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Dogs get into the spirit of Hound-o-Ween

Welcome to my Blog, established to promote the legacy of  Captain Will Judy’s National Dog Week launched in 1928 to create a better world for dogs and is still relevant today in a nation where over 70 million dogs enjoy a special bond with the humans who love them.  To learn more about it, please listen to my interview with Renee Premaza at  (Click on Radio Show link).

 At Hound-o-Ween, dogs will trade “ticks” for treats, skeleton bones for milk bones, play with toys that squeal (not squeak), and will welcome bats, not cats “witch” is okay for one day (although dogs and people are encouraged to be nice to the cats in their lives)!  We love them, too.

Hound-oWeen is the creation of Erika Friedman of Canine Celebration in New York City and co-sponsor Metrosniff ( to benefit New York rescue group, Rescuzilla ( .

So many terrific sponsors have donated their time and services that will be raffled off at the event.  Among them, J Mikel of Fur NY, Babette Haggerty’s Dog Training and NYC veterinarian, Dr. Cindy Bressler.  Cupcakes provided by Purple Elephant will be enjoyed by all and Eric Ferrar, pet photographer will be on hand to take five by seven photos of your costumed pet.  At 2:30, judging will begin for best pet costumes.

Remember, Halloween can be a scary time for our pets.  The constant knock at the door of noisy humans in “disguise” can spook any pet, and watch it as you open the front door to greet trick or treaters, your pets may take that opportunity to flee out of fear. Also, don’t share your treats with your pups, chocolate is not good for dogs, and did you know that xylitol, found in a lot of sugar-free products, can be lethal to dogs?  Thank you to Deanna Vicera, of Freehold, NJ for bringing this to my attention.  To read more about this please  go to  And please don’t force your pets to wear a costume if it is apparent they aren’t comfortable.  Be smart, be safe, and enjoy the day.

To learn about Erika and her business, Canine Celebration, you can read my interview with her in my Blog Archives (9/25) or go to or visit her Canine Celebration page on Facebook.

Stay tuned for a Blog about Carla Gambescia and her Dogs in Party Hats Fundraiser, and a story about how dogs can educate our kids in some special ways…


Welcome to my Blog, a place for those with a “weekness for dogs,”  established to honor the life of ultimate-dog enthusiast Captain Will Judy and the legacy of  his National Dog Week Movement that is still so relevant today, and my book that documents its colorful history over the course of 82 years.

Thanks to so many of you who have come to be regular readers and those who listened to my interview with Renee Premaza on her show Thursday in the Dog House that aired on October 14th.  You can listen in if you go to and click on the Radio Show Link on the left.  As promised, I am reposting my interview with author Steve Duno.  Steve has been busy promoting his book, Last Dog on the Hill: The Extraordinary Life of Lou, and has a book reading coming up at Sun River Books and Music, in Sun River, Oregon on Saturday, October 23 at 5:00pm.  You can also read Steve’s Blog posts at  His latest post discusses the controversial topic of the alarmingly early ages at which our dogs are being spayed and neutered.  Very thought-provoking…

Stay tuned for an update on Erika Friedman’s plans for the big Hound-o-Ween event at a Petco in New York City and an interview with Carla Gambescia and her “tasty” fund raising effort, Dogs In Party Hats…

Here now is a repost from the “Seven Posts for Seven Dog Days Series” that ran during National Dog Week…


Steve with Flavio, a favorite student of Lou's


When the Student is ready the teacher appears…Buddhist proverb

In his book, Last Dog on the Hill, The Incredible Story of Lou, Seattle-based pet behaviorist and author, Steve Duno, is the student, ready to receive the lessons of a pup he rescued from a Northern California hillside.

Nearly six-months old and flea infested, why this dog Steve came to call Lou chose to present himself to a total stranger while his pack of siblings retreated back to the wild remains a mystery.  Little did Steve know just how much this dog would change the course of his life.

Last Dog on the Hill tells the moving story of a special bond between a man and his dog.  Together Lou and Steve, a former school teacher, tutored the kids of celebrities in Los Angeles, apprehended armed robbers and a rapist and worked as a team to rehabilitate dogs just a step away from death row due to behavioral issues caused primarily by their owner’s ignorance.

