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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


Sean Martin, Founder-Kids Adopt a Shelter

“But the dog is also an excellent teacher for children in that he aids in their character building.”

Will Judy, Founder of National Dog Week


For me, nothing is more inspiring than images and words that highlight the bond between children and their pets.

As many already know, this blog was started as a place where I could build interest in something I called the National Dog Week Project and the book I am writing about its Founder, Will Judy.  Although Judy was an accomplished lawyer and publisher, later in life he began to grapple with the more spiritual side of pet ownership (ownership was the word of the day in his time), focusing primarily on the canine-human bond.  Clearly, his early training in the ministry was influencing his writing and approach.

He spoke to the heart of all dog-lovers; men, women and children, firmly believing that through the act of caring for pets, children became more compassionate and responsible.  He viewed pet ownership as a young person’s training for parenthood in many ways.

I would also add volunteerism. Given the chance and encouragement, most kids are only too eager to donate their time and energy to a cause they care about.  Some are coached by caring parents and others just seem to come to it naturally.  Such was the case with a young man named Sean Martin who came to my attention through his Facebook Page and mission, Kids Adopt a Shelter.

I contacted Sean and his mom, Melanie, and told them about National Dog Week and how Sean’s work epitomizes its spirit.  Sean is an eleven- year old actor with his most recent role in the “dog-biz” centering  on his involvement with his Kids Adopt a Shelter Cause launched on Facebook.

Sean’s mission began when he and his friends gathered up a lot of “stuff” on the occasion of his parent’s Halloween Party.  Not happy with his results, Sean resolved to scare up “tons of stuff for Christmas,” that he would donate to the Little Shelter in Huntington, New York.

As Sean recalls, “I pleaded with family and friends and put signs up all over my neighborhood to raise awareness for my mission.”

His efforts were well rewarded. On December 23, 2011, Sean and his parents loaded their Jeep and delivered over $1,000 in donations.  But this ambitious kid with a big heart did not stop here. Sean decided he would get other kids just like him all over the nation to join him in his efforts…and Kids Adopt a Shelter was born! Sean set out to see that every state of the nation was represented, with the hopes that in the future he would have a rep in each town in each state.

With 2,584 Likes currently on their page, I think that he and fellow page administrators, Zac Posner are on the right track. Right now Sean and Zac are busy working on their Kids Adopt a Shelter SPRING 2012 DRIVE, an event scheduled for Tuesday, March 20 from 9:00am to 8:00pm. In some cases, they will even try to pick up your donations on your doorstep.

Similar to the folks at Covers for Critters, another group I have written about, Sean is encouraging all participants to gather up all kind of linens and bedding materials, and also any pet-related items, new or gently used to donate to shelters in need.  To find out more, please visit the Event page and contact Sean directly.

On his Facebook page for this cause there is a list of all the supplies that are needed with the names of all states represented to-date. A new feature also spotlights an adoptable cat and dog of the week.  I hope you and your kids of course, check out Sean’s blog site and help with donations and some time, too!

To learn more about Sean’s other roles in the acting community:

I like the fact that there is an emphasis on Spay and Neuter contained in the mission of Kids Adopt a Shelter.  On that note, I also encourage you to check out Project Pets – Spay, Neuter, Love’s  new website with its own focus on young people.

In a week or so, we will be announcing some exciting National Dog Week news that has a whole lot to do with kids.  Stay tuned and please LIKE our NDW Community Page!/pages/National-Dog-Week/218596591491974

“There are too many dog books.  There never are enuf good dog books.”  Will Judy, Founder of National Dog Week. Thanks to Taylor Ashley of Elite Professionals Magazine for this nice feature!

Donald E. Brown's NDW Poster - 2011

This is a very special blogging milestone for me…with this post (my 140th) I celebrate two years of continuous blogging.  My first post appeared on January 4, 2010.  Some said it wouldn’t last, I would never find the time to post weekly.  But, according to my year-end WordPress Summary, “The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people.  This blog was viewed 11,000 times in 2011.  If it were a concert at the Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.”  With hundreds of millions of blogs in the world, I cherish my puppy’s share of “clicks.”

