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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”.
“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/
Happy New Year. 2015 ended with some amazing news surrounding Dog’s Best Friend and my work on behalf of the National Dog Week Movement. I thank so many of you for your interest and support and wish you all a very rewarding and successful New Year!
Who Let the Dogs In? New Online Exhibit Captures the Legacy of Captain Will Judy and National Dog Week
In collaboration with Amy Breyer, Executive Director of the Animal History Museum, I am pleased to announce that my online exhibit was successfully curated and went live on the museum’s site in December. This innovative exhibit, titled “Who Let the Dogs In?”, chronicles the inspiring history of National Dog Week and its founder, Captain William Lewis Judy.
Americans have enjoyed a long-time love affair with animals – domesticated and wild. However, despite anecdotal evidence highlighting the important role that animals play in our lives, there has been little formal, institutional acknowledgement of their significance. To fill that void, the Animal History Museum seeks to explore, honor and advance our understanding of the complex and evolving nature of man’s interactions with, and relationship to, the other species around us. The museum’s mission: understanding and celebrating the human-animal bond.
Established online in January 2012, the Animal History Museum is being developed by a team of professionals who are passionate about all things animal, serving and educating all ages and segments of the general public. With the establishment of a physical site in Los Angeles County, California, the Animal History Museum will become the leading facility in the nation designed solely for the collection, preservation and exploration of the history, culture, science and law relating to the relationship between human and non-human animals.
The museum’s website offers several other inspiring online exhibits as well, including: “The Wildlife Photography of Donald D. Feare”, “Stories of Older Animal Adoption”, “Sit, Stay, Say Cheese! The Early History of Animal Photography, 1850-1915”, “Breaking Stereotypes: America’s Pit Bull Rescues and the Human Animal Bond”, and “I’m Ready for My Close-up Mr. Casteel: The Making of Underwater Dogs.”
As the author of Will Judy: Founder of National Dog Week and Dog World Publisher (McFarland & Co.), I am honored to be part of an establishment dedicated to presenting exhibitions, lectures, and other activities that are consistent with, and supportive of, the museum’s educational goals and purpose.
Captain Will Judy, as he was known, was a pioneer in the dog-care industry, and one of the founders of the DWAA. As a prolific writer, author and publisher of Dog World Magazine for decades, Judy almost single-handedly shaped the way modern dogs are regarded in America. Most importantly, he was responsible for making sure the nation’s dogs got their week, and still do, during the last full week of September each year with National Dog Week
In 1949, on writing about patients in veterans’ hospitals and the role of dogs in their treatment and recovery Will Judy wrote,”The presence and companionship of dogs, the observation of their playful antics has helped patients on their way back to normal thinking and living.”
In 2010, upon commencing my research and writing of the biography of Captain William Lewis Judy, I reached out to those in the dog community. One of those individuals was Rose Russo who helped me on my path to “dogdom” by sharing her personal experience and insight on the importance of dogs in our lives. As this year’s theme for National Dog Week is “At Your Service-All-ways” I invited Rose to be our guest blogger responding to the question, “How have dogs impacted your life when coping with life’s challenges?” We arethankful that she agreed to be our special guest blogger for the 87 Observance of National Dog Week.
“If you are lucky enough to have a service dog then the person you should be thanking is Will Judy. Will Judy was an attorney; soldier and author who realized that dogs serve not only as pets but can assist soldiers in their everyday life and help them cope with the tragedy of war. His instrumental work on National Dog week allows all of us to now have this growing phenomenon, and allows those of us who suffer from physical and mental tragedies to live our lives to the fullest extent possible.
Service Dogs are a very underutilized medical necessity. They have changed the lives of the blind and assist many other in daily life tasks so essential to survival. Even at a time when many are complaining that the use of service dogs has risen unnecessarily, they are an essential need for many.
