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Congratulations to the Brick (NJ) Township Council. Last week they unanimously voted to ban any new retail businesses that sell puppies or dogs. Stay put for a new post on that decision, an interview with Sunny Benedict of the fabulous Baja Animal Sanctuary and a word from Pet Photographer, Joe Frazz, who will be assisting with the exciting Paws to Pose Project to celebrate National Dog Week this September…https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/National-Dog-Week/218596591491974

Today the East Coast is experiencing a welcome cool-down after enduring four heatwaves since the beginning of the summer season. Personal circumstances have kept me from writing and blogging, so I thought I would present this extra guest-post that did not appear on my recent Virtual Blog Tour for SOMETHING’S LOST AND MUST BE FOUND, still a bestseller in the Kindle Store in “Dogs.” (See ABOUT for Amazon Link).

The east coast has been experiencing the Dog Days and right on time I am told, as they generally begin in early July. Although the Greeks used the term, “Dog Days,” the Romans referred to them as diēs caniculārēs, (days of the dog) occurring during the hottest weather of the season andassociated with the star called Sirius also known as the “Dog Star,” the brightest star in the night sky.

While every dog is said to have its day, this wasn’t true for all dogs of ancient Rome. While we might think the Romans honored their dogs during this time, such was not the case. To appease the rage of Sirius, it has been noted that the Romans sacrificed a brown dog at the beginning of the Dog Days as they mistakenly believed the star caused the hot spell of weather.

And it only gets worse as the Dog Days were also considered a period of evil. According to Brady’s Clavis Calendarium, 1813, these days marked a time when “the Sea boiled, the Wine turned sour, Dogs grew mad, and all other creatures became languid; causing to man, among other diseases, burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies.”

As a writer living along the coast of New Jersey, the Dog Days mean many things to me. While I may be languid at times, I am not hysterical and my sea does not boil (unless the cast of Jersey Shore is going for a swim), and my wine is fine. For me, this is a time when I enjoy scribbling notes on a hammock or typing away in my air-cooled studio during those extra-long carefree days.

As is often the case, at those times I am writing about what I call the Dog Daze, for we Americans are crazy for our canines and all the books and stories that are published about them. What strikes me, however, is no matter how many movies or tv shows are produced or books and magazine articles written about them, many of them still live what is often called a Dog’s Life (which was not a good thing).

In what is comparable to my observation of the human condition, I often note some dogs that have better clothes and accessories or see a doctor or visit a salon more often than most people. But, conversely, I also see dogs that are sad, lonely, neglected and abused, much like their struggling human counterparts. Because a dog’s quality of life is so connected to the life situation of its human guardian, the two cannot be separated.

In writing the short story collection, SOMETHING’S LOST AND MUST BE FOUND, I tried to express this. Of all the stories, the one I enjoyed writing the most is the longest, The House of the Happy Dog. This selection was inspired by two rather ordinary “events” in my life. First, someone told me that on average, a dog lives in four different homes in its lifetime. This was something I wanted to write about, but it wasn’t until I saw a photo of an inn located in Mexico called, “La Casa del Feliz Perro,” that it all came together. I loved the words, “House of the Happy Dog,” and the image they evoked.

In my story, Poor Simon the dog, is shuttled from house to house through no fault of his own, his fate (for better or worse) tied to that of his most current owner. Many humans can relate to an animal that is adored then ignored, lovingly regarded then discarded, or in homes where good intentions and love just aren’t enough to keep everyone together. The reader follows the life path of this big sweet dog, just doing what dogs do best, being there for their humans through good times and bad.

It’s no wonder we love our dogs, we can see so much of our own lives through the reflection of their eyes…and their souls.

As I work on my book that brought me to the dogs (The biography of the man who founded National Dog Week due out next year) I grow weary of seeing the faces of dogs and cats who face a sad fate that no one want to think about. But I keep writing, sharing the stories of those who have FOUND purpose and meaning through trying to help them; a personal commitment that won’t be LOST despite the continued ignorance of those who do not see.

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Can Brick Township (NJ), home to Dog Fest held during NDW, ban puppy shops?

“That the people have the power to redeem the work of fools…” Patti Smith

On Tuesday, July 10, 2012 at 7:00 PM, the Brick Township council will vote on an ordinance to ban the sale of puppies in pet stores in their community.  It is up to us to attend that meeting to show our support for adopting this ordinance.  (details at bottom of post)

Early this year, I posted about the Community of Brick Township’s (NJ) efforts to ban the retail sale of dogs and cats. Since then, the neighboring town of Pt. Pleasant has successfully accomplished this so now let’s see if Brick (where I have resided for 15 years) can join them. I hope that by the time Brick’s Third Annual Dog Fest occurs in late September, we can join the list of American cities and towns that have also done so! I just want to say that I do know many who have purchased their dogs at these shops, but I know that many really did not understand the reality of how that purchase affected the welfare of other dogs…and their humans. When I write on this topic, I do not mean to diminish their dogs or their love for their pets. But now they know better…

One of the many individuals who has worked so hard to see this happen is Janice Fisher. I asked Janice why this is so important and her answer follows.

