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The Dog Daze of Teddy

The Dog Daze of Teddy

These Dog Days of Summer have certainly created some hazy daze! Despite the heat, The Will Judy book project is complete and its fate rests in the hands of its publisher. Another project is now underway; a book that chronicles the journey of Harriet White Fisher, who, in 1909 launched a 13-month long journey with her entourage that brought them to the most unlikely places. Traveling with her was Honkie, an alleged “Boston bull dog” making him the first, and possibly only, dog to make a worldwide trek in an automobile. You can learn more about this exciting project to be published by American History Press at

Also, our dog Teddy is entered in the “Cutest Spokespet” Contest which will end on July 31st. You can vote once a day. You must LIKE the page and then scroll down to Teddy’s photo to vote. Thanks for all who have been able to do so and for those who have shared! Teddy is currently the leader of the “cute pack.”

A few weeks ago Nikki Moustaki, an animal advocate and author, founder of the Pet Postcard Project, wrote to me about The Better Way Project and how it was helping animal lovers and advocates to carry out important work and projects with much-needed funding. She asked if she could share it with my readers. Please welcome my guest blogger, Nikki!

Please tell us about the Better Way Project. The Better Way Project program was recently launched by Canyon Creek Ranch, but it will be exciting to see what typed of projects come in and how creative people will be in helping animals in their communities and beyond. The Better Way Project completed three trial projects last fall as “sample” projects to give consumers ideas and to show how involved Canyon Creek Ranch will be with the projects. See the videos from these projects here:

The first project was at the Northeast Animal Shelter in Salem, MA, New England’s largest no-kill animal shelter that provides a wonderful safe haven for felines awaiting their forever homes. However, the shelter lacked stimulating play rooms that would allow the cats and kittens to show off their personalities to potential adopters. The Canyon Creek Ranch® Better Way Project learned of this need and helped by renovating three of the cat play rooms at the shelter. The Canyon Creek Ranch team provided on-the-ground help, including painting the custom built walkways and perches in the rooms, and retailer Pet Supplies Plus donated products for the new play space. The project was funded by a $50,000 in-kind donation from the Better Way Project.

The Canyon Creek Ranch Better Way Project donated $25,000 to Therapy Dogs of Johnson County (TDJC), a non-profit organization in Iowa City that helps people live healthier and happier lives through therapy visits with dogs. The donation will be used to help support and expand this meaningful local program which visits schools and nursing homes in the area. In addition to providing funding, the Canyon Creek Ranch team visited Iowa City to help TDJC hold its first public event to recruit more dog/handler teams.

The Greenwood Urban Wetland Park in Orlando, FL, is a popular destination for local residents. However, the city park lacked dog-friendly features for four-legged visitors and their owners. The Canyon Creek Ranch Better Way Project made a $50,000 in-kind donation to the City of Orlando that was used to add three new dog-friendly activity areas in the park: a play station with agility equipment; a rest station with comfortable seating; and a wash station with fountains for drinking and hosing dogs off after playing in the park. Canyon Creek Ranch managed the renovation with a local contractor and sent a team to Orlando to help bring the project to life.

What impact have these projects generated? The three seed projects had amazing affects in their communities. Orlando now has a great dog park, the Northeast Animal shelter has seen an uptick in cat adoptions, and the Therapy Dogs of Johnson County is using the funds to expand their program. These three projects showed the Better Way Project that the idea of being hands-on involved with projects, rather than just offering a straight donation, made a big difference.

Thank you, Nikki! I just love to see thought turned into action. So…when your kids are whining the Summer Blues, maybe you can sit down with them and think of a great project of your own and see it through! This would make a nice school and Scout project, too. I hope you will let us know if you present a project to the Canyon Creek folks. I have one of my own clanging about in my mind and will share that in time.

