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Good News! Sagitta is scheduled for her Cataract Surgery next week. She will then go on to rejoin her dog brother, Ricoh. Thanks to all who contributed to this cause and/or helped to share the work of Carolina Poodle Rescue. I also thank you on behalf of Sagitta’s Forever-in-Spirit Mother, Gayle, who had to surrender her beloved dogs, but never stopped caring about their welfare. This development has brought Gayle a measure of happiness.
Also…thanks to Krisitn Avery of The Daily Pip Blog for allowing me the honor of being her first Guest Poster! To read, hop on over to: http://www.thedailypip.com/2017/03/fostering-ginger.html?showComment=1490449231001#c6476441075255727903
Carolina Poodle Rescue (CPR) has a passion for fixing what is broken, a passion shared by this supportive community of dog-lovers. Cataracts, for example, one of the most common genetic conditions experienced by poodles, can be fixed, increasing the adoption chances of even older dogs.
In late 2016, CPR introduced a group of dogs in need of cataract surgery. Thanks to the generosity of many, nine have already had surgery and are starting new lives. Now, CPR introduces three more in need of help. With their eye sight restored, these dogs can be placed in new homes. The good news is that half the funds needed for these dogs has already been raised, but your care is needed to see this fundraiser all the way through to a successful conclusion.
Right now, CPR is offering a two for one offer for Mack and Max, two miniature poodle boys. According to Donna Ezzell, Director of CPR, “A generous angel will pay for surgery for one – if CPR can raise what is needed for the other.” Mack is about nine years of age and was surrendered to a shelter by his owners with no explanation. Max is about ten, and came to CPR under the same set of circumstances.
Both of these special boys have one more thing in common, diminishing eye sight. According to Donna, “The more their vision leaves them, the less they want to interact with other dogs and sadly, they’re losing interest in people. When you can’t see and others bump into you or pick you up with no warning, even if it’s accidental, it puts a boy on edge.”
Then there’s Sagitta, a beautiful white Standard poodle. Loving and lovely, Sagitta has never met a stranger. Whether she’s preening like a model, or rolling in the mud at the barn, Sagitta has a zest for life that brings smiles to all she meets.
Sagitta is much-loved by her previous owner, Gayle. Gayle is no longer able to live on her own and now resided in an Assisted Living facility fighting physical battles of her own with Multiple Sclerosis. No longer able to care for Sagitta and Ricoh, a stunning black Standard poodle, she had to give up both.
Gayle thought she had found a loving home for her dogs, but when that home did not work out, CPR reclaimed both dogs. Donna notes, “At first, we did not know who their original owner was. When Gayle was healthy, she had volunteered with CPR and even though her name was not on the owner release form given to CPR, her information was on the medical documents and we were able to contact Gayle to let her know her dogs were with us.”
Happily, Richo has been placed in his forever home, and now Gayle has become Sagitta’s champion, tirelessly fundraising on her behalf. Gayle has already raised over half the funds needed for Sagitta’s surgery; $1200 of the $ 2,100 needed.
CPR is now trying to help raise the other half so that Sagitta can have her cataract surgery and join Richo with the family who wishes to keep them together forever! Ricoh and his human visits with Gayle at her Assisted Living facility on a regular basis and Gayle can’t wait for the time when both dogs can be reunited and visit together.
In her own words Gayle explains, “Sagitta is my current heartbreak. For me the most satisfying solution is to have her eye repaired and then to be placed with her beloved Ricoh. Donna did a wonderful job finding a loving home for him. Sagitta and Ricoh are like my children and never would I have imagined deserting them in their later years. It is quite ironic that I had to turn to CPR for a solution. I BELIEVE in rescue and tried to help when I was healthy. It bothers me that some think of rescue animals as throw sways. I just can no longer provide the care they need. The state has taken all of my property and allows me only $50.00 a month. Without rescue this very bonded pair of dogs who have been together since puppyhood, would be separated and would no longer be part of my life.”
Mack and Max, surrendered by no fault of their own, are living their golden years in the dark. Having their vision restored will increase their chances for adoption. Sagitta’s former owner is struggling physically. Having her girl near her will help her tremendously but only if Sagitta can be healthy.
Here’s how you can help. Please support CPR during their “$30.00 for 3 Dogs” campaign. Presently, we are seeking just over $3,000 to get these dogs on the way to health and new homes. $30 .00 is a small gift that will mean the world to these three deserving dogs and to one very special,very brave woman who wants nothing more than to see her dog again. CPR is a 501c3 organization, recognized by the IRS as a charity. All donations are tax-deductible. To donate, please visit our donation page and let us know that it’s for the gift of sight.