I launched this blog site to educate readers about Captain Will Judy and the mission of his National Dog Week Movement begun in 1928 and  to help promote a book I’ve been writing about Judy and his enduring influence on the American dog.  Today, I am happy to announce that this book will be published by McFarland & Company, a leading independent publisher of academic and non-fiction books, in 2013.  I am thrilled by this development and want to thank my agents Donna Eastman and Gloria Koehler for their advice and encouragement from the submission process to editorial assistance.

But I couldn’t have done it without the help of some animal-loving friends who shared their stories and work with me.  I wrote about issues I thought were important to those who act as protectors and guardians of our Companion Animals. It is rewarding to see that a post about Thomas Cole and his Shelter Revolution was among the most widely read and one by animal advocate “Willie Wonka” about Spay and Neuter initiatives was the one that received the most comments.  And WordPress informed me that while most referrals came from Facebook, many came from the Teddy Hilton Blog written by Dr. Patrick Mahaney who generously served as the official NDW Pet Health Consultant.

I am also excited to confirm that the book’s Foreword will be written by NYC Dog Obedience Trainer, Babette Haggerty.  Babette’s father, the late Captain Arthur Haggerty, is regarded by many as the “Grandfather of American Dog Obedience.”  He was very influential is promoting the values of Captain Judy and a great supporter of National Dog Week.

My first book, Something’s Lost and Must be Found (now available in paper back) was inspired by this blog.  This collection of dog-centric short stories has been well-reviewed and I am glad people continue to enjoy it.  And I plan to be able to help some special causes with some of my proceeds.

Nine decades ago, Will Judy knew that people loved to read about dogs…and that remains true today.  I have featured some talented writers throughout these past two years and now, as I present my literary milestone, I celebrate the way they also use their unique writing talents to make life better for both dog and human. For more information, I have listed each author’s Links below this post.

Early on, I presented an interview with author Jon Katz (Bedlam Farms). Last year, I received a review copy of his novel, Rose in a Storm, that I thoroughly enjoyed. I extend my condolences to Jon on the loss of his beloved Border Collie, Rose, who passed late last year.  I’ve read Jon is publishing a special e-book about his life with Rose for Random House.

Another very popular post was one about Seattle-based author, Steve Duno.  Steve’s book, Last Dog on the Hill is a moving account of his relationship with a rescued feral pup named Lou.  Steve tells me that a book he has co-written about the abandoned dogs of Puerto Rico will be out later this year.

And humans aren’t the only ones who can write a good dog book.  Last year, Bocker the Labradoodle presented his Chasing Bocker’s Tale, the “pawmoir” of a camera-friendly dog who uses his charm and good looks to help humans and animals in need of a helping paw.  We just gave away a copy of Bocker’s book on the NDW Community Page.!/pages/National-Dog-Week/218596591491974

Tracy Aiello’s book, the Miracle Dogs of Portugal, taught history through the legacy of the Portuguese water dog breed and author Lisa Pliscou featured a gnarly surfing Dog named Bud in Dude: Fun with Dude and Betty.  I got to meet Lisa at a local book signing in June.

On my to-read list are dog groomer/author Jamie Wilsoncroft’s short story, Jingle Bells and Puppy Dog Tales about a woman who finds self worth and love while recovering from a double mastectomy when she adopts a dog from a shelter.  Congratulations to Jamie on the recent release of her new book, Remembering Zane. Alanna Chasin’s The Dog Buddha Explains is on that list as is tireless dog-advocate Robert Cabral’s Selling Used Dogs, a hands on tool to help shelter workers, vounteers and rescue organizations filled with creative concepts.

