You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2012.

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 9,300 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 16 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.


Gingerbread 014

“She had no particular breed in mind, no unusual requirements. Except the special sense of mutual recognition that tells dog and human they have both come to the right place.” Lloyd Alexander – American Author of Children’s Literature (1924-2007)

Decorating the house a few weeks before Christmas, I came upon my Hooper’s original Christmas stocking. As many know, Hoops was our beautiful Portuguese water dog born just two days after Christmas. In late August we lost her when she passed quickly from illness at age ten.

My first instinct was to pack her stocking away, but instead, I hung it in the window near our Christmas tree so she could continue to be part of our celebration. This got me thinking of something I had said to her just before she passed, “When the time is right, send mom and dad a little fur-angel to make us happy.”

Over the past three years, I have had the good fortune to come to meet many people from all areas of “Dogdom,” in researching my book chronicling the history of National Dog Week. I have interviewed groomers, trainers, dog-centric authors, a pet psychic, doggy fashionistas, rescuers, transporters, Spay and Neuter Advocates and those in the therapy and service industries. I also came to know those who are active in the Fostering world; individuals who take dogs and puppies from high kill shelters and transport them to temporary homes before they are rehomed.

I had always wanted to foster, but unfortunately, our Hooper did not love other dogs and was extremely jealous. She would have made life for a foster quite unbearable. I had often found myself saying, “I will foster in a few years when our Hoops is no longer with us.” When fate changed that, I thought the time had come to explore the world of fostering in a personal way.

I told Lynne Fowler of Oodles of Doodles Rescue Collective that I was ready to give it a try. Lynne is a school teacher in Monmouth County, NJ who founded her organization in 2009. She told me to keep an eye on the puppies and dogs that were ready to make their journey and to let her know. I chose my pup (or she chose me) when I saw a picture of a little terrier mix named Gingerbread who was in Virginia.

When my husband saw the photo of Gingerbread, he said, “Are you sure that’s a dog?” With her shaved muzzle, and wild russet-hued hair, people told me she looked like a bear cub, a red fox and even an opossum.

Rich and I collected Gingerbread and her friend Suri on I-95 the day after Christmas in a wild rain storm. She had made her journey with several other dogs on Christmas Day. Ginger sat way back in her crate looking at me with her big soulful eyes. Suri, an absolutely gorgeous Havi/Malti mix tried to play with my fingers and kept kissing my hand. I sat and sang to them as we made the forty-five minute trek home. I had once read that puppies loved silly songs with their names included in the verses and that this calmed them. These two got the same song with their names inserted!

I am going to stop here and continue with my fostering experience in my next post. I will let you know that I only had the pleasure of Gingerbread’s company for less than three days before she was placed, and yes, we did become attached in that short time. Be it 48 hours, four weeks or four months, the ultimate goal of Fostering is to save the life of a homeless animal. While this may not be emotionally easy, I will tell you that just knowing you did that will make up for any sense of loss you may feel when you surrender “your” dog.

There are so many dedicated people who have fostered hundreds of dogs, sometimes five to twenty at a time, so I ask them to forgive my “newbieishness,” (new word I made up) and understand that I use my blog as a platform to introduce those who are not as active in the dog-world to new avenues of understanding (at least I hope I do) and create awareness. I write with the hopefulness that if even one person sees things in a new perspective, I have made an impact.

There is a complex network of individuals involved in the process of Rescue and Fostering and in a subsequent post I will talk more about the “technical” aspects of fostering and introduce you to some of the dedicated individuals involved in an interview with Lynne Fowler.

For now, I wish everyone a very Happy New Year. We here at the Jersey Shore, as in many other places in the nation and world, truly look forward to a restorative period, appreciating what we are left with, hopefully learning from our errors and finding new ways to make life better for mankind and our companion animals.

You can help by leaving comments, sharing and perhaps thinking about how you can make your own contribution.

Rest, Revive, Restore, Recreate, Rescue and reap the rewards.


This week, it is my pleasure to welcome Guest Blogger, David Muriello, CPDT-KA, from the national school for aspiring dog trainers and behavior experts, CATCH Canine Trainers Academy.

