You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Laura Nativo’ tag.

Listen to the National Dog Week Interview with NDW Pet Health Consultant, Patrick Mahaney, Laura Nativo and me on Sunday, October 16th on Healthy Pets and People with Dr. Patrick  as we talk about the relevance and potential of Will Judy’s National Dog Week Movement.  It also happens to be Laura’s birthday, so we wish her much success and happiness on this occasion. Congrats to Dr. Patrick, too, as he em-barks on his new role as Vet Team Contributor to PetMD.com!/notes/patrick-mahaney/dr-patrick-mahaney-joins-the-daily-vet-team-on-petmd/258711987497815  and on his most recent post at

We also are so happy to welcome singer/songwriter Van Preston who will be collaborating with us for a dedicated NDW song for its 84th observance next September and a music video, too.  I thank Robert Cabral for this special introduction!

Princess and be captured on the canvas of Donald Brown

We also want to announce that we have our official winner of the Canines on Canvas Contest that ended on October 7.!/pages/National-Dog-Week/218596591491974Congratulations to Amanda and David Haddock of Cedar Falls, Iowa. David’s entry was randomly selected and now the family pugs, Princess and Pugslee will have their portrait painted by Donald E. Brown, our NDW 2011 Artist. Donald has so generously offered his time and talents and done a lot of good.  Help support Donald’s work…visit his website and perhaps you will be commissioning a pet portrait of your very own! Dont forget to go and give us some Licks and LIKES~

Before I present Patrick’s first official interview as our NDW Pet Health Consultant, here is a word from Nikki Moustaki, Founder of the fabulous Pet Postcard Project and supporter of National Dog Week…Nikki has been a frequent guest of our blog.

“The spirit of National Dog Week is a celebration of our canine best friends, which those of us who live with dogs celebrate every day, all year long. It’s nice to have a week where we think about our dogs as more than just furry roommates. They are our protectors, our friends, our foot warmers, our eyes and ears. We look down on them every day (because they are shorter than us!), but this is a week to look up to them as paragons of faithfulness and gratitude, two concepts sorely lacking in human society these days. Our dogs know how to do both naturally. If we took a page out of their proverbial book, we’d be better to each other and to them.”–Nikki Moustaki, founder of The Pet Postcard Project, dog trainer, and author of several books on dogs and their care and training

The topic of Spay and Neuter Initiatives is no stranger to this blog.  Related posts can be seen in the Archives of June 2 and 8 of this year-interviews with Animal Advocate “Willie Wonka.”

Patrick, as we heard in our interview, you have an exciting role “My Cat from Hell”…Please tell us about your work on Animal Planet. Jackson Galaxy, the (human) star of Animal Planet’s My Cat From Hell, asked me to lend my veterinary perspective on some of the cats he is behaviorally evaluating this season. As many feline behavior problems have root in medical conditions, it is important to diagnose or rule out potential causes to best manage their issues. For example, inappropriate urination is typically not merely due to your cat being upset with you for spending too much time at the office instead of at home. Urine crystals, bladder stones, bacterial infection, feline interstitial cystitis, cancer, arthritis, kidney failure, or other causes could play a role.

I am not yet sure of the air date, but I will make sure to give fans of NDW plenty of notice. Perhaps we can have a special National Cat Day feature.

As you are aware, one of the themes of this NDW is “Spay and Neuter so Every Dog can have its Day.” (This goes for cats too, of course) In your experience, why do some people fail to S/N their cats and dogs. When you have someone who is resistant to the procedure, how do you advise? In my experience, people fail to spay or neuter their dog for a variety of reasons. Ethnic or societal perspectives, economic hardship, general laziness, lack of awareness of the consequences of not having a pet spayed or neutered, or other reasons may contribute.

Upon encountering a dog or cat suffering from a disease that would otherwise have been prevented by performing a spay or neuter, I always stress the importance of performing the procedure instead of allowing the pet to suffer the consequences from neglect to do so. Many times I have performed a pyometra surgery to remove an inflamed and infected uterus from an unspayed female dog or cat’s abdomen. If the owner would have elected the ovariohysterectomy procedure within the first few months or years of life, the pet would never have gotten sick from such a life threatening and preventable condition.