And finally, I want to acknowledge the help of my sister, Manette and my friend, David Lender on their help in launching this blog and for their  publishing help and encouragement.  David is a successful writer of thrillers. His latest, Vaccine Nation has done very nicely on Amazon.  He hasn’t written a dog book (yet) but he loves to write about their adopted pit bull, Styles, in his author’s blog.

As I wrote in my very first post, I hope that if Will Judy could read my books, he would think they were better than good “enuf.” (He had quirky way of writing that entertained his audience).  Wish me luck as I toil over the “ruff” drafts and challenges to come in the writing of his biography.  Where there is a “Will” there is a way…  (Jamie Wilsoncroft)  (password: ebookformyfriends)

Sorry…if you want the dark and snarky…go over the other “Post.”  But if you want a nice story of a task well-done…read on.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better.  It’s not.”  Dr. Seuss, from the Lorax

The other day I got a call from Domenic, a young man who works at an Assisted Living Facility in town.  He said that someone had given him a flyer they had taken from a booth I had sponsored for Covers for Critters at our local Dog Fest event last September.  Dog Fest is a terrific event held here each year, sponsored by the Brick Township Rotary Club. (See post of May 1, 2011 for details).

Domenic asked if I was still interested in receiving old bedding, towels and sheets, etc. for a local Animal Shelters.  I said I was, but I also recalled that back in October another facility had offered, only to go back on their promised donation due to a “management decision” that said these items were needed elsewhere.  Domenic assured me it wasn’t them (there are many establishments of this type in my town) and I told him I would be there early the next morning.

When I pulled into the lot, there he was with his helper, John, cleaning out a shed.  They told me to back in my van and proceeded to load it up with unused bags of bed comforters.

He then asked if we needed sheets and I said I would gladly take them….

I thanked him for taking the time and making the effort to contact after almost three months had gone by…he said he was a dog lover and hoped to have more for us in the future.

At this year’s Dog Fest event, I also had young people participate in Nikki Moustaki’s Pet Postcard Project by making a slew of postcards at my booth.  The PPP is a unique and fun way for people to help feed Shelter Pets one cup of kibble at a time…Nikki, an accomplished Dog Obedience Trainer, author and animal advocate is now blogging for the Dog Channel and tells me she has some exciting events planned in the New Year.

All set up for Pet Post Card Production...

Some people rescue, others rehab, some Foster and others cross post adoptable dogs and cats on Facebook…there are many ways everyone can contribute.  I write about issues affecting our Companion Animals, with these blog posts and the books I write.  My short story collection continues to do well as a Kindle Download and now is available in a Soft Cover version   My first donation from some of my proceeds will go to Project Pets, Spay, Neuter, Love!/pages/Project-Pets-Spay-Neuter-Love/160594203971240and will pay for the S/N of one pet.  According to the group’s vice president, “Willie Wonka,” “$50 pays for one dog to be neutered or one cat to be spayed. You know that means the world will have 1/2million less cats in ten years – or 300,000 dogs.” Those are powerful statistics…and that’s just with the “fixing” on one animal…

In the coming weeks, I am planning a special two-year anniversary post and then hope to present the forces behind the Ray of Hope Program of Kansas City  and a young man named Sean Martin who started the Kids Adopt a Shelter Campaign on Facebook!/KidsAdoptaShelter as well as some other individuals who are using their time and talents to make some lasting and significant changes in the way our Companion Animals are treated.

Happy New Year’s all and thank you for your quiet support.

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

In the next posts, read about West Coast Dog Trainer Robert Cabral’s Patron-sponsored event for his organization, Bound Angels and follow a young woman as she welcomes a special Service Dog into her life!

If you have enjoyed learning about National Dog Week or have benefited by being featured on this site, now would be a great time to go on over and LIKE my new page for National Dog Week. Blogging and maintaining social media sites take a lot of time and work, and I thank you in advance for helping spread the bark…NDW is observed the week of September 19th this year.!/pages/National-Dog-Week/218596591491974Watch for exciting new announcements!

