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“Try to be the god on earth, the all-powerful and all-mighty your dog thinks you are. Never let him learn his mistake.” Will Judy, Founder of NDW

As the Week of the Dog winds down, I would like to thank Dr. Patrick, Mahaney, NDW Artist, Donald E. Brown, Laura Nativo and all my friends and family members who have supported my efforts and my work.  It means the world to me. Catch Laura  hosting Dog Park Superstars on the Game Show Network this Sunday, 9/25 at 8:00pm.  Remember, the Canines on Canvas Contest runs until October 7.  LIKE and POST at http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/National-Dog-Week/218596591491974

Painting, "HELP" - by Donald Brown, the inspiration for the NDW Poster

Below, some friends of National Dog Week give their thoughts on the occasion…

“Addressing animal rights and welfare are topics that I believe need to be addressed, as well as the specifics of dealing with the homeless pet population, Spay/Neuter programs, owner responsibility programs and ending the broken version of “sheltering, “as we know it. The lack of enforcement, lack of funding and lack of education need to be addressed and National Dog Week is the perfect platform for it.  Awareness does matter, Lisa, it is not just a corny expression. First people have to start asking the right questions. Publicity is the key to making that happen. An organized group with a specific date and intelligent, cohesive agenda can bring a lot of animal issues to the forefront and create a discussion that should continue for a lot more than a week.” Animal Activist and loyal friend and informative guest of this site working under the  name of “Willie Wonka.”

“We will celebrate today and everyday by showing the dogs that come into this world and get abused that there are good people out there that care for them and will help them have a better life.” Bigg Ant, on behalf of the cast of the Reality Television Show, Rescue Ink.

“Isabella and I are celebrating by a week of walks to the park, Frisbee fun and special treats! To us, every week is National Dog Week, but we love to send a bark out to all our 2 and 4 legged friends on this special week.” Ryan Rice, Houston Dog-Blogger

“We are also [in addition to having come to the aid of a pit bull and her nine new puppies this week] taking a trip to [our local]] SPCA to take a bunch of goodies and food to our furry friends there… Penny Lane and Lilly Pads are very excited because they get to play Santa in September.” Rose Russo, former NYPD Detective whose life was changed by the events of 9/11; a true friend and inspiring hero to both dogs and humans and a supportive Dog Week Fan.

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Two years ago, I thought about how I could use my abilities and experience to pursue something meaningful.  While contemplating, I happened upon  images of something called National Dog Week.  I don’t even know what search term I was using when the sight of pooches parading and  canines carousing in Rockefeller Center captured my attention.  I was hooked.  What was this week, was it for real, and if so, where did it go?

In that moment, you could say my life changed…I truly went to the dogs.  I set out to learn more about these seven special days in September dedicated to man’s best friends then launched a dog-week blog and then a book about it to share its true legacy with the world. I titled it Every Dog has it Week and found a Literary Agent to represent it, someone who believes in its relevance.

It hasn’t always been easy, but it has NEVER been boring.  There were times when I thought of changing the title to Every Dog had its Week as it is a daunting task to revive a Movement in an age when many live for the Moment.  Now, almost two years later, I have formed bonds with people who have enlightened and encourage my efforts.  Pooling from the Hollywood “Hoopla” and the less glamorous grass-roots level where the real grunt work is done, (just like during the hey-daze of NDW) these people who have influenced me come from all walks of life, from all areas of the nation. I have learned so much from them and I venture to say the book I am finishing now is very different from the one I started.

The other day, someone said to me, “I just don’t get this dog thing.  What is the attraction, what do they really do for us?” He isn’t alone in his pondering, many people actually feel this way. But far more realize the power of the paw.  Every day, somewhere across the nation, dogs find themselves assisting in schools, libraries, rehab facilities, Veteran’s Hospitals, crime scenes, in combat, search and rescue scenarios and many other places where their help is needed and appreciated.