Since introducing our first group “cataract dogs” in late 2016, CPR has raised funds for nine other dogs. Of that group, four have been adopted and the rest are recovering and the process of their rehoming has begun.
If you are interested in opening your home and heart to one of the CPR after they’ve undergone their surgeries, please visit our webpage at www.carolinapoodlerescue.org and complete the adoption application. If you are a pre-approved or previous adopter, please drop a line to email@example.com with the name of the dog that you’d like to meet.
This post received the North Shore Animal League America Special Award given by the Dog Writer’s Association of America on February 12, 2017 for excellence in the writing on the topic of Spay and Neuter Initiatives in the nation.
A colleague in the animal advocacy community once declared, “We can’t rescue ourselves out of this mess,” when discussing the seemingly never-ending problem of pet overpopulation. For many, Spay and Neuter initiatives are regarded as the most humane form of rescue and advocacy. If we can stem the tide of unwanted pets, we can offer better care for those animals that will inevitably find themselves unhomed despite our best efforts.
At the BlogPaws conference in Phoenix Arizona in June, this topic seemed to “find” me as I became aware of how groups in different parts of the nation addressed these issue. BlogPaws represents the largest community of pet-professionals, advocates and writers in the world, with the common goal to improve the lives of companion animals. We sometimes, forget, however, that different regions of the nation face unique challenges when advocating for our companion animals.
At BlogPaws, I met Krystyn Bleda, a life time animal advocate from New Mexico. Krystyn and her husband, Raymond Sandor, are the co-founders of Desert Paws, Inc. animal rescue. Residing in Cochiti Lake, a small leasehold town on the Pueblo de Cochiti Indian Reservation, the couple with a slew of volunteers provides hands-on rescue, caregiving and transportation for Spay and Neuter procedures and veterinary care for tribal members animals from the neighboring three Pueblos.
Krystyn explains, “Moving from New York in 2003, we launched Desert Paws Inc. when we realized that there was an urgent need to help homeless, unwanted and injured animals in this area. Animals were being abandon, wandering around looking for food, warmth, help, some were killed on the road by vehicles, dumped from moving cars, close to death, some old, blind and unwanted. We obtained medical care for each one and then each was placed in foster homes, trained and finally placed into forever homes.”
Eventually, the Governor of the Cochiti tribe invited them to sit down and discuss possible solutions to address this situation. Krystyn and her husband developed a low/no cost Spay and Neuter program and worked with a local veterinarian, developing a solution on how to handle their appointments and emergencies. They were also able to attract several long term donors to help sponsor their Spay and Neuter program specializing in a tribal setting.
The challenges of animal advocacy in these rural, sovereign tribal communities are unique and significant. Although, many individuals care deeply about their pets, due to lack of resources on and around tribal lands many cannot easily obtain basic veterinary care, including Spay and Neuter procedures. As one of the poorest states in the nation, with a general population that is not well informed about the benefits of Spay and Neuter and lack law in their enforcement of inhumane chaining of dogs and backyard breeding, the municipal shelters of New Mexico are burdend by overcrowding.
Previously, veterinary students had come to the area to perform Spay and Neuter procedures, however, it didn’t work in many areas due to the lack of participation from locals. Many of the animals in the community are free-roaming, never even having been in a vehicle or a house making for surgery “round-up” efforts very difficult. In addition, tribal lands present unique challenges due to cultural beliefs stemming from agricultural lifestyles. People are not well- informed about common pet illnesses, treatment possibilities and yearly veterinary maintenance of a dogs or cats such as vaccines, heartworm, flea/tick prevention methods, and transmittable diseases.
In thinking outside the box, Desert Paws Inc. launched their current program, “Door2Door Spay/Neuter & Veterinary Care” about 3 years ago. In this successful initiative, Desert Paws Inc. volunteers pick-up animals from homes and bring them to their vet’s clinic where the Spay and Neuter procedure is safely performed. Raymond explains, however, “Our biggest challenge is transportation. Volunteers use their own cars to transport animals to our veterinary clinic that is over an hour away. Each Tuesday 3-5 animals arrive by 9:30 am and their stomachs must be empty. The following day, another 3-5 animals arrive and the animals brought in the day prior are returned safely to their families for monitoring and the process is repeated. Often, pets requiring other veterinarian treatments, such as for tick-born illnesses, bite wounds or surgeries for broken bones are brought in for medical attention, also.”
