On Monday, December 5th, my Short Story Collection was the ereader News Today Book of the Day…and the book also made the Midwest Book Review due to Tracy Riva’s glowing review in November.  I thank everyone who has taken the time to read and review…If you get a Kindle for the holidays, please consider this as a download! Currently, Something’s Lost and Must Be Found is ranked NO. ONE and THREE in two DOG Categories…Something to bark about for sure…and more good news is pending!  http://ereadernewstoday.com/book-of-the-day-somethings-lost-and-must-be-found/679420/ You can use the Amazon LINK in ABOUT or follow hyper link in the ereader Review!

“Caring for animals, which depend knowingly upon humans, pulls a child or an adult out of his selfishness and away from his own narrow cell.” Will Judy, Founder of National Dog Week.

Please be sure to LIKE the National Dog Week Community page on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/pages/National-Dog-Week/218596591491974?ref=ts

For such a small state, New Jersey seems to provide fodder for many television shows among them The Sopranos, Jerseylicious, Cake Boss, “Real “Housewives of NJ, Boardwalk Empire (although not shot in the Garden State) and of course my personal “favorite,” The Jersey Shore (which unfortunately is).

However, an inhabitant of the Jersey Shore region, I see a lot of good things going on and as I must relate my posts to things canine, I will start with a brief heart-warming and inspiring local dog story.

Earlier this month, I read an article about 18 year-old Wall Township (Monmouth Co., NJ), Alexa Bussey and her service dog, Luckie. Alexa was born with epilepsy and has endured years of medication and several brain surgeries.  However, despite the best efforts of the medical field she still experiences seizures.  After a family friend filled out the necessary paperwork, Alexa was awarded a Service Dog named Luckie. This two and-a-half year old Certified Therapy Dog was provided by Canine Assistants of Atlanta, Georgia. http://www.canineassistants.org/

On October 11, canine and education history was made when the Wall Township Board of Education made allowances for service dogs to be admitted in the school classroom when necessary.  Although Alexa still requires a full-time human assistant, Luckie helps to keep her safe by detecting the onset of even the smallest medical episode.

Alexa’s fellow students seem to love the idea of having a dog around, and I think it is safe to assume that they will also benefit somehow from Luckie’s presence. Will Judy, the Founder of National Dog Week understood the special bond between young people and dogs when he wrote in 1949, “Every boy and girl should grow up with a dog as a teacher.”

And if there must be a “Reality” Television show about women from New Jersey, it should include inspiring people like my friend Laura Brunetti.  I have known Laura since we attended High School together in Northern New Jersey.  Laura and her husband, John, now call Monmouth County and the Miami area, home.

Laura has founded a program called Caring Canvas where she and a group of dedicated volunteers organize cultural events to give local artists a venue in which to market themselves while benefitting selected charities from the sale of their work.

Caring Canvas events are held in a variety of open spaces in Monmouth County where Laura creates an inviting and welcoming presentation down to the smallest detail with lighting and music to showcase the art in the best possible manner.

According to Susan Belfer, Communications and Public Relations Director for the Caring Canvas,  “These events are open to the public…but collectors such as financiers, socialites, politicos, corporate executives real-estate moguls and celebrities (there have been half a dozen so far) frequent Brunetti’s events…and thus the shows garner media attention, drawing together the community for a good cause.”

Asbury Park Mayor Ed Johnson standing under "Tree of Life"

The Caring Canvas also helps those in need by visiting local hospitals and organizing special events and summer camps for at-risk youth like a recent occasion in Newark, New Jersey where 100 autistic children, age five through nine, were taught to paint.

A recent event in Asbury Park featured  Cuban-born Contemporary Painter, Josignacio,  presenting his 8 X 9 original triptych titled Tree of Life.  This extraordinary work, with an estimated value of $180,000, was dedicated by its creator to the children of this Jersey Shore city during a formal ceremony held earlier this month.http://www.prlog.org/11722296-miami-artist-josignacios-tree-of-life-stands-tall-in-asbury-park-nj.html

“[The events] inspire others to give,” notes Belfer, further adding, “It helps them to recognize that people need help. We’ve seen that the shows have a pay-it-forward type of message.”

On her own time, Laura is often found mentoring children in Miami and New Jersey, volunteering with Alzheimer’s patients at the Jersey Shore Genesis Center and has donated artwork to the Center in Asbury, a facility that provides housing for people living with HIV/AIDS.

Laura mentoring some young friends

I thank Laura and Susan for all the great things they do for others.  I would love to be able to partner up with them for a publishing or art project sometime in the future! Happy Thanksgiving…

Susan Belfer and Laura Brunetti at a recent book signing

To learn more about Laura and the scope of her work please visit http://www.lestrellastudio.com

For more on the services of publicist, Susan Befer visit http://www.belfercommunications.com/

Josignacio making ARTnews