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“Try to be the god on earth, the all-powerful and all-mighty your dog thinks you are. Never let him learn his mistake.” Will Judy, Founder of NDW

As the Week of the Dog winds down, I would like to thank Dr. Patrick, Mahaney, NDW Artist, Donald E. Brown, Laura Nativo and all my friends and family members who have supported my efforts and my work.  It means the world to me. Catch Laura  hosting Dog Park Superstars on the Game Show Network this Sunday, 9/25 at 8:00pm.  Remember, the Canines on Canvas Contest runs until October 7.  LIKE and POST at http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/National-Dog-Week/218596591491974

Painting, "HELP" - by Donald Brown, the inspiration for the NDW Poster

Below, some friends of National Dog Week give their thoughts on the occasion…

“Addressing animal rights and welfare are topics that I believe need to be addressed, as well as the specifics of dealing with the homeless pet population, Spay/Neuter programs, owner responsibility programs and ending the broken version of “sheltering, “as we know it. The lack of enforcement, lack of funding and lack of education need to be addressed and National Dog Week is the perfect platform for it.  Awareness does matter, Lisa, it is not just a corny expression. First people have to start asking the right questions. Publicity is the key to making that happen. An organized group with a specific date and intelligent, cohesive agenda can bring a lot of animal issues to the forefront and create a discussion that should continue for a lot more than a week.” Animal Activist and loyal friend and informative guest of this site working under the  name of “Willie Wonka.”

“We will celebrate today and everyday by showing the dogs that come into this world and get abused that there are good people out there that care for them and will help them have a better life.” Bigg Ant, on behalf of the cast of the Reality Television Show, Rescue Ink.

“Isabella and I are celebrating by a week of walks to the park, Frisbee fun and special treats! To us, every week is National Dog Week, but we love to send a bark out to all our 2 and 4 legged friends on this special week.” Ryan Rice, Houston Dog-Blogger

“We are also [in addition to having come to the aid of a pit bull and her nine new puppies this week] taking a trip to [our local]] SPCA to take a bunch of goodies and food to our furry friends there… Penny Lane and Lilly Pads are very excited because they get to play Santa in September.” Rose Russo, former NYPD Detective whose life was changed by the events of 9/11; a true friend and inspiring hero to both dogs and humans and a supportive Dog Week Fan.

 *     *     *     *

Two years ago, I thought about how I could use my abilities and experience to pursue something meaningful.  While contemplating, I happened upon  images of something called National Dog Week.  I don’t even know what search term I was using when the sight of pooches parading and  canines carousing in Rockefeller Center captured my attention.  I was hooked.  What was this week, was it for real, and if so, where did it go?

In that moment, you could say my life changed…I truly went to the dogs.  I set out to learn more about these seven special days in September dedicated to man’s best friends then launched a dog-week blog and then a book about it to share its true legacy with the world. I titled it Every Dog has it Week and found a Literary Agent to represent it, someone who believes in its relevance.

It hasn’t always been easy, but it has NEVER been boring.  There were times when I thought of changing the title to Every Dog had its Week as it is a daunting task to revive a Movement in an age when many live for the Moment.  Now, almost two years later, I have formed bonds with people who have enlightened and encourage my efforts.  Pooling from the Hollywood “Hoopla” and the less glamorous grass-roots level where the real grunt work is done, (just like during the hey-daze of NDW) these people who have influenced me come from all walks of life, from all areas of the nation. I have learned so much from them and I venture to say the book I am finishing now is very different from the one I started.

The other day, someone said to me, “I just don’t get this dog thing.  What is the attraction, what do they really do for us?” He isn’t alone in his pondering, many people actually feel this way. But far more realize the power of the paw.  Every day, somewhere across the nation, dogs find themselves assisting in schools, libraries, rehab facilities, Veteran’s Hospitals, crime scenes, in combat, search and rescue scenarios and many other places where their help is needed and appreciated.

As a substitute teacher, I enjoy working with young people.  They love hearing about National Dog Week, glad to learn that there is such a thing.  During a recent pre-interview for a local Public Access Cable Television Show, my interviewer pointed out that people living in senior developments are also great supporters of events like Dog Week as they recall when it was part of their lives and they have a lot of time, experience and love to give to homeless pets at local shelters.  So it is clear to me, the observance of National Dog Week can be a time of organized reflection on a national level, excluding no one …it is an equal-opportunity celebration of the canine and I hope you will strongly consider joining in.

Here are a few ways you can address some issues during the week, and beyond.

1) Be a dog-friendly ambassador, clean up after your dog, keep him on a leash, don’t let him bark all day in the yard; provide him with obedience training to work on disruptive behaviors.

2) Have your dogs (and cats) spayed or neutered.  Don’t think it will hurt them, make them less of a dog or feel bad that they never got to have pups.

3) Boycott puppy shops.  Close your wallet and open your eyes when you are lured in by that puppy in the window…These sales people are slick, there is a 300 percent markup on these dogs that are very likely to have health problems and were produced by adult dogs who suffer terrible conditions to pump out a “cash crop” of pups…don’t do it.  If you opt to use a breeder, ask around and do your research to find a reputable one.(You can contact me if you need help finding the right dog for your family).

4) Learn about different ways dogs can be housed in more humane ways.  Explore groups like Shelter Revolution http://www.shelterrevolution.org/  

5) If a young person wants a specific breed of dog, take the time to educate them about breed characteristics and the special needs a certain breed possesses.  Does it match a home or lifestyle?  Kids just love to learn about the breeds, too.

6) Pay attention to your dog’s health.  Feed intelligently and walk often, good advice for the human, too.

7) I leave this seventh item up to you…what  issues or topics are important to you and your dogs…let me know. Pst39crd@aol.com

Thanks for all the views and visits and inquiries.  It makes all the difference in the (dog) world!  Carry On. Plans for the next National Dog Week are in place.  Mark your calendars (September 24-30) for next year and help keep the motion in the movement…

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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

Hooper

"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

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”