Do you believe that dogs that are altered can make “better” pets? Why or Why Not? I do believe that altered animals can make better pets, as the role that sex hormones play in determining a pet’s behavior are drastically reduced post-spay or neuter. Without the biological urge to find a mate, our pets have less motivation to roam away from your home or get into hierarchical altercations over potential mating partners. Additionally, they will discontinue having estrus (female) and be less likely to show dominance behaviors (male or female).

I am aware that S/N procedures can represent over 30% of a Veterinary practice. What do you say to the practice in general that addresses the fact that many families who are struggling financially cannot afford S/N? The health benefits of performing a spay or neuter procedure greatly outweigh the costs of neglecting to do so. The fees associated with resolving a female dog or cat’s pyometra via emergency surgery, pursuing treatment for mammary/prostate/testicular cancer, or properly managing the health of a litter of puppies or kittens far outweigh the cost of the alter procedure. If a pet owner claims to not have the money to have their pet spayed or neutered, then they improperly suited (be it temporarily or permanent) to properly care for their pet. Pet ownership is a luxury that is not appropriate for all individuals or families.

Low cost S/N clinics seem to provide some relief…how can people find them and how can more vets provide their services for this initiative. People can connect to low-cost spay and neuter clinics by communicating with their local animal shelters, rescues, and veterinary facilities. Having a referral to a place where the operation is done for a cost-effective price while still practicing high quality surgery improves the likelihood your pet will have a successful procedure.

Chemical Sterilization is being introduced as a way to affordably reduce the number of unwanted litters in the Nation. Have you seen any of your colleagues exploring this option?  No, I am not aware of any of my veterinary colleagues in Los Angeles or other parts of the country performing the procedure. It will likely take considerable time to get the general population of practicing veterinarians to undertake this novel, non-surgical procedure.

Thank you Patrick, we look forward to your future posts! While I do agree with Patrick that Pet “ownership” or guardianship, can be viewed  as a “luxury,” I would hate to see socioeconomic factors deprive some young person of all the benefits pet care brings.  While the privilege of pet ownership should not be abused, and people should be aware that it entails a lot of time and some financial output, it shouldn’t just be for the well-to-do.  We all know that in these difficult economic times, our fates and life situations can turn on a dime. To that end, I think a post on affordable ways to maintain healthy and happy pets (and keep them in their homes) might be a good topic…Don’t you agree?  Here is a link for those who want to read about one form of Chemical Sterilization.


“Try to be the god on earth, the all-powerful and all-mighty your dog thinks you are. Never let him learn his mistake.” Will Judy, Founder of NDW

As the Week of the Dog winds down, I would like to thank Dr. Patrick, Mahaney, NDW Artist, Donald E. Brown, Laura Nativo and all my friends and family members who have supported my efforts and my work.  It means the world to me. Catch Laura  hosting Dog Park Superstars on the Game Show Network this Sunday, 9/25 at 8:00pm.  Remember, the Canines on Canvas Contest runs until October 7.  LIKE and POST at!/pages/National-Dog-Week/218596591491974

Painting, "HELP" - by Donald Brown, the inspiration for the NDW Poster

Below, some friends of National Dog Week give their thoughts on the occasion…

“Addressing animal rights and welfare are topics that I believe need to be addressed, as well as the specifics of dealing with the homeless pet population, Spay/Neuter programs, owner responsibility programs and ending the broken version of “sheltering, “as we know it. The lack of enforcement, lack of funding and lack of education need to be addressed and National Dog Week is the perfect platform for it.  Awareness does matter, Lisa, it is not just a corny expression. First people have to start asking the right questions. Publicity is the key to making that happen. An organized group with a specific date and intelligent, cohesive agenda can bring a lot of animal issues to the forefront and create a discussion that should continue for a lot more than a week.” Animal Activist and loyal friend and informative guest of this site working under the  name of “Willie Wonka.”

