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The Dog Daze of Teddy

The Dog Daze of Teddy

These Dog Days of Summer have certainly created some hazy daze! Despite the heat, The Will Judy book project is complete and its fate rests in the hands of its publisher. Another project is now underway; a book that chronicles the journey of Harriet White Fisher, who, in 1909 launched a 13-month long journey with her entourage that brought them to the most unlikely places. Traveling with her was Honkie, an alleged “Boston bull dog” making him the first, and possibly only, dog to make a worldwide trek in an automobile. You can learn more about this exciting project to be published by American History Press at

Also, our dog Teddy is entered in the “Cutest Spokespet” Contest which will end on July 31st. You can vote once a day. You must LIKE the page and then scroll down to Teddy’s photo to vote. Thanks for all who have been able to do so and for those who have shared! Teddy is currently the leader of the “cute pack.”

A few weeks ago Nikki Moustaki, an animal advocate and author, founder of the Pet Postcard Project, wrote to me about The Better Way Project and how it was helping animal lovers and advocates to carry out important work and projects with much-needed funding. She asked if she could share it with my readers. Please welcome my guest blogger, Nikki!

Please tell us about the Better Way Project. The Better Way Project program was recently launched by Canyon Creek Ranch, but it will be exciting to see what typed of projects come in and how creative people will be in helping animals in their communities and beyond. The Better Way Project completed three trial projects last fall as “sample” projects to give consumers ideas and to show how involved Canyon Creek Ranch will be with the projects. See the videos from these projects here:

The first project was at the Northeast Animal Shelter in Salem, MA, New England’s largest no-kill animal shelter that provides a wonderful safe haven for felines awaiting their forever homes. However, the shelter lacked stimulating play rooms that would allow the cats and kittens to show off their personalities to potential adopters. The Canyon Creek Ranch® Better Way Project learned of this need and helped by renovating three of the cat play rooms at the shelter. The Canyon Creek Ranch team provided on-the-ground help, including painting the custom built walkways and perches in the rooms, and retailer Pet Supplies Plus donated products for the new play space. The project was funded by a $50,000 in-kind donation from the Better Way Project.

The Canyon Creek Ranch Better Way Project donated $25,000 to Therapy Dogs of Johnson County (TDJC), a non-profit organization in Iowa City that helps people live healthier and happier lives through therapy visits with dogs. The donation will be used to help support and expand this meaningful local program which visits schools and nursing homes in the area. In addition to providing funding, the Canyon Creek Ranch team visited Iowa City to help TDJC hold its first public event to recruit more dog/handler teams.

The Greenwood Urban Wetland Park in Orlando, FL, is a popular destination for local residents. However, the city park lacked dog-friendly features for four-legged visitors and their owners. The Canyon Creek Ranch Better Way Project made a $50,000 in-kind donation to the City of Orlando that was used to add three new dog-friendly activity areas in the park: a play station with agility equipment; a rest station with comfortable seating; and a wash station with fountains for drinking and hosing dogs off after playing in the park. Canyon Creek Ranch managed the renovation with a local contractor and sent a team to Orlando to help bring the project to life.

What impact have these projects generated? The three seed projects had amazing affects in their communities. Orlando now has a great dog park, the Northeast Animal shelter has seen an uptick in cat adoptions, and the Therapy Dogs of Johnson County is using the funds to expand their program. These three projects showed the Better Way Project that the idea of being hands-on involved with projects, rather than just offering a straight donation, made a big difference.

Thank you, Nikki! I just love to see thought turned into action. So…when your kids are whining the Summer Blues, maybe you can sit down with them and think of a great project of your own and see it through! This would make a nice school and Scout project, too. I hope you will let us know if you present a project to the Canyon Creek folks. I have one of my own clanging about in my mind and will share that in time.

I truly want to thank so many who have helped me on my journey in the writing of the first biography of William Lewis Judy. In establishing this blog, and maintaining it over the past three and a half years, I often wondered if it had any impact. Believe me, when I get a response from someone who has read and now thinks differently about an important issue, I feel gratified that I have done some good in the world. I am grateful to all the positive people who make a difference for humans and their animals, like my guest, Nikki Moustaki! Check out her Pet Postcard Project at


"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”