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In my next post, meet Animal Casting Director, Dawn Wolfe of New Jersey as she shares the secrets of getting your dog Spot in the Spot light, or your Kitty camera ready…This Saturday, March 19th, marks the return of WoofStock, a “Day of Peace, Paws and Music,” up at Founders Park, (mm 87) in Islamorada.  I had the pleasure of attending last year’s event (see post of 3/9/10) and meeting its organizer, Joy Martin and Michele Beach of Marr-Velous Pet Rescues.  I hope to attend this year’s event as well.  To learn more, please go to, and or follow them on Facebook.  In the weeks ahead, I will also update you on Miami-based Nikki Moustaki’s efforts on behalf of Nitro’s Law, an update from Michele Adams on the Big Pine Bark Park and some other “tails” of the Keys and South Florida…

Sometimes things come full circle. I met author Lisa Pliscou during the submission process for my book, Every Dog has its Week, a year ago, and out of this experience came some great advice and encouragement and a chance to make the acquaintance of a fellow author. The status of Every Dog has changed since then, but a few weeks ago, Lisa, also a dog lover who recalled my work, contacted me and asked me if I would like to be featured on a new blog she had started called “STOKED.”  

Lisa, the author of the Young Adult Novel, Higher Education, (to be reissued September) excitedly awaits the debut of her children’s book titled Dude, Fun with Dude and Betty (HarperCollins due out this May).  This surfing-inspired book features a fun-loving Airedale terrier, making it bloggable subject matter (did I just make up a word) and I will share more about this when the book becomes available.

But this is not just a story about some fun in the surf.  In talking about her book, Lisa explains, “I think the thing about Dude is that you can totally appreciate it as a funny little story, enjoying the zany mashup of the old Dick & Jane sensibility and a hip, modern vibe. If you want to go a little deeper, you can look at Dude an expression of the archetypal surfer’s story featuring a plucky protagonist who overcomes challenges (wiping out) and obstacles (parents insisting he perform pointless tasks) to achieve a triumphant conclusion (he’s back at the beach, ready to surf, and he’s stoked). And if you want to go even deeper than that, the story is straight out of Joseph Campbell: very simply, Dude is following his bliss.”

Growing up on the beaches of Southern California and Mexico, the author who now calls New Jersey home, is no stranger to the world of surfing. By combining her love of surf-culture and writing, Lisa is definitely in the Stoked Zone. By definition, stoked means to be happy, excited, brimming with enthusiasm and satisfaction–fuel that stokes the fires of mind, body and soul. This “stoked” philosophy is evident in her latest projects, as she states, “Personally I’ve always been interested in the idea of following one’s bliss, and Dude — warrior of the waves, ruler of radness, and sultan of stoke — has inspired me to curate my new blog on that very topic. It’s been fascinating and, again, inspiring, finding out what gets other people stoked. They just sort of light up talking about it, and I for one am all for more light in a sometimes murky world!”     

As a writer, working in a world that can be dismissive, and rejecting, having Lisa think of me when she needed a “STOKED” feature was very rewarding and well, it got me kind of stoked while I follow my own bliss, dogs and writing.  As a blogger always reaching out to potential “interviewees” it is nice to be on the other side of the asking. To read my personal “STOKED” quote, and learn more about Lisa Pliscou’s writing and background, please visit her website (The STOKED testimonials can be found by scrolling down to the bottom of her HOME page).  There is also a form you can fill out and submit for upcoming STOKED features, for readers of all ages.

Thanks for the “STOKE” Lisa. We offer you a “high-tide” for your success and hope your latest book rides in on a wave of good fortune! Next, while vacationing in the Keys, my dog has also asked if she can interview me…it’s very dog-friendly down here and she is feeling almost human-like…I’ll have to take a look at those questions, though, sometimes she’s awfully nosey.