With his movie star looks, and soulful eyes, Lou had a profound effect on all he met during the course of his 16-year life. By choosing to be rescued by Steve off that California hill site, Lou, a shepherd-Rottweiler mix claimed his heritage as a member of the Working Group, and his role as one of man’s best friends forever.  Although no longer with us, Lou’s lessons continue to teach through the writings of his loyal guardian, Steve.

Do you think some people have a way with animals?

 I think that certain people are “natural” pet owners- they seem to have an innate rapport with dogs and/or cats.  I wrote about that in my books Be the Dog and Be the Cat.  They are able to see things from the pets POV, and therefore make great owners.  In my case, I had an idea of what pet ownership might be, from Lassie and Old Yeller and Rin Tin Tin…  but the reality was a bit different. 

As a young boy without pets of your own, how did you get your pet fix?

Pet fix?  I had a cranky parakeet named Chipper, who’d strafe the room trying to poke your eyes out.  And I read dog books and watched Lassie.

Who influenced you in the pet industry, did you have any role models?

 Hmm.  I didn’t know of any trainers other than Rudd Weatherwax the owner of Lassie.  He got those collies to do some cool things.  When I was a kid I didn’t think you could make a living from dogs, unless you were a sheepherder.

Do you think we should encourage young people to explore careers in the pet-industry?

 Careers in the dog field are, well, somewhat hard to get into.  To be a vet takes years of school and money; and learning to train well takes years of hard work.  Kennel work is tough, as is daycare work.  Many dog walkers do make some good coin though.  But sure, I guess that kids should know that pets can provide not only companionship, but a living as well.

Do you think there are other potential Lous out there?

Sure I do…  but it takes the right dog.  Perfect genes; most dogs wouldn’t have the goods.  The dog has to be fairly strong, big, confident, sociable yet dominant and patient…  not easy to find a dog like that.  Lou was a natural; I didn’t teach him to do it.  He just knew.  Lou was a natural teacher with kids.  They love dogs, provided the dogs are kind, tolerant, gentle.  Dogs are natural teaching tools; how can you beat the lure of a good dog?

Do you think all dog owners need to seek out the services of a professional dog trainer?

 I do not think everyone needs professional help with a puppy or dog; many are pretty competent.  Years ago people were all good at it, as dogs were vital workers in the family/farm etc.  You had to know canine behavior back then.  Today though too many people treat dogs like trust fund babies and not dogs. They do not know dogs anymore.  Those people need help!  A few classes in the beginning can work wonders for them.

What should a dog owner look for when choosing a trainer?

Pick a trainer who you like.  Watch them work a dog; does the dog respond to them, are they confident?  Authoritative yet inspiring?  Look for a trainer who emulates your third grade school teacher; loving yet confident and strong- someone with gentle power.

What about Lou’s littermates that chose to go down the other side of that hill?

 Oh sure- Lou had seven or eight littermates, but they were all skittish and flighty.  I saw them all- similar looks to Lou.  He was the only one willing to interact.  The others would have not been good pets I think…

You have written several “how to” books, was the writing of this more personal work very different for you?

Memoir form was easy for me, as I have a long history of writing fiction in addition to prescriptive non-fiction.  It was a relief in a way.

How do you find the promotional side of the book business?

Hmm.  I like meeting people on the road, and talking about the book.  But the responsibility to promotions is a heavy load sometimes; I’m a better writer than a promoter.  Writers are by nature introspective people- to expect them to also be salespeople is hard for many.  But I am a ham, so…  traveling can also be very tiring.  and road food…  oh the road food.

Thanks to Steve and Lou for sharing their story during this 82nd observance of National Dog Week.


Antique postcard art -- Greyhounds, circa 1915

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

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.

back view of framed antique postcard art

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.

