You are currently browsing the monthly archive for August 2011.

Glad you’ve come by to read…things will be getting more and more interesting as we approach the Week of the Dog (September 19-25 – see ABOUT).  Congratulations to our new National Dog Week Community Page Profile Dog, Darwin.  Meet and LIKE him over at!/pages/National-Dog-Week/218596591491974

Due to weather-related incidents, posting has been delayed…but tomorrow, we will present the official image of the 2011 National Dog Week Poster, meet its creator, and the details of a very cool Canines on Canvas Contest which you can enter by LIKING and posting on the NDW Facebook page…Oh, and we’ll even announce the new spokesperson for a new generation of NATIONAL DOG WEEK!

Welcome Dr. Patrick Mahaney, VMD CVA, our official Pet Health Consultant for National Dog Week 2011.  During the month of September, and throughout the year, Patrick will address issues affecting the dogs of the nation, suggesting ways we can make the “individuals” on both ends of the leash happier and healthier!

Dream Dog Park Makeover Finalist Kyle Mills with his dog, Darwin

Today’s post presents Kyle Mills, a twenty two year-old student attending Rutgers University in New Jersey. Majoring in animal science focused in the area of companion animals, Kyle resides on the grounds of Lawrenceville Prep where his father teaches and coaches football. “I have been an animal lover from the day I was born, and have owned a countless number of different species, from rodents, to lizards, to birds and other amphibians,” this focused and remarkable young man notes.  He was fortunate to attend High School at Millbrook, a small boarding school in Poughkeepsie, New York, the only school in the country with an AZA accredited zoo on its campus, where students are the primary caregivers to the animals.

Kyle is a finalist in the Beneful-sponsored Dream Dog Park Makeover Contest.  The Grand Prize Winner will receive $500,000.00 toward a community dog park, $10,000.00 cash and a year’s supply of Beneful Brand dog food.  This post is longer than most, but I really hope you read it through. Kyle’s attention to detail and thoughtfulness is very inspiring. Then, I hope you will help him achieve his goal!

Do you work or volunteer in the pet industry? I worked at Camp Bow Wow in Lawrenceville for about eight months where I gained valuable experience with up to 100 dogs at one time. I have also volunteered at the Trenton Animal Shelter for a few months. As I mentioned before I worked at the zoo at my school where I was in charge of animals such as otters, reindeer, lemurs, tamarins, marmosets, emus, and red wolves just to name a few.

How did you find out about the Dog Park Makeover Contest? My mom saw a commercial and mentioned the contest to me. I figured I might as well enter because I had nothing to lose and it’s a contest that is quite interesting to me.  

Prior to this, had you ever thought about how dog parks could be improved or designed? Yes, with my current dog park in the state that it is in right now, I had been thinking of ways that it could be improved. Being a dog owner and the son of a landscape architect I had the knowledge of how these projects take shape, from the original inspiration to laying out the things that I wanted in the park all the way to the finished rendering of what you see in my video. Unfortunately the video quality does not do justice to the rendering and some of the things, mainly the text in the legend is not as legible as I was expecting when I had originally uploaded the video.

What makes your plan and design stand out from other entries? My design stands out from the rest of the entries because I have incorporated practical features that specifically target instincts of dogs of many different breeds, as well as the mixed breed dog that just needs to get their energy out. I have also incorporated aspects that already exist in and around the existing dog park so to make the construction costs less, and therefore more feasible which is one of the judging criteria. This is also the only design that has an area dedicated to agility and obedience with stadium seating for competitions and seminars and that is not your traditional, (and in my opinion) boring, square park. It is aesthetically pleasing, contains the natural environment of the forest, grass, and water, and also uses K9 turf (dog specific astro-turf) around the pool to keep the water from getting dirty, all while incorporating aspects that are aimed to suit the natural instincts of different breeds.

Do you often go to dog parks with your dog, Darwin? Not as often as I would like, due to the condition and size of my current local dog park it isn’t really worth it. I have much more space to let my dog roam of leash on grass on the boarding school that I live at. So instead of bringing my dog to a dirty and dangerous gravel park (approximately 150 by 80 feet) where owners don’t pick up their dog’s waste, I prefer to let him out on The Lawrenceville School’s campus where he has hundreds of acres of pristine grass and farm field to roam, play Frisbee, on which to learn new commands.