“We will celebrate today and everyday by showing the dogs that come into this world and get abused that there are good people out there that care for them and will help them have a better life.” Bigg Ant, on behalf of the cast of the Reality Television Show, Rescue Ink.

“Isabella and I are celebrating by a week of walks to the park, Frisbee fun and special treats! To us, every week is National Dog Week, but we love to send a bark out to all our 2 and 4 legged friends on this special week.” Ryan Rice, Houston Dog-Blogger

“We are also [in addition to having come to the aid of a pit bull and her nine new puppies this week] taking a trip to [our local]] SPCA to take a bunch of goodies and food to our furry friends there… Penny Lane and Lilly Pads are very excited because they get to play Santa in September.” Rose Russo, former NYPD Detective whose life was changed by the events of 9/11; a true friend and inspiring hero to both dogs and humans and a supportive Dog Week Fan.

 *     *     *     *

Two years ago, I thought about how I could use my abilities and experience to pursue something meaningful.  While contemplating, I happened upon  images of something called National Dog Week.  I don’t even know what search term I was using when the sight of pooches parading and  canines carousing in Rockefeller Center captured my attention.  I was hooked.  What was this week, was it for real, and if so, where did it go?

In that moment, you could say my life changed…I truly went to the dogs.  I set out to learn more about these seven special days in September dedicated to man’s best friends then launched a dog-week blog and then a book about it to share its true legacy with the world. I titled it Every Dog has it Week and found a Literary Agent to represent it, someone who believes in its relevance.

It hasn’t always been easy, but it has NEVER been boring.  There were times when I thought of changing the title to Every Dog had its Week as it is a daunting task to revive a Movement in an age when many live for the Moment.  Now, almost two years later, I have formed bonds with people who have enlightened and encourage my efforts.  Pooling from the Hollywood “Hoopla” and the less glamorous grass-roots level where the real grunt work is done, (just like during the hey-daze of NDW) these people who have influenced me come from all walks of life, from all areas of the nation. I have learned so much from them and I venture to say the book I am finishing now is very different from the one I started.

The other day, someone said to me, “I just don’t get this dog thing.  What is the attraction, what do they really do for us?” He isn’t alone in his pondering, many people actually feel this way. But far more realize the power of the paw.  Every day, somewhere across the nation, dogs find themselves assisting in schools, libraries, rehab facilities, Veteran’s Hospitals, crime scenes, in combat, search and rescue scenarios and many other places where their help is needed and appreciated.

As a substitute teacher, I enjoy working with young people.  They love hearing about National Dog Week, glad to learn that there is such a thing.  During a recent pre-interview for a local Public Access Cable Television Show, my interviewer pointed out that people living in senior developments are also great supporters of events like Dog Week as they recall when it was part of their lives and they have a lot of time, experience and love to give to homeless pets at local shelters.  So it is clear to me, the observance of National Dog Week can be a time of organized reflection on a national level, excluding no one …it is an equal-opportunity celebration of the canine and I hope you will strongly consider joining in.

Here are a few ways you can address some issues during the week, and beyond.

1) Be a dog-friendly ambassador, clean up after your dog, keep him on a leash, don’t let him bark all day in the yard; provide him with obedience training to work on disruptive behaviors.

2) Have your dogs (and cats) spayed or neutered.  Don’t think it will hurt them, make them less of a dog or feel bad that they never got to have pups.

3) Boycott puppy shops.  Close your wallet and open your eyes when you are lured in by that puppy in the window…These sales people are slick, there is a 300 percent markup on these dogs that are very likely to have health problems and were produced by adult dogs who suffer terrible conditions to pump out a “cash crop” of pups…don’t do it.  If you opt to use a breeder, ask around and do your research to find a reputable one.(You can contact me if you need help finding the right dog for your family).

4) Learn about different ways dogs can be housed in more humane ways.  Explore groups like Shelter Revolution  

5) If a young person wants a specific breed of dog, take the time to educate them about breed characteristics and the special needs a certain breed possesses.  Does it match a home or lifestyle?  Kids just love to learn about the breeds, too.