I asked David to post about a holiday-relevant canine behavior issue that most readers can relate to. He suggested a piece of “Holiday Jumping,” and I jumped for joy.

As a dog-lover, it is very hard to resist the Over Greeter. You know the dog that happily meets you at the door with the mission of jumping up on you to deliver wet sloppy kisses. Most of us who love them want to happily hug right back, but it does not help a dog owner who is trying to break this habit that can be annoying at the least to downright scary and sometimes even dangerous.

David was featured on the NDW Blog in June of 2010 in a special Father’s Day post. Thank you, David for contributing once again to the National Dog Week Blog and for being such a great supporter of its mission.

*   *   *

This year, you want your dog to be part of the fun when guests come over for the holidays… BUT he gets so excited that he jumps on everyone!  The jumping is joyful, but it can drive you and your guests crazy.  People get scratched, sweaters get pulled, and kids get knocked over. Even small breeds can ruin a nice pair of pants. So, here’s what you can do this holiday season to…

 Keep Your Dog from (excessive) Jumping for Joy!

Simple training always starts with management. In trainer terms, management means to set up the situation so the dog can’t fail. In the case of jumping, management ideas include:

  • Put the dog behind a gate, or in a crate, for a few minutes
  • Hold the dog back on leash

These techniques don’t train the dog not to jump. But, they stop it now, and they can be the perfect solution for busy dog owners who just need their dog to be under control for one event!  Here’s how it’s done…

Give Your Dog Some Space

Most dogs are at peak levels of excitement when people first come over, so don’t give your dog a direct shot at the front door as guests enter.  Instead, give your dog his own space, allowing him 10-20 minutes to calm down from behind a gate or similar setup. After a period of time to let his excitement diminish, his behavior will likely be much better.

Tire Him Out

Give your dog a long, tiring exercise session before guests arrive. If you don’t have the time to exercise him yourself, consider a long day at doggy daycare, or hiring a walker to take your dog on an extended hike, run, or visit to the dog park to play with friends.

Change His Focus

When you put your dog in his separate “calm space” as guests are arriving, give him an extra special treat like a Kong toy stuffed with peanut butter or a delicious marrow bone. Pick something he wouldn’t normally get. This irresistible treat will consume his focus so he can forget about the guests for awhile, allowing his state of excitement to melt into one of calmness as he slurps or chews with delight.

Once guests are done arriving and your dog has calmed down, let him out to mingle! Ideally, he’ll now keep “four-on-the-floor”. But, if you’re worried he might still be a little “jumpy” and susceptible to knocking over Aunt Sally’s wine glass, then keep his leash on for a while and let him drag it around. This way you can quickly hold him back if you see he is about to leap on laps or slurp the cheese plate. Keeping your leash handy for back-up management is a great trick for all naughty dogs around the house. Even after you start a regular training program, some dogs may need quite a bit of practice before they stop jumping for joy!

David Muriello has appeared on ABC-TV’s Rachael Ray Show and regularly appears in Dog Fancy Magazine, including the January 2013 issue. He is the School Director at CATCH Canine Trainers Academy, a national school for aspiring dog trainers and behavior experts.  Through self-paced coursework and hands-on training with personal Mentor Trainers in all U.S. states, CATCH educates the best professionals in the field: dog trainers, dog care and behavior services, shelter and rescue staff. If you are interested in learning more about launching or advancing your career with dogs, call CATCH at 877.752.2824 or email

Best in Snow

Pictured above is Hooper, our Portuguese water dog who just happened to be born two days after Christmas. We lost our little snow bunny in late August. She would have been eleven this month. Although we wish we had had more time with her, her presence in our lives is a true gift.

Yesterday, a news story got the theme song from The Grinch Who Stole Christmas wrapped around my head like a big Christmas present. A young couple in New Jersey had stolen a Bull dog puppy from a place called The Aquarium in Bergen County.

The dognappers have been apprehended, and I don’t know their motives (just had to have it, wanted to sell for quick cash, etc…). Stealing is wrong, but the way the reporter acted, you would think everyone had done the greatest deed in the world returning the puppy to its caring retailer.

