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An illustration from Will Judy's book, Don't Call A Man A Dog. 1949

An illustration from Will Judy’s book, Don’t Call A Man A Dog. 1949

In 1949, on writing about patients in veterans’ hospitals and the role of dogs in their treatment and recovery Will Judy wrote,”The presence and companionship of dogs, the observation of their playful antics has helped patients on their way back to normal thinking and living.”

In 2010, upon commencing my research and writing of the biography of Captain William Lewis Judy, I reached out to those in the dog community. One of those individuals was Rose Russo who helped me on my path to “dogdom” by sharing her personal experience and insight on the importance of dogs in our lives. As this year’s theme for National Dog Week is “At Your Service-All-ways” I invited Rose to be our guest blogger responding to the question, “How have dogs impacted your life when coping with life’s challenges?” We arethankful that she agreed to be our special guest blogger for the 87 Observance of National Dog Week.

Rose and her girls who have changed her life.

Rose and her girls who have changed her life.”Okay, which one of you was driving?” We don’t think she gave them a ticket!

“If you are lucky enough to have a service dog then the person you should be thanking is Will Judy. Will Judy was an attorney; soldier and author who realized that dogs serve not only as pets but can assist soldiers in their everyday life and help them cope with the tragedy of war. His instrumental work on National Dog week allows all of us to now have this growing phenomenon, and allows those of us who suffer from physical and mental tragedies to live our lives to the fullest extent possible.

Service Dogs are a very underutilized medical necessity. They have changed the lives of the blind and assist many other in daily life tasks so essential to survival. Even at a time when many are complaining that the use of service dogs has risen unnecessarily, they are an essential need for many.

I could not function without my service dogs. On Sept 11, 2001, I was a New York City Detective. While assisting in the recovery efforts I suffered a disabling nerve disorder (Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome) that will continue to get worse over time. For many years I had difficulty – mentally and physically – with daily life tasks. My anxiety and depression was at an all time high. It was then that I was introduced to the possibility of a service dog. I was skeptical to say the least. But after working with my girls (two King Charles spaniels) my life started to change.

I am now able to conduct many basic daily activities, such as a simple walk in the park, without tremendous fear and anxiety. Without my service dogs I could never have been able to fly again. They have been instrumental in my life and many others. Service dogs have assisted children with court room testimony and even teenagers going off to college being able to cope with life away from their family.

I am currently working with many individuals, especially police officers, who have been able to change their lives due to their service animal. One officer I have worked with was involved in a shooting and became confined to inside his home. He was unable to leave his home and return to work. Through the help of a service dog he has been able to regain the confidence to live his life to the fullest extent possible.

Service dogs are not only needed they are necessary for many to live a full and healthy life. But the program is not without faults. Many have abused the system and taken advantage of a program that was designed to assist those in dire need. Even the Americans with Disability Act allows some of this fraudulent activity by only allowing business owner to ask two basic questions of a patron with a service dog; is this dog used for a disability and what tasks does the dog perform? Without further investigation or proof this allows many to scam the system.

But just because of some fraudulent activity the system should not be broken down. States could easily provide licenses or endorsement on a driver’s license to make the service dog program more trusted and official.

Service dogs are an essential necessity for many and are helping those who suffer to function in life and even live life beyond what they had ever thought possible. As those coping with mental and physical disabilities become more understood, people will hopefully continue to see how necessary these dogs are to those unable to cope with the daily physical and mental activities of life and allow them to live the life they want and deserve.”

Thank you Rose  for being an important part of the mission of Will Judy’s National Dog Week during its 87th Observance and beyond. We hope you all will LIKE our Facebook page and become part of its mission, too. Happy National Dog Week everyone. and visit


Sweet Dreams, Railan

Thanks to blogger/author Kevin Middleton for this great interview last week. We talked about FULL SNOW MOON and SOMETHING’S LOST AND MUST BE FOUND. I hear his wife is a true lover of dogs, so hopefully they will become friends of National Dog Week!

