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Connor, one of the beloved pups of Dr. Adam Christman of Brick, NJ

Welcome to the 84th Observance of National Dog Week! Please join us by LIKING the NDW Page on Facebook.!/pages/National-Dog-Week/218596591491974

I began writing this blog in the January of 2010 after I had an idea for a book that would chronicle the evolution of something called the National Dog Week Movement. Begun in 1928, I felt there was something so special about the dedication and determination of its founder, Captain Will Judy, a man trained for the ministry and the Law, who also became a decorated WWI hero and remarkably published Dog World Magazine for 36 years. He changed the way America, and the world, regarded man’s best friend. Certainly others would be as intrigued.

I thought I had a good idea then, and despite many obstacles, I kept up my research and used the occasion to engage others who embraced its mission and to reach out to fellow dog-lovers (and others) on a regular basis. Imagine my satisfaction when I found an agent and a publisher who believed in my journey. Just yesterday I received my confirmation that I am now a full-fledge member of the Dog Writer’s Association of America, which was established in part by Will Judy many years ago. It is an honor.

I thank all of you who have agreed to be interviewed in my posts and all the advice and encouragement you have provided. As my Indiegogo Campaign enters its second week, I thank all of you for sharing its link and for your donations. The campaign will run through mid-November.

Much gratitude to LA-based Dr. Patrick Mahaney for serving as our National Dog Week Pet Health Consultant last year. He did a terrific job  Sometimes you don’t have to travel too far from home to find the spirit of kindness and determination. Often it is in our own backyards. (For the record, Patrick is a Jersey Native, too)!

Today I introduce this year’s Pet Health contributor, Brick Township New Jersey’s very own, Dr. Adam Christman, DVM. As many of you know, Brick’s Town Council banned the retail sale of dogs this summer, making them a true NDW Community. Dr. Christman was personally involved in the rescue of 39 sick and neglected pups removed from Puppies Galore in town last year.

Adam is happy to announce that last month he received his MBA. Congratulations on all your accomplishments!

Please tell us about your involvement with the closing of the Puppy Retailer in Brick Township last winter. What role did you play? As the Chief Veterinarian for the Jersey Shore Animal Center, I received a phone call from the Brick Animal Control officers. They had received an anonymous tip from an individual who was walking past the store and noticed a German shepherd that had jumped out of a crate and was running loose. Moreover, the individual noticed some sick puppies through the window as well. This triggered a series of events that had me walk into the store to assess the situation and perform complete physical exams on all 39 puppies. Of the 39 puppies in the store, 35 were deemed to have some form of respiratory illness. 4 of them had severe pneumonia (2 of them being sold on the floor as is). As a result, I made the executive decision with the support of Mayor Stephen Acropolis, the Ocean County Health Department and Animal Control Officers to close down the store indefinitely until a court hearing.
Can you tell the readers about the emotional health issues that face many puppies produced at puppy mills?Those of my clients who purchased a puppy from a puppy store tell me that they “wanted to rescue him/her from there.”  I unfortunately have to tell them that they are perpetuating the business even further. Most (not all) puppy mill puppies are overbred, have several congenital, genetic, infectious and metabolic disorders. These can range from hip dysplasia, juvenile cataracts, open fontanelle, pneumonia, parvo virus, hypoglycemia, etc.

Once the human-animal bond is established (which is usually “love at first site”), there is a significant emotional attachment. Unfortunately, the financial commitment may be absent. A majority of these puppy mill dogs are overpriced (up to 4-5 times the cost of the puppy!!) and owners may not have the expense to care for the defects. We probably see at least 1-2 puppies per week that are deemed “unfit for purchase.” There could be mild clinical signs (diarrhea with intestinal parasites) or more severe signs (heart defect, hip dysplasia, etc). These could be eliminated if pet owners went to reputable breeders or rescue groups that would make the prospective pet owner aware of recurrent or concurrent illness.