Your plan is designed for different types of dogs. I love the sandy area for “diggers” and aquatic features for water dogs. Why is this so important? As an animal lover and former zoo keeper there is nothing more exciting to me than seeing an intelligent species try to figure out a problem or challenge to get to their food or toy, this is called enrichment. It is estimated that dogs and humans have coexisted side by side for 14000+ years, over time, dogs and humans have learned to rely on each other for food, protection, companionship and an extra hand (or 4) in the field. In just the last couple hundred years dogs have been bread for tens if not hundreds of different specific tasks which eventually culminates in what we identify as a breeds “job” (i.e. retrieving, shepherding and pointing). Due to the fact that there are such major differences in breeds and how they should be taken care of, it is my personal belief that it is irresponsible to be a dog owner and not know what to expect from your dog and how to responsibly care for the breed specific instincts they may exhibit. I learned everything that I know now by educating myself, either by reading books or articles on dogs and watching programs on TV, whether its Dog Whisperer (which a few of my friends here have started to call me), It’s Me or The Dog, Dogs 101, as well as other programs. The book that I learned the most from is an old one called How to Be Your Dogs Best Friend: A Training Manual For Dog Owners by the Monks of New Skete. The book focuses primarily on German shepherds but can be applied to most breeds. One of the reasons why I fell in love with dogs is because I had the opportunity to work in the field with a few hunting dogs and was fascinated by the fact that two different species can work together to perform a task flawlessly, while not speaking the same language.

Tell us about your dog, Darwin. What is his breed or mix, how did he come into your life, how old is he…does he like the dog park? Darwin is a year and a half and my best guess is that he is a Labrador retriever mix (at least that’s what I was told from the rescue organization I got him from). He has the frame of a Vizsla and similar coloring, called Fox Red. I believe that he has a little hound in him because his nose is going constantly. He came into my life back on May 16, 2010 when I finally convinced my parents to let me get a dog. I found him on through an organization called Wags Rescue that finds dogs in need of homes from Mississippi and brings them north where there are more families searching for the perfect pet. I came up with the name of Darwin before I even had a dog or knew that I was going to get one because I grew up surrounded by science, biology and the belief in evolution. My father has taken some of his students in previous years to the Galapagos Islands where as you probably know was at the heart of Charles Darwin’s theories. The name of the boat that Charles Darwin voyaged to Galapagos on is the H.M.S. Beagle, and I would like that to be incorporated into the pond because the name of the boat is obviously fitting. Like most ships would have had in that time period I wanted to add a plank for dogs to walk and jump off into the pond for the dogs that enjoy the sport of dock diving. When Darwin is at our local park he is indifferent to it, he does not seem to enjoy it any more or less than the grass in my back yard, and because the park is so run down there is rarely any dog there for him to play with, which is the only reason why I take him to the dog park in the first place.

How do you think Dog Parks help to improve the dog/human bond and unite dog owners? I think dog parks help improve the bond that humans have for their dog more so than expanding the dogs love for their owner because it is one of the few places that owners can let their dogs off leash and see them run around being happy and free. It is tough for an owner to see the natural instincts of their dogs while they are attached to a short leash. I think they are beneficial to dogs because they allow valuable exercise that they otherwise wouldn’t get if they were on leash their whole life. I think dog parks unite dog owners because it is a place where they can get together and already have something in common with each other. They are a great place for people to meet and form relationships and a great neutral territory for new dogs to meet each other if there will be a new dog introduced into a household.

Where can people see your video and plans for your dog park?

My video can be seen here, . The rest of the finalists can be seen here

Unfortunately the quality of the video that is posted on the site is much less than the one I had originally shot, due to uploading size limits, and it is tough to see the quality of my park plans. People can vote once a day, every day until noon on September 8th and I urge everyone to vote for Darwin because the dogs in our town deserve the same freedom and quality of life that Darwin has and unfortunately they don’t have it right now due to the lack of facilities.  If you would like to see a larger and much better quality photo of my park I would be happy to send you the file. Feel free to shoot me an email  at if you would like more details or to ask more questions. Thank you for this opportunity to explain my plans.

Thank you Kyle.  I think you have great potential as an educator.

While Dr. Mahaney sees the merit in any locale that promotes fitness and interaction, he encourages humans to get moving, too.

“A variety of outdoor venues can promote fitness for both people and pets.  My preferred means of getting your and Fido’s heart rate elevated for an extended time period is hiking.  A meandering, inclined trail will provide a moderate to intense prolonged opportunity to challenge both human and canine fitness.  Provided your dog stays on lead and is not exposed to extreme temperatures, the experience will be a safe and productive one.”

