Yesterday, my friends Joyce, Cheryl, Kim, Linda, and I (the true “real” housewives of New Jersey, and real women of the Jersey Shore), made our annual trek to Broadway.  We used to go during the pre-Christmas rush, but going at this time of year is so much more enjoyable, less crowds at restaurants and after theatre spots.

This year, we chose to see Memphis, maybe one of the best things I’ve ever seen on Broadway.  Excellent performances all round, great sets, and of course, don’t forget the lyrics written by Jersey’s own David Bryan, founding member of Bon Jovi.

Last year, my husband and I had the pleasure of meeting David at a charity event hosted by my good friends Laura and John Brunetti at the Deal Country Club.  My sister, Manette, and I have known Laura since our days spent in the halls of Hackensack High School. Laura,  a tireless supporter of the arts and artists was the honorary guest of the evening, an event that raised funds for those who suffer from the “invisible” disease of mental illness.  At that event, diners offered bids to have Mr. Bryan sing and play keyboard for attendees, not before he mingled with the crowd.  My husband and I, not really knowing who he was spent a great deal of time chatting with him about life and family, and other assorted items, but he definitely wasn’t boastful about the depth of his talent.

In his Playbill interveiw, David spoke of how it was possible for two guys from Jersey to write a play about “race” music, and the deejays of the south who helped to promote a new sound that appealed to blacks and whites in an unlikely place.  In answer to that, David’s writing partner and collaborater, Joe DiPietro commented that Rodgers & Hammerstein didn’t spend a lot of time in Oklahoma either.

That comment made me laugh because my research for my book about Will Judy and the National Dog Week Movement brings me to places where I am definitely not in my element.  One publisher asked me, “Who do you know in the dog world.”  I answered promptly, “I know my dog!”  He laughed, but his query was not unique as I have learned that the “dog world” can be a very tight knit circle.  All the more reason for me to be thankful to all those who have generously helped me with my questions and requests for information that has not always been readily available.

My dog Hooper, although a purebred, is not registered with the AKC, but she is AKC (All kisses and cuddles) and that is how dogs can be effective therapists.  Will Judy wrote that dogs are natural psychiatrists, and I have seen the positive effects that dogs have on those who have difficulties making it through hard times, people who need a non-judgemental companion that makes them feel special 24/7.

Now is the time to think about ways we can carry on the mission of those who started and continued to keep the motion in the National Dog Week movement.  Let’s use it as a time to make sure all those who need and deserve trained therapy dogs have the opportunity to obtain one.  I look forward to your stories and input!

And hopefully, more people will join in on the development of my NDW project as I have been invited by the editor of a large national publication to hopefully share my story with their readers!  Some days, despite some nay-sayers, I feel like the Little Engine that Could. If my essay is published, you all will be among the first to know.

By my count, we have about 242 days  to make those plans for National Dog Week. Please let me know how you can be part of the big picture.