I truly want to thank so many who have helped me on my journey in the writing of the first biography of William Lewis Judy. In establishing this blog, and maintaining it over the past three and a half years, I often wondered if it had any impact. Believe me, when I get a response from someone who has read and now thinks differently about an important issue, I feel gratified that I have done some good in the world. I am grateful to all the positive people who make a difference for humans and their animals, like my guest, Nikki Moustaki! Check out her Pet Postcard Project at


Puppies on the Mend at Ruffles Rescue

The other day I posted a photograph of a tick-infested puppy on my Facebook page. To say it was tick-infested is an understatement.  It was not a pretty sight to say the least, it was revolting actually, and I know some were put off by it.

This pup was one of six and their momma rescued by Ruffles Rescue in Exeter, California.  They had posted a request for donations to help these pups who were now suffering from tick fever and were hanging on for dear life.

Because sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words, the rescue group got such a response they asked people to stop sending donations and instead, asked them to consider donating to one of their local rescues. This is definitely the hallmark of a legitimate and caring Rescue Group.

Ruffles Rescue’s facebook page credits a group called Saving Grace Animal Rescue in Birmingham, AL, for being their angels.  Because this group and other generous donors, as of today, the puppies are starting to eat and play the way they should be. Their mom is also doing well.

I don’t generally put revolting photos on my wall. But in this case, all those shared postings with photo did help and I would do it again for that reason.  Many people asked, “Who would do that to a dog?” “How does a pup get like that?”

And that brings me to the most important part of my post.  If more people would help to get more cats and dogs spayed and neutered, cases like this would not be so frequent. It is alarming to see so many pregnant homeless companion animals that end up giving birth in the wild or at a shelter. Many will not find homes; it is just a sad fact.

Each month, I have my Pay Pal Account set to automatically deposit $2.00 into the Chip in Account of a Group called Project Pets – Spay, Neuter, Love. Last January, on the occasion of my birthday, I set up a birthday chip-in account which had a very nice result. Two dollars doesn’t sound like much, but at last check, I saw that they now have over 100 donors to this very legitimate cause. If only ten percent of my facebook friends donated $2.00 a month, we would save many lives because Spay and Neuter is one of the best forms of Rescue there is. If you wish to donate, here is there link:

On a more writerly note, I was very happy when recently, a fellow author and friend, Tara Hall blognominated me for a “Beautiful Blogger,” Award . Thank you Tara. It’s just a fun way to pick seven fellow-bloggers you think deserve a little recognition among the millions of blogs that exist now.  The catch, I have to list seven things about me…and pick seven other “Beautiful” Bloggers! So here goes.

Seven things about me:

1) I was born the year of the dog in Chinese Astrology. Most times I am a docile Golden retriever but when someone hurts or talks “bad stuff” about someone I care about, the well-trained by fierce rottie in me emerges.

2) If sleeping was an Olympic event, I would have more medals than Michael Phelps.

3) I have had no sense of smell for as long as I can remember. Sometimes I get a whiff of something, and I say, “I can smell!” Not as dramatic as, “I can see or walk,” and sometimes it can be misinterpreted as in I am smelly.

4) If I never see snow or feel temperatures below 70 again I would be more than happy.

5)I love to eat. Anything Italian or from the sea, especially, accompanied by a dry martini with bleu-cheese stuffed olives or really good full-bodied red wine.

6) If I could, I would outlaw the smoking of cigarettes and impose severe penalties for texting while driving.

7) I wish that not one more person would purchase another puppy from a retailer. I wish they realized that over 90 percent of those pups came from commercial puppy mill facilities and that every dollar they spend at these establishments keeps a dog in emotional and physical poverty somewhere in the nation. I wish that everyone would spay or neuter their pets whenever appropriate.

Bonus 8) I am blessed with a great husband, parents, friends (humanoid and virtual) a loving dog. Every day I am inspired by the good deeds those around me accomplish and for the support they lend.

Here are my “Beautiful Blogging” Seven, in no particular order! Now they are invited to offer seven items about themselves…and designate seven others as “Beautiful Bloggers.”

Kevin Middleton –

Patrick Mahaney –

David Lender –

Nikki Moustaki –

Jamie Wilsoncraft –

Willie Wonka –

Alanna Chasin –

And I must add an eight: Marsha Zeringue

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.