As a substitute teacher, I enjoy working with young people.  They love hearing about National Dog Week, glad to learn that there is such a thing.  During a recent pre-interview for a local Public Access Cable Television Show, my interviewer pointed out that people living in senior developments are also great supporters of events like Dog Week as they recall when it was part of their lives and they have a lot of time, experience and love to give to homeless pets at local shelters.  So it is clear to me, the observance of National Dog Week can be a time of organized reflection on a national level, excluding no one …it is an equal-opportunity celebration of the canine and I hope you will strongly consider joining in.

Here are a few ways you can address some issues during the week, and beyond.

1) Be a dog-friendly ambassador, clean up after your dog, keep him on a leash, don’t let him bark all day in the yard; provide him with obedience training to work on disruptive behaviors.

2) Have your dogs (and cats) spayed or neutered.  Don’t think it will hurt them, make them less of a dog or feel bad that they never got to have pups.

3) Boycott puppy shops.  Close your wallet and open your eyes when you are lured in by that puppy in the window…These sales people are slick, there is a 300 percent markup on these dogs that are very likely to have health problems and were produced by adult dogs who suffer terrible conditions to pump out a “cash crop” of pups…don’t do it.  If you opt to use a breeder, ask around and do your research to find a reputable one.(You can contact me if you need help finding the right dog for your family).

4) Learn about different ways dogs can be housed in more humane ways.  Explore groups like Shelter Revolution http://www.shelterrevolution.org/  

5) If a young person wants a specific breed of dog, take the time to educate them about breed characteristics and the special needs a certain breed possesses.  Does it match a home or lifestyle?  Kids just love to learn about the breeds, too.

6) Pay attention to your dog’s health.  Feed intelligently and walk often, good advice for the human, too.

7) I leave this seventh item up to you…what  issues or topics are important to you and your dogs…let me know. Pst39crd@aol.com

Thanks for all the views and visits and inquiries.  It makes all the difference in the (dog) world!  Carry On. Plans for the next National Dog Week are in place.  Mark your calendars (September 24-30) for next year and help keep the motion in the movement…

"HELP" NDW Poster 2011 Created by Donald E. Brown

“The dog was created [specially] for children.  He is the god of frolic.”  Henry Ward Beecher, American (1813-1887)

Please note, this post is from 9/20/11!

Today, on this second day of the 83rd Observance of National Dog Week, its Founder, Captain William Lewis Judy would have turned 120 and would no doubt be enjoying his special day with some of man’s best friends.  I also want to wish my brother, John, a very Happy Big Five-oh!  Welcome to the big league my “little” bro, you are in good company!

Last night I had the pleasure of ushering in the Week of the Dog with Dr. Patrick Mahaney, our NDW Pet Health Consultant and Laura Nativo, our Spokeswoman, in a segment for Outimpactradio.com.  I will let you know when it airs. We had a great talk about some hot pet topics and how the occasion of National Dog Week can promote awareness and enlightenment among pet lovers across the country. Laura and Patrick are busy promoting their televised specials to air on Game Show Network and Animal Planet respectively.  Congratulations to both.

Remember to LIKE and post a photo of your pooch on the NDW Community Page to be eligible for the Canines on Canvas Contest…don’t delay http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/National-Dog-Week/218596591491974

Here is a link from the TeddyHilton Blog with Patrick barking up National Dog Week in a big way! http://teddyhilton.com/2011-09-19-national-dog-week

As I mentioned in my last post, I am intrigued by the fascination young people have for animals, especially dogs.  Some kids, upon seeing one, react as if they’ve just seen Justin Bieber…even if it is their tenth sighting.  While taking “refuge” during Hurricane Irene last month, I enjoyed the gift of time with my nephew Gabe, and nieces Roxy and Olivia.  Olivia, as some already know, used to have a morbid fear of dogs.  But through experience (the family pet sat for a Border collie-mix for a time) and exposure to other dogs, she has become a great fan of them.  During the storm, this lively but bored 10 year-old announced to me she was going to start a dog blog of her own.  I asked her what her first post would be and she sat down to write. (Like I need more competition)…

Will Judy knew that there was a special bond between dogs and kids, even though, like me, he never had any children of his own.   In the 1930s, NDW Essay Contests were held with the young winner getting his or her writing printed in the New York Times! I am presenting an edited version of Olivia’s post below (with her permission) but the original is so darn cute, I almost hate to.  Please note, she received no prompting or coaching from me, these are her own thoughts.  Here, Olivia really captures the simplicity of what Judy conveyed in all of his writings.  Happy National Dog Week to you all!

