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“The old era of the breeder-seller ‘washing his hands’ of a sale as soon as the puppy left his place, has passed.”  Will Judy, Founder of National Dog Week, (written in 1961 after publishing Dog World Magazine for 36 years)

According to Tracy Green, the Page Administor of Make it Illegal to Sell Dogs/Puppies in Pet Stores, https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Make-it-Illegal-to-sell-DogsPuppies-in-Pet-Stores/196025447082684 there are at least 14  communities in the United States that have successfully banned these establishments: 1. Parkland Florida 2. Lake Worth Florida 3. Hallandale Beach FL 4. Irvine CA 5. Glendale CA 6. Albuquerque New Mexico (first to ban in US) 7. West Hollywood CA 8. South Lake Tahoe CA 9. Chula Vista CA 10. Laguna Beach CA 11. Dana Point CA 12. Hermosa Beach CA 13. Fountain Colorado 14. Austin Texas.

El Paso Texas has banned puppies under one year of age in pet stores and Los Angeles approved a motion to draft an ordinance to ban sales of cats, dogs and rabbits in pet stores. Although an official ordinance is not in place yet, Huntington Beach, CA, passed a first reading and they are in the process of putting a motion to draft an official ordinance. Richmond, BC, Canada has banned sales; Toronto became the second Canadian city to ban these sales. (please visit site for updates).

Recently, my township of Brick, NJ has been in the spotlight as potentially becoming the first city in the MidAtlantic to follow suit. Over the weekend, National Pets Examiner, Prenny Preston Eims, wrote on this development http://www.examiner.com/article/jersey-town-may-ban-retail-sale-of-cats-and-dogs . The ordinance has been tabled but you can help by contacting the township and voicing your support.

I thank the Fisher family and all those town officials, veterinarians and others who have worked so hard to bring this about and those who helped rescue 39 sick and neglected pups from another “Dog Store” in Brick Township. And a nod of appreciation to all those across the nation who are organizing activities to call attention to this problem.

A few years ago, when I began writing the short story, HUMAN DIRECTIONAL, I wanted to show, not tell, the story of a young man who chooses to work for a shop that sells dogs acquired through puppy mills. The story is purely ficitional, but captures the message on the callousness of this business, as well the economic angst many are experiencing (sometimes they go hand in hand, or hand in paw). Below, I present an excerpt from HUMAN DIRECTIONAL, one of the seven stories of SOMETHING’S LOST AND MUST BE FOUND. (Please see ABOUT for more book information). Thanks to all who have kept this book among the top sellers in “Dogs” on Amazon.

For the record, I am not anit-breeder. In my lifetime, I have welcomed many pets  in a variety of ways. Ten years ago, I acquired  (with love) my Portuguese water dog from a breeder who made me come to her home three times, fill out a questionnaire, be interviewed and after all that, she asked me if I still wanted one of her pups. I even got to hold my pup and meet her dog mom. This is not what goes on when people buy from a retail shop. If I am able to add another dog to my household, I will work with a shelter or a local rescue group. I happily await the day.

People say to me, why does the government have to get involved, why don’t people just stop buying at these shops?  That’s a good question. A dog is not a car or a toy or an appliance.  Encourage people to acquire dogs intelligently. It is a big commitment, think about it. Ask them to consider the welfare of all dogs like those abused and neglected on the grounds of Commercial Breeding facilities and their pups that are dumped in overcrowded shelters.

Excerpt from Human Directional

Enlightenment can be obtained in houses of worship, halls of education, on a magnificent mountain top, or sometimes in the confines of a sweaty dog suit working as a Human Directional.

You’ve seen them, how could you not? They seem to be everywhere, at the corner of busy intersections; living breathing human billboards, hoisting big signs shaped like arrows.  Some dance and jump around in staged excitement, swirling, swinging, flipping, and twirling their signs.  Others stand slumped, stuck in place, brought down by boredom, heat, exhaustion…life.

But the sign they cling to is a life raft, offering its carrier a way to earn wages on which he or she can just scrape by, all the while pointed toward the Grand Opening of some new store in a strip mall, or directing house hunters to a housing tract featuring mini-mansions listed at “Market Adjusted” prices.

Does anyone ever grow up wanting to be a Human Directional?  Perhaps, but you’ll find that these hired walking signs have surrendered hope, at a point in their lives when any job will do because they lack skills, paper work, or opportunity.  Many exist in quiet desperation looking for some personal direction, some kind of sign, while actually being one.  Most won’t get the irony, but there are exceptions, like John, a twenty-five year old college graduate with a degree in business from a prestigious university.

This formerly goal-directed young man had been laid off a year earlier and just never could find something to replace that good run of employment he’d enjoyed for three years.  For the past six months he’d done some light carpentry work, some house painting and worked as a busboy.  He’d become discouraged about the prospects of ever finding meaningful work with a good paycheck, the kind of work he felt someone of his education and background deserved.

John recalled a time not so long ago when he held little regard for those who were not so smart, so lucky, so entitled; the legions who labored on the lawns of others, waited on tables at chain restaurants, flipped greasy burgers, cared for the elderly, children, or animals… but now here he stood at a busy intersection dressed in a human-sized dog suit, luring customers to a store called PETS-4-U!

He had found his new job after answering an ad on Craig’s List, under the heading of Advertising and Promotion.  In desperate times the John’s of the world overlook a lot, including their inner compasses, when accepting a position like that of a Human Directional for a place like PETS-4-U!