I could not function without my service dogs. On Sept 11, 2001, I was a New York City Detective. While assisting in the recovery efforts I suffered a disabling nerve disorder (Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome) that will continue to get worse over time. For many years I had difficulty – mentally and physically – with daily life tasks. My anxiety and depression was at an all time high. It was then that I was introduced to the possibility of a service dog. I was skeptical to say the least. But after working with my girls (two King Charles spaniels) my life started to change.
I am now able to conduct many basic daily activities, such as a simple walk in the park, without tremendous fear and anxiety. Without my service dogs I could never have been able to fly again. They have been instrumental in my life and many others. Service dogs have assisted children with court room testimony and even teenagers going off to college being able to cope with life away from their family.
I am currently working with many individuals, especially police officers, who have been able to change their lives due to their service animal. One officer I have worked with was involved in a shooting and became confined to inside his home. He was unable to leave his home and return to work. Through the help of a service dog he has been able to regain the confidence to live his life to the fullest extent possible.
Service dogs are not only needed they are necessary for many to live a full and healthy life. But the program is not without faults. Many have abused the system and taken advantage of a program that was designed to assist those in dire need. Even the Americans with Disability Act allows some of this fraudulent activity by only allowing business owner to ask two basic questions of a patron with a service dog; is this dog used for a disability and what tasks does the dog perform? Without further investigation or proof this allows many to scam the system.
But just because of some fraudulent activity the system should not be broken down. States could easily provide licenses or endorsement on a driver’s license to make the service dog program more trusted and official.
Service dogs are an essential necessity for many and are helping those who suffer to function in life and even live life beyond what they had ever thought possible. As those coping with mental and physical disabilities become more understood, people will hopefully continue to see how necessary these dogs are to those unable to cope with the daily physical and mental activities of life and allow them to live the life they want and deserve.”
Thank you Rose for being an important part of the mission of Will Judy’s National Dog Week during its 87th Observance and beyond. We hope you all will LIKE our Facebook page and become part of its mission, too. Happy National Dog Week everyone. https://www.facebook.com/National-Dog-Week-218596591491974/timeline/ and visit www.lisabegin-kruysmanauthor.com
Hello to all of our National Dog Week friends. No doubt, everyone is concerned with the health and welfare of the nation’s dogs and those who love and care for them. Many express genuine concern for the issues that adversely affect their quality of life, and while most sincerely talk about change, a few go further and actually write legislation to bring about real change.
This is the case in New Jersey right now. Governor Chris Christie has been asked to sign a bill (S.1870/A.3306), that if passed into law, will make those retailers who offer pets for sale in their stores accountable for the dogs they sell. While it isn’t perfect, it is a step in the right direction, as they will have to provide full disclosure on the origins of those puppies for sale in the window. This is important because many of these dogs are products of objectionable puppy mills and are sold to misinformed customers who soon find out their new pup has some serious health issues and experience emotional and financial distress, to say the least.
Many decades ago, Will Judy, Founder of National Dog Week warned that dogs should not be sold like grocery items in stores and was concerned about the rise of what he called “puppy factories”. In a perfect world, dogs will no longer be sold like toys, and other inanimate objects. Until then, bills like S-1870 can lead the way to the more humane treatment of the Nation’s dogs.
Below is an e-mail I received today. I have also spoken to the author’s of the bill and they are imploring everyone to call the Governor’s office to ask him to sign this bill and support the cause for the paws.
Dear Lisa Kruysman:
Thank you for your recent email to our office regarding S-1870/A-3306,
legislation which establishes additional requirements under the “Pet
Purchase Protection Act” to provide breeder information to the consumer
about each cat or dog being offered for sale in a pet shop. We certainly
appreciate your input.
As you are aware, we are the prime sponsors of this bill and this issue
is extremely important to us. As you may be aware, this legislation has
passed both houses of the legislature.
If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact our
Chief-of-Staff, Glen Feldman at 732-840-9028.
