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After ten years of posting on the “Dog Week Book Blog” I’m taking a “paws”. Writing Dog’s Best Friend and blogging about the mission of National Dog Week has been a life-changing process. Many of the posts on this blog, and others, have received nominations and medals from the Dog Writer’s Association of America (DWAA) including Dog’s Best Friend! I began this journey with our beloved, Hooper, a beautiful Portuguese water dog (RIP), at my feet and now a foster-to-forever dog Teddy sits by my side, as he faces his own health challenges, as I draft a memoir based on my experience under the Working Title, THE RISE AND FALL OF NATIONAL DOG WEEK AND A MISSION TO ‘BRING IT BACK’: (MEMOIR OF AN UNDERDOG). I will be posting items from the “Bark-chives” over on the National Dog Week Facebook and my AUTHOR/ARTIST Pages. Here are the links. Please LIKE  and visit for updates I thank you for your readership over the past decade. Inquires and questions?


Teddy Rocks a Maxwell Medallion!

In late February, my husband I commenced a 900 mile move to our new home and community in coastal Georgia. Selling a home and moving several states away during a pandemic has at times taken on a Twilight Zone vibe, but, we’re happy to say that we’re enjoying life in our new community and look forward to settling in.

And I’ve been writing (and painting). In March, when much of the nation began its serious lockdown, I developed a Full Proposal for a memoir with the Working Title FINDING DOG WEEK. For those not in the publishing industry, a proposal is a blueprint for a proposed book stating all the reason it’s a relevant and salable project – no easy task. It is currently being shopped and at the very least, its writing has been therapeutic.

I’m also drafting a new Middle Grade Novel titled PARTY DOG that explores some of the darker elements of the puppy industry while celebrating the triumphant spirit of the dog-human bond. I’m hopeful that both projects will see successful completion and potentially have some positive impact. I know there are so many authors and so little time for reading, so I do appreciate your readership and support – always.

In September 2021, my essay THE GIFT OF DOG, will mark my contribution to a third dog anthology to be published by the venerable Revell-Baker Publishing Group. Compiled and edited by Callie Smith Grant,  I’ll be discussing this project as we near its release date. Last year, Callie’s SECOND CHANCE DOGS won the prestigious Maxwell Medallion in the category of best Rescue/Adoption book and several contributors took Maxwell honors as well.

My poem, GOT THE HOME WITH HUMAN BLUES, presenting a dog’s humorous perspective upon finding himself quarantined with humans, will appear in the next issue of Ruff Drafts, the official publication of the Dog Writers Association of America (DWAA) and is now a FINALIST for a Special Award in this year’s DWAA’s Writing Competition!

(UPDATE: COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED, BUT TAKE A LOOK AND PLAN FOR THIS YEAR’S EVENT!) And speaking of the DWAA, as an active member of the organization’s Social Media team, I’d like to share that our annual writing competition is currently open. The DWAA, established in 1935, is the only organization in the world comprised of a community of writers and journalists that produce work pertaining solely to canines. But hurry, only original work published between September 1, 2019 and August 31, 2020 will be accepted. All online entries must be submitted on or before Sunday, September 6, 2020 at 6:00 p.m. EST. Mail-in entries must be postmarked no later than Saturday, September 5, 2020, as evidenced by the postmark.

There are a myriad of Regular and Special Awards categories to explore, many offering monetary grants made possible by our generous sponsors. And the good news is that you DON’T have to be a DWAA member to enter and entrants may work from anywhere in the world! Due to circumstances brought about by our current  pandemic, this year’s award ceremony will be held virtually on February 14th – what better way to celebrate our love affair with dogs!

I’m proud to be a recipient of a few Maxwell Medallions and multi-nominee and encourage you to take a look at our categories to see if something you’ve “produced” might suit a category. Entry fees are reasonable, too. Here is the link to the DWAA Site with more competition details.

Enter soon and be a Dog Star writer under these starry Dog Days of Summer!

New Perspective

A Fresh New Outlook – Good for Creativity!






At the Moose Lodge of Islamorada, in the Florida Keys, our dog Teddy curled up under the table as we enjoyed Sunday brunch. Occasionally, with hopes of scoring a treat, Teddy made his presence known by venturing from under cover. With his adorable face nearly perfectly divided between black and white, he’s always hard to miss, or resist.