PETS-4-U! had been in business at its new spot for just four months, having moved from one just a few miles down the road where it had been known as PUPS-2-GO!  Now with the Thanksgiving and holiday season near, it was time to take advantage of this new highly trafficked business location and rev up the lucrative sale of adorable pups.

“I need someone with a big bark and lots of energy,” the owner of the shop had explained to John during his interview. “If you can be available weekends, you’re hired.” he’d continued. “I’ll start you out at $15.00 an hour and if business is good, I’ll give you a raise and a holiday bonus.”

As this was the best offer John had received in a while, he accepted, what did he have to lose he’d reasoned?

“Call me Ron,” the pet shop owner had said offering John his hand.  “Too bad those good looks of yours will be wasted.”  With this, he’d presented John with his new uniform, a Golden retriever suit which John would be wearing on his beat. “Get it? You’re a member of the Working Dog Group now, a retriever of customers,” Ron said, guffawing.  “You can start tomorrow.  Just keep that big arrow pointed in this direction and move around a lot, get creative, act like a dog, chase cars, offer your paw.  Kids love it!”

John reported to his corner the next morning dressed in a dog suit the color of the amber-hued lagers he used to pound down at the upscale bars he’d frequented in days of yore.  He would have to get used to the stifling sensation that came with wearing a big dog head with slits for eyes, grateful it allowed him to remain anonymous.

The first hour passed without incident, but then it started.  (End of Excerpt).

I hope you were engaged enough to invest in a download (only .99 on Amazon). Please remember, a portion of all book sales is designated to some special causes for our Companion Animals, especially those involving Spay and Neuter initiatives.

I also hope that you do can do your part to replicate what those in the above-mentioned communities (and hopefully, soon, Brick Township) have been able to do. Please contact the town officials in Brick and let them know how you feel. Please feel free to quote any material obtained from my blog posts. council@twp.brick.nj.us

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“So good you never knew that he was there

Until you came upon him in a nook

Beside the small gray woman as she searched

The well-known shelves for some yet unread book”

Excerpt from The Dog in the Library – attributed to Ethel King

In 1949 Will Judy declared (in capital letters) “EVERY BOY AND GIRL SHOULD GROW UP WITH A DOG AS A TEACHER.”

Following in the next paragraph, he restated the underlying message  of all the National Dog Weeks he had organized and promoted, “We do not necessarily want more or better dogs; we want better dog owners.”

Will Judy clealy believed that through the care of dogs, and pets in general, children developed strong characters and learned the importance of kindness.

In that spirit, we are happy to announce that Bocker the Labradoodle will serve as “Barksperson” for the celebration of National Dog Week leading up to and during the week of September 25th . In doing so, Bocker will help to promote this year’s theme of  “Every Dog a Teacher.”

Bocker is no stranger to these posts and National Dog Week. His charitable work, television and movie accomplishments and his book CHASING BOCKER’s TALE have all happily graced the walls of this blog during the past couple of years.

And remember, learning isn’t just for the young and it doesn’t only occur in academic settings or have to always be concerned with books and classrooms. We all can learn about caring and kindness through the care of pets wherever the gentle touch of a paw or a loving gaze of a well-trained (and in most cases certified) animal is allowed.

We hope you will start thinking of special ways that canines can be engaged in the process of learning during National Dog Week and beyond. Have your local library host a Read to the Dogs Event, approach your local book store to schedule readings by authors of dog books and create a display dedicated to great dog books. Maybe dogs can participate in reading programs in overlooked locations such as Assisted Living Facilities, Convalescent Homes and Hospitals. Some Therapy Dogs have served as models in art rooms, others have inspired essays in Literacy lesson plans.  I am sure you can think of more ways to connect canines with education.

With the help of his mom, Bocker recently answered a few questions about his new role in the National Dog Week movement.

Bocker, how do you feel about being the official Dog Barksperson for National Dog Week?
Honored to say the least! This is a very important week and what is done during National Dog Week can help us all learn and have a better understanding of the many different things in life that create such a special bond between animals and their humans. It’s main focus of teaching responsible pet ownership, primarily the importance of spay and neuter, is key.

What do you think of this year’s theme, “Every Dog a Teacher?”  Love it! We are teachers. Unconditional love, being so attuned to the feelings of those around us, making people smile and happy and relax a bit. Doesn’t every human want to learn these things?

What kinds of fun and meaningful activities would you like to see happen during NDW this September? Being a Tail Wagging Tutor, I love to read with children. I try to teach them how important reading is and that “Reading Is Fun!” Would be fun to read my book to them, too!

Bocker has also been nominated for the Hero Dog Award sponsored by the American Humane Association. You can vote for Bocker by visiting http://www.herodogawards.org/vote/?nominee=94854978

This year, National Dog Week is celebrating its 84th observance, making it a time honored tradition. As I complete my book dedicated to Captain Will Judy, the man who founded NDW in 1928 (McFarland 2013), I will continue to share how these seven days in September have shaped the way millions of Americans have thought and felt about their dogs through the decades.

Remember to LIKE our page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/National-Dog-Week/218596591491974 to keep up with all the barking!

To learn more about the work of Bocker the Labradoodle, please visit:

https://www.facebook.com/#!/bocker

https://www.facebook.com/#!/ChasingBockersTale

Thank you Bocker, we are all looking forward to some inspiring fun!

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”