But first, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce our new National Dog Week Pet Health Consultant, Dr. Adam Christman who is a native of this community and practices at Brick Town Veterinary Hospital. He is also the staff veterinarian for the Jersey Shore Animal Center (JSAC). As NDW 2012 nears, you will learn more about Dr. Christman. But for now you should know that he was very instrumental in the rescue of those thirty-nine sick and neglected puppies rescued from a retail establishment in Brick Township earlier this year (it has since been closed)…and even became the caring owner of one those little puppies. As you recall, last year, this honor went to Los Angeles Veterinarian and TeddyHilton Blogger, Dr. Patrick Mahaney who has remained a great friend to National Dog Week. Welcome Adam!

Here is the very intelligent and thoughtful post from Janice Fisher…

Almost everyone loves a puppy.   Who doesn’t delight in the thought of big brown eyes, a wagging tail, wet kisses and soft snuggles?  A puppy brings joy, laughter and the ability to bond with a furry living being that is not human.

There is, however, a problem with how we obtain a puppy.  We can rescue/adopt or purchase a quality puppy from a reputable, vetted breeder.  Either option is preferable to purchasing a puppy from a pet store.  Do you know about the pet store/puppy mill connection?  Research has established that 98% of the puppies sold in pet stores were raised in puppy mills (a term used for mass commercial breeding facilities that mass produce puppies with little regard for the dog’s welfare but plenty of concern for profit).

The majority of puppy mills are located in seven states:  Missouri, Nebraska, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Arkansas and Oklahoma.  In depth research into sales contracts from local pet stores reveals that the majority of their puppy supply comes from these states.  Further research into the United States Dept. of Agriculture records shows that these breeding dogs and puppies live in conditions that no responsible pet owner would ever approve of.

Let’s test your tolerance.  The following is a sample list of violations regularly cited on inspection reports of mass breeding facilities by the United States Dept. of Agriculture.  These reports are from breeding facilities supplying local pet stores:

Emaciated dogs on premises.

Dogs coats matted and coated with feces.

Dogs living in temperatures below 23.8 degrees F with no ability to stay warm.

(Water buckets are frozen).

Heat index 99 degrees F with no fan or monitoring of temperature.

No shelter from sun, wind or rain.

Medical issues noted:  feet swelling, lacerations, scabs, ulcerations, tartar buildup, tooth loss, masses, nasal congestion, coughing, crusty eyes, diarrhea, underweight and malnutrition, protruding eyes, loss of eyes, overgrown toenails

Foul odors attracting swarms of flies.

Severely rusted metal frames on enclosures posing risk of injury.

Feet and legs of puppies falling through expanded metal flooring causing injury to legs or puppy’s inability to get back to mother to nurse.

Excessive fecal material: hair, debris, insect debris in the whelping buildings where puppies are housed.

Self feeding receptacles have an accumulation of grime on them contaminating the food.

Cages in the “barn” that are hutch style and hang from the ceiling.  The dogs are rocking and swinging in the enclosures.

Read enough?  Is this tolerable?  Might it appear to you that these animals that were meant to provide companionship for humans are  treated like a cash crop?  This is the sad truth.

The legislation that regulates this business, the Animal Welfare Act, is lax and provides only minimal standards of care for the animals.  When groups such as the Humane Society of theUnited Statesor the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals lobby for stronger legislation, there is opposition from many organizations that profit from this business and, more often than not, the law does not get passed.

Therefore, the USDA with approximately 70 inspectors nationwide and approximately 4,500 facilities nationwide to inspect, are expected to enforce the Animal Welfare Act.  An audit in May 2010 by the Office of Inspector General reveals that the USDA is not meeting its obligations and thousands of animals are suffering because of it.

CAN WE HELP ON A LOCAL LEVEL?   YES!!!!

  • We can decrease the demand for these puppies. Just say “NO” to pet store purchases.
  • We can encourage local legislators to adopt ordinances that will prohibit the sale of puppies in their community.
  • We can educate others and encourage them to do the same.

On Tuesday, July 10, 2012 at 7:00 PM, theBrickTownship council will vote on an ordinance to ban the sale of puppies in pet stores in their community.  It is up to us to attend that meeting to show our support for adopting this ordinance.

Will you commit to a couple of hours that night to attend the meeting and support the ordinance?   If so, this ordinance will be passed andBrickTownship and will be the second municipality in the State ofNew Jersey to demonstrate that it is “animal-friendly.”  Hope to see you there.

We can.

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”