Olivia and "cousin" Styles hit the road

A Dog’s Life through a Girl’s Eyes

Dogs, they’re a man’s best friend. But what are they?  Pets, friends, family; all those things…but how well do you know your family pet?

I used to be afraid of dogs but now that my aunts have dog, I just got used to them.  My Aunt Lisa, the National Dog Week organizer (her dog’s name is Hooper and is a “Pourchigees” [couldn’t resist] water dog).  My other aunt has a super sweet Pit bull name, Styles.

But the reason I am writing this is because some owners don’t treat their dogs right and I hope this blog will stop them because my aunts and I are dog lovers and we hate when a dog gets treated like trash and it’s not fair.  So I hope I can change people’s minds about treating their dogs bad because dogs are just like us. They have feelings and though it doesn’t seem like it, they do and when you treat them badly they feel it and it hurts, so please think about it the next time you think about treating your dog badly.  Think about my blog and remember about it and how bad you’ll feel that you didn’t listen.  That’s all for now.

Thank you Olivia…your message is loud and clear!

Dog-lover Livvie with Styles and Hooper

Dog Fest Captures spirit of National Dog Week

Thank you for all the searches that are bringing so many to this site today, the first day of National Dog Week!  Very excited to be recording a great segment for ImpactRado.com with Dr. Patrick Mahaney and NDW Artist Donald Brown this evening. Today, I asked Robert Cabral, Founder of Bound Angels and a guest of this Blog in July and August, for his take on National Dog Week…Robert is pictured here at a recent Fundraiser for Bound Angels in Malibu, CA.

Robert Cabral with l to r, Jennifer Landon, Cindy Landon and singer, Josh Bel

National Dog Week brings recognition to man’s best friend.  A deserving tribute to a creature that has walked by our side and slept at our feet for thousands of years.  Celebrating his life and legacy is a celebration of love and dedication.  To celebrate National Dog Week, please watch Orlando Brown’s tribute to dogs and their humans -HERO.”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3n4tTBTCdY (Directed by Robert, too).

Brick, NJ is proclaimed a National Dog Week City!

Today, I thought it would be appropriate to share some photos of Brick Township’s (NJ) 2nd  Celebration of Dog Fest. My town even chose to proclaim itself a National Dog Week City!  I chose the occasion to collect for Covers for Critters and to have young people make Pet Postcards for Nikki Moustaki’s unique Pet Postcard Project.  In all, there must have been over 1,000 dogs and nearly double the humans. The spirit of these people and their dogs was inspiring.  Even the little dog named Jose, a mature Maltese who had just been dropped off  at the shelter the day before, seemed happy, even though he had not found a new home by day’s end.  Other dogs did, though, and that was nice to see.

I would like to personally thank the Brick Township Rotary for their hard work in presenting this Festival and for donating the material for the Pet Postcards.  My friends from the Ladies Auxiliary of Brick Township’s American Legion Post 348  supported me by bringing used linens and blankets to the Festival.  These items will be shared with local animal shelters.

Ready to make some Pet Postcards…

I would also like to thank Dr. Patrick Mahaney and Artist Donald E. Brown for their work on behalf of National Dog Week.  Their knowledge and talent have really helped me reach out to so many.  I truly hope we will continue to work together.

During this week, and beyond, I will look back at some earlier posts that inspired me and others. Please remember to go to the National Dog Week Community Page and LIKE us and Post a picture of your dogs to be eligible to win an original canine portrait by Donald Brown (ends on October 7).  I will also  present some of the special dogs I have come to know through this Blog on that page.

Hooper hiding among the Covers for Critters Collection

Today, like many times before, I was struck by how young people respond to animals.  As one little girl made a postcard today, she said, “I am so happy that I am helping dogs today.”  On that note, I will also be presenting an essay written by a 10-year old girl who exemplifies the true spirit of National Dog Week.  Children, without pretense or falsehood, are the true messengers of what this week is all about.

