shared this, with your own students or children, please feel free to let me know! I’m happy to share on a future post.

The reviews are in:

“I feel happy because I know we have to stay apart and we can get through this together.”

“I really like your song Mrs. Kruysman!!”

“I like how you were rimming Mrs. Kruysman!”

“I really like your rhythm Mrs. Kruysman!!”

“I really like Mrs. Kruysman!”

“I really liked your song Mrs. Kruysman because it rhymed and we can get through this all together.” From Lily

“I really liked the blog. The dog was wild and crazy and the story was very funny.”

“I really liked how it was from the dog’s perspective. Also when i was reading it my dog started barking.” From 0livia

“I really like that it was a poem from what your dog thinks.” From Anya

“I thought it was really cute and can imagine a dog really feeling this way. From Raina That was really nice to read . I also really loved your song.” From Janessa

“I don’t know any better song than that!” Sincerely Mason

“It was the best thing in the world to read and i will always read this before i go to bed and there are just no good words to say how amazing this poem or story was. I loved it so much.” From Abhi

“It was funny and it rhymed.” Lucas

“I liked how you used your dog in your rhyme.” Billy

“Omg that dog is so funny.” Mariah

“I loved the story because you used my favorite animal, a dog.” Morgan

“I have a dog too, his name is Jackson.” Brendan

“It is a good way to put what we are going through.” Alana

Thank you for reading and your lovely comments. Hang in there and be kind to your family, friends and pets!!! Love Mrs. Kruysman (Mrs. K.)


I established this blog ten years ago as I researched and wrote what would become Dog’s Best Friend: Will Judy, Founder of National Dog Week and Dog World Publisher (McFarland & Co. – 2014). The late Captain Judy has been credited as “The Man Who Brought America to the Dogs”.  Judy believed that in caring for dogs, and other pets, young people developed strong character traits including being responsible for the care of others.

In these Shelter in Place days, our dogs remind us to live in the moment. My walks with our dog, Teddy, get me out and enjoy the day, and from the safe distance of an arm’s length and a leash, we find a way to connect with others.

I dedicate the following to the faculty and students (past and present) of Midstreams Elementary School in Brick Township, NJ. From the period of 2003 to just recently, I spent a great deal of time working as a Substitute Teacher (a.k.a. Guest Educator) including a long-term assignment as the art instructor in the wake of Super Storm Sandy.

Dogs are creatures of habit – they sense when things “are different” and want to help their humans while coping with changes they can’t understand. Remember to stay safe and to take care of each other – your pets included!






By Lisa Begin-Kruysman and Teddy

I used to love spending time alone.

Squeaking toys and chewing my bone.

In empty rooms always space to zoom.

Look out for that table –  slip, slide – BOOM.

When I got bored I’d explore the trash.

The can would tip over – watch out! CRASH!!

In the flower pot I’d dig a huge hole.

Then wash my paws in the toilet bowl.

I crunched my snacks then licked crumbs off the rug.

Under a chair I found a dead bug!

At the window I’d bark at our cat.

She loved to nap on our Welcome Mat!

(Ill. Note: Cat is NOT happy, wants to come in. Dog smiles.)

But something has changed and I can’t believe it.

Now my humans stay home – they just won’t leave it.

At first our days are filled with fun.

More treats, belly rubs, naps in the sun.

But they’ll be staying home longer; I just got the news.

And this once carefree dog is singing the blues.

Hey! someone just let the cat back in.

I give up – I just can’t win!

She steals my toys and licks my dishes.

She purrs and mews and gets what she wishes.

Now my life is full of demands.

COME, SIT, HEEL – so many commands.


I spend most of my days slumped on the floor.

But something is wrong and it hurts my heart.

The humans are keeping so far apart.

No one hugs, or even shakes paw.

Is touching each other AGAINST THE LAW?

My humans aren’t happy, they’re lonely and blue.

I feel so helpless, what can I do?

Outside a bird tweets away in a tree.

“COME OUT, COME OUT, and play with me!”

I think my humans could use some fun, too.

And then I know just what to do.

I grab up my leash and stare outside.

Until my humans stand by my side.

They understand – dogs really can talk.

“Let’s all go out and take a long walk!”

From the end of my leash I touch a dog’s nose.