 Thomas Cole of Shelter Revolution is hard at work making changes in the way adoptable animals are cared for as they await new homes.  Allowing these animals to live in a more positive and comfortable environment, where those dog requiring social rehabbing can receive the help they need, Thomas envisions a more humane future for our pets and  more satisfying and safe adoptions.

Pet-advocate “Willie Wonka,” Vice President of Project Pets – Spay, Neuter, Love,!/pages/Project-Pets-Spay-Neuter-Love/160594203971240 reminds us all that the Spaying and Neutering of our pets is a crucial component of this goal. If we can reduce the large number of homeless cats and dogs introduced into the world each day, it can make the goals of Shelter Revolution reachable, serving as the model of the future for a kinder sheltering experience. “WW” is known for saying that we cannot rescue our way out of this mess. If you do the math, you know this is true.

In this interview, a follow-up to the one on May 15th of this year, I asked Thomas what it would really take to establish the model of his “dreams.” I am staying out of his way, and presenting the material as he organized it.  Please take time to read.  If there is something of note you feel you can help with, please contact Thomas directly at, or me,

Here is Part Two of the Shelter Revolution Series…

 The question always comes down to build new or revamp the old? New is always better but not always possible. Who wouldn’t want a 5-10 acre place in the country for the dogs and cats to romp in? Those inner city facilities will just need to focus on offsite rehab done by rehabbers in their homes (just like I have personally mastered!).

I have never had the luxury of beautiful buildings and a large paid staff. I had to make do with pole barns and volunteers. We ran a 100% no-kill operation back in 1963 with that kind of makeshift facility – long before the term no-kill was even used.   I can do it again and so can others with guidance. We don’t need millions of dollars.

Don’t get me wrong! I’d love to have the $5-7 million most new facilities cost to open their doors. If I did have that the money would go to designing a facility for animals not for humans. No fancy lobbies, no vaulted ceilings, no big offices. Maybe a daycare center for volunteers. But I’d certainly have a beautiful natural pond for the dogs to play in…

A pond in Chicago built by Thomas Cole

How would the facility be run?

 •  Open-admission

•  Displays in large open groups (25-30) only animals that get along.

•  A separate quarantine area will house new intakes and sick/injured animals.

•  Special fosters will provide extended off-site care for sick/injured/senior and neonatal during their recovery.

•  In-home rehab for those not ready for group living (and therefore, not ready for adoption) – provided by trained and experienced local rescuers and fosters.

•  Volunteers will provide most of the labor needed to serve the animal population at the Center.

•  Animal Control and catch poles will be euthanized, giving way to an unarmed “courtesy patrol” made up of volunteers trained in handling scared dogs and cats. No SWAT uniforms – the police will handle the cases involving violent people!  (i.e. enforcement is police work, investigations by trained & licensed animal control agents only)


Within 3-4 years the community will no longer be able to fill local adoption needs without going outside the community for a new supply of animals.


• $1-3 million for Green (Gold LEEDS certification) buildings.

•  1-2 acre land costs to be determined.

•  Staff positions will be below market-rate salaries; this is non-profit work.

•  Annual operating budget (exclusive of special S/N funding) approx $1-2 million.


Marin County or Sonoma County – weather is good, they need a better example (especially Sonoma County).

Would benefit the fragmented Bay Area by pulling together local rescue groups and shelters.


Need 3 buildings – don’t have to be fancy. Pole barns are fine. Dogs and cats don’t need fancy entryways, vaulted ceilings or grand lobbies.

•  Adoption Center display area (60-70 dogs, 40-70 cats)

•  Indoor play/exercise facility (for bad weather or emergency rescue situations)

•  Medical and intake holding area. Will need 3-4 outside fenced exercise and lounging areas (1-2 acres best) as well as a 1/8-acre manmade Aquascapes pond for the dogs.