Krystyn points out the significant impact of strong Spay and Neuter initiatives. “For every dog, or cat, that is spayed or neutered, the births of six to twenty unwanted puppies and kittens are prevented. Pueblo de Cochiti, has a population of 1,500 people. With about two to four dogs per household (many of them are female) you can figure there are many dozens of reproducing moms at any given time that can typically produce a litter of 6-12 annually. That’s hundreds of pups born each year! Allowing for the fact that many of their offspring will not make it to adulthood, the area could still see a very substantial population spurt each year without a spay and neuter program in place. The cycle just repeats itself, growing and growing without intervention.”
Raymond notes that Cochiti Pueblo is one of the smaller pueblos, and now the goal of Desert Paws Inc. is to help the larger neighboring pueblos of Santo Domingo and San Felipe, and later on possibly expand the programs into the Navajo Reservation farther west and north.
Krystyn stresses that she and her husband could not accomplish all of this alone, saying, “Thanks to the relentless efforts of our board member and volunteer coordinator, Margaret Evans, we now have the best volunteer crew!” In order to grow and accomplish more, however, they are looking for more funding and sponsorship for the rescue and a reliable, newer vehicle for transport is needed immediately. In the very near future, Desert Paws Inc. also hopes to raise funds to purchase a building, which they will convert into a surgery/veterinary clinic and hold/recovery facility in a more closer, central location.
It is clear that Desert Paws Inc. and the Cochiti Pueblo’s government came together at the right time to prevent the cycle of pet over-population in their native land. Through community collaboration, the dog and cat populations have lessened and its animal (and human) members are much happier and becoming healthier. These ground-breaking efforts have created a model that can be and need to be replicated elsewhere whether on sovereign tribal lands or on any rural areas in America. Small rescues can and need to play a huge part of these efforts and state governments need to offer a helping hand (and financial sponsorship) for such rescue organizations and their programs.
Krystyn is also aware of the power of the written word. She credits the blogging community for helping to spread the news about Desert Paws Inc. and their success. With conferences like the one recently organized by BlogPaws, Krystyn and her husband have faith that those who attended can use their blogging and writing expertise and influence to help increase awareness, share ideas and assist with the nation-wide implementation of programs like those started and offered by Desert Paws Inc. To learn more about Desert Paws Inc. or to sponsor their efforts/programs please visit their website at www.desertpawsnm.org or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
It’s been a hot summer here on the East Coast. But nothing beats the heat of Chandler, AZ, the place to which I travelled for the Blog Paws conference in June. BlogPaws is the world’s only organization comprised of pet bloggers and authors. Although it was extremely hot outside, I heard so many cool speakers inside it was well-balanced! A shout out for the top-rate facility and gracious staff of the Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort.
For me, it was a whirlwind experience; I attended many workshops and events and also got to participate in a Speaking panel and lead a lunch-table discussion. I was inspired by many and hope I was able to do so for others.
Here it is now, the end of August and I spend my time working with my hardworking agent, Donna Eastman of the Parkeast Literary agency. We’ve got some interesting projects circulating and working as a team, we hope that the right editor will reward us and lend their expertise and experience to bring these books to fruition (that’s fancy-talk for grant us a book contract(s)). Who knows what fall will bring. I thank all of you who continue to be so supportive and encouraging.
There’s also my work on behalf of National Dog Week and my promotion of Dog’s Best Friend: Will Judy, Founder of National Dog Week and Dog World Publisher (McFarland& Co., 2014) – the only account of Judy’s life and work ever written. It is filled with and interesting account of one man’s influence on America’s love-affair with its canines achieved through Judy’s prolific publishing, writing and editing efforts over the course of five decades.
This year, we declare that National Dog Week begins on Sunday, September 18th. But, if you wish to begin on Monday, or keep on celebrating the following week…no one will fault you! This year’s theme? “Readers Unleashed: Promoting Literacy with K9s” where dog-lovers utilize the power of the paw to encourage literacy and strengthen the dog-human bond. Does your library welcome Therapy Dogs, or does your shelter allow young people to read to the dogs?
I will also be guest blogging for the dog-loving folks at Tito’s Vodka for Dog People during National Dog Week. This all-American company founded by “Tito” Beveridge fifteen years ago is sharing its growth and success to benefit canine well-fare across the nation.