Dog Fest Captures spirit of National Dog Week

Thank you for all the searches that are bringing so many to this site today, the first day of National Dog Week!  Very excited to be recording a great segment for with Dr. Patrick Mahaney and NDW Artist Donald Brown this evening. Today, I asked Robert Cabral, Founder of Bound Angels and a guest of this Blog in July and August, for his take on National Dog Week…Robert is pictured here at a recent Fundraiser for Bound Angels in Malibu, CA.

Robert Cabral with l to r, Jennifer Landon, Cindy Landon and singer, Josh Bel

National Dog Week brings recognition to man’s best friend.  A deserving tribute to a creature that has walked by our side and slept at our feet for thousands of years.  Celebrating his life and legacy is a celebration of love and dedication.  To celebrate National Dog Week, please watch Orlando Brown’s tribute to dogs and their humans -HERO.” (Directed by Robert, too).

Brick, NJ is proclaimed a National Dog Week City!

Today, I thought it would be appropriate to share some photos of Brick Township’s (NJ) 2nd  Celebration of Dog Fest. My town even chose to proclaim itself a National Dog Week City!  I chose the occasion to collect for Covers for Critters and to have young people make Pet Postcards for Nikki Moustaki’s unique Pet Postcard Project.  In all, there must have been over 1,000 dogs and nearly double the humans. The spirit of these people and their dogs was inspiring.  Even the little dog named Jose, a mature Maltese who had just been dropped off  at the shelter the day before, seemed happy, even though he had not found a new home by day’s end.  Other dogs did, though, and that was nice to see.

I would like to personally thank the Brick Township Rotary for their hard work in presenting this Festival and for donating the material for the Pet Postcards.  My friends from the Ladies Auxiliary of Brick Township’s American Legion Post 348  supported me by bringing used linens and blankets to the Festival.  These items will be shared with local animal shelters.

Ready to make some Pet Postcards…

I would also like to thank Dr. Patrick Mahaney and Artist Donald E. Brown for their work on behalf of National Dog Week.  Their knowledge and talent have really helped me reach out to so many.  I truly hope we will continue to work together.

During this week, and beyond, I will look back at some earlier posts that inspired me and others. Please remember to go to the National Dog Week Community Page and LIKE us and Post a picture of your dogs to be eligible to win an original canine portrait by Donald Brown (ends on October 7).  I will also  present some of the special dogs I have come to know through this Blog on that page.

Hooper hiding among the Covers for Critters Collection

Today, like many times before, I was struck by how young people respond to animals.  As one little girl made a postcard today, she said, “I am so happy that I am helping dogs today.”  On that note, I will also be presenting an essay written by a 10-year old girl who exemplifies the true spirit of National Dog Week.  Children, without pretense or falsehood, are the true messengers of what this week is all about.

Some sweet postcards from Dog Fest

The spirit of National Dog Week remains strong, and I thank everyone who supports this blog, my writing and my efforts…by doing so, you are part of the history of this special Movement that can show no weakness…Its Founder, Captain Will Judy, would be proud.

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.

Welcome to my blog that was established to bring awareness to the National Dog Week Movement begun in 1928.  To read more…please see ABOUT.

Nitro’s Law HB108 (formerly HB70) was reintroduced on February 22, 2011. Please… Now it has to be PASSED, contact your Ohio Legislators now!  Among other places, Nikki was recently interviewed by Wolf Blitzer on CNN and will talk with Howard Stern tomorrow, February 28th, at 7am on Sirius XM Radio.  Good work on the part of Nikki, Bocker and the Nitro Foundation!