We stand still not moving – holding our pose.

From the ends of our leashes humans laugh and smile.

It’s the most fun they’ve had in awhile.

I wag my tail – I’m trying to say.

We can all be friends – from six feet way.

At the end of the day my humans rest.

I snuggle my head upon their chests.

Bump. Thump. Bump Thump; a gentle sound.

Once again I’m a happy hound.

Our house is still crowded – there’s NOWHERE to hide!

Scents and sounds all trapped inside.

Sometimes I dream of a quieter day.

But for now I’m just glad to COME, SIT and STAY.


PLEASE NOTE: Teachers and parents, I’d love to hear from you. Do your students have a favorite line from the story they’d like to illustrate? Do they have questions about writing? Would they like to leave a review or share a story about their own pets and how they’ve helped them cope as everyone shelters in place? With your permission, I’d love to share them in a subsequent blog post. For Press information and Permissions, also, please reach out at or leave a comment!

Don’t forget to LIKE our Dog Week Page at:


dog parade poster 3

“Try to be the god on earth, the all-powerful and all-mighty your dog thinks you are. Never let him learn his mistake.”  Will Judy, Founder of National Dog Week

Yes Rover, there really is a National Dog Week, and this author has made it a daily habit to sit, stay, and heel by her keyboard in an effort to “convince” the American Public that each September brings seven special days dedicated to dogs and the humans who love them (and that they deserve it).

This Diamond in the Ruff, was brought to us by Captain Wm. Lewis Judy who in 1928 dreamed up the occasion to promote dog ownership, the monthly issues of his Dog World Magazine and to encourage his followers to honor the emotional bond between themselves and their dogs. In 1935, he and his colleagues, established the Dog Writers Association of America giving dog writers a new degree of professionalism. 

Long before there were tweets, Judy barked his way into the hearts of dog lovers using nothing but a pedestal phone and manual typewriter. Dog World, headquartered in Chicago, was Dog-Central; pages of his magazine dedicated to every dog topic imaginable. Whether giving advice to a young family who’d just welcomed a new puppy, or die-hard breeders participating in the high-stakes world of dog showing, Judy dispensed words of wisdom and gentle encouragement to all.

In 2010, I began my research on the history of “Will’s World” and launched this blog to discuss the state of the dog in the states of the nation, then and now. As the old saying goes, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

Judy, trained as a minister in his Pennsylvanian youth, vilified those involved in dog-fighting rings, irresponsible dog owners who let their dogs roam freely about in urban areas, puppy factories (mills) and dog breed prejudice – many issues that still require attention (and action) today.

In Dog Weeks of Yore, Canine Calvacades took over Rockefeller Center in New York City complete with celebrity spokespersons and festivities. In cities across America schools, scouts and other organizations organized parades, parties and fund raisers to benefit dogs in need and military dogs.

We’ve come a long way since that first National Dog Week Observance held 91 years ago. It’s remarkable really; in the shadow of the Great Depression, how could dogs get a week when most humans couldn’t a day? How could Mother’s and Father’s only be given one day of honor each year while a dog got seven?

But as is often stated, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” and we have Captain Will Judy to thank for this week that brought him, and Americans, to the dogs with his wisdom, kindness, intelligence, perseverance and genuine love of all things dog.

For many years, National Dog Week had an annual theme complete with a poster and a slogan. This year, we invite you to join a Virtual Parade honoring Man’s Best Friend and do your part, no matter how small, to show compassion for and to thank our best four legged companions for all the ways they make the world better for us, asking for nothing in return.

Nothing has brought me more pleasure than watching the National Dog Week Facebook Page grow and thrive – filled with daily Love, Licks and Likes. Sometimes I feel like the “Wizard of Dog Week” – sitting quietly behind my computer “wall” trying to encourage intelligence, courage and heart at a time it is needed most, while nurturing those qualities in myself through the wisdom imparted by so many of our thoughtful page visitors. Sadly, it often seems that we still have a long walk down that Yellow Brick Road to make things truly right for our dogs, and their humans.

Keep up the Good Fight. I’ll do my best to keep up the “Good Write.”

Happy National Dog Week 2019!