I am currently preparing for the Seaside Park Art Show held on September 3rd in Ocean County, New Jersey, combining my “dog writing” and art as presented in the work below. I hope you enjoy this scene that captures the magic of a fleeting season. Happy “Dog-ust”.
Barking News: Looking forward my participation in a Publishing-industry Speaker’s Panel with the Cat Writers Association of America and during a session with the BlogPaws folks this weekend! Temperatures are soaring, but we’ll be inside exploring…during so many fabulous sessions surrounded by some lovely pets! Check out my recent contribution to Ruff Drafts https://dogwriters.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/2016springsummer_members.pdf– page 11 , the official newsletter of the DWAA where I discuss my work with Laura Pople of Seer Farms. If you are part of the Yahoo on-line reading group DogRead, please join me as I discuss Dog’s Best Friend: Will Judy, Founder of National Dog Week and Dog World Publisher. I am their featured author through June 30th! We are having a very nostalgic look back in time via our love affair (and Will Judy’s) with man’s best friend. And…Look for updates on the launch of my new kid’s Picture Book, Teddy Two-Tone and the Seven Days of Dog Week written for the youngest of eyes. I may have lots of questions when I attend a session presented by Mark Coker, founder of Smashwords, at BlogPaws. Happy summer!
“We like cats. They furnish running exercise for dogs and always win the race. They are a living, moving thing of beauty, softness and grace. They and the birds are among the few animals that wash themselves.” Will Judy, Founder of National Dog Week, 1949
As I excitedly prepare to attend the 8th BlogPaws/CWA Conference in Phoenix later this month, it is not lost on me that although I have been writing and blogging about canines for several years now, in Phoenix, I will be part of a publishing-industry speaking panel organized by the Cat Writers Association of America. Preparing for this event has made me nostalgic.
Yes, I love dogs, but the truth is, more cats have blessed my life than dogs, and as I’ve discussed in past posts, I grew up in a menagerie masquerading as a house of humans.
My very first pet (although I barely recall) was a grey tiger striped kitten named mittens (I presume she had white paws). My only real memory of her was the day she jumped on our huge Christmas tree, toppling it full force onto our living room floor. The memories stop there.
Two bunnies followed – and I proceeded to let them out of their hutches early each morning only to have them return to their homes each evening (Don’t judge, I was 7 and it was the mid-1960s).
I also recall daily kick ball games that took place on our dead end street. One late afternoon, a mysterious car stopped and deposited a large duffle bag on to the curb. In those pre-terrorist days not filled with warnings of “see something, say something” we had no fear. We raced to the moving bag and unzipped it, “unleashing” a parent’s worst nightmare; contained in that writhing bag were five gorgeous kittens suitable for Hallmark greeting card images.
We convinced our parents to let us foster them, (they were so adorable we had no trouble placing them). Gypsy, a black and white cat stayed with us and being an unaltered female, we faced the inevitable (don’t judge – it was the late-1960s). A year later, on the Fourth of July, my father was drawn to our garage by a strange wailing. Inside an open drawer that contained a folded American flag, rested one perfectly formed tri-color newborn kitten (red, white and black). My brother named him Jefferson.
Much later, my brother Matt (RIP) answered (in a pre-Craig’s List world) a free-to-good-home ad for a kitten. I’ll never forget coming home from college for a holiday visit in 1977, expecting to meet a tiny ball of fur only to meet Morrison (named after Jim Morrison) a cat much older than I had expected. My brother, upon meeting this charming young cat, couldn’t help but bring him home. Morrie lived life as an indoor outdoor cat (Don’t judge, it was the late 70s) and yes, he was neutered. He was one of the best family pets we’ve ever had.
Next came a little tortoise-shell cat that Matt brought home from a construction site. We named her Pita (short for pain in the you-know-what). Pita was a clingy sweet heart with a good disposition. Just a few years ago, after a very long life of over 21 years, she said good bye and went off to die in peace at a time of her own choosing.
So much has changed in the world, I recall a time when carefree kids ran about in the outdoor world, accompanied by their pets. Kids and pets need that, and so do we. So, on days when you are feeling frazzled by tweeting, pinning, instagramming, blogging and snap-chatting about your own pets and those of others, remember to unplug and take a break and enjoy this beautiful season.
Be it fur, hair, fins, hooves, or scales, we engage our hearts when we share our tales…It doesn’t matter our topic, good writing will engage almost anyone and you can even educate others in the process.