Senator, Jim Holzapfel
Assemblyman, Greg McGuckin
Assemblyman, Dave Wolfe
10th Legislative District Office
852 Highway 70
Brick, N.J. 08724
For complete book and author information please visit: http://www.lisabegin-kruysmanauthor.com/
My friends who are authors know that unless you self-publish, you have to accept the fact that when published by others you will not retain the creative control over what your book may look like in its final incarnation. While this may sound discouraging, it can have its rewards and the wonderful process of what I call Universal Collaboration can blossom. Hear me out. Will Judy, founder of National Dog Week, often commissioned artists to create images to be used for NDW stamps and posters to promote the themes of annual Dog Weeks. You can see some displayed on my NDW Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/National-Dog-Week/218596591491974?fref=photo Of course I desired to use these images in my book, Dog’s Best Friend (McFarland & Co.) and although I, and others, presented information that Judy never called for this artwork to be copyrighted, my publisher chose the safe route and we were not able to include them in the book, and that was bad news for this author. Among my proposed book covers, I had envisioned a red, white and blue poster stamp of a military man posing with a German shepherd dog, promoting NDW’s theme of “In War and Peace” in 1945. As artists were not generally credited for the work they created for Judy, it was daunting to identify or credit them. My angst set in, how would we find the right cover without being able to obtain publishing rights? I have to admit, I recited the prayer to St. Anthony (Saint of all things lost) often, hoping the answer to my challenge would be found. But let’s back up a bit. At some point, I had contacted an author named Sharon Damkaer. Sharon is a huge fan of Will Judy’s and wrote a book about the renowned artist, Albert Staehle. http://www.americanartarchives.com/staehle.htm. Sharon understood my dilemma, and, when my publisher contacted her about obtaining the rights of one of Staehle’s works to serve as the cover for my book, she offered to help. She had at one time faced her own similar publishing challenges. During this process, independent of all of this, an older gentleman named Anthony had called my home and spoke to my husband. He told Rich that he did not own a computer, but someone had told him of my writing project about Judy and National Dog Week. He wanted to know if I would like to have an original poster from National Dog Week 1950. I returned his call and said indeed I would and within days, it arrived in the mail. You guessed it; it was the very same image that had been selected by McFarland & Co. to appear on the book’s cover. I sent him a thank you note with a copy of my book Something’s Lost and Must be Found. He responded in turn to thank me and said that this volume was now on his library shelf next to his volumes of Will Judy books. That image just put all doubt to rest. All things come full circle. By the way, did you note that his name is Anthony? And so, while the cover of Dog’s Best Friend is different from the one I envisioned, it shows me that sometimes, if we just chill out and let things happen in their own course, the results can be beautiful. These days I find myself repeating the mantra… Remain Focused, have Faith, be Confident that you’ve done your best work, and move on. Which reminds me, please watch for news on my next book due out shortly! Around the World in 1909: Harriet White Fisher and Her Locomobile (American History Press) the true account of an intrepid New Jersey woman who took the ultimate road trip with a dog on her lap at a time it was most unlikely. Happy National Dog Week to you all, may its spirit be with you year-round! Next year, we are embracing the way dogs serve humans with a revisited NDW theme of, “At Your Service – All Ways”. It is so good to find so many dog-enthusiasts Finding the spirit of a great American tradition that seemed to have been Lost for awhile! Thank you. Amazon book link: http://tinyurl.com/qbon8ty Please note that on October 31st, Dog’s Best Friend will be available in e-reader format. http://www.lisabegin-kruysmanauthor.com/
“Dogs are doctors and psychiatrists as well as teachers” Will Judy, 1949
As of today, it is reported that in Ocean County, where I reside, 107 young people have died of drug overdoses this year. That is a staggering figure.I know that a complex mix of factors have brought about this tragic loss of life, but I do sometimes wonder if the stressful circumstances experienced by many families here over the past year have not somehow played a part in this sorrowful trend in an effort to escape some harsh realities. That would be a matter for a mental health expert, I suppose.
I watched news coverage of drug-sniffing dogs deployed in the halls of a local Ocean County school the other night. The hope was that this would serve as a detriment for drug use, at least on school grounds. These highly trained dogs have an amazingly accurate success rate at drug detection.