There is no man so poor but what he can afford to keep one dog.”  Josh Billings, American, 1818-1885

Bocker the Labradoodle on the runway at a recent fashion event

 Steve Duno, author of Last Dog on the Hill: The Extraordinary Life of Lou is currently hard at work on another dog book.  Some have asked if there is a dog in Steve’s life now.  He tells me that there are two, “Flavio, shep/chow mix, almost 14 and Rico, a beefbrained pit/shep mix.” We look forward to hearing more about Steve’s new project…

February is National Spay and Neuter Month, and today, February 22nd was Spay Day USA…help put an end to the nation’s pet overpopulation epidemic and make sure you are responsible pet owners….not just during February, or today, but year round…If anyone can provide information on spay and neuter clinics that offer financial help to pet owners in different areas of the nation, or clinics please contact me at and I will post…thanks (or post a comment).

This was submitted by my Facebook Friend Pat Needham for those in Kentucky: Erik Fleming Regional Low Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic 9142 Morehead Rd. Flemingsburg, Ky 41041 phone 606 876-2697. They opened Feb. 22 and it is a very nice facility.

More news… Erika Friedman of Canine Celebration and Amy Calmann  are currently collecting Kong Dog Toys for shelter pets.  Kong toys, which contain a tempting “hidden” treat, help provide stress reducing activity for crated shelter dogs ultimately making these homeless dogs calmer and more adoptable.  To read more, please check out the Canine Celebration Page on Facebook.  Please watch for a related post…

As Nikki Moustaki’s “Eating Dog Food for Nitro’s Law” campaign heats up across media outlets, and in saute pans across America, she is bringing wide-spread awareness to the way state laws across the nation affect the way our pets are treated.  To read more about this, please see my previous post that features my interview with her or go to  Anyone who is a regular reader of these posts, or visits my Facebook wall will be quick to notice comments to and from, and photos of Bocker the Labradoodle as standard features in those places!  I met Bocker and his “mom” Marie in August of last year and again at Ada Nieves’ Pre-Westminster Fashion Show in New York on February 11.  Not only is Bocker an actor/model, he also works as a “literary assistance” dog, helping kids to read, and tirelessly works with his mom to help raise funds for shelter dogs.

Now, Bocker is joining Nikki to help bring awareness to her mission to get the State of Ohio to pass Nitro’s Law.  In these tough economic times, the voiceless among us are often forgotten, in this case our dogs.  Nitro, and several other dogs, starved in silence, at the hands of someone who purported to care.  Now, Nikki, and those who are helping her, hope that a bill that showed great promise won’t starve in silence also. 

Bocker is now eating human food in his effort to get Nitro’s law passed and in doing so, getting other states to take a look at laws affecting their pets. To learn how you and your dog (or cat) can get in on this good cause please go to!/photo.php?fbid=171947436185324&set=a.171947432851991.42880.171725899540811&theater.

I am sure dogs of America will only be too glad to help in this case…but they do so much, asking for so little in return, they won’t even know that they’re helping a good cause, as usual.

Welcome to a blog established to educate dog-lovers across America about the 83-year old tradition of National Dog Week, and a great writing project I am involved in.  To read more, please see ABOUT.

Congratulations to Nikki and her numerous radio and television appearances, including her interview with Wolf Blitzer of CNN…In my next post I’ll tell you how Bocker the Labradoodle is eating human food for Nitro’s Law and how your dog can get in on the action!

Nitro was a beautiful healthy Rottweiler dog born and bred in Ohio, who came to be part of a very loving family in New York. But when Nitro was sent back to Ohio to enjoy some advanced training time with his breeder at a “Summer Camp” at High-Caliber K-9 in Youngstown, Ohio, his life and that of six other dogs would come to an incomprehensible and horribly cruel end at the hands of his own breeder, a man by the name of Steve Croley.  Mr. Croley basically got away with murder, but Liz (Nitro’s Mom) and her family have made it their mission to, “help change laws in Ohio to make animal cruelty a felony.”  To read the full story, please go to

Upon hearing of their story, Miami-based animal activist and author, Nikki Moustaki, made it her mission to help bring attention to the plight of animals in Ohio, and other states. The following is my interview with Nikki, whom I had the pleasure to meet at a Pre-Westminster event last week in New York City.