Some sweet postcards from Dog Fest

The spirit of National Dog Week remains strong, and I thank everyone who supports this blog, my writing and my efforts…by doing so, you are part of the history of this special Movement that can show no weakness…Its Founder, Captain Will Judy, would be proud.

Can you believe National Dog Week will be here next week?!  I thank everyone who has contributed to my blog posts and have given me so much support.  Here is a link to Patrick Mahaney’s latest video…http://teddyhilton.com/2011-09-16-exclusive-video-dr-patrick-mahaney.

Last week we met our National Dog Week artist, Donald E. Brown and presented the NDW Poster inspired by his art.  This week, I introduce our National Dog Week Pet Health Consultant, Patrick Mahaney, Hollywood Veterinarian to the Stars and PerezHilton Dog Blogger. Next week, during the 83rd Observance of National Dog Week, we hope you find your own special way to honor the nation’s 70 million plus dogs, or at least j one…

I got to know Patrick Mahaney when he posted a video of himself eating Lucky Dog Cuisine with The Pet Postcard Project’s Nikki Moustaki. They were having fun while drawing attention to a very serious matter, the passing of Nitro’s Law (see my post of February 28th).  I recall thinking that this is one dedicated Veterinarian, and a good sport to boot.

Patrick had expressed interest in learning about my work on behalf of National Dog Week and pursuant book Every Dog has it Week (which chronicles its history). When I published my short fiction collection, Something’s Lost and Must be Found, Patrick requested a review copy and then followed through beautifully. In our exchanges, it became clear that this multi-talented animal-lover had a real gift for communicating and easily engaged his audience with his lively blogs and progressive approach. I asked him to be our NDW Pet Health Care Consultant and he happily obliged!

Patrick Mahaney and Welsh terrier, Cardiff

Tell us a little bit about how you got your start in the competitive Veterinary Field? My first experience working in the veterinary field occurred during my college years at the University of Delaware. In order to make myself a better candidate for acceptance into veterinary school, I worked as a technician at Newark Animal Hospital in Newark, DE. In exchange for an amazing amount of hands on experience, I worked overnights, weekends, and whatever other hours were available.

I also attained a fellowship in the College of Agriculture at the U of DE which exposed me to the laboratory side of veterinary medicine. The research process of immunization development for infectious agents like avian influenza and Newcastle Disease virus exposed me (figuratively) to the complicated nature of animal illness and preventative measures applicable to human and veterinary public health.

How did you “land” in Los Angeles? Are you familiar with the term “one door closes and another door opens”? Well, that is how I landed in Los Angeles. I found myself displaced from my familiar urban surroundings while briefly living in Olympia, WA and partaking in less than fitting personal and professional situations. When the personal situation concluded, a professional opportunity in West Hollywood, CA immediately beckoned. Cardiff and I packed up my Prius and ventured south to our new home, where perpetual sun and opportunity abounded.

Tell us a about your blogs and special projects. Over the past three years I have discovered my true professional calling in writing
about my experiences and perspective on veterinary medicine. In doing so, I can educate the pet loving public in a larger scale format than exclusively practicing in a hospital facility.

Patrick’s Blog is my personal veterinary column on www.patrickmahaney.com, but I contribute content to FidoFriendly.com,
DogTime.com, I Love Dogs.com, WeHoNews.com, OutImpact.com, and others.

I regularly participate in radio projects such as MyBuddyButchRadio.com and my own show, Healthy Pets and People with Dr Patrick on
OutImpactRadio.com (http://outimpactradio.com/our-shows/healthy-pets-people-with-dr-patrick/)

I am also seeking a major network to feature my work as an international veterinary volunteer, which is based on my experiences working with Amazon CARES (http://www.amazoncares.org/) providing complimentary medical services to remote Peruvian communities on the Amazon River. My pitch and reel can be found on the TV Projects (link coming soon) page on www.patrickmahaney.com.