In their beliefs and action, both Patrick Mahaney and Kyle Mills embrace the mission and message of the National Dog Week Movement.


“Respect your dog’s individuality: concede to him all the rights and privileges a dog claims for himself. He wants to be a normal dog – let him lead a dog’s life.”   Captain William Lewis Judy, Founder of National Dog Week

My very special friend, Bocker Labradoodle, with the help of his parents, has released a terrific new book called, CHASING BOCKER’S TALE.  Last week, I received my very own numbered and “pawtographed” copy.  Everyone who advertised in the book has helped to do good for some deserving animal causes.  With contributions from Michele Avanti and Stef Daniel, you will love its message and images. Check it out at!/ChasingBockersTale.

I am happy to announce that  Hollywood-based veterinarian, Dr. Patrick Mahaney will serve as the official pet health consultant for this year’s 83rd Observance of National Dog Week Please also welcome Oregon-based artist, Donald Brown who will help capture on canvas, the spirit of National Dog Week in a fun event planned for September For more info about NDW and updates on my book, Every Dog has its Week: How Seven Days in September came to celebrate Dogs and the People who Love Them,  please see ABOUT.

 The following is my second talk with Robert Cabral…

On July 9th, I wrote a post about the talented Robert Cabral from Malibu, California.  Robert, Founder of Bound Angels is an accomplished photographer and dog trainer who works with dogs that need some tender loving care and socialization to help make them the lovable pets they truly want to be.  When Pam Dzierzanowski, Director of Events for the Patron Spirits Company, told me about Patron’s participation in a fundraiser for Bound Angels, I wanted to share. Patron “mixed-it up” with some very special drink concoctions designed just for this event held on the grounds of the  gorgeous estate of Cindy Landon in Malibu, California. It is so great to see people enjoying themselves in such a beautiful setting, all for a good cause. From Hackensack to Hollywood and all points in between, people can come together to make some important changes in the way our animals are cared for. Everyone can do something…

Patron presents some special recipes just for Bound Angels

Robert is also a supporter of Shelter Revolution.  I asked him what he thought of Thomas Cole’s work on behalf of SR he commented, “I think Thomas’ thinking is at the forefront of the revolution we are hoping for.  He is persistent and focused, and most of all, detail-oriented.   I’m certainly glad to be on the same side of the battle as Thomas.”

Please tell us about your sponsors for this event? The event was underwritten by Ms. Cindy Landon.  Sponsors included Cindy, Patron Spirits, The Annenberg Foundation and Rod and Stasey Summers.

Actress Jennifer Landon, Cindy Landon, Robert Cabral and singer Justin Bel

What was Patron’s connection to your cause? Patron was kind enough to sponsor our bar and liquor.  They created special drink recipes for our event.  It was a perfect addition to our event especially since Patron is my favorite tequila.

How many people attended? There were approx 180 people in attendance.

Please tell us a little about the event’s host Cindy Landon and her involvement in your cause. Cindy became involved with Bound Angels after we met at the first fundraiser 3 years ago.  She has been a steadfast supporter, benefactor and friend to Bound Angels and all the work we do.  She is truly an angel to all the animals we help through the work we do.

Was the event a success?  The event was a huge success, all of the funds raised will go to programs to save more animals at risk in shelters, educational and outreach campaigns as well as direct rescue work.

Robert talks it up for the dogs!

Do you have any other events planned? Coincidentally, there was another event benefiting Bound Angels the very next weekend on July 31, where my work with Bound Angels was awarded the PAL award by Chiquita’s Friends.   

 I understand you went to court a few weeks ago, can you tell us why and a little about what went on? There is new legislation in Los Angeles County that redefines the law relating to dangerous dogs.  This is dangerous as that it does not protect people from “dangerous dogs,” but contrarily puts innocent dogs with normal behavior at risk of being labeled aggressive and therefore at risk of being killed in shelters.  We are following this closely and are fighting it as well.   Bound Angels has fought several cases in court that have defended dogs wrongfully accused of being “vicious and/or dangerous.”

Thank you Robert, Cindy Landon, Patron Spirits and everyone who made this a successful event. It would be nice to see other companies follow the lead of Patron and use their products and services to help some special causes.  I think readers would like to hear more about your work with dogs in need and to be kept posted about the legalities that are facing the dogs of your area and all over the nation.

