In honor of April Fools Day, I greet you with that wishful, but false headline!  Hooper, unfortunately did not win the lottery during our stay in Florida, and we can still only admire and wish for our dream house in Key West.  Not only is it April Fools Day, it is also a “Rabbit” Day.  According to an English superstition dating back to the mid-1950s, if you say “Rabbit, Rabbit,” to someone before noon the first day of a month, you, and the recipient of those words will be granted good luck for the rest of the month (of course there are different versions of this custom).

And as I had written in previous posts, Big Pine Key, when it comes to animal-life, is always full of surprises.  On my last afternoon there, I looked out the window and was surprised again by an interesting scene.  A woman on a dapple gray horse trotted down our street, with a goat the size of a Shetland pony in pursuit.  “Rich,” I called out.  “There’s a horse and a goat running down the road.”  Since it was too early for Happy Hour, he believed me, and we ventured out to get a better look.  Woman, horse, and goat turned around, heading toward us.  “Watch your back,” I warned my husband, having had run-ins with goats before.  “Do you have a cigarette, and a snack for my horse?” the woman inquired.  By this time, my animal-loving neighbor, Donna, had joined us, and disappeared into her home obligingly returning with both.  The woman, lit up, and the horse, a beatiful Arabian, chomped on a carrot, but the goat backed off, not wanting any part of us.  “He’s very shy,” the woman explained in what sounded like a french accent.   The goat stuck close by the side of its horse friend during their entire visit.  When it was time to leave, all three took off, disappearing around the bend.  I guarantee you, we won’t be seeing anything like that again, anytime soon.

The worst part about this trip is the long ride home, which we try to do in two days (although we know people who drive straight through).  We stopped in Savannah, Georgia last night, and enjoyed another meal at Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House, which is owned by chef Paula Deen’s brother.  Great food, and we actually got to meet Bubba on a previous stop, and he was very friendly, and solicitous of his customers.  Today, we are dealing with so many who are heading back up north, many returning to Canada, where, unfortunately, the snow is probably not quite over.  Fortunately for us, we are returning to a much warmer New Jersey than the one we left.

My trip to the Keys this year was especially rewarding.  I have made so many contacts with dog-lovers, and professionals from all parts of the country, and will be sharing the personal stories of those individuals involved with making the lives of dogs better, every day, and during National Dog Week.  You’ll meet obedience trainers, people who run great web-sites just for dog-lovers, those who develop unique products that make our pups healthy and happy, and much more.  And of course, I’ll be getting back to the final stage of writing my soon to be “officially” named book (well, it’s the name I would like, anyway).  My thanks to all who have responded so generously to my requests for interviews, and information.  It’s what makes this process so enjoyable, and keeps me going.

Wishing a very Happy Easter, and spring season to all.  Remember, never give chocolate to your dogs no matter how much they beg, go and fill their baskets with all-natural treats from a doggy bakery, and then take them out for a long walk to burn off all of those calories taken in at the holiday table.  Then, “relax” by the tv, and watch the Yankees-Red Sox game, which happens to be a very volatile event for some of  my family members!

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