6) Pay attention to your dog’s health.  Feed intelligently and walk often, good advice for the human, too.

7) I leave this seventh item up to you…what  issues or topics are important to you and your dogs…let me know.

Thanks for all the views and visits and inquiries.  It makes all the difference in the (dog) world!  Carry On. Plans for the next National Dog Week are in place.  Mark your calendars (September 24-30) for next year and help keep the motion in the movement…

"HELP" NDW Poster 2011 Created by Donald E. Brown

“The dog was created [specially] for children.  He is the god of frolic.”  Henry Ward Beecher, American (1813-1887)

Please note, this post is from 9/20/11!

Today, on this second day of the 83rd Observance of National Dog Week, its Founder, Captain William Lewis Judy would have turned 120 and would no doubt be enjoying his special day with some of man’s best friends.  I also want to wish my brother, John, a very Happy Big Five-oh!  Welcome to the big league my “little” bro, you are in good company!

Last night I had the pleasure of ushering in the Week of the Dog with Dr. Patrick Mahaney, our NDW Pet Health Consultant and Laura Nativo, our Spokeswoman, in a segment for  I will let you know when it airs. We had a great talk about some hot pet topics and how the occasion of National Dog Week can promote awareness and enlightenment among pet lovers across the country. Laura and Patrick are busy promoting their televised specials to air on Game Show Network and Animal Planet respectively.  Congratulations to both.

Remember to LIKE and post a photo of your pooch on the NDW Community Page to be eligible for the Canines on Canvas Contest…don’t delay!/pages/National-Dog-Week/218596591491974

Here is a link from the TeddyHilton Blog with Patrick barking up National Dog Week in a big way!

As I mentioned in my last post, I am intrigued by the fascination young people have for animals, especially dogs.  Some kids, upon seeing one, react as if they’ve just seen Justin Bieber…even if it is their tenth sighting.  While taking “refuge” during Hurricane Irene last month, I enjoyed the gift of time with my nephew Gabe, and nieces Roxy and Olivia.  Olivia, as some already know, used to have a morbid fear of dogs.  But through experience (the family pet sat for a Border collie-mix for a time) and exposure to other dogs, she has become a great fan of them.  During the storm, this lively but bored 10 year-old announced to me she was going to start a dog blog of her own.  I asked her what her first post would be and she sat down to write. (Like I need more competition)…

Will Judy knew that there was a special bond between dogs and kids, even though, like me, he never had any children of his own.   In the 1930s, NDW Essay Contests were held with the young winner getting his or her writing printed in the New York Times! I am presenting an edited version of Olivia’s post below (with her permission) but the original is so darn cute, I almost hate to.  Please note, she received no prompting or coaching from me, these are her own thoughts.  Here, Olivia really captures the simplicity of what Judy conveyed in all of his writings.  Happy National Dog Week to you all!

Olivia and "cousin" Styles hit the road

A Dog’s Life through a Girl’s Eyes

Dogs, they’re a man’s best friend. But what are they?  Pets, friends, family; all those things…but how well do you know your family pet?

I used to be afraid of dogs but now that my aunts have dog, I just got used to them.  My Aunt Lisa, the National Dog Week organizer (her dog’s name is Hooper and is a “Pourchigees” [couldn’t resist] water dog).  My other aunt has a super sweet Pit bull name, Styles.

But the reason I am writing this is because some owners don’t treat their dogs right and I hope this blog will stop them because my aunts and I are dog lovers and we hate when a dog gets treated like trash and it’s not fair.  So I hope I can change people’s minds about treating their dogs bad because dogs are just like us. They have feelings and though it doesn’t seem like it, they do and when you treat them badly they feel it and it hurts, so please think about it the next time you think about treating your dog badly.  Think about my blog and remember about it and how bad you’ll feel that you didn’t listen.  That’s all for now.

Thank you Olivia…your message is loud and clear!