What a terrific opportunity it is when we get to sit and chat with fellow authors and bloggers. It doesn’t happen often enough. If you are attending the CWA/Blog Paws Conference – please join me for my sessions: Friday, June 24th at 2:30 (joined by members of the pet-book publishing industry) and Saturday at noon, for a lunch time Table Topic about all things “writing”. If you don’t, and I have to sit alone, I might just revert to Middle School behavior – throwing spit balls (or hair balls), making fun of what your cats and dogs are wearing (I would NEVER do that), taking selfies, and passing notes, when the lunch monitors are not looking! Happy travels.
Preparing for my participation in the fast-approaching Cat Writers of America/BlogPaws Conference in Arizona this June, I reflect on the past six years and my own path to becoming an author. Back then, I wondered if I’d ever get a book completed, published and promoted, let alone be invited to talk about it at a conference!
Today, I am happy to say that I have birthed five books, with several in various stages of production and review. Although my primary topic has focused on canines, and those who celebrate them, I am open to any topic that fascinates me including sports, history, and travel.
While I have averaged a book a year, nothing has unfolded as planned, and in many ways, I feel I am just warming up and I didn’t even begin writing “siriusly” until 2010.
Whenever someone learns that I am an author, they quickly tell me that their friend, or a family member, has written a book (congrats), or, that they, them, themselves, have a great idea for a book. In truth, many of these ideas are very good and have potential, but the big question is, how will they get their idea on the path to publication?
If their book idea falls under the category of Non-Fiction (memoir, how-to, history) there is one phrase that separates the wannabe author from the true “story-teller” who is willing to go-the-distance and endure the rocky road to get it all down and done…the Full Book Proposal.
I am always glad to help those in their authoring journey within reason, however, if they aspire to write Non-Fiction, the first thing they will receive from me are examples and templates for creating a strong Full Proposal, which typically is comprised of several parts that requiring a GREAT deal of thought, planning, research and editing. That Proposal, is your book’s blue print, and will also require something called a Query, a few short paragraphs that accompanies the Proposal – that will make an agent or editor want to dive in to your Proposal, and take your book out of the “Slush” pile.
This is part of what I will be speaking about at the BlogPaws Conference in Phoenix come June, in the company of so many other bloggers, reporters, authors, publishers and social media specialists. As someone who has worked with agents, and publishers, I will be asking my personal partners in the publishing world for advice that I can share with those attending the BlogPaws Conference to help them to create strong, saleable projects. I will also discuss Fiction projects that have their own special guidelines.
The CWA/BlogPaws event is open to anyone, at any level, who wishes to learn more about writing for the pet-industry, and beyond. Once you learn the basics of writing a great Proposal, Query and Cover Letter or a sensational Synopsis, the writing process will flow and if being a published author is your goal, you will be on the “write” path and enjoying the journey and all the emotions it is sure to invoke.
I look forward to learning so much this June. Bring your Proposals (and your ideas) Want to know more, or to make your reservation?: http://blogpaws.com/events/2016-conference/
Keep current on National Dog Week and “Paw-thor” News at: http://www.lisabegin-kruysmanauthor.com
In March, it was announced that National Dog Week 2016 had a new theme and logo! Today, on this blog launched to promote NDW, we present “Readers Unleashed: Promoting Literacy with K-9s.” We hope you love its logo, too, and will share with those groups and organizations that will help to promote this initiative.
As many are curious about these programs, we invited our friend Bocker Labradoodle to share his experience through a dog’s-eye-view. For more about “Reading to the Dogs” and National Dog Week, please visit the Today Show Parenting Team Site: http://community.today.com/parentingteam/post/national-dog-week-2016-will-have-kids-pawsing-to-read
Can any dog wander into the library and be read to by a student? If not, what special training does a dog need to be part of reading programs in libraries and schools? No, a dog just can’t walk into a library or a school. A dog has to be certified with a therapy dog group in order to take part in reading programs whether they are in a library or a school. It’s not so much training, but the dog must pass a certification test with a therapy group in order to act as a therapy dog. Dogs need to be calm, gentle, not easily frightened by noises or sudden movements. There are certain rules to be followed by both dog and handlers. Of course, there is the matter of insurance and the therapy dog organization holds insurance for their dogs who visit certain facilities.
How long have you been listening to student readers? I passed my therapy dog certification test when I was about three years old. The first read program in which I participated was called Tail Wagging Tutors, in 2008.
How do you get your reading “jobs”? The therapy group that I have been certified with had a Tail Wagging Tutors group. A local elementary school made it part of the school day for these certified dogs to come and be read to once a week for an hour. The young people that wanted to take part were excused from their regular class for that hour. The classes were held in the school library.