To learn more about the man behind National Dog Week and its evolution read Dog’s Best Friend: Will Judy, Founder of National Dog Week and Dog World Publisher (McFarland & Co. – 2014) the only book of its kind! Ask your library to stock it, too!



A Happy Customer!

At a microchip clinic in a Northern New Jersey community, a certified veterinarian prepares to insert a microchip the size of a rice kernel in the nape of a dog’s neck. Assisted by a team of trained technicians, the chip is quickly and painlessly injected without anesthetics. Success! The safety of another pet has been secured.

But what makes this occasion unique is that this clinic is free, courtesy of NJ STRAYS, a non-profit organization with a goal to encourage microchipping as a means to reduce shelter intake.

NJ STRAYS was established by Adriana Bradley in 2012 in an attempt to support families struggling to care for their pets and were in search of low-cost resources. 

According to the NJ STRAYS website, Adriana’s No-Kill approach is an inclusive solution to the unnecessary euthanization of Companion Animals in and outside shelters. Her vision is to create a long-lasting solution to this problem through educational and community support.

Nuestra Mision:

“NJ STRAYS se preocupa por la gente y sus mascotas. Nos centramos en reducir el número de mascotas que entran en perreras locales y en prevenir la eutanización innecesaria de las mismas. Somos parte del movimiento en contra de la matanza animal.” 



Advocating for protective microchip measures, NJ Strays wishes to save lost pets from euthanasia when these animals find themselves in overcrowded shelters. According to the New Jersey Department of Health, more than 15,000 dogs and cats were euthanized in New Jersey shelters in 2016 alone.

Community outreach has truly been the key to success for meeting their goals. Many of the North Jersey regions served by NJ STRAYS are comprised of a large Spanish-speaking population. By offering services in English and Spanish the organization is able to have a greater impact on animal welfare. Fue un exito!

According to Rachel Moehl of the NJ STRAYS Marketing Team the frequency of these free microchipping events is dictated by need and the sponsorship support received from local Animal Control departments, dog groomers and local boarding facilities. “When we receive complete sponsorship, we’re able to offer free micro-chipping. Without complete sponsorship we are still able to offer our service for a cost of $15.00 per pet,” Moehl explains.This is a huge savings as this procedure can typically cost up to $85.00.

In 2018 NJ STRAYS microchipped 64 pets and had already surpassed that number as of June 2019 with a goal to microchip a total of 800 pets by end-of-year. When these free microchip clinics are held in conjunction with free rabies and spay and neuter events the turn-out is high with nearly 60 pets and their owners attending. Pre-registration is not required.

NJPAW Microchip

Chipped and Cheerful!

Animal-loving individuals may pay it forward by sponsoring a pet’s microchip for just $10.00 while having the opportunity to dedicate the microchip to a person (or pet) of their choice. The pet who receives this gift is informed of this special dedication.

Microchipping is a crucial lifesaving precaution throughout all regions of the nation. Dr. Patrick Mahaney, a Los Angeles-based veterinarian, shares, “When I worked emergency practice and would see random clients come in as a good Samaritans having found a lost dog or cat there were plenty of times when a microchip was scanned yet the owner had not registered their information which made it more challenging to get the pets back to their respective owner.”

Rescue Groups also attest to the value of micro-chipping. Joy Manley, founder of R &R Animal Sanctuary in Wisconsin recalls an incident when a woman insisted that a surrendered dog belonged to her. It was only after Joy requested an x-ray of the dog that a microchip was revealed and the situation rightfully resolved. Although uncommon, the chip had migrated.

These situations remind pet owners to register their pet’s microchip and to regularly check the chip’s functionality during visits to veterinarians.

Remember, even the most responsible dog owner may find themselves in situations where they are separated from their beloved pets – a gate left open by a workman or visitor, the startling burst of fireworks that cause a frightened pet to flee, a slip of a leash and collar – these unfortunate circumstances can cause great anxiety and uncertainty for both pet and human. Thanks to organizations like NJ STRAYS, the awareness of microchipping increases resulting in more lives saved and happy reunions.

To learn more about NJ STRAYS please visit


“Paws” to Chip!


April is National Heartworm Awareness Month and because heartworm is transmitted by mosquitos, areas with warm climates typically have a higher number of heartworm cases. That’s why in places like the Hawaiian Islands, awareness is particularly important. The American Heartworm Society estimates that 26 to 50 cases were reported per clinic in Hawaii in 2016.

