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Most of my days begin with the battle of creative expression; do I head for the mouse first and draft a chapter or two, or grab a brush and finish a painting? Physically it isn’t a difficult choice, as my loft space is divided in halves; one side dedicated to drawing and painting, the other where the writing takes place.

Some days I let my muse guide me, others, I ask my dog to choose the side he prefers at the moment. It’s only fair as my writing often celebrates the canine-human bond. 

I’ve worked as a fine artist since 1989, so a few years ago, when people heard that I’d taken up writing, they’d assumed I’d be an illustrator as well. To them I continue to explain that I’m a painter, mostly landscape, and illustration is a very different animal. Also, up until recently, authors didn’t typically illustrate their own work (in fact, the two rarely even communicated to keep each one’s unique vision intact), although currently there’s an increased call for author/illustrators.

Recently, however, wondering how I could combine words and image in my own creative projects, I received a fortuitous call from the Program Director of a local arts guild. She’d heard about my paintings that incorporate vintage postcards, and my books, and asked if I’d give a presentation for their annual membership dinner in November. They’d even pay and feed me and allow me to sell books. Who could refuse?  I said, “yes,” then hung up, grasping the challenge of my audience; talented well-known artists. 

Because it’s a story that originates in New Jersey, I’ve decided to focus on Around the World in 1909: Harriet Fisher and Her Locomobile, (American History Press – 2014) a fun and informative book about the first woman to drive around the world. It’s filled with inspiration, history, travel and even pets!

For this event, I’ve created Postcard Paintings featuring three destinations in Harriet’s history-making journey; Paris, Lake Como, Italy and Japan. Time doesn’t allow for Fisher’s tour of Egypt, India, Sri Lanka, China, and back through the American West, but hopefully they’ll appear in subsequent presentations.

For the past several years, I’ve addressed historical societies, elementary schools, women’s clubs, a university association and although each event has focused on a different book, many people want to hear about the story behind the book, or seek encouragement to write one of their own.

Although my interest in writing and painting was evident early on, my official Path to Creativity began at age 30 when I left a great job in the entertainment industry, traveled to Italy for a painting course, returning home a Full-Time artist. Fifteen years later, after taking a writing course, I began composing short stories and drafted my first book. I believe that the discipline and professionalism gained in the corporate world in my 20s has helped me to structure my writing and art life. It hasn’t been an easy or straight-forward path, but I always tell those who ask for advice to think of a goal as a journey filled with small steps and to keep learning and form alliances with those who share your vision. 

My journey goes on. Currently, I’m “barking up” new projects, and my story of Teddy (our foster-to-forever dog) will be featured in an Anthology published by the Baker Publishing Group in Fall 2018. It’s always good to have several projects in the works because the path to publication has many twists and turns. And of course, it never hurts to surround yourself with great family members, friends and to have a loyal dog (or any loving pet) curled up at your creative feet, no matter what side of the studio your creative muse, or dog, dictates.

So, if you invited me to present at your next event, what would you ask, or like to learn? Please leave a comment, or reach me at lbkauthor@gmail.com. 

Happy musing! Here are the images for my presentation (all are 8 X 10 – acrylic paint on mat board. All postcards are originals from 1909-1914).

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Paris – postmarked 1914

 

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Lake Como, Italy – postmarked 1909

 

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Japanese garden – 1910

 

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Enter a caption – Flip side with postal markings.

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This post received the North Shore Animal League America Special Award given by the Dog Writer’s Association of America on February 12, 2017 for excellence in the writing on the topic of Spay and Neuter Initiatives in the nation.

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Desert Landscape of Pueblo de Cochiti

A colleague in the animal advocacy community once declared, “We can’t rescue ourselves out of this mess,” when discussing the seemingly never-ending problem of pet overpopulation. For many, Spay and Neuter initiatives are regarded as the most humane form of rescue and advocacy. If we can stem the tide of unwanted pets, we can offer better care for those animals that will inevitably find themselves unhomed despite our best efforts.