Dog-lover Livvie with Styles and Hooper

We proudly welcome Laura Nativo as the official National Dog Week Spokesperson for 2011.  Laura is the star of the Reality TV Show, Greatest American Dog and soon to be Host of the second episode of GSN’s Dog Park Superstars to air on September 25th.  National Dog Week is observed September 19-25. Laura joins friend, Los Angeles-basaed Veterinarian Dr. Patrick Mahaney (NDW Pet Health Care Consultant) to round out the “committe” for this year’s Observance! For more information, please see ABOUT.

“I had rather see the portrait of a dog that I know, than all the allegorical paintings they can show me in the world.”  Samuel Johnson, English (1709-1784)

As a writer and a painter, I was especially delighted when I discovered that at one time in its history, National Dog Week actually had beautiful promotional seals and labels depicting  images of dogs and people with a slogan for each year’s observance. In 1950, notable American artist, Albert Staehle, had the honor with his image for NDW titled, “Butch.”  It got me thinking that today’s National Dog Week  needed an artisitc creation of  its own.

Enter West Coast artist, Donald E. Brown.  Donald’s vibrant images of canines had caught my eye on Facebook and when he requested great pooch photos to work from, I obliged.  By the next morning there on my Facebook wall was a beautiful rendition of Styles, a pit bull  “belonging” to my sister Manette, her fiance David and her son, Zac.

When I approached Donald to be our NDW 2011 artist, this dog-loving painter really stepped up to the plate.  Not only is he going along with the idea for a Canines on Canvas Contest, he is allowing an image of a painting titled “Help,” to be our NDW poster.  Everyone can be part of this exciting process.  During the month of September, everyone who LIKES (or has Liked) and posted a great close-up photo of their dog will have the chance to win an original painting of their pup from the entered photo.!/pages/National-Dog-Week/218596591491974  You must LIKE and POST PHOTO to be eligible. There are also twenty five hand-signed posters that can be purchased  for $15.00.  Unsigned posters can be purchased after these are no longer available, with all proceeds going to benefit  the Baja Animal Sanctuary (the charity of Donald’s choice). The original painting is also for sale and Donald hopes a private or corporate donor will purchase it to also help BAS (please let me know if you are interested).

Photo of real dog Sergio who inspired the painting, "HELP."

Read on about Donald and the moving story of Sergio, the dog that inspired “HELP.”  With his soulful depiction of Sergio standing behind a frayed cyclone fence, Donald really sums up the plight of many animals.  With its sweetness and vibrancy this painting draws you in with its sense of hope.  You want to take Sergio’s paw and lead him, and all homeless animals, away from a failed shelter system to a brighter future.

Please tell us a little about your background. I am originally from Climax, Michigan, which is near Battle Creek and Kalamazoo.  I attended Western Michigan University where I studied art, but somehow ended up with a degree in accounting of all things.  But, that’s been good as it has created a good living for me, my wife and many dog children.

When did you first start painting dogs? About twelve years ago.  I developed my abstract portrait style by painting many of my relatives.  When I ran out of people subjects I thought I would try painting my dogs.  My first commission was from someone looking over my shoulder while I painted Rita, the best Rat Terrier we ever knew.

What inspired you to paint your first dog portrait? We do not have children and our dogs are like our kids, so it was natural to include them in family portraits.  For me, painting a dog is like painting a portrait in the 1800’s.  They are so noble and stately, and their whole persona is reflected in their eyes.  The rarely smile, and a smile can distract from the truth in a person’s eyes.  Dogs just give you the truth.

What mediums do you prefer and why? I have never painted with oils.  Too messy for me.  I like acrylic paint.  It dries fast, it’s thick and I like to paint thick and gooey, and it layers without graying.  I love the way the colors that are layered peek through other colors and create interest.  I work from photographs and paint with a different palette on each painting.  I choose the palette after an interview with the client for the personality of the dog.  I use a series of questions so the client gets to participate in the commission process.  One of the most interesting questions is “What job would your dog hold if he were a person?”  The answers are so funny, but also telling.  I then choose my color palette based on the answers.  Being an accountant I am very process oriented, and my painting is definitely a process.