When Roxy (my niece) and Kalani, a young couple residing in Oahu, wished to bring a dog into their lives they began their search at the Hawaiian Humane Society. It was there that they met and fell in love with a slate grey and white pit bull they named Tutu.

Tutu had found himself at the shelter as a stray and had only been there for four days before being rehomed. According to Roxy, he’s the Cuddle Master. “He really is the sweetest little soulful guy. He loves people and attention and is a good source of entertainment and joy.”

Those who adopt pit bulls or any “bully type” dog face specific challenges. As Roxy explains, “Luckily out here pit-bull type dogs are very popular, so we don’t get too much negativity, just sometimes  people with small dogs crossing the street when they see him coming.” But Roxy and Kalani practice responsible dog ownership and understand and respect those who may harbor a fear of these dogs noting that Tutu does catch some people off guard just by his size. “He’s a big pup,” Roxy says.

But not long after the adoption took place Roxy and Kalani faced another challenge when during a routine vet check it was suspected that Tutu might have heartworm; thin, long white parasitic worms that despite their name do not live in the heart, but reside in the lungs of dogs (and cats). These worms can grow to be over a foot long beginning the first stage of their development in the gut of mosquitos before being transmitted to their unwitting furry host. After being injected into the mammal, heartworms enter the larval stage in the capillaries and skin of the dog followed by the adult stage where they reside in the dog’s pulmonary veins.   

Heartworm infestation can be difficult to detect. Symptoms include a progressively worsening cough, anemia, difficulty breathing and a reluctance to exercise. Tutu’s treatment had to be delayed due to stomach issues from being on antibiotics for too long for a previous condition. “Our vet actually wouldn’t give him any new medication, including heartworm prevention, for months until his stomach healed,” Roxy explains. When he was cleared to get his medicines up-to-date, he was prescribed the Heartworm test which is always done before treatment starts. When his first result came back positive and a second test came back borderline Heartworm treatment began.

Roxy, Kalani and of course Tutu were fortunate. As Roxy recalls, “Tutu didn’t actually display any symptoms at all and we were lucky to have caught it very early and were able to get rid of the worms using only preventative treatments, patience, and rest.” Because his heartworm condition was not severe and he’s so young, and otherwise healthy, he didn’t have to undergo more extreme treatments.

After he was diagnosed heartworm positive Tutu was house-bound, and his movement restricted to keep his heart rate as low as possible. While the preventative medicine kills the heartworms, little bits of them can break off and travel to a dog’s heart causing great harm or worse. “We had to wait four months after his first dose of medicine to re-check for the heart worms. When he came back all clear we eased him back into physical activity, since we’d kept his movement to a minimum for so long,” Roxy recalls.

As is true for humans, so is for dogs and “an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure” and less expensive, too. With regular visits with a veterinarian, blood tests and providing once-a-month heartworm prevention meds, dog owners can effectively minimize, if not eliminate, the impact of this deadly disease. Other preventative measures include avoiding the times of dawn and dusk for walks and eliminating standing water where mosquitos lay their eggs.

In early January, on the occasion of Roxy’s birthday, she and Kalani received notice that Tutu was healthy!  “We were able to take him down to the beach to watch the sunset with me to celebrate,” Roxy happily relays.

These days Tutu continues to enjoy the good life in his tropical paradise. According to Roxy, he’s a “resilient little guy,” and they’re working on his off-leash training at the beach to focus while being around other dogs. Although Tutu can be quite stubborn, he has no other behavioral or health issues. His only “flaws” seem to be that he’s a little bit of a bed hog and heavy sleeper at times.

It’s successful adoption stories like this that can have a positive impact on the dog-human bond and young adopters like Roxy and Kalani are excellent role models for intelligent and informed dog adoption. Their commitment to making Tutu physically and emotionally healthy sets a good example for everyone. I thank them for sharing their story and for bringing awareness to the serious issue of heartworm.

Mahalo, thank you, and much love to everyone in their endeavors to keep their pets happy and healthy.




These frigid winter days have many staying inside curled up with a good book and if you love to read great books filled with stories that embrace the dog-human bond, you might consider joining the Yahoo Group, DogRead.