At the BlogPaws conference in Phoenix Arizona in June, this topic seemed to “find” me as I became aware of how groups in different parts of the nation addressed these issue. BlogPaws represents the largest community of pet-professionals, advocates and writers in the world, with the common goal to improve the lives of companion animals. We sometimes, forget, however, that different regions of the nation face unique challenges when advocating for our companion animals.

At BlogPaws, I met Krystyn Bleda, a life time animal advocate from New Mexico. Krystyn and her husband, Raymond Sandor, are the co-founders of Desert Paws, Inc. animal rescue. Residing in Cochiti Lake, a small leasehold town on the Pueblo de Cochiti Indian Reservation, the couple with a slew of volunteers provides hands-on rescue, caregiving and transportation for Spay and Neuter procedures and veterinary care for tribal members animals from the neighboring three Pueblos.

Krystyn explains, “Moving from New York in 2003, we launched Desert Paws Inc. when we realized that there was an urgent need to help homeless, unwanted and injured animals in this area. Animals were being abandon, wandering around looking for food, warmth, help, some were killed on the road by vehicles, dumped from moving cars, close to death, some old, blind and unwanted. We obtained medical care for each one and then each was placed in foster homes, trained and finally placed into forever homes.”

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Dixie-A Happy Cochiti Success Story!

Eventually, the Governor of the Cochiti tribe invited them to sit down and discuss possible solutions to address this situation. Krystyn and her husband developed a low/no cost Spay and Neuter program and worked with a local veterinarian, developing a solution on how to handle their appointments and emergencies. They were also able to attract several long term donors to help sponsor their Spay and Neuter program specializing in a tribal setting.

The challenges of animal advocacy in these rural, sovereign tribal communities  are unique and significant. Although, many individuals care deeply about their pets, due to lack of resources on and around tribal lands many cannot easily obtain basic veterinary care, including Spay and Neuter procedures. As one of the poorest states in the nation, with a general population that is not well informed about the benefits of Spay and Neuter and lack law in their enforcement of  inhumane chaining of dogs and backyard breeding,  the municipal shelters of New Mexico are burdend by overcrowding.

Previously, veterinary students had come to the area to perform Spay and Neuter procedures, however, it didn’t work in many areas due to the lack of participation from locals. Many of the animals in the community are free-roaming, never even having been in a vehicle or a house making for surgery “round-up” efforts very difficult. In addition, tribal lands present unique challenges due to cultural beliefs stemming from agricultural lifestyles. People are not well- informed about common pet illnesses, treatment possibilities and yearly veterinary maintenance of a dogs or cats such as vaccines, heartworm, flea/tick prevention methods, and transmittable diseases.

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A Pair of healthy Cochiti Cats receive Veterinary Care

In thinking outside the box, Desert Paws Inc. launched their current program, “Door2Door Spay/Neuter & Veterinary Care” about 3 years ago.  In this successful initiative, Desert Paws Inc. volunteers pick-up animals from homes and bring them to their vet’s clinic where the Spay and Neuter procedure is safely performed. Raymond explains, however, “Our biggest challenge is transportation. Volunteers use their own cars to transport animals to our veterinary clinic that is over an hour away. Each Tuesday 3-5 animals arrive by 9:30 am and their stomachs must be empty. The following day, another 3-5 animals arrive and the animals brought in the day prior are returned safely to their families for monitoring and the process is repeated. Often, pets requiring other veterinarian treatments, such as for tick-born illnesses, bite wounds or surgeries for broken bones are brought in for medical attention, also.”

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Clementine – ready to be someone’s new Best Friend!

Krystyn points out the significant impact of strong Spay and Neuter initiatives. “For every dog, or cat, that is spayed or neutered, the births of six to twenty unwanted puppies and kittens are prevented. Pueblo de Cochiti, has a population of 1,500 people. With about two to four dogs per household (many of them are female) you can figure there are many dozens of reproducing moms at any given time that can typically produce a litter of 6-12 annually. That’s hundreds of pups born each year! Allowing for the fact that many of their offspring will not make it to adulthood, the area could still see a very substantial population spurt each year without a spay and neuter program in place. The cycle just repeats itself, growing and growing without intervention.”