I will train local rescuers and experienced fosters to work with “reactive” dogs and cats. These are animals who cannot get along well in a group setting. Rehabbers will return dogs often for group interaction (socialization) at the AC as their rehab progresses. This prepares them for reentry to the large groups and adoption.


•  need 2 senior managers only to run the entire operation: an experienced medical person and a business manager to handle internal and external reporting, cash management, limited auditing. All bookkeeping will be hired out to a local firm to protect integrity. Monthly performance reporting will ensure transparency to the public. Annual audits will ensure system integrity.

 •  Volunteers will make up most of the work force including shelter operations, reporting systems, offsite adoption events, volunteer coordinating, and dog training for humans.

 •  I will personally customize with Endel Jurman, CEO of ChameleonBeach software, a fully automated operations reporting system using Chameleon software. Dogs and cats will wear collars with scannable (think UPC bar codes) ID tags for control through the system. This system will include modules for open-admission control of strays and seizures, interactive reports on all animals whether adoptable, in medical quarantine or in offsite rehab, up-to-the-minute photos and updates posted on-line by volunteers. This entire process will be run by volunteers.

 •  All animal areas, especially quarantine and stray impound, will have cameras installed for public monitoring.

 •  All area residents will be able to keep tabs ONLINE on animals and place a hold for adoption on an animal they like. Required licensing can be purchased on-line through the Chameleon system. Strays will be posted for reclaim online.

 •  Offsite “kiosk viewers” can be purchased and placed in strategic malls and pet stores to draw attention to available animals.

 •  Local rehabbers (former rescuers and fosters) will be provided free broadband internet service to post updates each week. They will be able to seek advice from a help desk and answer questions from interested adopters right from their home.

 •   Internships will be sought from local colleges and professional-level help from retired business people.

In their words and actions, Thomas and WW carry out the original goals of Will Judy’s National Dog Week Movement established in 1928. Without benefit of Social Media, Judy, this unsung hero to the American Canine, helped to educate the growing population of American dog owners…a leader of the human pack…He trained humans, not dogs, long before it was popular! To learn more, please see ABOUT.

Copyright © 2011 by Lisa Begin-Kruysman. All rights reserved.  No part of this blog, or book excerpts, may be used, reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage or retrieval system, without the written permission of the publisher, except where permitted by law, or in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.  For information, contact

Welcome to my blog, established to bring about an intelligent dialogue about the state of the dog in the states of the nation. Learn more…please READ ABOUT.!/pages/National-Dog-Week/218596591491974 Please check out the new Facebook page for National Dog Week.

Please note that the on-line auction organized by Project Pets – Spay, Neuter, Love is still in progress until June 15th.  You can visit them on Facebook and join in the bidding that will help to improve the lives of many animals. Please visit this site and show your support for the animal advocates in Alabama who are fighting to keep low-cost s/n clinics from being shut down!

Even back in 1928, the nation faced a problem with a large homeless pet population.  Will Judy, at the time the publisher of Dog World Magazine, a breeder, and internationally renowned dog show judge, established his National Dog Week Movement not to bring more dogs into the world, but to encourage American dog owners (and those abroad) to be better caregivers to the ones that were already here.  Now, nine decades later, have we done enough to embrace his mission?

Here is the second part of my interview with animal advocate “Willie Wonka” discussing his goal to have more animals spayed and neutered as one way to reduce the number of homeless  companion animals in the nation.  Here he talks about the health and behavioral benefits of having these procedures preformed. 

Please see Post of June 1 for the first part of this ongoing series.

Why don’t more people have their pets altered?  When I discuss Spay/Neuter now, I am certainly talking about every homeless animal first, and then every pet that is in a home that is not being bred. Unless they (the owners) specifically need them intact, these animals should be spayed and neutered.  It is healthier for the animals and there are no “accidents” – the 1000’s that happen every year. This needs to end – lazy and ignorant owners need to get responsible.  We need everyone to cooperate, or they’ll keep dumping puppies on country roads, or at shelters.  Either way, they die.