DogRead is the original cyber book club where authors join readers online in an Interactive Workshop format featuring a new dog-related book each month. The group was established in 2000 by Treshell Jones. After Treshell’s passing, Dana Mackonis, one of her co-moderators, took over the management of the group. Now with nearly 6,500 members, DogRead has hosted over 300 authors who write dog-centric books in a multitude of genres. Each author is invited to discuss their current titles with group members for a two week period in a moderated conversation.

I’ve been honored to be a DogRead featured author twice for two of my titles, Dog’s Best Friend: Will Judy, Founder of National Dog Week and Dog World Publisher and Something’s Lost and Must be Found. Now I’m excited to share that for the first time, DogRead will feature an anthology. Second-Chance Dogs: True Stories of the Dogs We Rescue and the Dogs Who Rescue Us (Revell-Baker Group, September, 2018) will be the featured book for the week beginning February 15th. Joining the book conversation will be some of my fellow contributors to Second Chance Dogs who are also active members of the Dog Writers Association of American (DWAA).

In her essay, “Finding the Way Home”, Denise Fleck shares her girlhood story of Blondie, a sweet stray who came to stay at a time when a young girl really needed a canine friend. In her essay, “Gotcha Day” Jen Reeder, outgoing president of the DWAA (thanks for your service, Jen) tells of how she returned to the shelter where she’d rescued her beloved Rio. Rio became a beloved therapy dog and to express her gratitude to Rio’s shelter, Jen presented a special and meaningful gift that only a dog-writer can bestow.

Lonnie Hull Dupont, editing under the name of Callie Smith Grant, pays tribute to her sister who is truly “all bark and no bite” in her contribution “Strangers in the Snow”. Lonnie’s “My August Dog” tells of her life-changing trip to Greece where a homeless mother dog inspired her to make life-changing decisions with enduring results.

In her contribution “The Sound of Home”, Susan C. Willett talks about making an adoption choice that helped her family heal the loss of a beloved pup while helping a pair of adorable adoptable dogs. Susan’s “What’s Wrong with Your Dog” reminds us how dogs can teach us about acceptance and seeing beyond perceived “imperfections”.

Personally, I am thankful that “Surrender”, my story about our foster-to-furever dog, Teddy, was accepted as one of the many tributes to our beloved dogs featured in Second-Chance Dogs.

I think it’s so impressive that so much emotion can be evoked by these stories, most no longer than 3,000 words, and how each entry by these DWAA members, and so many other accomplished authors, encourage us to examine our own relationships with our dogs and fellow humans. As she has proven in the past, Callie (Lonnie) is a terrific editor and writer with a true heart for companion animals.

We hope you’ll become a DogRead member and join us for a discussion of Second-Chance Dogs in February! If you’d like to become a member of DogRead please visit: and remember to like their Facebook page:

Second Chance Dogs may be purchased directly through The Baker Revell Publishing Group site:





“Every day’s a holiday. Some holidays are better than others.” Attribution Unknown

Welcome to a new year nearly three weeks in. The above is one of my favorite quotes because of its positivity. It reminds me that even a day that brings sadness and bad news contains something that is good, even if we have to search for it. It also reminds me of the myriad of holidays and observances, much like National Dog Week, that ask us to  consider a topic we might otherwise overlook whether it be social causes, lesser known diseases and challenges, a forgotten figure in history, food and beverages and of course occasions that celebrate and honor our pets.

January presents among other observances National Train Your Dog, Walk Your Dog, and Unchain a Dog Month, Change a Pet’s Life Day and the lighter Dress Up Your Pet Day.

It occurs to me that Walk Your Dog and Unchain a Dog Month present two sides of the dog-human connection, while at the same time asking those who are good dog-guardians to be even more caring and engaged. Dog walking seems like a simple act at first, but the “art of dog walking” differs depending on where one resides. Suburban dog owners with large fenced-in yards may simply open a sliding glass door each morning to allow their dogs outdoor time. This may be ideal, but don’t forget that your dog(s) may become bored at times and might wonder what lies beyond that tall fence. Getting your dog out and about helps with socialization and may be good for their humans as they get some fresh air and exercise. Ironically many city-dogs may enjoy more walks than their suburban cousins, but those dogs must master elevators and stairwells and good timing. On the other paw, dogs of those who live in more rural areas may never see a leash, or don’t require a  fenced in yard. These dogs wander leash-free and hopefully safely each and every day.

