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We Salute the Official Image for NDW 2012!

Part of the legacy of National Dog Week were the images it inspired. Founder Will Judy understood that the “art of the dog” was not lost on his followers and fans. In keeping with tradition, last year I  reintroduced this tradition and presented the dog on canvas. This year we showcase the dog as viewed from the lens of a camera.

An image from a NDW past

Last September it was an honor to have the artwork of Donald E. Brown serve as the image of National Dog Week’s 83rd Observance. Donald’s portrait of Sergio, a Rescue Dog from Baja Animal Sanctuary, was the inspiration for the beautiful National Dog Week poster titled, “Help.” To learn more about Donald’s art please visit his new blog. http://donaldebrown.blogspot.com/2012/07/sergio.html#!/2012/07/sergio.html

This year, I thought it would be fun to explore the image of the dog as it pertains to National Dog Week through the lenses of a camera. That is how the idea for “Paws to Pose,” began to unfold. I recalled books where an event or a day was recorded and then shared throughout the nation through the use of inspiring photographs (like A DAY IN THE LIFE OF AMERICA). I wondered what would happen if I chose a dozen or so friends of the NDW Project, who lived in different areas of the nation, and sent them a disposable camera to record the dogs that populate their lives and community during the week of September 24th.  This year is an experiment and done on a budget so I am working things out as we go along. If you feel compelled to be part of this project, please feel free to contact me.

Images captured with a NDW Camera will used on the National Dog Week Blog, NDW Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/National-Dog-Week/218596591491974?ref=ts and a new website that should be up by sometime this Fall.

Why a disposable camera? Well first, it levels the playing field; everyone has the same tool so to speak. It also limits the number of chances you get to take a great shot. Why is that important? Because, after each camera is returned to me, I’ve asked the accomplished and dog-loving pet photographer Joseph Frazz to choose what he thinks is the best photo from each camera.

I “discovered” Joe’s soulful photos of dogs on Facebook and just as I had done last year after spotting the vibrant paintings of Donald Brown, contacted him to ask if he wanted to be part of a special project for the special Week of the Dog. Joe obliged and we are so happy to have him join our efforts.

“Help” – poster from 2011

In addition to his work as a photographer, Joe is a Certified Animal Control Officer in his home state of New Jersey. Of his career as a professional dog photographer Joe reflects, “I started photographing dogs to give as gifts to my customers and what started out as good intentions has turned into a life’s passion and love which has given me an extraordinary insight to these beautiful creatures we call dogs. Each time a photograph captures the unique personality “the soul” of a dog I am in awe of the simplicity of their true unconditional love and beauty. I now have a deeper understanding and appreciation of their purpose in our lives and the gift of love they bring to all of us.” You can check out Joe’s work at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Joseph-Frazz-Photography/114981261894705#!/pages/Joseph-Frazz-Photography/114981261894705

For this post, I asked Joe a few questions about his involvement in “Paws to Pose.”

What are  your thoughts on the celebration of National Dog Week? National Dog Week is a great way to honor Gods gifts – “Dogs,” but in celebrating what they give to us in so many ways. It is a great time to act on and understand how truly neglected these amazing creatures are from their plights in puppy mills to their misery in our Shelters.

What do you think makes for a great canine photo? A great photograph when it comes to the subject of dogs in my estimation would be one that captures the spirit of an individual dog. It could come from their smile and “yes dogs do smile” or the tilt of the head, the lifting of a paw but, especially from the reflection of honesty and innocence that comes only from a dog’s eyes.

How will you participate in the Paws to Pose Project? I was asked to help pick the best photographs from each of the cameras that weregiven out to individuals from around the country. I’m looking forward to seeing all the dogs!

And we are looking forward to learning more about this talented photographer. Thank you, Joe.

Brick Township, NJ, is a true National Dog Week Community

HELP NEEDED: The Manasquan Borough (Monmouth Co. New Jersey) has agreed to introduce an ordinance banning the retail sale of puppies in that township. You can support this effort by e-mailing the Mayor of Manasquan before AUGUST 6th. gdempsey@manasquan-nj.com. SAMPLE LETTER: Please support a ban of retail puppy sales in pet stores in the town of Manasquan. This would make the community members very proud, aid helpless animals and protect consumers. (You do not have to include your town in the e-mail, but if you live in Manasquan, please be sure to).

At the Municipal Building of Brick Township, NJ, The sun set on another day at the Jersey Shore…but it really wasn’t just another day. On this early Tuesday evening, July 10th, the Brick Township Council was ready to vote on a proposal that would ban retail establishments from selling puppies.

Earlier in the year, a shop that was selling sick and neglected puppies had been successfully shut down. Coincidentally, the man who co-owned that establishment, Nat Sladkin, was due in court the following day facing several counts of animal abuse.

Sitting behind me at the council meeting was Janice Fisher, her daughter Courtney, and others who had worked so hard to make this ban a reality (maybe).  As the meeting drew on, Janice leaned forward and apologized that I had to sit through the discussion of so many unrelated issues. I told her I found the meeting interesting. But I thought, here I am in an air-conditioned room, just sitting and listening in comfort, a far cry from all the hours these dedicated animal-lovers spent in the cold, snow, wind and summer heat carrying signs to bring attention to their cause. And I thought about all the poor dogs and pups that were at that very moment languishing in discomfort and neglect in so many puppy mills across the country. I was just sitting there taking notes.

And then the big moment came. It was time to vote. I could sense the anticipation and nerves of all who had worked so hard on this.  The public was invited to speak on the issue just before the vote took place. A man and a woman spoke with Service Dogs in tow followed by a representative from the local chapter of the Humane Society.  Although I am not a fan of public speaking, I even got up and said a few words. I could tell by the expressions on the council member’s faces that they were on the side of the dogs.

Then Janice Fisher addressed the Council. She spoke of how members of our state senate were considering measures that would ban the retail sale of puppies in all cities and towns of New Jersey She also acknowledged that the neighboring Borough of Point Pleasant had successfully voted to ban puppy shops only a week earlier. Would Brick Township be next?

Before the vote was taken, each council member spoke. They shared how much they had learned through this process, and how people throughout the nation had contacted them. One had actually prosecuted cases involving dog abuse and many spoke about how important dogs were to them personally.

And then the vote was delivered… Seven “Ayes” rang out and Brick Township became  the second township on the east coast (excluding Florida) to make it official; while the existing puppy retailer would be grandfathered in, no new shop of its kind would be allowed to open in Brick, NJ.

Congratulations to the Fisher family, the army of volunteers and professionals that helped bring this about, the members of the Brick Township Council and the state of New Jersey. Two years ago, Brick Township began their annual tradition of Dog Fest each September and was declared a National Dog Week Community by Brick’s  Mayor Acropolis during its first observance.