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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We hope you’ll become a DogRead member and join us for a discussion of Second-Chance Dogs in February! If you’d like to become a member of DogRead please visit: and remember to like their Facebook page:

Second Chance Dogs may be purchased directly through The Baker Revell Publishing Group site:


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:

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. 


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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 and complete the adoption application. If you are a pre-approved or previous adopter, please drop a line to with the name of the dog that you’d like to meet. 


A Happy CPR Match!

The Gang

Healthy and Happy CPR Adoptees!


My little dog – a heartbeat at my feet. ~Edith Wharton

The season of love and dog shows intermingles once again this February and we are again reminded of how passionate the human dog bond can be. I have friends and colleagues who breed and show dogs, friends who foster and rescue them and others who advocate tirelessly for their welfare. I commend those who have their hearts in the right place and always strive to do the best for all dogs and proceed with the most humane motives.

As I edit a chapter about Will Judy’s take on the world of dog showing, he never waivered from his message that a spirit of kindness toward dog and fellow human were the goals of any event that showcased dogs. An astute breeder of dogs and dog show judge, Judy never forgot that all venues that celebrated the canine should bring out the best in all of our actions and words. He never took things too serioulsy and saw the value in all kinds of dogs whether purebred or mixed.

May all organizations that purport to be FOR dogs actually take responsibility for their words and actions and always do the right thing. Good luck and love to all this Valentine’s Day.

Here is the second part of my interview with Lynne Fowler who represents the Oodles of Doodles Rescue Collective. Each week it warms my heart to see her group find the most wonderful homes for so many dogs who got the second chance they so deserved.

How is a prospective match for each dog made? Is there a pool of applicants? How are they screened? Our VA Partner or the foster mom will help write the ads we place based on the personality of what they know about the dog. An ad is placed on Petfinder and Adopt-a-Pet and we ask for applications. Every app that comes in is screened by me and if looks close to what we asked for in the ad, it is sent to the foster mom. She will call and interview over the phone and if she likes them for that dog, she will arrange a meeting. She will check references from the application and meet the family at their home. If there is a distance involved, we ask someone we know, maybe another foster in another area if they can do the home visit.

Why do you think so many people are reluctant to foster? I think most people are afraid they will get too attached and feel the need to keep the dog. And, it does happen sometimes. But in general, it is such a good feeling to foster a dog, know where he came from and then see him off to his own life. It is very rewarding, even addicting. I miss having a new little one, when it has been awhile between fosters.

When they do, what are they most surprised to learn from their experience? I think they are amazed at how good it does feel. Seeing pictures of their foster learning and loving their new family, is a wonderful thing.

Many shelters do not offer a dog or pup a comfortable or safe experience due to over crowding and lack of funds. How can a foster home improve a dog’s potential to be adopted? How do the animals benefit physically and emotionally? Many shelters do nothing for a dog in it’s care until an adoption or rescue is taking that dog. Matted, hurt doesn’t matter. I have read stories of dogs sitting in shelters with broken bones and nothing done until volunteers spread the word and a rescue steps up to take that poor dog. Dogs in shelters are afraid, it is loud and cold there. The look in their eyes says it all. Many times, a dog will growl or snap out of fear, and then is labeled an aggressive dog. He will not be seen by adopters in this case. Some shelters are “hell holes” and dogs don’t stand a chance of living through their ordeal there. Some shelters have wonderful volunteers who tirelessly work to network and call attention to the dogs in their shelter. Facebook has been a huge help in calling attention to bad, even corrupt, shelters; to dogs who need help, and to unite rescues.

Once a dog is pulled from a shelter, he is vetted, quarantined and then transported to the rescue. His true personality comes out in a loving foster home. I know in my home and with my pack, the foster dog starts to come out of his shell by day 2 or 3. You can almost see them blossom as they learn to trust. Their first meal of “real” chicken and rice is like a dream and by the third day, they are sitting with the pack waiting for dinner. I love seeing this. The fearful dog starts to relax, even play. It is one of the most rewarding parts of doing this.

With so many puppies needing homes, how can Spay and Neuter initiatives be improved in the regions in which these dogs originate? Many Southern towns do not have mandatory rabies or leash laws, as we have here in the Northeast. Dogs are born, live their entire lives running loose, around the town or property or wander the woods. There is no uniform laws anywhere in this country and under most law codes, dogs are considered “property.” Establishing property is hard when it is an animal who has only been coming and going by whim. Many end up in kill shelters as strays and no-one comes for them. It is a pretty sad story for a majority.

Pushing for mandatory spay/neuter is difficult as there is still a “good ole boy” attitude in many areas and neutering is believed to somehow affect “manhood,” I guess. The only initiatives I know of, usually generate from local rescues who harp awareness and in the case of feral cats, there are many groups who Trap, Neuter and Release.

Does a portion of an adoption fee go toward a S/N fund? Do you find the veterinarians of the region are willing to step up to the plate and help with S/N efforts? All our fees go toward vetting, transporting and caring for the dogs in our care. We do not have a separate S/N fund, it is all vetting and needed. Here is the Northeast, S/N is very expensive, compared to down South. The same dog I can have spayed in Virginia for $125, will cost $500 at my vet, which is why I have dogs vetted before they come. Our rescue vets around the state and nation, will give us a Rescue Discount, but it is usually about 15% and it’s still less to have the vetting done in the South. There are a few clinic type places, like Monmouth County SPCA and Friends of Animals, that do spay/neuter for a lot less, but generally our S/N is done before the dogs arrive.

How can more people be encouraged to give fostering a try? What would you say to a family who may want to get into fostering? It is very hard to find volunteers. We talk about it, advertise, show happy “Go Home Pictures” but most people have their preconceived notions that it will be hard to do or hard to give up the dog. But it is so needed.

What are some of the greatest expenses you face in caring for dogs that Oodles Rescues? Our main expense is vetting. Many Southern dogs have NEVER had any vetting. All need to be wormed. All need to be heartworm tested. All need rabies and vaccinations. 99% need to be S/N. In 2011, we had over $20,000 in vetting. I am still working on 2012 bills, but know we surpassed that.

Do you think school systems can help incorporate what you do in their Character Ed Programs. Have you seen this done? There are programs coming into schools to read with children and other things. But, I have seen where it is hard to get school boards to agree to the program for a variety of reasons like allergies. The dogs need to be certified as Therapy dogs and poodles are a great choice as it gets around the allergy problem. I would love to see more programs offered, especially in inner cities as the prevalence of a dog fight culture, exists.

Many libraries have a read to a dog program now, too.

If some can not foster, is there a way they can help? Most rescues are small and run by just a few individuals, so there aren’t many “jobs” to be done. Each foster mom runs their own fosters, process their apps and their Foster “Business.” Larger shelters are always looking for volunteers to help walk the dogs and such, but I know with the Monmouth County Shelter, there is a training class needed. The major need, as long as the condition of unwanted pets remains the way it is, is a loving foster home.


"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”