From his place on the floor, he sat quietly watching a woman as she poured coffee, his little head tilted to one side in a pronounced manner.

The woman stopped by our table. “Did your dog have an episode of Vestibular Disease?” she asked, leaning over to pet Teddy on the head.

I nodded, smiling, impressed at her observation of Teddy’s tell tale head tilt, an ear mark of Canine Vestibular Disease. 

“I’m a local veterinarian,” she explained.

A member of the Moose organization, she was volunteering at that Sunday’s event.

I explained that it had been almost 6 months since Teddy had scared the daylights out of me when he suddenly appeared to be having a seizure. There had been no warning other than I’d noticed he’d been a little more sleepy on the days leading up to his incident. But I attributed that to seasonal allergies.

That morning in October, the sun shone brightly as I prepared to go to work as a substitute teacher. My husband Rich had left to play golf. As I gathered up my things to get out the door, I could see in my dog’s eyes a look that seemed to be pleading for me to stay.

I scooped him up and rushed him outside to his favorite tree, but once down on the ground it was evident that something was very wrong. Teddy circled, stumbled and wobbled like a late night bar patron who’d had one too many. Believing he was having a stroke or a seizure, I scooped him up again and rushed him back inside the house.



With shaking hands, I canceled my substitute assignment. and got the number for Teddy’s vet. I grabbled a pillow and once I got him secured in his seat, drove to our vet’s practice on the other side of town.

Not even 8:30 in the morning, I was relieved to see staff members at the front desk of the Brick Township (NJ) Veterinary Hospital. I whisked Teddy in and explained the situation. Within moments, a Vet Tech came out. He stooped and looked at Teddy’s eyes, then smiled reassuringly.

“His eyes are moving side to side. That’s a sign of Old Dog Vestibular Disease. He’ll be okay,” he assured.

His words brought me some relief, but the term Old Dog Vestibular Disease was perplexing.

Dr. Adam Christman, Teddy’s regular veterinarian at the time was not in yet, so one of his colleagues examined him and prescribed bonine to relieve Teddy’s dizziness. As there were no indications of an ear infection, nothing more was done.

Teddy lived a guarded life for several days. No stairs, and he slept with me on the sofa safely ensconced in a deep nest located at my feet. Stubborn as he is, he’d find a way to squirm off the sofa and crawl to his pee pad (he’s a pee pad pro) and water dish and then return to sleep on the floor below my head where I’d find him in the morning.

After a few nights of this, I called Dr. Adam to say that Teddy kept shaking his head as if he had water in his ear. Antibiotics were immediately prescribed to which Teddy responded beautifully within a three week period. In fact, he seemed to have more energy than before his incident leading me to wonder if he’d been living with a low grade ear infection for a prolonged period of time.

Thinking back to that frightful incident in October, my fears had been warranted. Symptoms of Canine Idiopathic Vestibular disease, also known as “old dog disease” or “old rolling dog syndrome”, may mimic serious, life threatening conditions such as stroke or a brain tumor.

According to Mimi Raleigh, DVM, of Hudson, NY, “Nine out of ten cases on which I was called because the owner believed their old dog had a “stroke”, were actually incidents of “idiopathic vestibular disease.” Dr. Raleigh further adds that of the geriatric dogs who survive more than a year, many have a recurrence on the other side.

The vestibular system, which has components in the brain and peripheral components in the inner and middle ear, is responsible for maintaining normal balance. The term idiopathic means that veterinarians can’t identify what is causing a dog’s sudden lack of balance. Veterinarians liken it to a case of vertigo in humans. Causes range from hypothyroidism, ear infections, head trauma, toxins or just plain old age. The condition is non-breed specific and usually dissipates within a matter of days.

Despite being fairly common, I’m still surprised by how many dog owners are unaware of Vestibular Disease in dogs. Hopefully by educating other dog lovers, I can minimize the fear should you find your older dog displaying symptoms, although it’s always best to get your dog medical attention to rule out more serious conditions.

And then there’s that tell tale head tilt that made Teddy oh-so photo ready. Many dogs never lose it, but our Teddy, perhaps due to having terrific restorative powers, and in need of no more cuteness, has managed to lose his.

He still likes to dine with us, and scout for treats, but these days, his endearing head tilt is of his own choosing and duration, not as a result of some “old dog” disease, and employed until he gets the attention, or tidbit, he feels he deserves.

That never gets old.




"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”