Most of you know by now that MOST retailers of puppies get their “products” from large Commercial Breeders who treat dogs like machines pumping out puppies in conditions that are far from caring or comfortable and for a huge profit. These establishments are either physically sterile with very little socializing involved or filthy and inhumane to the breeding dogs and sometimes even to the puppies who can’t “tough it out.”

The reported gleefully confided that the puppy was, “on sale,” for $3,500. Now most of us know that the mark up for pup shop pups is over 300 times the price paid to the Commercial Breeder. The shop owner was soooo glad to have his precious pup back that he says he will not sell it because it is soooo special. I wonder if you called the shop and told them you were so moved by that special story you are willing to give that the puppy a good home for a small donation. When they hang up on you, call back and tell them you came up with $3,000 to spend, cash, for that particular dog. I am betting they won’t hang up then.

Now let’s say that these shop owners are actually very caring animal lovers concerned about the future of this dog. Prove me right and give them a chance to show that they work with legitimate breeders. Ask him where the dog was bred, name of the breeder and all breeding details.

But remember… No bone-fide dog loving breeder would allow their pups to be sold from a store to anyone walking off the street.

Meanwhile…Here is my Grinch Take on the subject…called No Present like the Time.

You’re a mean one, Mr. Grinch. Boy, I really am a mean one. Little ones and sweet hearts all over the nation just want a cuddly little puppy and they want it…now (or in time for the holiday). Adoptions are just so darn fickle and there are so many rules and promises to keep and take so much work and those reputable breeders with all their questions, interviews and home visits and waiting periods. Sheesh…who has the time when all ya have to do is go to your local pet retailer? No questions asked…lay down the bucks, whip out the AMEX card…Papers? Wow, they look real and have all kinds of special headings and letters…they sure look official.

You really are a heel…Did someone say heel…isn’t that a dog training command…? You know like as in sit, stay heel… Wait? I need to spend time and money to actually train this dog?  I can save lots of money and inconvenience just yelling at it and watching a few episodes of Cesar(even Cesar would laugh at that suggestion).

You’re as cuddly as a cactus…Cuddly? Yep, new puppies sure are cuddly. But what happens when they get bigger and they are not as cute? They consume a lot of my valuable time, too. Heck, if my puppy gift doesn’t work out I can just go on over to the local animal shelter and give it away…that’s what they are there for right?…But I did pay a lot of money for that dog. Maybe I can make a few bucks on Craig’s List.

You’re a monster, Mr. Grinch. Your heart’s an empty holeYes, I am heartless…when it comes to kings of sinful sots. (Aka those who profit from misery). Yes, I am depriving you and your good intentions and desire to please with a cute cuddly gift. I know people who have great dogs that came from retailers. They are sweet although one has bad hip dysplasia and others some obsessive compulsive disorders. Even if they don’t have any physical or behavioral issues, did you ever wonder how many others were not so lucky and now have to bear the sins of poor breeding, abandoned at the vet’s office or put down because they cannot be healed? Did you ever think of the deplorable conditions in which your pup’s parents lived and most likely died?

Your soul is an appalling dump heap overflowing with the most disgraceful assortment of deplorable rubbish imaginable…Shame on those bad people who protest outside dog retailers hampering small business owners just trying to make a living selling animals.  To be fair, tomorrow they will protest outside of the Vitamin Shoppe (vitamins should not be crowded into bottles), Hallmark Store (free all cards from ill-fitting envelopes and little figurines from snow globes)…oh wait, those are not living things…never mind.

When you see people protesting outside of Pet Retailers understand what motivates them and then stop and give your support. After all, how many times have you told people how much of a dog lover you are?

A gift of a living “thing” requires your time from the moment you bring “it” into your home. Between unwrapping gifts, going to services, getting ready for guests or traveling other, ask yourself if a puppy, kitty or other pet is really a good addition to your family at what is typically a very stressful time when scheduled lifestyles are not in place.

There is no present like the time you can give to an animal that will return your love and care in ways you can never imagine. When the time is right, adopt, foster or choose a caring and responsible breeder who will provide you with a positive experience. It will also be a lifetime lesson for your kids.

And hopefully this is seasonal advice that does not… Stink, stank, stunk.



"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”