What do you say to those who don’t think these procedures are important?  Many are not aware of the health benefits of this procedure for their animals nor the harm that is done when their pets are allowed to have one litter.  The death of 5-7 million animals a year in Public Shelters is not the only reason S/N is important.  

Here are some other key points to consider:

 · Spaying your female dog before her first heat and neutering your male dog as close to six months as possible reduces tumors and some cancer possibilities by 200 times and will eliminate an infection of the uterus completely. In comparison, spaying a female before her second heat or waiting until a male is over a year old reduces the chances of tumors and cancer by twelve times.

 · The chances for developing breast cancer go down to almost zero if your pet is spayed before her first estrous cycle or heat (before she reaches sexual maturity).  Put another way, 95% of mammary cancer is eliminated when a female pet is spayed

· Early spays prevent unplanned, unwanted pregnancies. If your puppy or kitten becomes pregnant (puppies can become pregnant at younger than 6 months of age and kittens can become pregnant at as young as 4 months of age), it can be potentially damaging to her health, since she is very young. A young puppy or kitten is in no way suited for motherhood.

· If your male dog is neutered before he has learned to lift his leg and/or mount (at around 6 months of age), he most likely never will.  Neutering a male while he is young also reduces the desire to “wander ” away from his home.  Males tend to mellow out a bit.

Thanks again to our dedicated contributor, Willie Wonka.  Please watch for related posts about different organizations throughout the nation who are doing their part to help more pets receive procedures that will ultimately help them find homes and live healthier, longer lives.

If you would like to learn about low-cost spay and neuter opportunities in your community, please let me know and I will try my best to help refer your inquiry to the right party.

Welcome to my Blog, established to promote the mission of the National Dog Week Movement born in 1928 and my book that chronicles the life and times of its Founder, Captain William Lewis Judy.  To learn more, see ABOUT.

Thanks to all for sharing the link to my blog with so many on Facebook…it is really helping to spread the word about some great projects…I’ve approached a local Rotarian about soliciting the support of local lodging establishments in his area.  If you would like to use the letter I used as a template, please contact me at

The first seven days of May is officially Be Kind to Animals Week and National Pet Week and while it’s a nice thought, I think it’s a safe bet that most of my readers honor them the other fifty-one weeks of the year, too.

But it’s a great opportunity to introduce the month with some real simple and effective ways people across the nation are especially kind to our companion animals.  One such endeavor is the Covers for Critters Project organized by my friend who works under the name of  Willie Wonka (named in memory of a beloved white poodle). If you are an advocate for animals you really should friend Willie on Facebook and “LIKE” the SitStayHeel and Project Pets pages, too, helping in the effort to revolutionize the American Shelter System and address America’s issues surrounding pet overpopulation. (You’ll love the photos of Willie’s rescued lab-mix, Jazz, too).

With the guidance of Willie, Brenda Yohman Frick has taken up the challenge to promote Covers for Critters, helping other animal-lovers across the United States to get involved. Brenda, who resides in Pennsylvania, shares her life with fiancé, Ric and two rescues, Hanna, a 6-year-old Great Pyrenees/Yellow Lab mix and Rachel a 3-year-old Black Lab. Somewhere along the way in her efforts to help animals in need, she connected with Willie through Facebook. Brenda can’t recall the circumstances but says, “I knew God sent Willie Wonka to me for a reason.”

Willie Wonka's dog Jazz taking a rest from working on behalf of the Cause for the Paws

Here, Brenda talks to me about her work on behalf of Covers for Critters:

How did you become involved with this project? One of our local hotels was doing a complete top-to-bottom remodel and they were throwing everything out. It was during this time that Willie posted a story about Pender County in North Carolina,  having so many dogs sleeping outside on bare concrete in the dead of winter.

