You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2011.

Sorry…if you want the dark and snarky…go over the other “Post.”  But if you want a nice story of a task well-done…read on.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better.  It’s not.”  Dr. Seuss, from the Lorax

The other day I got a call from Domenic, a young man who works at an Assisted Living Facility in town.  He said that someone had given him a flyer they had taken from a booth I had sponsored for Covers for Critters at our local Dog Fest event last September.  Dog Fest is a terrific event held here each year, sponsored by the Brick Township Rotary Club. (See post of May 1, 2011 for details).

Domenic asked if I was still interested in receiving old bedding, towels and sheets, etc. for a local Animal Shelters.  I said I was, but I also recalled that back in October another facility had offered, only to go back on their promised donation due to a “management decision” that said these items were needed elsewhere.  Domenic assured me it wasn’t them (there are many establishments of this type in my town) and I told him I would be there early the next morning.

When I pulled into the lot, there he was with his helper, John, cleaning out a shed.  They told me to back in my van and proceeded to load it up with unused bags of bed comforters.

He then asked if we needed sheets and I said I would gladly take them….

I thanked him for taking the time and making the effort to contact after almost three months had gone by…he said he was a dog lover and hoped to have more for us in the future.

At this year’s Dog Fest event, I also had young people participate in Nikki Moustaki’s Pet Postcard Project by making a slew of postcards at my booth.  The PPP is a unique and fun way for people to help feed Shelter Pets one cup of kibble at a time…Nikki, an accomplished Dog Obedience Trainer, author and animal advocate is now blogging for the Dog Channel and tells me she has some exciting events planned in the New Year. http://betterwords.typepad.com/petpostcardproject/

All set up for Pet Post Card Production...

Some people rescue, others rehab, some Foster and others cross post adoptable dogs and cats on Facebook…there are many ways everyone can contribute.  I write about issues affecting our Companion Animals, with these blog posts and the books I write.  My short story collection continues to do well as a Kindle Download and now is available in a Soft Cover version http://www.amazon.com/Somethings-Lost-Must-Found-ebook/dp/B0051ZMYG2   My first donation from some of my proceeds will go to Project Pets, Spay, Neuter, Love https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Project-Pets-Spay-Neuter-Love/160594203971240and will pay for the S/N of one pet.  According to the group’s vice president, “Willie Wonka,” “$50 pays for one dog to be neutered or one cat to be spayed. You know that means the world will have 1/2million less cats in ten years – or 300,000 dogs.” Those are powerful statistics…and that’s just with the “fixing” on one animal…

In the coming weeks, I am planning a special two-year anniversary post and then hope to present the forces behind the Ray of Hope Program of Kansas City http://hsgkc.org/rayofhopepage.html  and a young man named Sean Martin who started the Kids Adopt a Shelter Campaign on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/#!/KidsAdoptaShelter as well as some other individuals who are using their time and talents to make some lasting and significant changes in the way our Companion Animals are treated.

Happy New Year’s all and thank you for your quiet support.

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“Be the god-on-earth, all-wise master your dogs think you are.”  Will Judy, (1949) Founder of National Dog Week

News Bark:  My Short Story Collection, SOMETHING’S LOST AND MUST BE FOUND, inspired by these blog posts, is now available in a soft cover version! If you are an Independent Book Store looking to add to your Dog or Inspirational Categories…please let me know.  If you are a member of a book club, I would love to talk about having this book read and discussed…please feel free to contact me at pst39crd@aol.comhttps://www.createspace.com/3656078

As one who writes about special days, weeks and months, it is perfect that the year ends with something called Awareness Month of Awareness Month Months (seriously).  For example, December brings the serious, World Aids Month and Colorectal Awareness Education Month; it is Rising Star and Spiritual Literacy Month, Bingo’s Birthday Month and Operation Santa Paws Month.  Throughout the year, there is a month dedicated to all food groups, beverages, diseases and things we probably never even thought to be aware of.

In the past couple of years, I’ve spent a lot of time making people aware of National Dog Week (the last full week in September) and the way this week can present a time of organized reflection about issues affecting our Companion Animals, specifically dogs.  Of course, these issues are relevant every week of the year, but perhaps there is one issue that should be addressed on the occasion of a week filled with two important gift-giving holidays, Hanukkah and Christmas. If you, or someone you know, is planning to add a dog to the family unit at this time please read on.

One way of achieving awareness is to talk to someone who is knowledgeable about a subject that is important to you. In the case of puppy mills and pet shop dogs, I sought the experience of Jacki Flannigan.  I became aware of Jacki and her work on Facebook.  This dog-advocate began arranging Peaceful Protests in front of Retail Pet Shops after watching a special program produced by Lisa Ling for the Oprah Winfrey Show about the horrors of puppy mills.  Jacki was struck by the fact that Lisa stated that of all the documentaries she had produced for her Oprah Specials, this was the one that had the most profound effect on her.