Raymond notes that Cochiti Pueblo is one of the smaller pueblos, and now the goal of Desert Paws Inc. is to help the larger neighboring pueblos of Santo Domingo and San Felipe, and later on possibly expand the programs into the Navajo Reservation farther west and north.

Krystyn stresses that she and her husband could not accomplish all of this alone, saying, “Thanks to the relentless efforts of our board member and volunteer coordinator, Margaret Evans, we now have the best volunteer crew!” In order to grow and accomplish more, however, they are looking for more funding and sponsorship for the rescue and a reliable, newer vehicle for transport is needed immediately. In the very near future, Desert Paws Inc. also hopes to raise funds to purchase a building, which they will convert into a surgery/veterinary clinic and hold/recovery facility in a more closer, central location.

It is clear that Desert Paws Inc. and the Cochiti Pueblo’s government came together at the right time to prevent the cycle of pet over-population in their native land. Through community collaboration, the dog and cat populations have lessened and its animal (and human) members are much happier and becoming healthier. These ground-breaking efforts have created a model that can be and need to be replicated elsewhere whether on sovereign tribal lands or on any rural areas in America. Small rescues can and need to play a huge part of these efforts and state governments need to offer a helping hand (and financial sponsorship) for such rescue organizations and their programs.

Krystyn is also aware of the power of the written word. She credits the blogging community for helping  to spread the news about Desert Paws Inc. and their success. With conferences like the one recently organized by BlogPaws, Krystyn and her husband have faith that those who attended can use their blogging and writing expertise and influence to help increase awareness, share ideas and assist with the nation-wide implementation of programs like those started and offered by Desert Paws Inc. To learn more about Desert Paws Inc. or to sponsor their efforts/programs please visit their website at www.desertpawsnm.org or email them at desertpawsnm@live.com

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2016_NDW_Logo_Theme_epsIt’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”.

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“Boy, Dog and Sea” vintage postcard c. 1945, acrylic painting on mat board-8 x 10

 

 

 

 

 

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The Author and her dog, Teddy consult on a Winning Proposal

 

Preparing for my participation in the fast-approaching Cat Writers of America/BlogPaws Conference in Arizona this June, I reflect on the past six years and my own path to becoming an author.  Back then, I wondered if I’d ever get a book completed, published and promoted, let alone be invited to talk about it at a conference!

Today, I am happy to say that I have birthed five books, with several in various stages of production and review. Although my primary topic has focused on canines, and those who celebrate them, I am  open to any topic that fascinates me including sports, history, and travel.

While I have averaged a book a year, nothing has unfolded as planned, and in many ways, I feel I am just warming up and I didn’t even begin writing “siriusly” until 2010.

Whenever someone learns that I am an author, they quickly tell me that their friend, or a family member, has written a book (congrats), or, that they, them, themselves, have a great idea for a book. In truth, many of these ideas are very good and have potential, but the big question is, how will they get their idea on the path to publication?

If their book idea falls under the category of Non-Fiction (memoir, how-to, history) there is one phrase that separates the wannabe author from the true “story-teller” who is willing to go-the-distance and endure the rocky road to get it all down and done…the Full Book Proposal.

I am always glad to help those in their authoring journey within reason, however, if they aspire to write Non-Fiction, the first thing they will receive from me are examples and templates for creating a strong Full Proposal, which typically is comprised of several parts that requiring a GREAT deal of thought, planning, research and editing. That Proposal, is your book’s blue print, and will also require something called a Query, a few short paragraphs that accompanies the Proposal –  that will make an agent or editor want to dive in to your Proposal, and take your book out of the “Slush” pile.

This is part of what I will be speaking about at the BlogPaws Conference in Phoenix come June, in the company of so many other bloggers, reporters, authors, publishers and social media specialists. As someone who has worked with agents, and publishers, I will be asking my personal partners in the publishing world for advice that I can share with those attending the BlogPaws Conference to help them to create strong, saleable projects. I will also discuss Fiction projects that have their own special guidelines.

The CWA/BlogPaws event is open to anyone, at any level, who wishes to learn more about writing for the pet-industry, and beyond. Once you learn the basics of writing a great Proposal, Query and Cover Letter or a sensational Synopsis, the writing process will flow and if being a published author is your goal, you will be on the “write” path and enjoying the journey and all the emotions it is sure to invoke.