A plea was put out on Facebook for doghouses and that need was met but they were still on bare concrete. It was then that I told Willie how I had come to be in possession of all these blankets and if I had their address I would mail some boxes of blankets to them for the dogs. One thing lead to another and as I got blankets, I would ask Willie for more addresses. So far I have sent out 7 boxes of blankets to 4 different states, NC, TN, FL and GA. That was around 5 months ago and the rest is history. It was Willie who prompted me to go “public” with it and enlist the help of every animal advocate out there and the response has been tremendous!

Is this being done in an organized way in other parts of the country? To my knowledge, this exact type of program hasn’t been done before. The hotels/motels that I have visited have been very receptive to the idea especially when I mention all of the positive publicity they will receive. Facebook is such a powerful tool and who doesn’t like getting recognition for doing something nice? I really don’t have a story of any unsuccessful “hunts.”I would love to see a major chain of hotels proud to announce that they donate all of their unwanted blankets to Covers for Critters. I can’t see why they wouldn’t be willing to donate, especially if one would happen to mention that their competitor down the street is doing it. 

Where do all these blankets go and how do they get there? We urge volunteers to donate to their local shelter/rescue first and when blankets need to go elsewhere they can contact Willie for an address of a needy shelter/rescue. Right now, I’m paying for shipping my blankets out of my own pocket. Eventually, I’ll ask the hotels that donate the blankets if they would like to donate money to help offset the cost of shipping. I can send a large box of 5-6 blankets for around $15.00. I know 5-6 blankets doesn’t sound like very many but remember that these are hotel blankets they are all full size or larger. Most were queen/king size. The nice Velour ones that won’t fray if you cut them, so they can be cut smaller to use in cat crates too and they launder beautifully.  I get my boxes from Sheetz, I like the Sub Roll boxes because they are thick cardboard and can stand up to the rigors of shipment, I also mail them USPS First Class or what some people call Parcel Post. This is the most economical way.

How many blankets have you collected? To date I have collected and mailed over 50 blankets. Now, let’s think about this for a minute…….let’s say half of the blankets were King size and let’s say that each one of those was cut in half, that would give you 50 blankets in addition to the 25 blankets that weren’t cut in half! That’s a lot of warm dogs and cats. I’m also thinking that in the future I want to hold a “blanket drive” at my property. Maybe serve hot dogs and lemonade and have everyone from the community drop off their unwanted blankets.

Brenda takes to the road....

 Cherisa Lamb from Ohio adds, “I worked for a rescue when I was 18 and I was working as a maid at a hotel and I learned how well the two (blankets and animal welfare) went together. It’s pretty easy. I call the various hotels and ask for their head of housekeeping. I explain what I want them for and make arrangements to come in and pick them up whenever they are getting rid of them. You don’t get them every day of course but once every 3 months per hotel you can get some. I have also gotten them from offices where doctors still use sheets and blankets on their exam tables. And thrift stores who throw out damaged donations.”

Willie Wonka says this project is, “simple, direct and cheap. No drama, just results…” adding that Project Pets-Spay Neuter, Love will pay for the mailing of blankets if needed. 

Willie would like to give Andy, the General Manager of the Falls Creek, PA Clarion a special thank you. Because of Andy’s generous participation, Willie’s organization has posted the chain on their Facebook Wall, and even called to thank him personally. Willie says that if a lodging is truly pet-friendly, they should have no trouble with this concept. A special thanks is also extended to Jo Burchfield, the President and supporter of (PetProjectSNL) for all her contributions.

Personally, I love this project. It’s good for recycling, good for the pets and the hotel and motel chains  receive some positive press, too! Make a copy of this post to bring to the manager of a lodging establishment. Tell them we’ll make sure their good deeds are known.