Robert Cabral – Founder
Bound Angels
“join the revolution”

“There is no man so poor but what he can afford to keep one dog.” Josh Billings, American, 1818-1885

In the next posts, read about West Coast Dog Trainer Robert Cabral’s Patron-sponsored event for his organization, Bound Angels and follow a young woman as she welcomes a special Service Dog into her life!

If you have enjoyed learning about National Dog Week or have benefited by being featured on this site, now would be a great time to go on over and LIKE my new page for National Dog Week. Blogging and maintaining social media sites take a lot of time and work, and I thank you in advance for helping spread the bark…NDW is observed the week of September 19th this year.!/pages/National-Dog-Week/218596591491974Watch for exciting new announcements!

 Thomas Cole of Shelter Revolution is hard at work making changes in the way adoptable animals are cared for as they await new homes.  Allowing these animals to live in a more positive and comfortable environment, where those dog requiring social rehabbing can receive the help they need, Thomas envisions a more humane future for our pets and  more satisfying and safe adoptions.

Pet-advocate “Willie Wonka,” Vice President of Project Pets – Spay, Neuter, Love,!/pages/Project-Pets-Spay-Neuter-Love/160594203971240 reminds us all that the Spaying and Neutering of our pets is a crucial component of this goal. If we can reduce the large number of homeless cats and dogs introduced into the world each day, it can make the goals of Shelter Revolution reachable, serving as the model of the future for a kinder sheltering experience. “WW” is known for saying that we cannot rescue our way out of this mess. If you do the math, you know this is true.

In this interview, a follow-up to the one on May 15th of this year, I asked Thomas what it would really take to establish the model of his “dreams.” I am staying out of his way, and presenting the material as he organized it.  Please take time to read.  If there is something of note you feel you can help with, please contact Thomas directly at, or me,

Here is Part Two of the Shelter Revolution Series…

 The question always comes down to build new or revamp the old? New is always better but not always possible. Who wouldn’t want a 5-10 acre place in the country for the dogs and cats to romp in? Those inner city facilities will just need to focus on offsite rehab done by rehabbers in their homes (just like I have personally mastered!).

I have never had the luxury of beautiful buildings and a large paid staff. I had to make do with pole barns and volunteers. We ran a 100% no-kill operation back in 1963 with that kind of makeshift facility – long before the term no-kill was even used.   I can do it again and so can others with guidance. We don’t need millions of dollars.

Don’t get me wrong! I’d love to have the $5-7 million most new facilities cost to open their doors. If I did have that the money would go to designing a facility for animals not for humans. No fancy lobbies, no vaulted ceilings, no big offices. Maybe a daycare center for volunteers. But I’d certainly have a beautiful natural pond for the dogs to play in…

A pond in Chicago built by Thomas Cole

How would the facility be run?

 •  Open-admission

•  Displays in large open groups (25-30) only animals that get along.

•  A separate quarantine area will house new intakes and sick/injured animals.

•  Special fosters will provide extended off-site care for sick/injured/senior and neonatal during their recovery.

•  In-home rehab for those not ready for group living (and therefore, not ready for adoption) – provided by trained and experienced local rescuers and fosters.

•  Volunteers will provide most of the labor needed to serve the animal population at the Center.

•  Animal Control and catch poles will be euthanized, giving way to an unarmed “courtesy patrol” made up of volunteers trained in handling scared dogs and cats. No SWAT uniforms – the police will handle the cases involving violent people!  (i.e. enforcement is police work, investigations by trained & licensed animal control agents only)


Within 3-4 years the community will no longer be able to fill local adoption needs without going outside the community for a new supply of animals.


• $1-3 million for Green (Gold LEEDS certification) buildings.

•  1-2 acre land costs to be determined.

•  Staff positions will be below market-rate salaries; this is non-profit work.

•  Annual operating budget (exclusive of special S/N funding) approx $1-2 million.


Marin County or Sonoma County – weather is good, they need a better example (especially Sonoma County).

Would benefit the fragmented Bay Area by pulling together local rescue groups and shelters.


Need 3 buildings – don’t have to be fancy. Pole barns are fine. Dogs and cats don’t need fancy entryways, vaulted ceilings or grand lobbies.