I look forward to learning so much this June. Bring your Proposals (and your ideas) Want to know more, or to make your reservation?: http://blogpaws.com/events/2016-conference/

Keep current on National Dog Week and “Paw-thor” News at: http://www.lisabegin-kruysmanauthor.com

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My “T-editor” takes a moment to reflect!

 

 

 

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Dog’s Best Friend has been nominated for a Maxwell Medallion by the Dog Writers Association of America

 

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

I hope you enjoy “Who Let the Dogs In?” and will take a virtual tour of the Animal History Museum as well:  http://animalhistorymuseum.org

 

An illustration from Will Judy's book, Don't Call A Man A Dog. 1949

An illustration from Will Judy’s book, Don’t Call A Man A Dog. 1949

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.

Rose and her girls who have changed her life.

Rose and her girls who have changed her life.”Okay, which one of you was driving?” We don’t think she gave them a ticket!

“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

Meet Honk Honk Fisher, the first (and pawsibly only) dog to be driven around the world

Meet Honk Honk Fisher, the first (and pawsibly only) dog to be driven around the world

This summer, my thoughts are focused on dogs and travel. Having just returned from California, I had the privilege of signing copies of Around the World in 1909: Harriet White Fisher and Her Locomobile (American History Press) at the fabulous Bookshop Santa Cruz venue. This story begins in New Jersey and meanders through the NoCal region so it was especially fitting, and of course it features the incredible Boston bull terrier, Honkie, the first dog to be literally driven around the world. In keeping with this traveling theme, I introduce a pair of sisters who have published a book that has Captured: The Look of the Dog in their own unique manner. Welcome Fern and Gloria!

Cover of Captured!

Cover of Captured!

According to Fern and Gloria, dogs nationwide are begging their humans to read this book. Dog lovers and their best friends now have an evocative whimsical read. This collection of fictional short stories, poems, prose and faceted photographs expose the reader to a fanciful awareness of canines. It answers questions like, “Poo Diddy Poo?” – do dogs have bad hair days – including revealing details of puppy pee-mail.

One reviewer writes…
This book is essential for all dog lovers and pet parents! It captures the essence of dogs – the images itself are beautiful, and the copy is clever and very well-written. You can tell that the authors put their heart and soul (and paws) into this book – and it turned out wonderfully.
Another stated…

It is a good read and not too long and not too short. It is just the right amount of each dog and their little story. It makes you laugh, smile and in some case sad or makes you think. This book makes you want to read more and get to the next dog and the next story. It captures your mind and in some stories your heart!
Captured! is available via Amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com.

Websites: http://www.GloriaYarina.com and http://www.FernGoodman.com

In keeping with our summer travel theme, Gloria and Fern offer these “Oddball Pointers” (their own words) for First Time Dog Travelers:

Before you go-go…
If you are staying at a pet friendly establishment for the first time, make sure to ask them if there are adequate outdoor accommodations. You would think since they are pet friendly, they would have thought of the excrement ramifications, but don’t assume. There is nothing worse than being surrounded by cement or stairs or on the fifth floor when your Labradoodle has to diddle in a hurry.

Speaking of the fifth floor. Be aware that all pet rooms/cabins are not created on the ground floor. Does your Border Collie know how to climb stairs? Is your Boxer afraid of being boxed in on an elevator? When that elevator door opens, my 90 pound hound mix charges inside, not caring if there is someone trying to get out of the elevator or if they are afraid of him. Find out what floor you’re on.

A word about packing, well two words…extra towels. This is in case of rain or beach excursions. Wet-dog smell is never an air freshener scent. And another three words…extra dog food. You can’t always find your brand if you run out.

And awaaay you go…
When our moms told us, “wear clean underwear in case you’re in an accident” I think she meant in case you have an accident. For years I stuffed a pair of clean underwear in my purse just in case.
Here’s a scenario. Dog travels in a car long distance for the first time, maybe excited, maybe nervous, maybe both. You have the dog in your lap or your dog leans over the front seat or you open the crate to let them pee and PLAHH. Your precious pup pukes on you and your clothes. Have a change of outfit handy is all I’m sayin’.