Are some students afraid of you and your reading dog friends? If so, how do you help them overcome their fear? In therapy visits to schools, I have come across children who have been afraid of dogs for one reason or another. We have tried on occasion for the teacher to approach me with the child and almost always by the end of the session, the child is petting me and feeling like they made a huge step forward. It’s so rewarding for the child, the teacher, and of course me.
What happens if a student is allergic to dogs? There is no such thing as a purely hypo-allergenic dog, although some dogs have less dander. I’m sure it would be at the discretion of the family if a child has allergies.
Do you see children improve their reading after a few visits with them? It’s very easy to spot children who improve with their reading after a short time. We pups are non-judgmental and children are at ease reading to us, so they are more apt to enjoy reading and think of it as fun. By reading more, they obviously become better readers. Studies have been done and show how reading scores increase.
Do you have a special story or moment you can share about your work? Yes, the children would usually bring their own books to read and on one occasion one of the boys just came in with a notebook. We asked where his books were and he said someone at home had gotten ill and he had to go stay with a grandparent at night and he didn’t have his books. He said because he didn’t have the books he usually reads, he had written a story for me. It was a story about how much I meant to him and how much he loved reading with me. Very special to say the least.
How can schools and libraries find certified dogs to visit them? Therapy groups usually have lists of schools and libraries in their area that wish to take part in reading programs. Otherwise, schools/libraries can find out what Therapy groups work in their area and contact them. The elementary school I went to had an actual approved program that took part once a week during school hours in the school’s library. That was terrific.
What are your favorite books? I love anything that is read to me. So much fun to find out the different interests of each child I read with. So I get a great mix…stories about friends, animal stories, superheroes, science, sports.
Have you ever written any books of your own? Yes. My book is Chasing Bocker’s Tale. It’s about my early life and how I got involved in so many different things and found so many ways to help others. I have been invited to Libraries so children can read my book. It’s so much fun and I usually give them copies, pawtographed, of course, to take home.
We thank Bocker and his mom, Marie, for taking time to share with us!
If you wish to share your “Reading to the Dogs” story with us, please comment or send an e-mail to email@example.com.
Earlier this month, I had the honor of presenting to the Medford-area (NJ) Branch of the American Association of University Women. Last fall they had contacted me after Tricia Reace, Vice-President of the chapter’s literary group read coverage of my book Around the World in 1909: Harriet White Fisher and Her Locomobile that had appeared in the Times of Trenton. http://www.nj.com/mercer/index.ssf/2015/01/book_details_ewing_residents_1909_journey_around_t.html#incart_river
The AAUW’s mission is to advance equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy and research, breaking through educational and economic barriers so that all women have a fair chance.
When Cid Richards, Vice President of Programs, contacted me she explained that each year the group invites a woman author from New Jersey as their guest presenter at their annual Book & Author Champagne Brunch. The goal of this occasion is to raise money for their scholarship fund. As this book was authored by an author from New Jersey, about a New Jersey-based automotive pioneer, she thought the event’s attendees would appreciate this subject matter during Woman’s History Month.
At this gathering that over-looked the beautiful grounds of Medford Leas, I addressed a roomful of women (and a few men) that were fascinated by the life and travel of Trenton’s Harriet White Fisher and her intrepid band of traveling companions. Together, this team covered four continents during the course of thirteen months in a vehicle called a Locomobile.
During the event, I received several questions about Harriet’s trip as well as inquiries about how I came to tell her story and about my writing process and impressions of the publishing industry. What a great opportunity to share, and hopefully inspire, others.
At the conclusion of the address, I had the pleasure of signing copies of Around the World in 1909 as well as copies of Dog’s Best Friend and Something’s Lost and Must be Found. As an added bonus, I learned that a donation had been made in my name to the Alice Paul Institute. The Alice Paul Institute educates the public about the life and work of Alice Stokes Paul (1885-1977), author of the Equal Rights Amendment, and offers heritage and girls’ leadership development programs
I thank all of those of the AAUW involved in making the day so special including Elsie Behmer, Co-President, Treasurer Mary Ann Brookes, VP of Membership and Publicity coordinator June Ramondetta, Co-Vice President Literature Group Tricia Reace, AAUW NJ State Board Member Mary Switzer and of course, Cid Richards, Tri-Vice President of Programs; my point of contact throughout the planning process.
In turn, I will be contributing a percentage of book sales from this event to my “Be the Change” collection to benefit a local animal advocacy group.