Rose Russo is a friend and a true advocate for man’s best friend. If her name sounds familiar, it is because she is very active among the New York City circle of animal advocates. A former NYPD Detective, Rose’s life was changed forever by the events of 9/11. Rose now dedicates her life to helping dogs as a trainer, groomer, foster and rescuer. To read more please see BLOG ARCHIVES of August 26,2010.

Recently, Rose told me the story of a little terrier she rescued while staying in Homestead, Florida. Rose tells it so well, I am just going to let her do all the talking!

BLOG NOTES: I just want to say a quick congratulations to Sean Martin and his Kids Adopt a Shelter Spring Drive. Hopefully we can provide feedback soon. I also want to point out that Project Pets Spay, Neuter, Love has a new website . Every once in awhile, I will hit their donate button and donate a dollar or two. Just imagine how much money could be raised for the Spay and Neuter of more dogs and cats if everyone did the same.

Now for the story of Railan Russo as told by Rose Russo~

On Friday, January 20th, at approximately 6:30 PM, we packed the Ford Explorer, punched an address into the GPS and headed to the Sunshine State. I took the wheel and Penny-Lane and Lily-Pads were onboard for the drive. Originally, we had planned to leave early Saturday morning, but Mother Nature planned otherwise. With a pending storm bearing down on the North East, Saturday morning, we skipped the good night rest and left Friday night. Of to Florida we went. Even with the few stretches of bad weather we continued straight through only making a few stops to nap and freshen up.

I had never been to Homestead, Florida; I actually never even knew it existed. Because we had to get back to New York for Westminster our time was limited. We were meeting Designer Kiki Hamann for a Pre-Westminster dress fitting. Kiki Hamann is one of the premier designers for the event. The ride to Kiki’s home was astonishing, the cows, the farms and all the stray dogs. Once I arrived at Kiki’s home I learned that Homestead was a wonderfully close community that is unfortunately burdened with the reputation of being a place to abandon dogs. Many individuals end up caring for seven, eight and more dogs. Kiki herself has 8 dogs, most she has rescued. I remember growing up in Brooklyn and seeing dogs walking in packs, but we are in the 21st century I thought those days were long gone. I couldn’t believe my eyes, and of course my heart went out to them.

At Kiki’s home, I was greeted not only by Hamann’s 8 dogs but by one little guy lurking near the fence. I think he was checking us out. The next morning, while the Hamanns had to run some errands, I stayed behind. Well back came our little visitor,, and it seemed as if he wanted to come over and play but being cautious he kept his distance. As he saw me sitting in the field, playing and rolling around the grass with my dogs, he became more curious. He was so adorable looking, and I knew behind all that smell and crusted matted hair, he had a beautiful coat.

When the Hamanns came home, the little guy had been groomed and looked like a brand new dog. Kiki couldn’t believe her eyes, she told me she had been trying for months to get close to him and pet him but he kept his guard. I took the task of grooming many stays that day and It was priceless watching their faces during and after being groomed and pampered. I would do it again and again, because every fur baby needs to be groomed and pampered once in their lifetime.

As my visit grew longer, he began to stay with. I would go to sleep and wake and he would be there, I would go out and come back and he would come looking for us….OMG what to do? As my departing date was getting near I went through the neighborhood looking to see if he belonged to someone. No one looked for him, asked for him….nothing. I wasn’t looking for another fur baby, but I guess he was looking for a family.

As I was packing the truck the night before he stayed as if he knew what was going on. The very next morning the girls and I got onto the truck. As he watched me with those little green eyes of his, I opened the door and asked him if he wanted to come – He jumped right in the front seat and didn’t care one bit, all he cared was that he had found a family, finally a place to call home.

I always think people meet for a reason, well the same applies to animals. We never know why paths cross just that it is something meant to be. But I tell you this little dog came to me at a moment I wasn’t feeling well, I was stressed with family matters and he just let me care for him.

As the girls and I were driving back, I realized that he needed a name. Little-Man was a thought but this didn’t fit for someone who is small, feisty, sweet, caring and loving soul. He came from a farm country place so I wanted to give a name that would fit him, I threw some names out there but the one he liked was “RAILAN” Railan Russo. We drove twenty-two straight hours and he did well on the return trip. Most importantly the girls were good with him and he was a gentleman with the girls.