You arrive…
Examine the room/house where you will be staying. Dog-proof it to eliminate potential disaster. For instance, dead lizards and bugs in corners should be removed to avoid consumption. Floor vases, tail height glass objects, magazines on coffee tables could be transferred to higher elevations.

Out and about…
Be prepared for attention. Strangers may gawk at you like your clothes are on inside out. They’ll want to pet your pooch or feed ‘em while you’re dining. Hopefully they’ll ask permission first. Know what breed of dog you have. You’ll need to know this for curious minds. If you have answers ready you’ll me more relaxed. And isn’t that the goal of travel, to relax? Go for it.

Thank you Gloria and Fern for sharing with the fans of National Dog Week. Safe travels to all!

Teddylooksup

Publishing bark outs:

Happy to announce that my book will be out next spring. My publisher has listed it for pre-order so please share this information with your public and school libraries. An e-version will also be available at some point. http://www.mcfarlandpub.com/book-2.php?id=978-0-7864-7120-1

Last Wednesday, I was thrilled to accept my “Best Author” award from Ocean Happening On-Line Magazine at a terrific event http://ocean.happeningmag.com/photos-2013-happening-list-bash#1.

It is always so rewarding to be recognized for your work, and I again thank all of those responsible for this honor. Now, one week later, Teddy and I prepare for our 15-minute segment with Tracie Hotchner for her Radio Pet Lady Network, a prize that was won by Teddy when he was voted Cutest Spokespet. Although one prepares for interviews with care, once the interview begins, you never know where it will go. Therefore, I asked Teddy, “What would you say if you could be interviewed?” and this is what he wrote. (The actual interview will air the evening of November 27th, while most are preparing for Thanksgiving feasts).

Hi everyone,

I would like to thank you all for electing me Cutest Spokespet in the fun contest sponsored by the Radio Pet Lady, Tracie Hotchner. The competition sure was fur-ocious, with so many adorable contestants!

Mom loves that photo of me that she entered on Tracie’s site (see above) because she says my expression shows everyone how sweet and soulful I am. She calls me her, “stray that came to stay.” I wasn’t a stray roaming the streets, but a pet that had strayed from the physical and emotion care of my humans; they just couldn’t provide the time and attention I needed.

I was Mom’s foster dog, rescued by a group called Oodles of Doodles Rescue Collective, when one of their dedicated volunteers learned I was losing my home. After just a few days of staying with my foster parents, however, it became clear we were all looking at a long-term commitment. I never left.

My mom, by-the-way, is dog-blogger and author, Lisa Begin-Kruysman. Many have enjoyed her short story collection, Something Lost and Must be Found, which is filled with thought-provoking tales filled with dogs. Her next book, Dog’s Best Friend (McFarland & Co.-2014), tells the true-story of Captain William Lewis Judy, the man who published Dog World Magazine for five decades.

Captain Will Judy, as he was called, greatly influenced America’s current fascination with man’s best friend. In the 1940s and 50s, he condemned all those involved with organized dog-fighting, warned that dogs should not be sold like grocery items in a store, and spoke out against what he called “puppy factories,” now known as Puppy Mills.

In 1928, Will Judy launched National Dog Week as a means to officially acknowledge all the ways dogs serve mankind, and to urge humans to be more responsible for our welfare. One of the early slogans for National Dog Week was ‘A Good Home for Every Dog,’ but over the years, Will Judy came to the conclusion that not every home was a good one for a dog. He began to write about the spiritual and emotional lives of dogs, and asked those who wished to share their homes with us, to understand and respect those needs.

My mom says that when people say to her, “How could anyone give up such a cute little dog?” she reminds them that sometimes life gets hard and bad things happen; people get sick, lose their jobs, get deployed to serve our nation; hurricanes and floods ruin homes and businesses. She knows it must have been very sad for my humans to surrender me, but she says that they were being truly responsible in allowing me to have a better life with another family.