Watching, I also recalled how dogs were used here after Hurricane Sandy, for the purpose of Search and Rescue, once again serving us in dark times.
As the nation recalls the terrible tragedy of Newtown, Connecticut, we find a dog connection, too. Dogs like Bocker-the-Labradoodle, have become an important part of healing and recovery for the residents of this traumatized community.
This got me to thinking. Why do we often only “bring in the dogs” after things have gone so wrong. In the cases of Ocean County and Newtown, am I naïve to think that perhaps if the care of dogs, and other pets, were part of an educational and therapeutic curriculum, perhaps there might be a decrease in mental illness, isolation, and subsequent drug use? I know there is no sure way to solve all these problems, but I think that many places, including schools, might “turn to the dogs” as they search for ways to detect and treat many who need help, but slip through the cracks, and in doing so, keeps us in the dark ages.
The following is post written by Marie Shelto, a great supporter and friend of National Dog Week. She and her lovely dog, Bocker, have always been there to lend a paw, in good times and bad. We need more of them in this world.
Thank you, Marie, and Bocker.
There has always been something very special about Bocker. Even as a very young pup, Bocker the Labradoodle pondered on where his life would lead, what was his purpose in life. Whether it was his human eyes, head tilt or calm demeanor, he was packaged with love and with the ability to make people smile. A friend wrote about him saying, “Bocker never gets his curls in a knot.” Children always comment on how big he is, but I think because he is tall, he can look the children in the eye and a certain bond is created. Bocker is very huggable and he is a great kisser. All of these attributes make him the perfect candidate for therapy work. It just seems like it is his nature and it came built in.
Young or old, whomever Bocker visits, he is able to make a lasting impression and surely brings lots of smiles. Bocker can sense if the person he is visiting wants big loving kisses or would rather he just stand next to them and provide support. He has worked as a “Tail Waggin Tutor” helping children improve their reading skills and actually help them think of reading as fun. He is invited to schools where he visits classrooms and is most happy to pose for photos and give his famous “Bocker head tilt” when smiling for the camera.
Through tragedy great friendships are born and so was the case when Bocker was asked to visit Newtown, CT after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary. He was invited to the C. H. Booth Library in Newtown to have children sit with him and read their stories as well as his book, “Chasing Bocker’s Tale”. What a wonderful day. Bocker’s book is his own tale of his amazing journey and how he has touched the lives of so many throughout the world. It has now been made into a DVD for younger children and had its debut in Newtown.
After Bocker’s initial visit to Newtown, he has been invited to almost every event that goes on in the town and has developed many lasting friendships. He makes everyone smile and spreads lots of love. Now when he walks down the street, he is sure to hear someone say “That’s Bocker.” Even The Toy Tree store in Sandy Hook has a poster of Bocker, as well as selling his plush toy, book and DVD. A very lucky doodle for sure. Bocker no doubt makes a difference and that makes me very proud.
Bocker is always ready to lend a helping paw. He is very much an advocate and activist for animal rights, being the SpokesDog for NYS Animal Advocacy Day. He is also always on hand at fundraising events for shelters and rescue organizations. Yes, he has done movies, appeared on tv and in fashion ads and has friends all over the world, but his most important work is with children and in helping those less fortunate than he. I am very lucky to follow in his “paw” steps. He is definitely leading me down the right path.
@bocker on Twitter
bockerdoodle – Instagram
“Rambunctious, rumbustious, delinquent dogs become angelic when sitting.” Ian Dunbar, 1947
Five years ago today, the dogs of the nation, and their humans, lost a very good friend with the passing of Captain Arthur Haggerty, the “Grandfather of American Dog Obedience” and staunch supporter of the National Dog Week Movement. On this most patriotic of holidays, we can honor his memory with the fair and humane treatment of dogs (and all animals) everywhere.