The most unselfish thing in the world is the dog…he asks no agent, delegates no responsiblity, does not stop to inquire what benefit he gets out of doing his work…” Will Judy, 1949

Welcome to my Blog, to learn more about National Dog Week, and its Founder, please see ABOUT…While away from home, I will continue my posting to the blog…stay tuned for an interview out of Las Vegas with my personal friend, the dog-loving, internationally renowned boxing ref, Joe Cortez (owner of five pups), fellow-writer, Lisa Pliscou, who will talk about her new website that will inspire you to “Get Stoked” while your kids wait for her new children’s book to be released in May, and an interview of me, conducted by my dog, Hooper…hey, it is a dog-centric blog and here in the Keys, dogs rule….and of course, an on-site report on the progress of the Big Pine Bark Park!

Congratulations to Nikki Moustaki who took to the airways on the Howard Stern Show on Monday on Sirius XM Radio to discuss her work on behalf of Nitro’s Law. It was very successful and brought a lot of attention to a very serious issue.  Congratulations to Nikki, Bocker the Labradoodle, the Nitro Foundation and so many others for getting Nitro’s Law Reintroduced…hopefully this bill will pass this time… (See my past two posts for details).

It all started with a Post on a Facebook Wall Post, and the fact that March 3rd is known as being “What if Cats and Dogs had Opposable Thumbs Day?”  Let me explain.

Today, a Facebook Friend and animal advocate Gary Larson posted an article on his wall in which two men had been arrested in Arizona for procuring dogs through a Craig’s List ad and then doing appalling and unmentionable things to them (with the owner’s consent).  The tone of the article seemed inappropriate to me, (and to another Facebook Friend from Kentucky), and the ensuing comments about the article, which were insensitive and ignorant made it all the worse.

Backtracking just a bit, when I read that the third of the month would bring us “What if Cats and Dogs had Opposable Thumbs Day” I thought it would make for a good light-hearted blog post topic.  For the record, this day is the creation of  Thomas and Ruth Roy of Wellcat Holidays and Herbs.  But they are by no means the only ones who have posed this question.

Way back in the late 1940s, Will Judy, the man who established the National Dog Week Movement eight decades ago put forth the notion that the only thing that separated us from the dog is our ability to speak, use an alphabet and our  thumbs. He asked, “So, fellow sons of God, immortals, who think we are just a little below the race of heaven, take away your alfabet and your fingers, where would you be?” (He had his own whimsical way of spelling).

So I got to thinking, what if cats and dogs could use a mouse and keyboard to post comments and update statuses on Facebook which conjured up cute and funny possibilities and images. But judging from several news items of late things aren’t so cute and funny out there in the world, and perhaps it would be beneficial if our animals did have thumbs and voices, and the ability to fight for their own causes so that monsters who hurt and abuse them by exploiting “Free to Good Home” or pets for sale postings to obtain animals for use as bait dogs or other horrific purposes, are punished appropriately.

I know that bad things happen all the time to humans, with or without sites like Craig’s List, but most humans are capable of Free Choice and can play a role in their fate.  For the record, I and many others I know, have bought some great items like furniture, boats, etc. on these sites, but is this really a good place to offer living breathing entities of any species?  I know Rescue Groups use Craig’s List as a way to find homes for pets, and I know people who have gotten their pups through the site, but it still doesn’t seem right to me.

I am considering a Petition Site on this topic…should pet transactions on Craig’s List be banned altogether, or should there be more consideration and accountability be required on behalf the Craig’s List’s Management…I am making a serious inquiry so any effort can make some kind of positive difference.  Am I wrong? Please e-mail me at

When Will Judy began his National Dog Week Movement in 1928, his intention was not to bring more dogs into the world but to take more responsibility for the ones that were already here… Will Judy, trained in the ministry, and a decorated WWI veteran also wrote, “It requires more courage at times to speak up for another, to come to the defense of the downtrodden than to rush foolishly across the battlefield and later receive a medal for the daring.” 

Every day, everyone has the choice to use words, spoken or written, to help humans and animals, everywhere. They won’t win any medals, but those they helped will be better for it.


"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”