Since my teenage years, I have harbored an interest in current events-based journalism, especially that which focuses on celebrities and pets. Once my writing career began to take off, I naturally was compelled to create CelebrityPetNews.com, which infuses the spectacle of celebrity with practical information on pet health.

Finally, growing up as an artist, I needed an outlet to express my creative energy and observations of the sometimes visually grotesque world we inhabit. Therefore, I created HurtsToLook.com, which features hilarious photos of everyday life and offers others with similar perspectives to opportunity to contribute.

How did you become the TeddyHilton Blogger? Living in Los Angeles has permitted many first-hand experiences with celebrities on
both a personal and professional basis. Some of the media fixtures with whom I interact end up in the pages of celebrity focused magazines and blogs. Perez Hilton’s eponymous blog (PerezHilton.com) has notoriously gained readership for featuring information and photos that media personalities may otherwise prefer to keep out of the paparazzi’s lens.

After writing a series of articles for CelebrityPetNews.com titled “The Real Housedogs of Beverly Hills” (http://www.celebritypetnews.com/?s=housewives), I piqued Perez’ interest for his animal news website, TeddyHilton.com, which is dedicated to his beloved Goldendoodle, Teddy. My role is to make TeddyHilton.com more of a pet health resource by contributing videos, articles, and even live Skype Q & A sessions with dog and cat lovers all over the world.

Captain Will Judy, Founder of National Dog Week,reported that, “The United States [1948] has approximately 15,000,000 dogs or one for each 10 persons…When we translate dog ownership into dollars and cents, a substantial chunk of big business is arrived at…the annual expenditure by the dog folks of America in behalf of their dogs totals $229,000,000, all of it spent without regret.”  How do these figures compare with costs today and what do you think are the “hot paw” topics pet-lovers should be focusing on now? Veterinary medicine has greatly advanced since 1948, as has the public’s demand for high quality pet health services and the dollar amount routinely spent by companion animal owners. This expenditure applies to veterinary procedures,diagnostics, medication, nutrition, grooming, boarding, and other prescribed and over the counter offerings.

It is inevitable that maintaining a healthy companion animal incurs an ongoing financial investment, therefore I suggest pet owners focus on circumventing preventable diseases. The top two preventable illnesses I see in veterinary practice are obesity and periodontal disease. Obesity is
caused directly by the pet owner, typically as a result of overfeeding and lack of sufficient exercise. Similarly, periodontal disease results from
insufficient cleansing of the mouth, a responsibility also belonging to the pet owner.

Both obesity and periodontal disease are preventable, reversible, are often overlooked due to owner unawareness or indifference, and can lead to irreversible and life threatening secondary diseases.

Responsible and proactive pet owners should focus on:Feeding appropriate quantities of human quality, whole foods (i.e. minimally processed from a natural form) starting in the juvenile life stage. Foods should be moist (not dry) and free from meals, by products, preservatives, and artificial colors and flavors.

Engaging in physically and behaviorally stimulating daily activity. Exercise yields innumerable benefits for both pets and their human caretakers, including weight loss or maintenance and stress reduction.

Brushing teeth and providing toys/treats that promote reduced accumulation of tooth coating debris which is inherently laden with bacteria and other unhealthy immune stimulators.

Patrick and the late Will Judy have a lot in common when it comes to dog-care.  In 1949, Judy wrote a list of  “A Dozen Dog Care Do’s and Don’ts’ three of which stated, “Brush or wipe the teeth and gums with a soft cloth weekly and weakly,”  “Prolong your dog’s life by keeping him away from the dinner table…” and “Don’t hasten your dog’s death by feeding him too much and too often.”

In the months ahead, I’ll ask Patrick to discuss the importance of Spay and Neuter, the emotional and physical needs of shelter dogs, issues related to vaccinations and other topics you may suggest.

Welcome to National Dog Week, Dr. Patrick Mahaney!

We proudly welcome Laura Nativo as the official National Dog Week Spokesperson for 2011.  Laura is the star of the Reality TV Show, Greatest American Dog and soon to be Host of the second episode of GSN’s Dog Park Superstars to air on September 25th.  National Dog Week is observed September 19-25. Laura joins friend, Los Angeles-basaed Veterinarian Dr. Patrick Mahaney (NDW Pet Health Care Consultant) to round out the “committe” for this year’s Observance! For more information, please see ABOUT.