Happy National Women’s History Month, Happy Spring. Watch for exciting news about National Dog Week 2016 in a subsequent post. Visit and LIKE the NDW Page:https://www.facebook.com/National-Dog-Week-218596591491974/?fref=ts
“Between the attitude toward the dog of those far past centuries and the attitude of today is a vast journey in the direction of kindness and a heart of sympathy.” Will Judy, 1949
On Valentine’s Day, my husband Rich and I headed into New York City for the Dog Writers Association of America’s Awards banquet. Fittingly, my book, (a true labor of love), Dog’s Best Friend: Will Judy, Founder of National Dog Week, and Dog World Publisher, had received a Maxwell Medallion nomination in the Reference category. As Judy was highly influential in the establishment of the DWAA back in 1935, and Maxwell Riddle was his protégé, it was quite an honor. Alas, we did not bring home the Maxwell but some stellar connections were made and more books are in progress. One of them a collaboration with Laura Pople, founder of Seer Farms, will share the poignant stories of the people and pets of this special place.
Located in a rural area of New Jersey, Seer Farms was founded in 2009 by Laura and her board, to embrace the mission that our pets are truly family members and no circumstance should ever separate them from us. Seer Farms is a facility that will take in the family cat(s) or dog(s) (and occasional “other” creature) of those in need and care for them until the situation permits pets and people to reunite under one roof. These pets come to her as the result of military deployments, domestic violence, natural disasters and from pet owners who are going through challenging times and need a hand in caring for their pets until more fortunate circumstances prevail. By offering this unique opportunity, many pets are saved from abandonment and uncertain fates.
I had the opportunity to meet Laura recently when Rich, and dog, Teddy, helped me deliver a collection of donated supplies. During our visit, we met a woman who was there to spend time with two of her dogs that are being cared for by the facility. Deb told us that she had lost her home in Hurricane Sandy, and like many others, still had not fully recovered from that life-changing event of three and a half years ago. Her home is in the process of being raised and when that is complete, she and her dogs will enjoy their special Reunion Day when they hop into her car and take that much-awaited ride home. Deb appreciates these visits but notes that at the end of each, her dogs try to lead her to the car so that they can go home with her. As someone who personally witnessed the devastation of that storm, I can attest to how important this oasis has been for so many.
I can’t think of a happier event than the occasion of something like Reunion Day – having your beloved pet once again by your side, – having come through the worst of times, and now, ready to provide comfort and support to each other as their journey continues.
In her actions and her life’s work, Laura and her staff and board, have made a major difference in the lives of animals, and the humans who love them. Their work and mission fully embrace what Will Judy wrote so many years ago, “Between the attitude toward the dog of those far past centuries and the attitude of today is a vast journey in the direction of kindness and a heart of sympathy.”
I thank all those who contributed to our Seer Farms supply drive: Maureen Johnson and the Sayer and Schoberg Families, Bonnie Werkmeister, Boy Scout Pack 16 of Pt. Pleasant, NJ, Skittles (the Bichon) Barros and the members of the Junior Auxiliary Unit of American Legion Post 348 in Brick, NJ.
Recovery, Reunion, Renewal….that is the goal of Seer Farms. To read more about this unique sheltering model, its staff and volunteers:http://seerfarms.org/
Come join in the fun and hear me speak about writing for the pet-industry and beyond at the Blog Paws Conference in Phoenix, AZ June 23-25. https://www.pinterest.com/blogpaws/blogpaws-conference-photos/
“The public should be taught to demand a sound, healthy dog, bred and raised in sanitary environment…” Captain Wm. Lewis Judy, Founder of National Dog Week and Dog World Publisher
Far too often, people continue to support the puppy mill system with their purchases of dogs at retail outlets. To protect the buyer, and to put a stop to the secretive abhorrent practices of the puppy milling business, laws are created and passed, however, the enforcement of these laws must occur to bring about positive change. We can end all this if we choose to adopt our pets, or to work with breeders who truly love and care about the dogs they bring into the world, even after the sale is complete. If you truly love all dogs, you understand.
Thank you Janice Patterson Fisher for this update found below and your work on behalf of our dogs.
As some of you know, a new consumer protection law became effective on June 1, 2015 enhancing the Puppy Lemon Law for all customers buying a puppy from a pet store in the state of New Jersey. This law is the Pet Store Disclosure Act that specifically requires pet stores to provide specific breeder information on each cage cards, including two years’ worth of USDA inspection reports for the breeder/broker of any puppy offered for sale in a pet store. Cage cards must now include: breeder name, address, e-mail address, if available, USDA-license number. Most importantly, no New Jersey pet store may buy puppies from a breeder unless he possesses a USDA license and a state license, if a state license is required.
