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These frigid winter days have many staying inside curled up with a good book and if you love to read great books filled with stories that embrace the dog-human bond, you might consider joining the Yahoo Group, DogRead.

DogRead is the original cyber book club where authors join readers online in an Interactive Workshop format featuring a new dog-related book each month. The group was established in 2000 by Treshell Jones. After Treshell’s passing, Dana Mackonis, one of her co-moderators, took over the management of the group. Now with nearly 6,500 members, DogRead has hosted over 300 authors who write dog-centric books in a multitude of genres. Each author is invited to discuss their current titles with group members for a two week period in a moderated conversation.

I’ve been honored to be a DogRead featured author twice for two of my titles, Dog’s Best Friend: Will Judy, Founder of National Dog Week and Dog World Publisher and Something’s Lost and Must be Found. Now I’m excited to share that for the first time, DogRead will feature an anthology. Second-Chance Dogs: True Stories of the Dogs We Rescue and the Dogs Who Rescue Us (Revell-Baker Group, September, 2018) will be the featured book for the week beginning February 15th. Joining the book conversation will be some of my fellow contributors to Second Chance Dogs who are also active members of the Dog Writers Association of American (DWAA).

In her essay, “Finding the Way Home”, Denise Fleck shares her girlhood story of Blondie, a sweet stray who came to stay at a time when a young girl really needed a canine friend. In her essay, “Gotcha Day” Jen Reeder, outgoing president of the DWAA (thanks for your service, Jen) tells of how she returned to the shelter where she’d rescued her beloved Rio. Rio became a beloved therapy dog and to express her gratitude to Rio’s shelter, Jen presented a special and meaningful gift that only a dog-writer can bestow.

Lonnie Hull Dupont, editing under the name of Callie Smith Grant, pays tribute to her sister who is truly “all bark and no bite” in her contribution “Strangers in the Snow”. Lonnie’s “My August Dog” tells of her life-changing trip to Greece where a homeless mother dog inspired her to make life-changing decisions with enduring results.

In her contribution “The Sound of Home”, Susan C. Willett talks about making an adoption choice that helped her family heal the loss of a beloved pup while helping a pair of adorable adoptable dogs. Susan’s “What’s Wrong with Your Dog” reminds us how dogs can teach us about acceptance and seeing beyond perceived “imperfections”.

Personally, I am thankful that “Surrender”, my story about our foster-to-furever dog, Teddy, was accepted as one of the many tributes to our beloved dogs featured in Second-Chance Dogs.

I think it’s so impressive that so much emotion can be evoked by these stories, most no longer than 3,000 words, and how each entry by these DWAA members, and so many other accomplished authors, encourage us to examine our own relationships with our dogs and fellow humans. As she has proven in the past, Callie (Lonnie) is a terrific editor and writer with a true heart for companion animals.

We hope you’ll become a DogRead member and join us for a discussion of Second-Chance Dogs in February! If you’d like to become a member of DogRead please visit: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/DogRead/info and remember to like their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pg/DogRead-300094168780/about/?ref=page_internal

Second Chance Dogs may be purchased directly through The Baker Revell Publishing Group site: http://bakerpublishinggroup.com/books/second-chance-dogs/378700

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“Every day’s a holiday. Some holidays are better than others.” Attribution Unknown

Welcome to a new year nearly three weeks in. The above is one of my favorite quotes because of its positivity. It reminds me that even a day that brings sadness and bad news contains something that is good, even if we have to search for it. It also reminds me of the myriad of holidays and observances, much like National Dog Week, that ask us to  consider a topic we might otherwise overlook whether it be social causes, lesser known diseases and challenges, a forgotten figure in history, food and beverages and of course occasions that celebrate and honor our pets.

January presents among other observances National Train Your Dog, Walk Your Dog, and Unchain a Dog Month, Change a Pet’s Life Day and the lighter Dress Up Your Pet Day.

It occurs to me that Walk Your Dog and Unchain a Dog Month present two sides of the dog-human connection, while at the same time asking those who are good dog-guardians to be even more caring and engaged. Dog walking seems like a simple act at first, but the “art of dog walking” differs depending on where one resides. Suburban dog owners with large fenced-in yards may simply open a sliding glass door each morning to allow their dogs outdoor time. This may be ideal, but don’t forget that your dog(s) may become bored at times and might wonder what lies beyond that tall fence. Getting your dog out and about helps with socialization and may be good for their humans as they get some fresh air and exercise. Ironically many city-dogs may enjoy more walks than their suburban cousins, but those dogs must master elevators and stairwells and good timing. On the other paw, dogs of those who live in more rural areas may never see a leash, or don’t require a  fenced in yard. These dogs wander leash-free and hopefully safely each and every day.

Sadly, some people still believe it’s alright to chain a dog in their backyards in the heat of summer and during frigid days and nights. In many cases these dogs have little access to food and water and live sad and lonely days. Many states have passed laws that give law enforcement the ability to take action to protect and rescue these unfortunate dogs. If you see a dog suffering please check with local authorities to see how you can help.

As for Change a Pet’s Life Day, I still hear people saying that shelter pets are somehow damaged goods without realizing how much these pets need another chance at having a good home and family. It asks potential pet owners to consider that when seeking a new family member. Dress Up Your Pet Day encourages the more playful and fun-side of having a pet, and as many of us in pet-writing biz know, pet-couture is a big industy filled with creative individuals. If you’ve ever witnessed a pet fashion-show, you can’t help but smile at the models on the run-way and appreciate the fact that many of these events raise funds and awareness for good causes.

And of course whether welcoming a new pup or an older dog to your home, set aside some time to work on obedience training, and seek professionals who can help develop good life-time habits that will strengthen the dog-human bond.

Has walking your dog lead you to new friendships or encounters that were life-changing? Have you ever helped a dog become unchained or worked to pass legislation that helped to free neglected dogs in your neighborhood or state? Do you design fashions for pets or have you changed the life of a pet through foster or rescue? If so, please share in the comment section or leave your stories over on the National Dog Week Facebook page. We love to hear from our readers. https://www.facebook.com/NatDogWeek/

 

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My foster-to-furever dog, Teddy celebrates 6 years with us this month! He tolerated Dress Up Day!

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”

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