Jacki, who now lives in Pennsylvania, arranges planned Peaceful Demonstrations outside pet retailers in New York State.   She recruits participants through her Facebook Page and makes the carefully worded signs for the Protesters to carry.  She does not wish for confrontation, but wants to make the public aware of what is going on behind the doors of these innocent looking Pup Shops.

Jacki talks about the terrible lives the parents of these puppies must endure.  The pup you buy at these stores might turn out to be physically and emotionally okay, but there is a high price to be paid (apart from the amount of money the buyer will dole out with an average 300 percent markup on the price of puppy).

Interesting, Jacki’s first “event” was held on Christmas Eve to dissuade those who think popping into the pup shop for a last-minute canine-centric gift might be a good idea. In my local newspaper the Asbury Park Press this evening, a woman wrote a Featured Letter to the Editor titled, “Choose breeder or shelter when adopting a puppy.” In it, Janice Fisher of Manasquan, NJ, makes some excellent points.  Of these retail pups she notes, “…Their pathetic lives will be solely for the purpose of reproducing.  They will not know a warm bed, human touch, a dog bone or exercise.”  These dogs will never leave their cage and will be put down, often inhumanely, when deemed no longer productive.

Janice rightfully points out that these shop owners will tell you that they only buy from USDA licensed kennels, assuring that these pups are top-quality when the Animal Welfare Act only provides for, “a minimal standard of care.” They will also say they don’t buy from puppy mills (duh) but they do buy from Brokers who buy from the mills.

So, if you really want a dog for the holidays, either explore your local shelters for adoption, foster during the holidays or if you really prefer to go the breeder route, carefully select your breeder and get lots of references…also really try to learn about the breed you wish to “acquire.”

Fittingly, the photo at the top of this post pleading for Awareness serves as Jacki’s Profile Picture. There is so much more to write about on this topic, but if this brief post makes you Aware, then my writing, and this Awareness Month of Awareness Month Months wrought something positive.

Wishing you a very insightful and inspiring year. Thank you for taking time to read.

Here are some informative links on this topic:

Jacki’s call for volunteers: https://www.facebook.com/#!/events/156659541100368/

Good reading about puppy mills: http://www.prisonersofgreed.org/Broker.html

Pugslee and Princess Haddock are the subjects of Donald Brown's Painting, "Furry Cuteness."

“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

Just want to take a moment at a busy time of year to make you aware of some fun activities surrounding the National Dog Week Community Page and Project.  If you haven’t already, please go over to our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/National-Dog-Week/218596591491974?ref=ts and LIKE us to be eligible for some specially selected give-aways and to be part of a nice dog-centric community.

December proved to be personally exciting for me as a writer.  My Short Story Collection, Something’s Lost and Must be Found received some nice recognition when it was the Book-of-the-Day on December 5 http://ereadernewstoday.com/book-of-the-day-somethings-lost-and-must-be-found/679420/ and was included in Tracy Riva’s List in the Midwest Book Review. I appreciate all who have taken time to read and review on my AMAZON PAGE.  This book was inspired by the work I have been doing on behalf of National Dog Week.  A portion of all proceeds will be donated to a group I support Project Pets – Spay, Neuter, Love https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Project-Pets-Spay-Neuter-Love/160594203971240.

Back on the NDW Community Page, a name was selected from the LIKE List in November and Robin Rudnitsky Jacobs of New Jersey won a bottle of B.Animal all-natural dog shampoo generously donated by Evelyn Colom Kiggens. http://banimal.com/shop/ Thanks again, Evelyn.

This month, those who LIKE and post a photo of their dog(s) dressed up in holiday attire on the NDW Face book page will be eligible to win a copy of CHASING BOCKER’S TALE, a terrific book about a very special Labradoodle named Bocker.  This book was generously donated by Bocker’s Mom. To learn more about his book please check out and LIKE their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/#!/ChasingBockersTale.

And back in September, a Canines on Canvas Contest was held and a randomly selected LIKER became the lucky recipient of a canine portrait created just for them by National Dog Week Artist, Donald E. Brown http://www.donaldebrown.com/Resume.html

NDW Poster created by Donald Brown

Donald not only donated his time and talents for the Contest, he loaned that fantastic image of Sergio for the National Dog Week Poster 2011.  He also created several posters, signed twenty of them and sold them (and several unsigned) to raise funds for the Baja Animal Sanctuary. 

Amanda and David Haddock of Iowa, our lucky contest winners, are thrilled with the results, (see top of page) confirming, “We received the painting and it looks great. We are so happy our cute kids got painted…Thank you we appreciate all you and Don Brown did.” I love the dreamy quality of this painting, the use of color and the way it really captures the expressiveness of the breed.  We thank Amanda and David and their dogs for being such devoted friends of the NDW Community, too!

I would also like to thank Dr. Patrick Mahaney, our NDW Pet Consultant who continues to help spread awareness of National Dog Week and Reality Television Host and Dog Advocate Laura Nativo for helping us out while promoting her show that aired in September Dog Park Superstars.

And thanks to all of you who continue to read and participate in some meaningful causes.  I hope to have more good news early in the new year.

Hooper

"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

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”