Will Judy said the only thing that kept dogs from being equal to humans was their lack of thumbs, and an “alfabet” (he liked to spell silly). He thought most dogs had better characters than most humans! As a young man, was trained to be his town’s minister, and they were not too pleased when life took him in another direction around the world. But his training never really left him, and you can see this influence in his inspirational messages such as, “Try to be the god on earth, the all-powerful and all-mighty your dog thinks you are. Never let him learn his mistake.”

As you all prepare for Thanksgiving, and the holiday season, please take time to be thankful for what is good in your life, be the best human you can be, and, most importantly, remember to save some leftovers for us (and then take us for long walks). Thank you again for all your votes and love.

With much gratitude,

Teddy Kruysman

P.S. Mom says to check out her blog’s ‘About’ section, her Facebook page, dedicated to National Dog Week, and her author’s page, to find out about all her writing news, books, and good “dog stuff!” Please remember to LIKE those pages, too!
https://www.facebook.com/pages/National-Dog-Week/218596591491974
https://www.facebook.com/LisaBeginKruysmanAuthorAndArtist

Sean Martin speaks with Nassau County Legislator, Mike Vendito

Sean Martin speaks with Nassau County Legislator, Mike Vendito

This year’s National Dog Week theme has centered on Kids and Canines. It is a wide and varied topic, and covers lots of ground. In keeping with this theme, I’ve asked young Sean Martin, a 13 year-old animal advocate and actor, to write about his work on behalf of homeless animals. With the help of his mom, Melanie, and other family members, Sean helped to create Kids Adopt a Shelter a few years ago, and has given a lot of thought to making some changes in the lives of our Companion Animals. Here he demonstrates how thoughts, when put into words can inspire one to act (and not only for the camera in this case)! To learn more about Seans’ work, please visit: https://www.facebook.com/KidsAdoptaShelter

Sean has been working with John Vendito, mayor of Oyster Bay, New York, and John’s son, Mike Vendito, Nassau County Legislator, to put some of his ideas into action. Recently, I asked Sean to write about his current mission and here is what he told me:

The most important issues I feel facing the dog population of the nation are backyard breeding, puppy mills, kill shelters, lack of low cost spay and neuter, dog fighting, BSL (breed specific legislation), animal abuse, and the lack of enforcement of animal abuse laws.

I feel backyard breeding and puppy mills are an issue because there are tons of irresponsible people bringing dogs into this world and most wind up not finding homes, and the ones that are not adopted wind up in awful situations. I also feel that dogs should not be permitted to be sold in pet stores, most of the dogs found in pet stores have heath issues and their parents are mistreated and they are inbred which creates more health issues. My solution for these issues would be mandatory licenses for breeders, which would include spontaneous and frequent check-ups, and if they violated the conditions of their licenses, they would lose them, they would be heavily fined, and they would also lose their rights to their animals.

Kill shelters exist due to overpopulation of animals and it is the easiest and cheapest way to run a “shelter.” I think kill shelters should be brought down and animals should only be put down in certain conditions; if they are hurt very badly, reaching old age and have an illness for which there is no cure. The best way to end this and bring those kill shelters down, or turn them into adoption centers is to make laws against animal murder. I think it is murder to give a dog 2 to 7 days to be claimed before being put down in a shelter. We need to make it easier for these animals to be adopted, and help them by giving them all the things they need such as supplies and medicine. Shelters can use these resources to help homeless animals find good homes instead of killing them.

The high cost of spaying and neutering is another reason we have an animal overpopulation problem. It’s easy to make it inexpensive and I think that all shelters and adoption centers should have FREE spay and neuter programs and that every shelter, adpotion center, or breeder should spay and neuter the animals before they go to a new home. I also think that it should be a law to have animals spayed or neutered, if you have animals that are not spayed or neutered, and you can lose your animals if they are not. The only people who could adopt an animal that is not spayed, or neutered, would be a licensed breeder. It’s so much less expensive to Spay and Neuter then to provide 4-10 puppies everything they need, its even less expensive to Spay and Neuter a male and female then to Euthanize 4-10 unwanted dogs. Spay and Neuter should be mandatory.

I think a lot of these issues go hand in hand, I think it all goes to Spay and Neutering. We can save so many animals if we stop them from having unwanted babies. Everyone thinks their dog is the best and they want puppies, but those puppies have puppies, and then we wind up with a major crisis on our hands like we have now.