Sadly, some people still believe it’s alright to chain a dog in their backyards in the heat of summer and during frigid days and nights. In many cases these dogs have little access to food and water and live sad and lonely days. Many states have passed laws that give law enforcement the ability to take action to protect and rescue these unfortunate dogs. If you see a dog suffering please check with local authorities to see how you can help.

As for Change a Pet’s Life Day, I still hear people saying that shelter pets are somehow damaged goods without realizing how much these pets need another chance at having a good home and family. It asks potential pet owners to consider that when seeking a new family member. Dress Up Your Pet Day encourages the more playful and fun-side of having a pet, and as many of us in pet-writing biz know, pet-couture is a big industy filled with creative individuals. If you’ve ever witnessed a pet fashion-show, you can’t help but smile at the models on the run-way and appreciate the fact that many of these events raise funds and awareness for good causes.

And of course whether welcoming a new pup or an older dog to your home, set aside some time to work on obedience training, and seek professionals who can help develop good life-time habits that will strengthen the dog-human bond.

Has walking your dog lead you to new friendships or encounters that were life-changing? Have you ever helped a dog become unchained or worked to pass legislation that helped to free neglected dogs in your neighborhood or state? Do you design fashions for pets or have you changed the life of a pet through foster or rescue? If so, please share in the comment section or leave your stories over on the National Dog Week Facebook page. We love to hear from our readers.



My foster-to-furever dog, Teddy celebrates 6 years with us this month! He tolerated Dress Up Day!


The Dog Days may have officially ended, but the “Dog Daze” loom – can you believe National Dog Week – seven days of pure canine celebration – will observe its 90th Observation the week of September 24th?


Poster Stamps from Dog Weeks Past

Yes Virginia, there really is a Dog Week and if it had its own Santa, it would be Captain Wm. Lewis Judy, best known as Will Judy, the individual often cited as The Man who Brought America to the Dogs.

As his biographer, I would be remiss if I didn’t tell you that you could “read all about it” in a book I wrote titled Dog’s Best Friend: Will Judy, Founder of National Dog Week and Dog World Publisher (McFarland & Co. – 2014). If your school, or community library, doesn’t offer it, I hope that you’ll request that they acquire a copy, or two. With over 1,000 footnotes (I’m still recovering) it offers an overview of Judy’s publishing career told through his magazines, books and his never-ending promotion of his beloved National Dog Week launched in 1928.

To help keep the Week of the Dog a relevant part of American History, I launched a blog in 2010 (due to book writing my posts have been infrequent but I do hope to change that) and a Facebook Page to connect with dog-loving readers. Judy was also an art lover and promoted artists (as well as authors) whose work embraced that special dog-human bond. To that end, I created some art of my own that captures the enduring spirit of National Dog Week and all that it encompasses and Judy’s undying patriotism.




Someone once referred to me as the “Wizard of Dog Week” and that made me laugh. I sometimes get messages addressed to “Dear Sir” – from those who think Will is still with us sitting behind an Internet Wall dispensing “wise” observations about the role of dogs in our lives. Even as early as the 1930s, Judy was aware that dog-centric topics could be wrought with contention and controversy, but he handled his detractors with dignity and humor. Like Judy, I’m both encouraged by news items and incidents that inspire the world in the Ways of Dog; alternately dismayed when I see how far we still have to go on the path of enlightenment. The latter was never lost on Captain Judy. But he never gave up the good fight – trained in the ministry in his youth, he retained a unique spirituality that permeated his writings and approach to the dog-human bond.

Dog Week is YOUR week. Throughout the month of September, leading up to its 90th appearance on the American calendar, I’ll use its Community Facebook Page to offer excerpts from Dog’s Best Friend (and some of my other books) as we honor Dog Week’s rich and poignant history – a week that still calls for collective thoughtfulness and action on behalf of our beloved canines.

Please join us by “Liking” the official National Dog Week Community Page, share your love of all things dog, and become an active part of the observance’s unique history. I hope my Writing Story and works inspire.  Thank you.



"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 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”