Please tell everyone why you are eating one meal of dog food each day? I first read about Nitro’s Law on Facebook and I was immediately upset by the situation that brought the need for this law to be written. I have three dogs and I can’t imagine not feeding them for half a day, much less not feeding them at all. I have real empathy for other creatures, both human and animal, and it literally hurt me to think of the suffering that the starving dogs incurred at the boarding facility in Ohio where they were tortured to death by being denied food. 

I discovered that the Nitro’s Law did pass the House of Representatives in Ohio — obviously it was a viable law — but it did not pass the senate. I wondered why. 

What steps did you take to find out more about this law? I got in touch with Nitro’s human mom because I wanted to know more about the situation. She told me, with heartbreak in her voice, that she believed that the law did not pass, in part, because it didn’t get enough attention. She told me that the senators were campaigning in 2010 for reelection, so Nitro’s Law wasn’t a priority. Perhaps it can be a priority in 2011 if some attention is brought to it. The potential solution came to me in a “light bulb” moment. I would eat dog food every day and ask other animal lovers to eat dog food with me, and in this way we could get some attention for the law. I decided to post my campaign to YouTube every day to sort of “prove” that I was doing it and to encourage others to do the same. Eating dog food is a very off-the-wall, strange thing to do! I realize that. But I also realize that if someone doesn’t take a stand for injustice, it will continue. Honestly, this is a very small sacrifice compared to the good that can come out of it. 

When did you start? February 1, 2011

Can you tell us about the brand you are consuming? Any good recipes you care to share? The dog food I am eating is called Lucky Dog Cuisine ( and it’s the “Porsche of dog foods.” It’s human-grade, meaning that everything in it is fresh and consumable by humans, and the meat is from a butcher. It’s very safe to eat, which is why I chose it. I wanted to choose a food whose ingredients were sourced strictly in the USA. I have also met the owners of the company and I know that the food is made by hand in small batches, which makes me feel safe. I also feel good feeding it to my dogs. And no, Lucky Dog Cuisine is not paying me to say this or do this! I just want to stress that if anyone else joins me they should choose a human grade food — I want this law to pass, but I also want everyone to stay healthy. 

I can cook well, I just tend to be lazy and order or eat out. I’ve been mixing the dog food with food I get from the store or restaurants, and that has been good. I’m planning some recipes, but that means dirtying up pots and pans! 

How can others join in this cause? People can join as a “team member,” eating dog food every day with me until this law is reintroduced, or as a “cheerleader,” eating dog food occasionally or eating biscuits, etc. They should see this link for details:

How will you make sure the right powers learn about your mission and what do you hope to accomplish?  Have you contacted any senators or congress people who can help you?

The idea behind this is to get as much attention for Nitro’s Law as possible. That’s my role in the team. The other people working toward getting Nitro’s Law passed, including Nitro’s mom and other supporters, are the ones calling the congressmen, writing letters etc. It’s definitely a team effort. 

 Have you reached out to Ellen DeGenares, or anyone with her power, for national exposure? I think that some of my supporters have contacted Ellen. I know that she’s an animal lover and it would be amazing to get onto her show because it would give a lot of exposure to Nitro’s Law. 

How do people react in general upon hearing about your mission? From the very beginning, day one, people have rallied behind this cause and jumped on board to eat dog food with me. About 90% of people are very supportive and think it’s a great idea, and 10% think I’m crazy, but sometimes it takes being a little crazy to get something great done. It’s “good crazy.” 

Eating dog food once a day is the craziest thing I have done to help animals, but I do a lot of other things to help animals as well. I run a site called The Pet Postcard Project ( where people send me postcards in the mail and some dog food goes to animal shelters for each postcard I receive. I have raised over 116,000 pounds of dog food this way. I also take dogs out of my local shelter and find them homes. 

I am not unsympathetic to human causes, such as hunger, disease, and the environment. But those are such huge issues with a lot of people working on them already, and I choose to focus on issues where I feel I can make the most impact. 