I am working with legislation for my “Laws for Paws Kids” project, and I plan to work with government to make real changes. I know a lot of people think it’s wrong to make spay and neutering mandatory, but it’s also wrong to KILL dogs. I want to end Puppy mills by creating harsher breeding laws, and end the sale of dogs in pet stores, which will put puppy mills out of business. I want to end Breed Specific Legislation and, “blame the deed not the breed.” I want to help shelters with my Kids Adopt a Shelter mission by off-setting costs so they can stop the killing of innocent dogs and become true NO KILL. I want to pass laws to mandate Spay and neutering and enforce licenses for breeders and end backyard breeding. I want the government to enforce animal abuse laws and make harsher penalties for animal abuse.

I know it seems like I want to do a lot but I am a kid and I have a long time to get these things done. Please support my missions! Thanks.

Happy National Dog Week everyone, and thank you, Sean, for all you do and to so many out there who care and work hard for change. National Dog Week is officially observed the last full week of September, but it’s spirit can be shared all year round.

Sean Martin meets Dr. Ron Paul

Sean Martin meets Dr. Ron Paul

Working Dogs at rest Working Dogs at rest

Happy Labor Day. This holiday, with origins dating back to 1882, was initially, “dedicated to the social and economic achievements of the American Worker.” Today, with so much economic unrest, and the rapid development of technology, many of us feel fortunate just to have a place at which to labor. However, in many of these cases, most are doing much more work, for far less pay, and dealing with conditions that prey on the fact that there are too many workers vying for too few jobs.

I used to work full-time under some of the best working conditions imaginable. But upon turning 30, I realized that corporate life was not my calling. I became a full-time fine artist instead, and during the good years made a decent living. When times got a little “ruff” I became a substitute teacher to fill in the gaps. I loved working with the kids, and as it turned out, during this time I became inspired to write. This summer, I said farewell to the classroom and now work part-time as the manager of a church as a way to create more structure in my life to allow more time for writing.

My husband is a proud member of the ALA (Amalgamated Lithographers of America) Union. When his company moved their operations to other locales, he chose to “retire” early. Coincidentally, his last full-time job in his field was spent at a company that published Pet Care and Dog Breed books, although at that time, I had not started writing about dogs. Rich, who served our nation as a Navy Corpsman, has happily found labor as a house painter, maintenance manager and now as a Bar Captain at our local American Legion post.

I write all this because life is uncertain. We make choices, but often, choices are made for us. We must be open to change and ready to adjust. At this rate, neither of us will probably ever really retire, but that is okay with us. Work keeps us mentally and physically active, and there is always some good experience to be derived from each “job stop,” along the way.

Will Judy, the founder of National Dog Week, truly understood this. As a youth, he was trained as a minister and was the school teacher for his small rural community in Western Pennsylvania. But he had a larger vision and a need to get out in the world. His restless and inquisitive nature lead him far from home. He served his nation during WWI, became a lawyer, and when he had the opportunity, he purchased Dog World Magazine and served as its publisher for several decades.

Long before the concept was widely-embraced, Judy saw the value of the dog in the workplace. He wrote about their use in military and police work and their value as therapy dogs in the treatment of patients in VA hospitals. He knew that dogs labored in a union powered by loyalty, love and devotion to their humans no matter what the circumstances.

I thank you to all of you who have supported me during the writing of Will Judy’s story. I am now writing my 200 word “marketing description” for its publisher and bandying about titles. This has truly been a labor of love (i.e. no advance), but I hope that someday a copy of this book will be found on the library shelves of municipalities and schools across the nation. Judy was a complex and articulate man. A man of his times, yet one who foresaw how important dogs would become to the nation’s huge population of dog owners, and wanted to ensure all who “owned” them would do so responsibly.

I am now fortunate to be working on my next true-life story and will share that soon. I love writing about little-known people and obscure histories, it is so rewarding to see all of them, “have their day,” and receive credit for their labors. I hope their stories inspire others to explore the path not so clearly marked.

May all of you find a way to make your labor your love, and your love, your labor.

Hooper

"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

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”