On my next post, I’ll talk about bags for cats, Kongs (for canines) and Mats4Mutts, and the Pet Postcard Project. Thanks to Willie, Brenda and Cherisa for sharing their experiences! Have a great week….and please feel free to contact me with your “pet project.”

The sign says it all!

Welcome to my blog, established to promote the intelligent dialogue about the state of the dog in the states of the nation. To learn more about the National Dog Week Movement please read ABOUT.

“…Dogs have given us their absolute all. We are the center of their universe, we are the focus of their love and faith and trust. They serve us in return for scraps. It is without a doubt the best deal man has ever made.”  Roger Caras, American, 1928-2001.

The other day, I posted on my Facebook wall that it was International Pooper Scooper Month (I guess it’s a problem in all corners of the dog world) and that the last week of April is Scoop the Poop Week. A few friends wondered if I was serious and I provided a link to an Examiner article I had written last year on the subject.  One of the original tenets of National Dog Week was that dog owners be more responsible and considerate of the rights on non-dog owners, a concept that its founder, Captain William Lewis Judy, understood (even 83-years ago) helped to make the world a dog-friendlier place.

As it was just Earth Day, you can also think of it as a way to be kind to Mother Earth. I actually had someone say to me that squirrels, rabbits and deer freely make deposits on our lawns, so why should she pick up after her dogs? I explained that those animals have a vegetarian based diet, and that is very different from most dog-diets in this nation. I’ve also been told by my friends who live on the water that the rain will just wash it away into the creeks, bays and rivers, and nature will take care of it. They are obviously wrong.  So be a good citizen, be considerate of your neighbors, the health of other dogs (dog poop can transport worms and parasites) and honor the planet you inhabit.

The month of May is Go Fetch! Food Drive for Homeless Animals Month and its first two weeks bring us Be Kind to Animals and National Pet Week. If you go to  you can read related articles on these topics. This past week, I found myself thinking about the goodness of some people as I read posts on the walls of many of my pet-loving friends. If I could blog for a decade, posting every day, I still could not credit everyone, but I do try to write about people who rarely get any notice for what they do for the animals. Many of them work behind the scenes, asking only that attention be directed toward their cause. Many reach into their own pockets to help when funds run out to save a pet from an overcrowded shelter, spay and neuter dogs and cats, or get animals transported to safe shelters where their lives just might be spared.

In May, I’ll be writing about Covers for Critters launched under Willie Wonka’s Project Pets and organized by Brenda Yohman Frick, Kathy Hart’s Mats4Mutts, catch up with Erika Friedman about her Kong project for shelter dogs and talk again about how Nikki Moustaki’s Pet Postcard Project is such a terrific and creative way to help shelters, among others.

But first, I would like to wish Second Acts and its founder Michael S. Brown, my new Facebook friend, a happy birthday. Founded in 2008 by Michael, Second Acts is a non-profit fundraising organization distributing 100% of all donations it receives to small volunteer and animal rescue groups throughout the nation that adopt a no-kill policy. Michael also just celebrated his birthday this month, and speaking of that, if you would like to use the occasion of  your birthday to make a difference for animals, you can go to the organization’s website to find out how Please Like them on Facebook, too.  Congratulations and Happy Birthday Michael.

And on a final note for the month of April, I thank all of you who have supported me and my blog; by the end of March, we had celebrated 100 posts together. In May, I will be publishing a collection of short-tales with dog themes on Amazon, many inspired by the posts I have written on behalf of the National Dog Week Movement. With so many disturbing stories and wall postings out there in the world of social networking, sometimes people tune out and shut down. With my stories, I am trying to use a different approach to be thought-provoking, to inspire people to find some way to connect on an emotional level, and then be inspired to take a practical approach to help in their own way.

I will be calling on some of my friends to help me with this new venture and I am confident this will be a win-win situation for all. If all goes as planned, I hope to help some causes that are dear to my heart and “write” some wrongs, one short story at a time, but I will need the support of many.

Happy Pooper Scooper Week to all!


"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”