“I had rather see the portrait of a dog that I know, than all the allegorical paintings they can show me in the world.”  Samuel Johnson, English (1709-1784)

As a writer and a painter, I was especially delighted when I discovered that at one time in its history, National Dog Week actually had beautiful promotional seals and labels depicting  images of dogs and people with a slogan for each year’s observance. In 1950, notable American artist, Albert Staehle, had the honor with his image for NDW titled, “Butch.” http://www.americanartarchives.com/staehle.htm  It got me thinking that today’s National Dog Week  needed an artisitc creation of  its own.

Enter West Coast artist, Donald E. Brown.  Donald’s vibrant images of canines had caught my eye on Facebook and when he requested great pooch photos to work from, I obliged.  By the next morning there on my Facebook wall was a beautiful rendition of Styles, a pit bull  “belonging” to my sister Manette, her fiance David and her son, Zac.

When I approached Donald to be our NDW 2011 artist, this dog-loving painter really stepped up to the plate.  Not only is he going along with the idea for a Canines on Canvas Contest, he is allowing an image of a painting titled “Help,” to be our NDW poster.  Everyone can be part of this exciting process.  During the month of September, everyone who LIKES (or has Liked) and posted a great close-up photo of their dog will have the chance to win an original painting of their pup from the entered photo. http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/National-Dog-Week/218596591491974  You must LIKE and POST PHOTO to be eligible. There are also twenty five hand-signed posters that can be purchased  for $15.00.  Unsigned posters can be purchased after these are no longer available, with all proceeds going to benefit  the Baja Animal Sanctuary (the charity of Donald’s choice). The original painting is also for sale and Donald hopes a private or corporate donor will purchase it to also help BAS (please let me know if you are interested).

Photo of real dog Sergio who inspired the painting, "HELP."

Read on about Donald and the moving story of Sergio, the dog that inspired “HELP.”  With his soulful depiction of Sergio standing behind a frayed cyclone fence, Donald really sums up the plight of many animals.  With its sweetness and vibrancy this painting draws you in with its sense of hope.  You want to take Sergio’s paw and lead him, and all homeless animals, away from a failed shelter system to a brighter future.

Please tell us a little about your background. I am originally from Climax, Michigan, which is near Battle Creek and Kalamazoo.  I attended Western Michigan University where I studied art, but somehow ended up with a degree in accounting of all things.  But, that’s been good as it has created a good living for me, my wife and many dog children.

When did you first start painting dogs? About twelve years ago.  I developed my abstract portrait style by painting many of my relatives.  When I ran out of people subjects I thought I would try painting my dogs.  My first commission was from someone looking over my shoulder while I painted Rita, the best Rat Terrier we ever knew.

What inspired you to paint your first dog portrait? We do not have children and our dogs are like our kids, so it was natural to include them in family portraits.  For me, painting a dog is like painting a portrait in the 1800’s.  They are so noble and stately, and their whole persona is reflected in their eyes.  The rarely smile, and a smile can distract from the truth in a person’s eyes.  Dogs just give you the truth.

What mediums do you prefer and why? I have never painted with oils.  Too messy for me.  I like acrylic paint.  It dries fast, it’s thick and I like to paint thick and gooey, and it layers without graying.  I love the way the colors that are layered peek through other colors and create interest.  I work from photographs and paint with a different palette on each painting.  I choose the palette after an interview with the client for the personality of the dog.  I use a series of questions so the client gets to participate in the commission process.  One of the most interesting questions is “What job would your dog hold if he were a person?”  The answers are so funny, but also telling.  I then choose my color palette based on the answers.  Being an accountant I am very process oriented, and my painting is definitely a process.

