In January 2010, I launched this Blog to help relay the mission of the enduring American tradition of National Dog Week. To learn more please see About.
“Let Hercules himself do what he may, the cat will mew and dog will have his day.” Wm. Shakespeare, Hamlet; Act 5, Scene 1
For those who don’t know, blog is short for biographical-log, an on-line bio that is usually written around a theme. In my case, I started with an ambitious goal of three posts a week, with personal observations of dog-related issues. In time, my posts became a way for me to present individuals who truly relay the message of National Dog Week, on a weekly basis.
Reaching the big 100 Post milestone, I wanted to celebrate with a special posting, I asked my loyal Portuguese water dog, Hooper to interview me on life as a blogger and writer. Without further delay, I present the Hooper Interview (after she eats of course, and does her business). This interview is taking place on April 1st in Key Colony Beach, Florida.
H: Thanks for the walk…Where do I start? What did you do before you wanted to be a writer?
LBK: Well, much like our hero, Will Judy, the ultimate dog-enthusiast who was the publisher of Dog World Magazine for 36 years, and founder of National Dog Week, I worked at many different kinds of jobs…After graduating from the University of Connecticut I was a waitress in Edgartown, MA, sales person in a sporting goods store on Cape Cod, MA, Human Resources Associate/Recruiter for Home Box Office in New York, ice-skating and swimming instructor, substitute teacher…and of course as a fine artist for the past twenty years.
H: Where are some of the places you have lived?
LBK: I grew up in Hackensack, NJ, lived in Boulder, CO when I was 14, went to school at the University of Connecticut spending summers on Martha’s Vineyard and Cape Cod, MA, Greenwich Village in New York City, and now I call Ocean County, NJ home. I have also spent a lot of time in St. Augustine, and the Florida Keys for the past several years, something I hope to do more of. And then there was that month in Italy!
H: What has been the best and worst part of starting and maintaining a blog?
LBK: Well, the hardest part of blogging is delivering interesting and meaningful material on a weekly basis. Fortunately, when it comes to dogs, there is no lack for material…Did you know there are over 70 million of you guys in this nation? But cats still have you beat so watch out! The best part of blogging is getting to know so many great individuals who work so hard on behalf of the “Cause for the Paws.” In telling their stories, I hope to inspire others to get involved or find their own niche. I like to think of it as “The Little Blog that Could.” Most people are more than happy to talk to me and in doing so, I get more people to stop by and read! Oh, and it also helps spread the news about my book project.
H: Your book is titled Every Dog has its Week: How Seven Days in September came to celebrate Dogs and the Humans who Love Them? Why did you write it?
LBK: For years I’d wanted to write the “ultimate” dog book, a project that would inform those entrenched in the “dog-culture” and those who were not as enlightened. I think those who make their living in dog-related industries or are active in dog-causes make the mistake in assuming that the general public is as knowledgeable about dog issues as they. For example, I still talk to people who don’t understand that when they purchase a dog in a pet shop, they are promoting puppy mills, that think dog-fighting is declining because of the Michael Vick “chapter,” or don’t realize that some breeds are no longer legal in some cities. Also, many are not aware that so many dogs are still euthanized or languish in shelters every day, and that so many still do not spay and neuter their pets. Also, there are so many ways dogs help humans in the therapy and service areas.
Back in 1928, Will Judy faced his own challenges when it came to improving and honoring the lives of dogs in this country. His contributions through writing, publishing and the establishment of National Dog Week (the last full week of September) made a difference. In some ways, I see myself as trying to carry on his work, with the help of many others.
H: Has it been difficult?
LBK: In some ways, yes. After trying to seek publication on my own, I was fortunate to sign with literary agent, Donna Eastman, who has partnered with me in finding my book a “good home” – the right publishing house. This was a major achievement. Now, we fight the good fight, and know that a special editor/publisher will see the value (and yes marketability) of this book. I enjoyed doing the research and writing it a way that would connect with dog-lovers and history buffs, everywhere (even in foreign markets). When it is published, I envision the jacket of the book proclaiming it “a gem of a dog story, a real diamond in the “ruff.”
H: What’s been the most rewarding part of writing this book?
LBK: That’s easy. Really caring about the subject matter and truly knowing how inspiring the message of National Dog Week and its promoters can be for so many. I see the week as a way to teach our young people the value of caring for animals, so that a more caring generation will go forth. Also, I derive encouragement from those I interview…Nikki Moustaki of the Pet Postcard Project, Bocker the Labradoodle and his Mom, Marie, fellow-author and blogger, Lisa Pliscou, Erika Friedman of Canine Celebration, Rose Russo-a truly inspirational person, Janice Wolfe and her work with autistic children through her dog Wyatt, Josh Abrams of Dogasaur who has helped spread the word to so many, Babette Haggerty, daughter of legendary dog trainer, Captain Arthur Haggerty, and so many others…best-selling authors, trainers, rescuers….the list goes on (please scroll through the archives to meet them). It’s also been nice to be an interviewee, too!
H: What is your goal for National Dog Week?
LBK: For it to be observed more widely…for everyone to find something to do to honor it, no matter how small or personal. On a large scale…to see it celebrated on the Plaza of Rockefeller Center in New York City in the spectacular manner and style it once was in the 1930s-1950s…that would be fun (I’m working on it…Al Roker, are you listening)?
H: What’s your favorite way to spend time with me?
LBK: I love taking you for walks. Everyone asks if you are a Labradoodle! When they hear you are a Portuguese water dog, they have so many questions. They love to pet your soft wavy coat and love your one white paw. We meet so many nice people. You are also a great snuggler, a great doggy-pillow or foot warmer and you make me laugh every day.
I am grateful to have a dog like you, and for the support of my husband, Rich and of friends and family who are always there for me.
H: Thanks, Mom, and thanks for blogging about my peeps…I look forward to going to Dog Fest in Brick Township (our adopted home-town) this September and I hope that all my canine friends get their day, and week, too when others plan some special events!
LBK: Thanks, Hooper…now let’s go take a run on the beach.
To read more about my artwork, please go to http://www.postcardart.us.