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February is Spay and Neuter Awareness Month and Prevent a Litter Month, making Sunday, February 12, especially memorable for me, when I attended the Dog Writers Association of America’s Awards Banquet in New York City.
Late last year, while filing entries for the DWAA’s Annual Writing Competition, I entered a blog post I had published in August 2016 to be considered for the North Shore Animal League America Special Award for a piece titled “Desert Paws” about a successful Spay and Neuter program in New Mexico.
(see Link below).
Unlike entries in the Regular Categories, the names of those who receive a Special Award/Grant are not revealed until the day of the Awards Banquet. I knew, for instance, I had been nominated in the Art and Short Fiction Categories, and that alone was truly exciting.
At the event, I was also fortunate to be part of a speakers panel featuring Carol Bryant of Blog Paws, Maggie Bradburn Marton, Amy Tokcic for a writing seminar offered by the DWAA. Topics included navigating the publishing industry, pet blogging and utilizing Social Media effectively. I was also thrilled to receive a Maxwell Medallion for my Short Story Second Chances and also presented the first-ever Captain Wm. Lewis Judy Award to Bud Buccone for his video, “My Buddy” honoring Military Dogs of WWII!
I haven’t blogged much these days as I’ve been focusing on book length projects, however, if my posts can make a difference, I hope to do more of this in the coming year.
Preventing unplanned and ultimately unwanted litters of cats and dogs is the truest rescue there is. There will always be displaced and unhomed companion animals, however, if the unplanned pet population is reduced through Spay and Neuter initiatives, those pets that find themselves without homes will be fewer in number and will benefit from healthier and happier shelter and foster experiences. Please support those who are working so hard to make the world a better place for humans and animals, like the folks at Desert Paws.
To read the winning post for the North Shore Animal League America Award:
To Read Second Chances (Maxwell Medallion Award for Short Fiction):
“Between the attitude toward the dog of those far past centuries and the attitude of today is a vast journey in the direction of kindness and a heart of sympathy.” Will Judy, 1949
On Valentine’s Day, my husband Rich and I headed into New York City for the Dog Writers Association of America’s Awards banquet. Fittingly, my book, (a true labor of love), Dog’s Best Friend: Will Judy, Founder of National Dog Week, and Dog World Publisher, had received a Maxwell Medallion nomination in the Reference category. As Judy was highly influential in the establishment of the DWAA back in 1935, and Maxwell Riddle was his protégé, it was quite an honor. Alas, we did not bring home the Maxwell but some stellar connections were made and more books are in progress. One of them a collaboration with Laura Pople, founder of Seer Farms, will share the poignant stories of the people and pets of this special place.
Located in a rural area of New Jersey, Seer Farms was founded in 2009 by Laura and her board, to embrace the mission that our pets are truly family members and no circumstance should ever separate them from us. Seer Farms is a facility that will take in the family cat(s) or dog(s) (and occasional “other” creature) of those in need and care for them until the situation permits pets and people to reunite under one roof. These pets come to her as the result of military deployments, domestic violence, natural disasters and from pet owners who are going through challenging times and need a hand in caring for their pets until more fortunate circumstances prevail. By offering this unique opportunity, many pets are saved from abandonment and uncertain fates.
I had the opportunity to meet Laura recently when Rich, and dog, Teddy, helped me deliver a collection of donated supplies. During our visit, we met a woman who was there to spend time with two of her dogs that are being cared for by the facility. Deb told us that she had lost her home in Hurricane Sandy, and like many others, still had not fully recovered from that life-changing event of three and a half years ago. Her home is in the process of being raised and when that is complete, she and her dogs will enjoy their special Reunion Day when they hop into her car and take that much-awaited ride home. Deb appreciates these visits but notes that at the end of each, her dogs try to lead her to the car so that they can go home with her. As someone who personally witnessed the devastation of that storm, I can attest to how important this oasis has been for so many.
I can’t think of a happier event than the occasion of something like Reunion Day – having your beloved pet once again by your side, – having come through the worst of times, and now, ready to provide comfort and support to each other as their journey continues.
In her actions and her life’s work, Laura and her staff and board, have made a major difference in the lives of animals, and the humans who love them. Their work and mission fully embrace what Will Judy wrote so many years ago, “Between the attitude toward the dog of those far past centuries and the attitude of today is a vast journey in the direction of kindness and a heart of sympathy.”
I thank all those who contributed to our Seer Farms supply drive: Maureen Johnson and the Sayer and Schoberg Families, Bonnie Werkmeister, Boy Scout Pack 16 of Pt. Pleasant, NJ, Skittles (the Bichon) Barros and the members of the Junior Auxiliary Unit of American Legion Post 348 in Brick, NJ.
Recovery, Reunion, Renewal….that is the goal of Seer Farms. To read more about this unique sheltering model, its staff and volunteers:http://seerfarms.org/
Come join in the fun and hear me speak about writing for the pet-industry and beyond at the Blog Paws Conference in Phoenix, AZ June 23-25. https://www.pinterest.com/blogpaws/blogpaws-conference-photos/
Happy New Year. 2015 ended with some amazing news surrounding Dog’s Best Friend and my work on behalf of the National Dog Week Movement. I thank so many of you for your interest and support and wish you all a very rewarding and successful New Year!
Who Let the Dogs In? New Online Exhibit Captures the Legacy of Captain Will Judy and National Dog Week
In collaboration with Amy Breyer, Executive Director of the Animal History Museum, I am pleased to announce that my online exhibit was successfully curated and went live on the museum’s site in December. This innovative exhibit, titled “Who Let the Dogs In?”, chronicles the inspiring history of National Dog Week and its founder, Captain William Lewis Judy.
Americans have enjoyed a long-time love affair with animals – domesticated and wild. However, despite anecdotal evidence highlighting the important role that animals play in our lives, there has been little formal, institutional acknowledgement of their significance. To fill that void, the Animal History Museum seeks to explore, honor and advance our understanding of the complex and evolving nature of man’s interactions with, and relationship to, the other species around us. The museum’s mission: understanding and celebrating the human-animal bond.
Established online in January 2012, the Animal History Museum is being developed by a team of professionals who are passionate about all things animal, serving and educating all ages and segments of the general public. With the establishment of a physical site in Los Angeles County, California, the Animal History Museum will become the leading facility in the nation designed solely for the collection, preservation and exploration of the history, culture, science and law relating to the relationship between human and non-human animals.
The museum’s website offers several other inspiring online exhibits as well, including: “The Wildlife Photography of Donald D. Feare”, “Stories of Older Animal Adoption”, “Sit, Stay, Say Cheese! The Early History of Animal Photography, 1850-1915”, “Breaking Stereotypes: America’s Pit Bull Rescues and the Human Animal Bond”, and “I’m Ready for My Close-up Mr. Casteel: The Making of Underwater Dogs.”
As the author of Will Judy: Founder of National Dog Week and Dog World Publisher (McFarland & Co.), I am honored to be part of an establishment dedicated to presenting exhibitions, lectures, and other activities that are consistent with, and supportive of, the museum’s educational goals and purpose.
Captain Will Judy, as he was known, was a pioneer in the dog-care industry, and one of the founders of the DWAA. As a prolific writer, author and publisher of Dog World Magazine for decades, Judy almost single-handedly shaped the way modern dogs are regarded in America. Most importantly, he was responsible for making sure the nation’s dogs got their week, and still do, during the last full week of September each year with National Dog Week