Talk about your 2-Hour Canine paintings…How do you time yourself?  Commissions take a lot of time because you want to make sure you capture your subject completely.  A commissioned piece can take me 12 to 24 hours of paint time depending on the subject and size.  I also love abstract work although I rarely sell that.  My Canine Series was an attempt to accomplish two goals.  First, it frees me to paint quickly and with abandon (like abstract work), and it makes me put the paint on quickly and work with it wet.  Some interesting things happen with wet paint.  Second, I wanted to produce work that I could sell at $100 to make it more affordable for people who love dogs, but can’t afford a commissioned piece of their dog.  The fun thing is that people have really responded to it online.  I have received photographs from people as far away as Australia.  You never know when your dog might show up in my new series, and you can reasonably afford it.

I see you have exhibited in California in the past.  What is your connection to the state? My wife and I have lived in Washington, DC, Orange County, California and now Portland, Oregon.  Laguna Beach was our home for many years and I participated in the Sawdust Festival every summer for nine weeks which really exposed my work and built a good following.  Laguna has always been a very special place for us.  I hope to retire there one day.

Tell us about your affiliation with Baja Animal Sanctuary. I met a volunteer for the organization through the Sawdust Festival and they asked me to contribute a commissioned painting for them to raffle to raise money.  The more I looked into what they do and how difficult it must be to operate in Baja, Mexico, the more impressed I was with the organization.  They do wonderful things for dogs that just need a second chance.  The shelter situation in the U.S. has its issues, but is so much better than in Mexico.  Dogs there are just thrown away, and the sanctuary is one of the few no-kill shelters for animals.  Many of the dogs who arrive there are rehabilitated and placed in homes, but many will just live their lives there comfortably because they can’t be rehomed.  Sunny Benedict, who runs the shelter, is doing wonderful things.  The shelter always employs people who need second chances, so it does good dogs who need people and people who need dogs.

I fell in love with the painting “Help” on your wall…Tell us about the story behind the painting. I asked the Baja Animal Sanctuary if I could paint one of the actual dogs at the sanctuary to sell to a corporate donor.  Lydia Jensen organized a bunch of photos to me, and a picture of a dog behind a beat up cyclone fence really hit my heart.  I had to paint it.  I spent about thirty hours working on this piece, and I think it speaks to what the Baja Animal Sanctuary is all about.  The dog’s name is Sergio and he has an interesting story.  I heard from Sunny that one of the workers at the sanctuary whose name is Sergio, lived in a rehabilitation home and that home occasionally used extra food to feed local children.  Sergio the dog, would appear to come with children for the food, but when the children no longer came Sergio the dog still showed up for food.  Sergio the person then recognized that Sergio the dog was alone and not fed very well, so he took him to his work at Baja Animal Sanctuary.  Sergio the dog was placed in a home in the U.S.

How does it feel to be part of the 83 year-old National Dog Week legacy as our official Dog Week artist?  Wow, it is such an honor.  Honestly, I had not heard of National Dog Week until I found your site on facebook, but what a great concept.  It amazes me that it was so popular in the past and not honored appropriately today.  I am so glad you are helping bring it back.  We, as a population are doing better to take care of these animals but we still have a long way to go.  There is no dog that should be subjected to poor care or a shelter that feels it is appropriate to terminate their lives.  Dogs are honorable beings who deserve to be cared for with respect and will only give you love in return.  A National Dog Week can be so good at raising awareness of issues that dogs face, and I hope you and all your friends are successful at increase NDW’s popularity. I will help you in any way I can.

Thank you Donald.  Your ability to combine your artistic talents with your desire to help animals is inspiring. I hope many will take advantage of the special opportunity to own some of Donald’s work while helping dogs everywhere. Hopefully this image will “Help” viewers learn more about the man behind the National Dog Week Movement, Captain William Lewis Judy, and to honor his life and work by observing it each September. I believe he would have loved this painting, too.

You can enter the Canines on Canvas Contest by going to!/pages/National-Dog-Week/218596591491974 Winners to be announced on or near October 31, 2011. Grand Prize winner must allow image derived from their photograph to be used for future National Dog Week Promotions.  Read more at:


"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”