Landseer-Crumbs from the King's Table, antique postcard art

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

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  

Welcome to a blog written for those who have a “Weekness” for dogs…Stay tuned for Monday’s post about Nikki Moustaki and her Pet Postcard Project and some ways I hope to use my own vintage postcard art to help her cause to feed shelter pets…

Over the past several months I’ve posted almost every week about the legacy of Captain Will Judy and his National Dog Week Movement, and the contributions of a man named Captain Arthur Haggerty to keeping the motion in that movement.  You can access the archives of September to read more about National Dog Week

When Will Judy began National Dog Week in 1928, the people of our nation were in for some hard times, and now 82 years later, some find themselves in a similar situation.  Styles, movies, technology, politics all may change, but one thing I know for sure, the dog remains the same…loyal, steadfast, and always our best friend. With over 70 million dogs residing in American homes, it really does take a week to honor all of them, and another 51 for good measure. 

Last week, I posted daily with items featuring someone in the nation who helps to make the world a better place for both man and dog.  As promised, now I will be reposting them for some hang time during October. The  first post presented renowned Dog Obedience Trainer Babette Haggerty of Babette Haggerty’s School for Dogs, LLC.  Babette is the daughter of the late Captain Arthur Haggerty.  She wrote the book, Woman’s Best Friend (McGraw-Hill 2003) and was the winner of City Tails Readers Choice Awards in 2008, voted as one of NYC’s Favorite Dog Trainers. Babette has also written the Foreword for my book project, Every Dog has its Week.  

 Babette posing with a friend in NYC last Valentine’s Day…

Please describe your services (names, background, individuals who work for you, if any).  What makes your training service stand out in the New York metro region? I train dogs and their people in the metro NYC area.  I teach group and private lessons as well as have a boarding school.  I have an assistant Erika Friedman who donates her free time to her non-profit called Canine Celebrations.  I also have two girls that I am training to train dogs. 

What is your training philosophy, or approach?  I believe in using a balanced approach while making the training easiest for the dog owner and fun for the dog. It is imperative that we deliver results as quickly as possible so that the owner doesn’t give up on the dog and it is relinquished to the shelter. 

As the daughter of a renowned dog obedience trainer, did you know you always wanted to do this for a living?  Who else in the field has influenced your methods? While growing up, the dog training profession was virtually unknown. There were very, very few trainers out there.  I always worked for my dad growing up when I was off from school.  As far as I knew he was the only dog trainer out there.  While in college, I told him that I wanted to get into showing dogs and he asked, “Why don’t you start training?”  I told him that I couldn’t because he was THE dog trainer. I didn’t know that other people out there existed. He was such an icon in the dog world.  We would be at a dog show and couldn’t walk two feet without someone stopping him.  Even if we were just doing our thing in NYC people would always stop and recognize him. He was a bit of a hometown celebrity. 

Your father was a huge  fan of Captain Will Judy, Founder of National Dog Week, was he ever able to meet him personally?  Why did he think Will Judy was so important to dogs and their welfare? I am not sure that my dad did meet him.  My dad admired anyone that promoted dogs in a positive and progressive light. It is important to reflect upon the way dogs were viewed sixty, forty and even twenty-five years ago.  They sleep in bed with us today and we dress them up and spend more money on their spa treatments than on ourselves sometimes.  Back in Will Judy’s day, they would roam the countryside and come home at night to sleep outside.  They served a utilitarian purpose as a hunter, herder, and guard back etc then.  If you asked your grandmother when she was young if her dogs were allowed in the house, at all, she would probably tell you no.   

What inspired your father to take up the cause of NDW in 2005?  Was he pleased with the public’s response?  He was very pleased.  He actually started putting together people to celebrate NDW earlier than that.  He did it pretty consistently in the 70’s then as time went on it fell to the side and he brought it back around 2002 or 2003. 

Can you tell us a little about your own dog or dogs and what they might like to do for NDW?   I have a German shepherd, a Rottweiler and a French bulldog. Since two of my breeds have reputations as vicious dogs I will be bringing them to the local schools to teach children how to be safe around dogs. 

To learn more about Babette and her work please go to: 

 Watch for reposts of my interviews with author Steve Duno, Last Dog on the Hill and Ryan Rice of the Houston Dog Blog where he will let us know how his Pupcakes with a Purpose Fundraiser turned out…


"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”