Welcome Handsome Hardee, from Las Vegas, NV, our Dog of the Week on the National Dog Week Community Page. This page will feature some of the special dogs that have been part of our Blog’s 111 posts! Go on over and LIKE us and watch for new updates! http://www.facebook.com/about/login/#!/pages/National-Dog-Week/218596591491974
SOMETHING’S LOST AND MUST BE FOUND climbed the chart and remains #9 Top Rated in Amazon’s Animal Care and Health Category. Now with a seventh story that won an Honorable Mention in a Writer’s Digest Competition. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_33?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=somethings+lost+and+must+be+found&sprefix=somethings+lost+and+must+be+found
It was a dark and stormy…morning. Up in my writer’s loft, I blogged away while Hooper, my loyal dog, dozed peacefully on the couch. Suddenly the silence was shattered; once again, that dastardly woodpecker drilled away at our house like a jack hammer. Hooper flew into action, barking and circling. “Let’s get him, Mom,” she growled, bravely heading for the door. But the roar of thunder drove her back, shaking and trembling at my feet. And thus, another day of distractions, courtesy of Mother Nature, had begun.
Some authors take their “mews” in the feline form (Twain, Hemingway). But many I know look to a muse of a more canine-kind for their inspiration. It does seem that many writers work with a dog at their feet. Last August, I was contacted by blogger/writer Marshal Zeringue. He asked if I would be interested in talking about Every Dog has its Week on his blog, Coffee with a Canine. Hooper and I obliged and we were very happy when he again sought us out upon the release of Something’s Lost and Must be Found, a Short Story Collection inspired by this blog.
Many creative types get lost in their work. It can be a solitary life; creative efforts usually require a quiet and reclusive environment. A dog, cat, or other pet, reminds us that (gasp) life is going on around you. We need to take a break, be aware of others, and take the time to focus and care about those who need us most. A good pet can do all of that, asking so little in return.
Enjoy your life, family, friends and freedom on this Fourth of July Weekend!
Please enjoy the following interview with blogger and writer, Marshal Zeringue:
Can you tell us a little about your background? I’m a former academic who now spends most of my time writing, re-writing, fine-tuning (over and over again) as-yet-unproduced screenplays as well as tending to a number of blogs. I was born and partly educated in New Orleans, went to graduate school at the University of Virginia, then stayed in Virginia to teach. I’m now somewhat nomadic but find myself in south Louisiana more often than not.
We hear you write and moderate three blogs, what are they? The blog count is actually greater or smaller than three, depending on how you tally these things. I’ll explain: Coffee with a Canine is a blog more or less independent of my oldest blog, Campaign for the American Reader. So one might count that as two blogs. But CftAR is the hub for a network that includes The Page 69 Test, My Book, The Movie, The Page 99 Test, Writers Read, Lit Lists, Author Interviews, HEPPAS Books, and New Books.
I’ve actually got plans for a few more CftAR-related sites (and an idea for another canine/food-related blog) but I’m trying to resist.
As we’re all about dogs here, please tell us about Coffee with a Canine. When and why did you start it? Are all your subjects writers or in the arts? Two influences led to Coffee with a Canine, each independent of the other but both hit at about the same time. One, I noticed that a great many of the authors who helped with content for CftAR posts mentioned their dogs in the bio on their websites. At about the same time, I realized that the clear majority of my 10 or 12 closest friends had dogs.
It’s actually coincidental that so many of the blog guests are writers. More on that below.
How do you find the people you interview? Many of the interviewees are authors with dogs. This has, understandably, led many blog visitors to infer that CwaC is yet another of my lit related blogs. But being a writer is not a prerequisite for an interview. I’m actually interested in having dog-lovers from all walks of life on the blog. So I troll around the blogs to see if interesting bloggers have dogs. Also, I’m hoping to soon start visiting coffee shops and parks with my camera and recorder so that I can interview some dog-lovers in person.
What is the coffee connection? Mostly accidental. I wanted to build the Q&As around an event, but nothing too demanding or that required a lot of planning…or even leaving the house. So I ask the interviewee to plan a “coffee-date”–even though any beverage will do. I really do like the interviews that involve a visit to a cafe (New Orleanians as much as anyone like food and drink with their conversation); that’s one spur to the plan to get out there and do some in-person interviews at coffee-shops.