 If people do not wish to join in and eat along, is there anything they can do to help build awareness of this cause? People can share this on Facebook and Twitter, subscribe to my YouTube videos, and tell everyone they know about it. If they live in Ohio, they can call their local politicians and tell them that they want Nitro’s Law reintroduced into the House of Representatives. 

After this interview, I contacted Liz who is grateful for the attention Nikki is bringing to their cause.  But her appreciation is bittersweet as she states, “Honestly I think it’s very sad that we’ve had to resort to eating dog food to get a law passed to protect our companion animals. I do believe it will continue to generate awareness which is a very important first step to bring about this necessary change.”

Nikki and her rescue dog, Pearl, with Martha Smith of

Congratulations to Nikki for putting her money (or dog food) where her mouth is and walking the walk for an issue that is so important.  I wish her, and all involved in this cause much success.  Nikki has suggested we do lunch one day in the Keys while I am down there and I am thinking that this just might mean there is a Lucky Dog meal, or at least a dog biscuit, in my future. If anyone reading has any influence in the state of Ohio, please use it.

Welcome to my blog…to read about the National Dog Week Movement please click on ABOUT…

“My little old dog: A heart-beat at my feet.”  Edith Wharton, American, 1862-1937

Today, on the cusp of another Valentine’s Day, there is something being celebrated called Quirkyalone Day.  Started in 2004 by writer, Sasha Cagen, Quirkyalone Day promotes the healthy state of being alone rather than dating for the sake of being a couple.  Sasha even wrote a book about it titled, Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics, Harper San Francisco 2001.

I mention this because although I’ve been married a respectable fifteen years this September, I did not marry until my late 30s, so this gives me a little cred when speaking of this subject.  While single, I did not let it stop me from traveling to Italy alone (unlike Ms. Gilbert in eat, pray love– I got ‘er done in one country).  Although these days a writing project does take me to those more mystical places, and although I may no longer be “alone” I am still quirky.

Valentine’s Day is not my favorite time of year because it is basically a “false” holiday these days…but it is great for the economy so I won’t bash it too much…and kids like it, too.  There, my husband is off the hook.  I thought about all this while at the Pre-Westminster Fashion Show in New York City on Friday Night, an incredible event put on by pet fashion expert, Ada Nieves.  I will note here that I will hear (or have heard it) from friends and family on how is it possible I can partake in any event that puts clothes on a dog.  As a reporter of sorts, my job is to present what happens in the “dog” world, and even in Will Judy’s time, back in the 1920s, this was a fashionable way to raise funds for shelter dogs (really, it’s in the book).

Recently, I contacted someone I knew a  long time ago.  I told him how, although we change in many ways over the years, the image of his family’s huge lovable cat remains an unchanged, happy memory for me.  Pets are a great way to provide companionship in our lives when we are in an independent state, help forge memories, and even take the occasional edge off normally harmonious long-term relationships.

One of the best parts of last Friday evening was seeing so many people united by their dogs and getting to meet some Facebook friends in person.  People like the lovely (and surprisingly tiny) Nikki Moustaki who is the genius behind the Petpostcard Project and is now eating dog food to bring attention to Nitro’s Law (more on this in my next post), the elegant Babette Haggerty, the renowned dog trainer and daughter of the late great Captain Arthur Haggerty, Barbara Babikian and her sweet pups, Lilly and Dusty who won honors this weekend for being Angels on Leashes to so many, and getting “pummeled” by a guy from Rescue Ink (really they are pussycats).  I also enjoyed meeting famous dog fashion designer, Linda Higgins and her husband Bill, seeing Janice Wolfe and Wyatt and Lourdes Lebron win honors for their work on behalf of dog and human, and of course the lovely sight of Bocker Labradoodle and Amanda (who played Julia Robert’s niece in eat, pray, love) on the “catwalk” among others.  And bless you Barbara for telling me I look much thinner in person! I am having difficulty downloading photos, so I will post more on Facebook…or try again…

Happy QA and Valentine’s Day to all…it’s all good

These events do bring a lot of attention to the never-ending problem of pet overpopulation in our nation.  Some of the dogs modeling were available for adoption and as stated before, a portion of the proceeds from the event will go to help the Sean Casey Animal Rescue fund.

renowned dog-trainer, Babette Haggerty, me, and r. Nikki Moustaki

Welcome to my Blog…established to spread the bark about my book, Every Dog has its Week, written to enlighten readers about the state of the dog in the states of the nation, and to elicit an intelligent exchange about issues regarding our four-legged best friends.  To read more, please see ABOUT.

