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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):
Recently, on the banks of the Metedeconk River in Brick Township, NJ, American Legion Post 348 hosted their First Annual Lappy Hour on the ‘Cric. While sixteen happy dogs lapped up the sunshine and canine companionship, their humans enjoyed socializing with other dog-lovers and enjoyed the beautiful setting on the water.
Lappy Hour was held to raise awareness of Military Dogs and those Service Dogs that are trained to help veterans navigate the challenges of daily life. The entry fee for the event and money raised through a doggy-bag raffle will be donated to an organization that assists the nation’s Military Dog program. I was so happy to see these well-behaved dogs that belong to post-members, have a great time of socializing with other dogs. Many people, who are not aware of the benefit of these events often make the mistake of thinking the worst when dogs are allowed to congregate. Trust me, there was no fighting, but many showed a great deal of affection for each other!
The “rules” of this event called for dogs to be leashed, and to have them stay out of the Tiki Bar. Within an hour, however, many dogs roamed free, finding companionship and shade in the shelter of…you guessed it, the Tiki Bar. Don’t worry, nothing stronger than cold water was served to these thirsty pooches.
From the tiniest of tea-cup Yorkies, to a 90 pound Therapy Airedale named Lily, these dogs got the day they deserved, and I think their humans had a great time, too. We hope to repeat this event in the Fall.
Happy Memorial Day Weekend everyone. The following is a post I wrote four years ago. I established this blog in 2010 while writing my book Dog’s Best Friend: Will Judy: Founder of National Dog Week and Dog World Publisher (McFarland-July 2014). Long before the US Military utilized trained War Dogs, Judy educated Americans about all the ways dogs served humans militarily and therapeutically.
This holiday weekend, I hope everyone can find something meaningful and relevant to contribute to this weekend of remembrance. Here is a relevant article with a link to The United States War Dogs Association, Inc., in New Jersey. Thank you. http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2013/03/04/seen-at-11-horrors-of-combat-may-affect-military-working-dogs-as-well-as-owners/
I am really looking forward to the book’s debut this summer, it’s been a long, hard road but, I’ve learned so much from all of you. I hope you enjoy this “rerun!”
Last year, the Friday before memorial Day, I subbed as a Fourth Grade teacher. The subject of the holiday weekend came up, and I asked the class what Memorial Day meant to them. Answers varied, but mostly the responses included, beach going, pool openings, sales at the Mall, and catching the newest Blockbuster. This is the generation that wasn’t even born when 9/11 occurred, and have little knowledge of what is going on around the world. Later, a father of one of the kids, a marine just back from the Mid-East spoke at an assembly. One kid asked, “Who is it we are fighting, exactly?” The father thoughtfully grappled with an answer, but couldn’t say exactly. His honesty was admirable.
Memorial Day weekend reminds us to pay tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifices for their country, but many people aren’t aware of the important role dogs have played in our military history. During WWI, while European forces were already training canines to be official members of the war effort, a pit-bull mix named Stubby was paving the way for the future of American military dogs. Stubby, smuggled overseas by his owner, became a vital player in WWI, on and off the field. He received several honors, and medals, and was even promoted to Sergeant.
For those who haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend the documentary War Dogs of the Pacific. Produced and directed by Harris Done, it tells the amazing story of the bond that formed between a platoon of young marines and the dogs that were trained to serve them during WWII. I happened to catch it on the Military Channel. During that war, many “ordinary” dog owners donated their beloved pets to the war effort. Many never saw their dogs again, and soldiers, who became deeply attached to their dogs, had to relinquish them to their original owners at the war’s end. Many of these soldiers telling their first-person accounts have powerful memories of those events. Be prepared to be profoundly moved by their stories. If you have any doubt about how a dog can help a human, it will vanish.
In 2009, Harris Done was presented with the Captain Arthur J. Haggerty Award from the Alliance of Purebred Dog Writers. The honor was presented by the Captain’s daughter, Babette Haggerty during the activities surrounding the 133rd Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Captain Haggerty, who passed in 2006, was a great supporter, and promoter of Captain Will Judy’s National Dog Week Movement that was established in 1928 in an effort to honor the nation’s dogs, especially those military canines.
Stories like these keep me motivated to write about how dogs really do make a huge difference in lives, on so many levels. Each day, someone new arrives on the scene with intriguing ideas, and information that keeps me inspired. Did you know that the patriotic Will Judy suggested that the pit bull be named the Yankee terrier? Perhaps they would have fared better in our society.
Thanks for reading…Have a good and thoughtful weekend, and be safe!