Thank you Marshal for taking time to share with us. I don’t know how you manage three blogs, one is challenging enough! I hope we get to see some of these taped events. We will definitely follow-up as this new idea brews.
In January 2010, I launched this Blog to help relay the mission of the enduring American tradition of National Dog Week. To learn more please see About.
“Let Hercules himself do what he may, the cat will mew and dog will have his day.” Wm. Shakespeare, Hamlet; Act 5, Scene 1
For those who don’t know, blog is short for biographical-log, an on-line bio that is usually written around a theme. In my case, I started with an ambitious goal of three posts a week, with personal observations of dog-related issues. In time, my posts became a way for me to present individuals who truly relay the message of National Dog Week, on a weekly basis.
Reaching the big 100 Post milestone, I wanted to celebrate with a special posting, I asked my loyal Portuguese water dog, Hooper to interview me on life as a blogger and writer. Without further delay, I present the Hooper Interview (after she eats of course, and does her business). This interview is taking place on April 1st in Key Colony Beach, Florida.
H: Thanks for the walk…Where do I start? What did you do before you wanted to be a writer?
LBK: Well, much like our hero, Will Judy, the ultimate dog-enthusiast who was the publisher of Dog World Magazine for 36 years, and founder of National Dog Week, I worked at many different kinds of jobs…After graduating from the University of Connecticut I was a waitress in Edgartown, MA, sales person in a sporting goods store on Cape Cod, MA, Human Resources Associate/Recruiter for Home Box Office in New York, ice-skating and swimming instructor, substitute teacher…and of course as a fine artist for the past twenty years.
H: Where are some of the places you have lived?
LBK: I grew up in Hackensack, NJ, lived in Boulder, CO when I was 14, went to school at the University of Connecticut spending summers on Martha’s Vineyard and Cape Cod, MA, Greenwich Village in New York City, and now I call Ocean County, NJ home. I have also spent a lot of time in St. Augustine, and the Florida Keys for the past several years, something I hope to do more of. And then there was that month in Italy!
H: What has been the best and worst part of starting and maintaining a blog?
LBK: Well, the hardest part of blogging is delivering interesting and meaningful material on a weekly basis. Fortunately, when it comes to dogs, there is no lack for material…Did you know there are over 70 million of you guys in this nation? But cats still have you beat so watch out! The best part of blogging is getting to know so many great individuals who work so hard on behalf of the “Cause for the Paws.” In telling their stories, I hope to inspire others to get involved or find their own niche. I like to think of it as “The Little Blog that Could.” Most people are more than happy to talk to me and in doing so, I get more people to stop by and read! Oh, and it also helps spread the news about my book project.
H: Your book is titled Every Dog has its Week: How Seven Days in September came to celebrate Dogs and the Humans who Love Them? Why did you write it?
LBK: For years I’d wanted to write the “ultimate” dog book, a project that would inform those entrenched in the “dog-culture” and those who were not as enlightened. I think those who make their living in dog-related industries or are active in dog-causes make the mistake in assuming that the general public is as knowledgeable about dog issues as they. For example, I still talk to people who don’t understand that when they purchase a dog in a pet shop, they are promoting puppy mills, that think dog-fighting is declining because of the Michael Vick “chapter,” or don’t realize that some breeds are no longer legal in some cities. Also, many are not aware that so many dogs are still euthanized or languish in shelters every day, and that so many still do not spay and neuter their pets. Also, there are so many ways dogs help humans in the therapy and service areas.
Back in 1928, Will Judy faced his own challenges when it came to improving and honoring the lives of dogs in this country. His contributions through writing, publishing and the establishment of National Dog Week (the last full week of September) made a difference. In some ways, I see myself as trying to carry on his work, with the help of many others.
H: Has it been difficult?