What frustrates veterinarians the most is when a pet owner overpays for a puppy from a puppy store and complains to the veterinarian that they have no money for its healthcare expense. If a puppy is adopted from a shelter, it is usually spayed/neutered, heartworm and fecal checked, fully vaccinated and microchipped for a minimal fee whereas a puppy from a puppy mill/petstore come with a series of vaccines that are allegedly “legit” for over $1,000. I have seen puppies purchased from a puppy store for over $6,000!
I understand you adopted one of these pups. Can you tell us about Connor? Connor is now a 10 month-old short haired dachshund that melted me INSTANTLY when I saw him curled up in his diarrhea in his crate in Puppies Galore. Later I found he had many roundworms in his stool. I didn’t think twice about making him my son. I now have 4 beautiful children–Charles a beagle, Cosmo a paralyzed long-haired dachshund and Chelsea, a black dapple dachshund.
Do you think New Jersey will really be the first state in the nation to completely ban the selling of dogs in stores? YES! I will make sure and do everything I can in my legal power to be the first state to completely ban the selling of dogs in stores. We all need to bond together, sign petitions, AVOID THE IMPULSE IN PET SHOP PURCHASING, do your research and become INFORMED ABOUT PUPPY MILLS.

How can they learn more and help this process? The humane society offers a guide on what you as a citizen can do to help prevent puppy mill puppy stores from occurring in your town: Also letters to your local legislators certainly help! All 39 of the puppies taken from the Brick Township shop have been spayed, neutered, vaccinated, dewormed and examined by either the veterinarian at Ocean County Animal Shelter or myself. They are doing fantastic! They are turning a year of age now and are in the most loving and amazing homes! I couldn’t be any more elated in knowing that we created a happy ‘second chance’ for these babies!

How do you think the dog-human bond can be celebrated during National Dog Week?CELEBRATE the dog human bond by allotting just 5 EXTRA minutes that you may normally not do. Instead of looking at Facebook, checking emails or paying the bills, get on the floor with your baby. Play with them, mush them up, be silly, give an extra treat, take them to their favorite place (dog park, beach, grandma/grandpa’s house, play with their “cousin’s” dogs, take them to PetSmart, Petco and buy them a toy, invite them to your bed (if they’re not already in there to begin with), take them pumpkin picking, have them lick you, have them put their head on your chest, watch their favorite show together, take them for an extra walk, talk to them and tell them how much you love them. I can keep going! As you can tell, I have done all of the above to help strengthen the human animal bond with my ‘children’. I tell my clients that I’m not just a veterinarian. I’m a pediatrician for their babies! Happy National Dog Week!

Thank you Adam. This was truly an inspiring post to write. And so timely, too!


Border collies and their owner show support at Sound for the Hounds

On September 15t the Crowd Funder for the National Dog Week projects was launched on Indiegogo. It will be active for three months. I will be updating the site often with photos, video and news! For as little as $2.00, you can become a supporter of the National Dog Week Movement. If you have a YouTube segment that celebrates dogs, please see ABOUT and feel free to contact me. Maybe we can use it on the Campaign Trail~

To learn more or to contribute please go to:

Last Saturday, I was honored to take part in the second occasion of Sound for the Hounds at Brookdale Park in Essex County, New Jersey. I attended as an artist and author. This event was created to spread awareness for Puppy Mill dogs organized by animal-advocate Jacki Flanigan. Jacki is a tireless campaigner for the dogs and puppies (and other Companion Animals) that cannot speak up for themselves.

The day was filled with pet-related vendors, great food and musical guests. There were fun contests held for peeps and their pooches, too. Also on hand were knowledagable guest speakers such as Bob Barker, Tera Burgger, Musician Danny Nova, Jenny Stephens, Carol Araneo-Mayer, Bill Smith, Laura Flynn Amato and Annmarie Lucas who shared their expertise on this topic. They informed the public of the dangers posed by the dirty business of puppy milling and its impact on the welfare of our dogs as well as the consequences for those humans who are not aware of the deplorable conditions in which their dogs entered the world

The weather was a little challenging, but that didn’t keep many happy dogs and their owners away. A number of Rescue Groups and adoptable dogs also enjoyed making some love connections.

To learn more about this event, and its organizer, please check out this site

Here are some photos we captured on our new camera. It was a great way to break “her” in!

Some hopeful adoptees

On the scent of food vendors!

Spending some time with the Pug Rescue Group

My friend from High School, Sandy with her Rescue Greyhound, Star

Winner of the Biggest Dog Contest, no surprise here!

Hopeful contenders for the Smallest Dog Contest

The panel of guest speakers who informed the crowds and judged contests

Jacki Flanigan welcomes and thanks the crowd at Sound for the Hounds

A Foraging Frenchie!