Talk about your 2-Hour Canine paintings…How do you time yourself?  Commissions take a lot of time because you want to make sure you capture your subject completely.  A commissioned piece can take me 12 to 24 hours of paint time depending on the subject and size.  I also love abstract work although I rarely sell that.  My Canine Series was an attempt to accomplish two goals.  First, it frees me to paint quickly and with abandon (like abstract work), and it makes me put the paint on quickly and work with it wet.  Some interesting things happen with wet paint.  Second, I wanted to produce work that I could sell at $100 to make it more affordable for people who love dogs, but can’t afford a commissioned piece of their dog.  The fun thing is that people have really responded to it online.  I have received photographs from people as far away as Australia.  You never know when your dog might show up in my new series, and you can reasonably afford it.

I see you have exhibited in California in the past.  What is your connection to the state? My wife and I have lived in Washington, DC, Orange County, California and now Portland, Oregon.  Laguna Beach was our home for many years and I participated in the Sawdust Festival every summer for nine weeks which really exposed my work and built a good following.  Laguna has always been a very special place for us.  I hope to retire there one day.

Tell us about your affiliation with Baja Animal Sanctuary. I met a volunteer for the organization through the Sawdust Festival and they asked me to contribute a commissioned painting for them to raffle to raise money.  The more I looked into what they do and how difficult it must be to operate in Baja, Mexico, the more impressed I was with the organization.  They do wonderful things for dogs that just need a second chance.  The shelter situation in the U.S. has its issues, but is so much better than in Mexico.  Dogs there are just thrown away, and the sanctuary is one of the few no-kill shelters for animals.  Many of the dogs who arrive there are rehabilitated and placed in homes, but many will just live their lives there comfortably because they can’t be rehomed.  Sunny Benedict, who runs the shelter, is doing wonderful things.  The shelter always employs people who need second chances, so it does good dogs who need people and people who need dogs.

I fell in love with the painting “Help” on your wall…Tell us about the story behind the painting. I asked the Baja Animal Sanctuary if I could paint one of the actual dogs at the sanctuary to sell to a corporate donor.  Lydia Jensen organized a bunch of photos to me, and a picture of a dog behind a beat up cyclone fence really hit my heart.  I had to paint it.  I spent about thirty hours working on this piece, and I think it speaks to what the Baja Animal Sanctuary is all about.  The dog’s name is Sergio and he has an interesting story.  I heard from Sunny that one of the workers at the sanctuary whose name is Sergio, lived in a rehabilitation home and that home occasionally used extra food to feed local children.  Sergio the dog, would appear to come with children for the food, but when the children no longer came Sergio the dog still showed up for food.  Sergio the person then recognized that Sergio the dog was alone and not fed very well, so he took him to his work at Baja Animal Sanctuary.  Sergio the dog was placed in a home in the U.S.

How does it feel to be part of the 83 year-old National Dog Week legacy as our official Dog Week artist?  Wow, it is such an honor.  Honestly, I had not heard of National Dog Week until I found your site on facebook, but what a great concept.  It amazes me that it was so popular in the past and not honored appropriately today.  I am so glad you are helping bring it back.  We, as a population are doing better to take care of these animals but we still have a long way to go.  There is no dog that should be subjected to poor care or a shelter that feels it is appropriate to terminate their lives.  Dogs are honorable beings who deserve to be cared for with respect and will only give you love in return.  A National Dog Week can be so good at raising awareness of issues that dogs face, and I hope you and all your friends are successful at increase NDW’s popularity. I will help you in any way I can.

Thank you Donald.  Your ability to combine your artistic talents with your desire to help animals is inspiring. I hope many will take advantage of the special opportunity to own some of Donald’s work while helping dogs everywhere. Hopefully this image will “Help” viewers learn more about the man behind the National Dog Week Movement, Captain William Lewis Judy, and to honor his life and work by observing it each September. I believe he would have loved this painting, too.

You can enter the Canines on Canvas Contest by going to http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/National-Dog-Week/218596591491974 Winners to be announced on or near October 31, 2011. Grand Prize winner must allow image derived from their photograph to be used for future National Dog Week Promotions.  Read more at: http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.oregonlive.com%2Fpets%2Findex.ssf%2F2011%2F09%2Fportland_pet_artists_painting.html&h=sAQB0A6kOAQBz8K8N-WiPv8eyjCpiVLUP1xuqGANYRjq2jw