LBK: In some ways, yes. After trying to seek publication on my own, I was fortunate to sign with literary agent, Donna Eastman, who has partnered with me in finding my book a “good home” – the right publishing house. This was a major achievement. Now, we fight the good fight, and know that a special editor/publisher will see the value (and yes marketability) of this book. I enjoyed doing the research and writing it a way that would connect with dog-lovers and history buffs, everywhere (even in foreign markets). When it is published, I envision the jacket of the book proclaiming it “a gem of a dog story, a real diamond in the “ruff.”
H: What’s been the most rewarding part of writing this book?
LBK: That’s easy. Really caring about the subject matter and truly knowing how inspiring the message of National Dog Week and its promoters can be for so many. I see the week as a way to teach our young people the value of caring for animals, so that a more caring generation will go forth. Also, I derive encouragement from those I interview…Nikki Moustaki of the Pet Postcard Project, Bocker the Labradoodle and his Mom, Marie, fellow-author and blogger, Lisa Pliscou, Erika Friedman of Canine Celebration, Rose Russo-a truly inspirational person, Janice Wolfe and her work with autistic children through her dog Wyatt, Josh Abrams of Dogasaur who has helped spread the word to so many, Babette Haggerty, daughter of legendary dog trainer, Captain Arthur Haggerty, and so many others…best-selling authors, trainers, rescuers….the list goes on (please scroll through the archives to meet them). It’s also been nice to be an interviewee, too!
H: What is your goal for National Dog Week?
LBK: For it to be observed more widely…for everyone to find something to do to honor it, no matter how small or personal. On a large scale…to see it celebrated on the Plaza of Rockefeller Center in New York City in the spectacular manner and style it once was in the 1930s-1950s…that would be fun (I’m working on it…Al Roker, are you listening)?
H: What’s your favorite way to spend time with me?
LBK: I love taking you for walks. Everyone asks if you are a Labradoodle! When they hear you are a Portuguese water dog, they have so many questions. They love to pet your soft wavy coat and love your one white paw. We meet so many nice people. You are also a great snuggler, a great doggy-pillow or foot warmer and you make me laugh every day.
I am grateful to have a dog like you, and for the support of my husband, Rich and of friends and family who are always there for me.
H: Thanks, Mom, and thanks for blogging about my peeps…I look forward to going to Dog Fest in Brick Township (our adopted home-town) this September and I hope that all my canine friends get their day, and week, too when others plan some special events!
LBK: Thanks, Hooper…now let’s go take a run on the beach.
To read more about my artwork, please go to http://www.postcardart.us.
Welcome to my Blog, a place for those with a “weekness for dogs,” established to honor the life of ultimate-dog enthusiast Captain Will Judy and the legacy of his National Dog Week Movement that is still so relevant today, and my book that documents its colorful history over the course of 82 years.
Thanks to so many of you who have come to be regular readers and those who listened to my interview with Renee Premaza on her show Thursday in the Dog House that aired on October 14th. You can listen in if you go to www.jerseydogtrainer.com and click on the Radio Show Link on the left. As promised, I am reposting my interview with author Steve Duno. Steve has been busy promoting his book, Last Dog on the Hill: The Extraordinary Life of Lou, and has a book reading coming up at Sun River Books and Music, in Sun River, Oregon on Saturday, October 23 at 5:00pm. You can also read Steve’s Blog posts at www.moderndogmagazine.com/blogs/dogma. His latest post discusses the controversial topic of the alarmingly early ages at which our dogs are being spayed and neutered. Very thought-provoking…
Stay tuned for an update on Erika Friedman’s plans for the big Hound-o-Ween event at a Petco in New York City and an interview with Carla Gambescia and her “tasty” fund raising effort, Dogs In Party Hats…
Here now is a repost from the “Seven Posts for Seven Dog Days Series” that ran during National Dog Week…
When the Student is ready the teacher appears…Buddhist proverb
In his book, Last Dog on the Hill, The Incredible Story of Lou, Seattle-based pet behaviorist and author, Steve Duno, is the student, ready to receive the lessons of a pup he rescued from a Northern California hillside.