For many years, New Jersey pet stores refused to divulge breeder information to customers until the sale of a puppy was complete. The only logical reason for this is that they shuttered to think what a customer would feel should they know the truth…that these puppies are mass bred in commercial facilities known as puppy mills. According to the New Jersey Federation of Dog Clubs (a premium club consisting of over 80 breed-specific clubs), no responsible breeder would sell to a pet store. Therefore, New Jersey pet stores had but one source: puppy mills.
Even with this law in effect, the majority of New Jersey pet stores have not fully complied. Despite visits and warnings from the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs and assistance from New Jersey animal advocates, these stores appeared to hedge their bets that the state would not truly enforce the penalties. But they were wrong; in December, these stores received an early Christmas present in the “package” of Notices of Violation – Fines – from the state for failure to adhere to the law.
Some stores have complained that their errors were clerical. Not so. Each and every store was visited by state investigators. A copy of the law was provided. Time was provided to them to come into compliance.
The law is simple to read. Provide specific breeder information on the cage cards and conspicuously post USDA inspection reports on or near the cage. Not hard to follow. These stores obviously chose not to follow the law and continue to hide the fact that the puppies they sell come from despicable brokers and breeders.
Let’s hope that these fines teach the puppy-milling industry a lesson….they are not above the law and all consumers have a right to know how a product is manufactured. In this case, and unfortunately, the product is a living being – a puppy and it is “manufactured” in the most inhumane way.
Amazon Link: http://tinyurl.com/obfhemv
I started blogging in January 2010 and I don’t know where those five years have gone. But when I look back, each post reminds me of my long journey to launch a career as a writer. I realize now I really had no idea of what I was getting into. But that’s a good thing because I might have reconsidered my choices. But I prevailed, and with the help of so many, saw several projects launched and completed; five books in all.
2014 was very busy with three of my books finding their way to the market. One, the first of the Collar and a Dream series was self-published. Dog’s Best Friend: Will Judy Founder of National Dog Week and Dog World Publisher was released by McFarland & Co in September, followed by my most recent, Around the World in 1909: Harriet White Fisher and Her Locomobile published by American History Press.
You might say I am driven to write (pun intended). But with so many fascinating events and people to write about, I see words and chapters as a literal path to adventure and self-discovery. I often find myself wondering if I could choose just one day to spend with Harriet’s traveling party, which would it be?
On the occasion of a visit to my hometown of Hackensack, NJ, during the holidays, I took a ride downtown to visit the street where Hackensack Middle School is located. As fate and coincidence would have it, the home of Alice Huyler Ramsey stands just a few houses down the road from my old school. Alice, if you don’t already know, is celebrated for being the first woman to drive an automobile from New York City to San Francisco in 1909, accompanied by three female companions. My “discovery” of her story would later inspire me to write the book about her equally famous contemporary and fellow-New Jerseyean, Harriet White Fisher.
When I pulled up to “Alice’s” house last month, I got out to take a few photos with my IPhone and noticed the house was being restored. I became aware I was being watched by neighbors and I shouted to one woman that I was just doing some research. Before long, I was aware of a person coming to the front door. A man emerged, “Can I help you he asked?” with a look of mild suspicion on his face. He explained the neighbors had alerted him of my presence.
I answered with a question, “Do you know the significance of this house?” to which he replied that he indeed did. “This is the house that belonged to the first woman to drive across America,” he stated. I was overjoyed. I quickly explained why I was there taking photos, and showed him a copy of Around the World in 1909 in case he thought I was a lunatic. I expressed that I was so glad to know the house would remain standing and he assured me in turn that it was being lovingly restored and served as offices for his law practice.
I always enjoy my visits back home and I’ve come to learn that roots go deep. Little did I know as a gangly tween attending Hackensack Middle School that I was less than a block away from my future. So I say, forget about The Snookie and her shore buddies, dismiss the Housewives of New Jersey, and embrace some True-Jersey treasures and the way they opened doors (cars and otherwise) for those to come. I hope that when I return to Hackensack to speak at the Johnson Public Library, or a hometown bookstore, I might stop by again and this time, be invited in to that historic home of Alice’s.
Well, that’s my “True Jersey” story, and this is where I exit.