After my recent posting of “Dogs in Heaven,” I’ve heard from so many of you.  I received calls, e-mails, and comments from across the country from those who wanted to share warm memories spent with my family, and of course my brother, Matt, as well as some of the special pets that have been an important part of our lives.

Just to bring everyone up-to-date, I’ve only been posting for three weeks and it has been a great way to connect with so many, sharing my passion for a writing project that has been absorbing many of my waking (and sleeping) hours lately, my “pet” project you could say, about Will Judy’s National Dog Week Movement (see post of January 4 for details). 

These days, with hours spent researching, and writing proposals, queries, not to mention content, you could say I’ve been working like a dog.  As I dig, and dig for facts and information, I embody a Jack Russell terrier.  As I present my treasure to someone I think might care, I feel like a goofy Golden retriever, and as I protect my interests, honor, and time spent on such a daunting task, the Rottweiler in me emerges.

But here is where the cat is out of the bag, literally, and figuratively!  In truth, more cats, than dogs, have been a part of my life.  Mittens, Gypsy, Jefferson, Furley, Metal, Pita, and of course our beloved Maurey, all come to mind. 

Gypsy came into our lives one warm summer evening during our nightly neighborhood kickball game up on the hill in Hackensack.  A car pulled up and deposited a squirmy duffel bag on the curb.  “It’s alive,” we cried, running towards it with no fear.  As one, two, three…five little furry heads popped out, we knew we had inherited some new pets.  Five of the most beautiful kittens I had ever seen had been hand delivered to us, a 1970s version of  We chose to keep a black and white tuxedo cat and Matt named her Gypsy after a popular song of the time.  We spent the remainder of the summer finding good homes for the rest.

Within a year or so, Gypsy was carrying kittens, or a kitten it would turn out.  On the morning of the Fourth of July, my father made an interesting discovery.  Gypsy had given birth to a tri-colored kitten on top of a folded American Flag.  Our “cat naming master,” Matt, named the patriotic kitten Jefferson.

Times may change, but pets remain a constant in our lives.  They bring us joy on a daily basis, getting us outside, connecting with someone we might never even have met without that gentle tug of the leash by your social canine.

Will Judy related through his writings how pets can be an invaluable “tool” for instilling traits of caring and responsibility in our young. Recently I submitted an article about National Dog Week to Highlights for Children.  The editor pointed out that not all children can have a dog, or any pet.  With that in mind, I presented an article with ideas and activities that could be enjoyed by those without a dog in their lives during a week that honors them.

The other day, the mother of one of my close friends sent me a blast from the past.  In my mailbox I found the book, Hackensack-A Pictoral History.  It was filled with some beautiful photos of my home town from way back when.  If you look closely I am in there, but I’d like to point out as part of the more recent past!  One of the photos in the book shows a local family sometime during the 1930s celebrating the birthday of Jackie, the family dog. As you can see, the love we feel for our canines is timeless.

Watch for future blogs about my experience with the Highlights Foundation and as I “follow”  local dog, DJ, to the Westminster Dog Show in February!

Canine Countdown to National Dog Week: 236 days!