Rocking the Grounds at Sound for the Hounds

The natural beauty of Brookdale Park made for a lovely setting for a memorable event

Hooper The Dog 12/27/01-8/27/12
Rest in Peaceful Waters

“The best place to bury a good dog is in the heart of his master.”   Ben Hur Lampman

When I was seventeen years old, we lost our toy poodle in a sudden and dramatic fashion. She was killed by another dog. Cocoa had been a gift for my tenth birthday. She was far too little a dog for our active family, but she managed to have a pretty nice albeit adventurous seven year life.

For a brief time in the early 1970s, my family lived in Boulder, Colorado.  One day, Cocoa ran out of the house and right onto a busy road in the shadow of the Flat Irons of the Rocky Mountains. But in this believe-it-or-not episode, our dog wasn’t hit by a car, but instead struck by the body of another dog that was struck by a car. Cocoa was knocked out, and I can’t for the life of me recall the fate of the other dog as this story was relayed to me after the fact and perhaps my parents did not want to upset us kids. My father placed Cocoa in a cold tub and she was quickly revived. It is ironic when you think about it. Her life was saved by one dog, later to be taken by another.

Flash forward to September 11th, 2001. I was painting in my studio when I heard on the radio that a small plane had struck one of the Twin Towers. I immediately knew something bigger was going on and went inside to turn on the television. Stuck in my living room alone while most people were at their places of work, I watched in sorrow and terror as the tragedy unfolded. I thought then and there, how comforting it would be to have a dog by my side during these horrific times when human companionship was not readily available. I began my campaign to acquire one.

Three months later, on December 27th, in a town about 20 miles from our home, a little Portuguese water dog was born. She was destined to be my special dog. I had seen a progam on Animal Planet and had been captivated by their looks, personality and proclivity for water. I knew my husband, Rich, would share my vision of long runs on the beach and fun sails on the water; this was a dog that could fit into our lifestyle.

On that same day in December, Rich and I were standing on-line at Universal Studios in Orlando waiting for enter the JAWS Attraction. To pass the time, I continued by “talk” about the good points of Porties. Success! I got him to give into my quest for a dog. Yes, we could have a Portuguese water dog he conceded, but only if we could name this pup Hooper after the Richard Dreyfus character in the movie, JAWS. It was a request with which I could live.

And so began our dog’s journey into our lives. The breeders of these very special dogs are very cautious about where their pups end up. After several phone interviews, three on-site meetings at the breeder’s home and answering a lengthy questionnaire, we welcomed a feisty, furry black and white female Portie pup, yes, named Hooper (although I think the breeder cringed upon learning this).

Those of you who have followed this blog since its inception know all the trials and tribulations we experienced raising Hooper. She was not an easy pup, but she grew up to be loving and sweet. She loved humans, especially young children, but never really came to love others of her species. She was sensitive and intelligent and once a young boy told me, “Your dog is really a little human in a dog suit.”

This summer, Rich had a bit of a health scare when it was discovered his kidneys were shutting down. After three months of hospital stays and visits to specialists, he is doing much better and we are hoping for a good report later this month. Through it all, we had no idea that our dog was failing in her own way.

About three weeks ago, I noticed a peculiar swelling and redness in her right eye. She was soon diagnosed as permanently blind in that eye and a series of tests were begun. Sadly, she began to lose the control of her body and walking became nearly impossible. After further consultation, it was determined that her condition was worsening and quality of life became an issue. It was painful to watch.

We had the special privilege of having her for a week before we made the very difficult determination to put Hooper to rest. We used that time to celebrate her life and to grieve. Her last walk, her last visit to a neighbor, her last meal, a small bowl of ice cream (a rare treat) that she barely touched all became poignant moments. How we wish she could have been revived by a cool bath in the same manner as my childhood dog.

Hooper would have turned eleven just four months to the day she left our arms. She was a very special part of our lives and sat by my feet as I posted for this blog and wrote books and articles, mostly about dogs. We miss her terribly and appreciate all the kind thoughts, cards and messages we have received from so many.

So as this year’s observance of National Dog Week approaches, I will continue to honor the dogs of others in America and around the world, it will just be laced with a little sadness this year. Thank you all for your support and encouragement during what has been a challenging summer and all that you do to make this world a better place for pets and their humans…I am sure that somewhere along the way, we will welcome another four-legged family member to bring comfort and companionship through the happy and challenging times to come. I just thank everyone in advance for letting that event unfold in its own magical way.


"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 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”