As I take a break from painting to blog, I’ll write about some books that had an impact on me over the course of the year, and yes, they all have a dog-theme. When I first started writing a few years ago, my husband asked if I could write a story that wasn’t about dogs or ice-skating.  I proceeded to write a children’s book about an ice-skating dog  based on my experience as a skating instructor. It’s adorable by the way!  And lately, it’s true, it does seem like I’ve gone to the dogs…

Before I proceed, I would like to mention a new product called the WalkieWay, designed by author and pet expert Nikki Moustaki and Aerospace Engineers.  I’ve written about Nikki and her remarkable Pet Postcard Project often.  To read about this new product, check out  The WalkieWay is a new collar/leash combo that works as a secure “Leash on Demand,” bringing peace of mind to dog owners everywhere, and it sure would make a nice holiday gift, too, for the dog-lovers in your life.

In October of 2009, I was fortunate to have attended a Highlights Foundation Workshop to study the Art of  Biography with Editor-in-Chief of Calkins Creek Books, Carolyn Yoder.  Workshops provided by the Highlights Foundation have helped many aspiring writers to achieve their dreams.  If you are thinking you cannot afford a workshop, check out their website, to learn about how you may be eligible for a scholarship. (You can read my post about this in the Archives of June 25).

One of the nice things about blogging is getting to talk with other writers and occasionally receiving copies of books to read and discuss with you.  I really enjoyed Jon Katz’s return to Fiction with his book Rose in a Storm (Villard).  This story, that takes place during a monstrous snowstorm in New York State, has readers following a faithful dog as she carries out her duties despite great obstacles.  Told through the eyes of Rose, a Border Collie, it’s a gripping adventure that also packs an emotional wallop.  I had the opportunity to interview Jon earlier this year (Archives-July 29th).

In the wake of Marly and Me, Narrative Memoirs about dogs continue to be very popular.  In September (during National Dog Week) I posted my interview with Seattle-based Steve Duno about his book, Last Dog on the Hill: The Extraordinary Life of Lou (St. Martin’s).  It’s a rewarding read about a fateful meeting of a dog and a man and how they changed each other’s lives for the betterment of all.  You can read that post in the Archives of September 21.

Thanks to Glenn Plaskin’s publishers, (Center Street), for forwarding a copy of his Katie Up and Down the Hall: The True Story of How One Dog Turned Five Neighbors into a Family.  The story transports readers to the unique “village” of Battery Park in downtown New York City.  Katie, a beloved Cocker spaniel unites hallway neighbors and helps them through the events of 9-1-1 and beyond.  I also thank New Zealand author Jeffrey Moussaeiff Masson for sending me a copy of his book The Dog the Couldn’t Stop Loving: How Dogs Have Captured our Hearts for Thousands of Years (Harper Collins) which presents a compelling exploration of the unique bond between dog and man that has evolved over a prolonged period of timeYou’ll be amazed while you read about some of Jeffrey’s first-hand accounts laced with scientific findings.

This year, I also came to call Denver-based author, Tracy Aiello, a friend.  In her Miracle Dogs of Portugal, Tracy educates young readers about history, and the legendary attributes of the Portuguese water dog breed.  You can read more about Tracy in my interview with her at

There are many other books that are on my “must read” list and I will present them to you in the new reading year.  And of course, keep reading as I let you know how my own book, Every Dog has its Week, is progressing….Enjoy the holiday and take time out to enjoy your family, pets, and a good book or two! If you have a dog-themed book you would like me to explore, please contact me 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”