Nearly six-months old and flea infested, why this dog Steve came to call Lou chose to present himself to a total stranger while his pack of siblings retreated back to the wild remains a mystery. Little did Steve know just how much this dog would change the course of his life.
Last Dog on the Hill tells the moving story of a special bond between a man and his dog. Together Lou and Steve, a former school teacher, tutored the kids of celebrities in Los Angeles, apprehended armed robbers and a rapist and worked as a team to rehabilitate dogs just a step away from death row due to behavioral issues caused primarily by their owner’s ignorance.
With his movie star looks, and soulful eyes, Lou had a profound effect on all he met during the course of his 16-year life. By choosing to be rescued by Steve off that California hill site, Lou, a shepherd-Rottweiler mix claimed his heritage as a member of the Working Group, and his role as one of man’s best friends forever. Although no longer with us, Lou’s lessons continue to teach through the writings of his loyal guardian, Steve.
Do you think some people have a way with animals?
I think that certain people are “natural” pet owners- they seem to have an innate rapport with dogs and/or cats. I wrote about that in my books Be the Dog and Be the Cat. They are able to see things from the pets POV, and therefore make great owners. In my case, I had an idea of what pet ownership might be, from Lassie and Old Yeller and Rin Tin Tin… but the reality was a bit different.
As a young boy without pets of your own, how did you get your pet fix?
Pet fix? I had a cranky parakeet named Chipper, who’d strafe the room trying to poke your eyes out. And I read dog books and watched Lassie.
Who influenced you in the pet industry, did you have any role models?
Hmm. I didn’t know of any trainers other than Rudd Weatherwax the owner of Lassie. He got those collies to do some cool things. When I was a kid I didn’t think you could make a living from dogs, unless you were a sheepherder.
Do you think we should encourage young people to explore careers in the pet-industry?
Careers in the dog field are, well, somewhat hard to get into. To be a vet takes years of school and money; and learning to train well takes years of hard work. Kennel work is tough, as is daycare work. Many dog walkers do make some good coin though. But sure, I guess that kids should know that pets can provide not only companionship, but a living as well.
Do you think there are other potential Lous out there?
Sure I do… but it takes the right dog. Perfect genes; most dogs wouldn’t have the goods. The dog has to be fairly strong, big, confident, sociable yet dominant and patient… not easy to find a dog like that. Lou was a natural; I didn’t teach him to do it. He just knew. Lou was a natural teacher with kids. They love dogs, provided the dogs are kind, tolerant, gentle. Dogs are natural teaching tools; how can you beat the lure of a good dog?
Do you think all dog owners need to seek out the services of a professional dog trainer?
I do not think everyone needs professional help with a puppy or dog; many are pretty competent. Years ago people were all good at it, as dogs were vital workers in the family/farm etc. You had to know canine behavior back then. Today though too many people treat dogs like trust fund babies and not dogs. They do not know dogs anymore. Those people need help! A few classes in the beginning can work wonders for them.
What should a dog owner look for when choosing a trainer?
Pick a trainer who you like. Watch them work a dog; does the dog respond to them, are they confident? Authoritative yet inspiring? Look for a trainer who emulates your third grade school teacher; loving yet confident and strong- someone with gentle power.
What about Lou’s littermates that chose to go down the other side of that hill?
Oh sure- Lou had seven or eight littermates, but they were all skittish and flighty. I saw them all- similar looks to Lou. He was the only one willing to interact. The others would have not been good pets I think…
You have written several “how to” books, was the writing of this more personal work very different for you?
Memoir form was easy for me, as I have a long history of writing fiction in addition to prescriptive non-fiction. It was a relief in a way.
How do you find the promotional side of the book business?
Hmm. I like meeting people on the road, and talking about the book. But the responsibility to promotions is a heavy load sometimes; I’m a better writer than a promoter. Writers are by nature introspective people- to expect them to also be salespeople is hard for many. But I am a ham, so… traveling can also be very tiring. and road food… oh the road food.
Thanks to Steve and Lou for sharing their story during this 82nd observance of National Dog Week.