•  Adoption Center display area (60-70 dogs, 40-70 cats)

•  Indoor play/exercise facility (for bad weather or emergency rescue situations)

•  Medical and intake holding area. Will need 3-4 outside fenced exercise and lounging areas (1-2 acres best) as well as a 1/8-acre manmade Aquascapes pond for the dogs.


I will train local rescuers and experienced fosters to work with “reactive” dogs and cats. These are animals who cannot get along well in a group setting. Rehabbers will return dogs often for group interaction (socialization) at the AC as their rehab progresses. This prepares them for reentry to the large groups and adoption.


•  need 2 senior managers only to run the entire operation: an experienced medical person and a business manager to handle internal and external reporting, cash management, limited auditing. All bookkeeping will be hired out to a local firm to protect integrity. Monthly performance reporting will ensure transparency to the public. Annual audits will ensure system integrity.

 •  Volunteers will make up most of the work force including shelter operations, reporting systems, offsite adoption events, volunteer coordinating, and dog training for humans.

 •  I will personally customize with Endel Jurman, CEO of ChameleonBeach software, a fully automated operations reporting system using Chameleon software. Dogs and cats will wear collars with scannable (think UPC bar codes) ID tags for control through the system. This system will include modules for open-admission control of strays and seizures, interactive reports on all animals whether adoptable, in medical quarantine or in offsite rehab, up-to-the-minute photos and updates posted on-line by volunteers. This entire process will be run by volunteers.

 •  All animal areas, especially quarantine and stray impound, will have cameras installed for public monitoring.

 •  All area residents will be able to keep tabs ONLINE on animals and place a hold for adoption on an animal they like. Required licensing can be purchased on-line through the Chameleon system. Strays will be posted for reclaim online.

 •  Offsite “kiosk viewers” can be purchased and placed in strategic malls and pet stores to draw attention to available animals.

 •  Local rehabbers (former rescuers and fosters) will be provided free broadband internet service to post updates each week. They will be able to seek advice from a help desk and answer questions from interested adopters right from their home.

 •   Internships will be sought from local colleges and professional-level help from retired business people.

In their words and actions, Thomas and WW carry out the original goals of Will Judy’s National Dog Week Movement established in 1928. Without benefit of Social Media, Judy, this unsung hero to the American Canine, helped to educate the growing population of American dog owners…a leader of the human pack…He trained humans, not dogs, long before it was popular! To learn more, please see ABOUT.

Copyright © 2011 by Lisa Begin-Kruysman. All rights reserved.  No part of this blog, or book excerpts, may be used, reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage or retrieval system, without the written permission of the publisher, except where permitted by law, or in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.  For information, contact


Dedicated to those who who have found what they have lost in the eyes of a dog


Welcome to my Blog.  To learn more about National Dog Week and my writing projects, please see ABOUT.

“Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring – it was peace.”  Milan Kundera, Czech. b. 1929

Wishing Dr. Patrick Mahaney a very Happy Birthday.  This hardworking Hollywood Vet took time to post his final review of my book on his special day.  Please follow the link below to read the completion of his ongoing diagnoses of  the characters of  Stipend of a Sucker and The House of the Happy Dog.

I thank my readers for sharing in this review process of my Short Story Collection, SOMETHING’S LOST AND MUST BE FOUND.  The writing of any book is labor intensive, and it is rare indeed when someone takes time from their very busy schedule to help spread the word about a creative project.  Dr. Patrick Mahaney has a very active and progressive practice in Los Angeles.  His blog posts are informative and up-to-date, and as a fellow-dog-blogger, I encourage you to visit his site.

With Pat’s help, I am happy to announce that National Dog Week has a new spokesperson, someone I will share with you in the next post when we again focus on Thomas Cole’s vision for Shelter Revolution. 

National Dog Week is not just about seven special days dedicated to the dog…it’s a mindset!

Here is Part III of “THE REVIEW.”

Dr Mahaneys Book Review- Somethings Lost and Must Be Found by Lisa Begin-Kruysman Part 3.

Welcome to my Blog…To learn more about my work on behalf of National Dog Week, please see ABOUT! 

The following is a link to Dr. Patrick Mahaney’s review of LOSING THE WAIT and HUMAN DIRECTIONAL, two short “tails” from SOMETHING’S LOST AND MUST BE FOUND.  Thank you for all who continue to read and review. A soft cover version will be available before the 83rd Observance of National Dog Week in September!


Dr Mahaneys Book Review- Somethings Lost and Must Be Found by Lisa Begin-Kruysman Part 2.


"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”