February 10th arrived quickly and we arrived at the Pre-Westminster fashion show in New York City, organized by Ada Nieves. Penny-Lane and Lily-Pads were modeling Kiki Hamann’s designs. Now Railan, a new member of the family got into the act. Kiki Hamann gave him a black and white blinged harness, but it wasn’t just a harness, it looked like a tuxedo shirt and amazingly it matched the girls beautiful venetian-styled gowns. For Railan’s first exposure to our crazy life, he did very well. Railan has become very good around people and other fur babies. Penny-Lane and Lily-Pads have shown him how to interact and be calm around other fur babies. He still looks for me and wants to be around me almost like a security blanket. I have had people ask me if I am looking to place him. I tell people he is not ready yet, for now he is a Little Russo.

Railan is a long hair silk terrier, approximately between 1 and 2 years of age, with a great personality. He learns quickly and wants to please. He is affectionate and loves to hang and sunbathe with Penny-Lane and Lily-Pads. He would make a great addition to any family and has brought some new life to ours.

Thank you Rose for this beautiful story. Your life-story and work on behalf of our dogs epitomizes the true mission of National Dog Week!

“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!/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  

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.

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…

Ada and Margarita Ville


As many of you know, I’ve spent time down in Big Pine Key, FL, and while there, got to know some great volunteers who were working very hard to build an off-leash dog park on the key.  Sadly, one of them, Amy Bressem, has passed before seeing this dream realized.  Tomorrow, at 4:30, a Memorial Service will be held at the beautiful site of Bahia Honda Park.   I am aware that many have  visited my blog to keep posted about the park’s progress, and I wanted to share this news about the passing of a dedicated dog lover who died so young at the age of thirty-four.  My condolences go out to her friends and family at this difficult time.

Recently, my friend Bocker Labradoodle told me about an exciting event to be held on November 20th in mid-town Manhattan.  Christmas Feet and Family Day at Citi Pond at Bryant Park offers something for everyone, free skating and skate rentals for the little ones, performances by Broadway actors, ice-skating performances by the Haydenettes, the stars of Rescue Ink, and a pet fashion show directed by New York City “pawty” planner extraordinaire, Ada Nieves.

Christmas Feet is a children’s book written by Maureen Sullivan and illustrated by Alison Josephs,  both of whom will be appearing at this event.  Christmas Feet tells the story of Carlos, a French bulldog that finds the true spirit of the holiday while spending the day in Bryant Park, read more at  Once-upon-a-time, my office at Home Box Office overlooked Bryant Park, and as I taught ice-skating to kids for years, and of course love to write about dogs and kids, this was an event I wanted to know more about.  I thanked Bocker for the bark-out and contacted Ada Nieves.

A native of Puerto Rico, Ada is very active in the Latino community and is breaking new ground in the world’s dog community as the official “It Girl” for pet events in New York City.   Ada is a renowned Certified Pet Fashion Designer, gourmet treat baker and successful “pawty” planner.  She heads the largest Chihuahua group in the nation, hosts a Pet Life Radio Talk Show, Vida Doggie, writes for the and is a contributor to several pet magazines. She is the Vice-President of Special Events and Communications for Inky Blue Sea (, the President of a dog walking service, and runs a FREE pet pantry that provides pet food for pet owners with disabilities.

Ada explains that she “went to the dogs” as a way to boost her spirits when her husband was deployed to Iraq.  A children’s party planner at the time, Ada involved herself with all things dogs, transferring her business skills to a pet party planning business making dog cakes, treats and clothing allowing her to spend more time with her “Chichis,” her family of adorable Chihuahuas, which now numbers five.

And Ada’s Chichis are busy working dogs.  Cinnabon Bon, Vanilla Salt, Mojito Bandit, Margarita Ville and AKC CH Tabasco Chill Pepper (the only champion living in New York City) are joined by resident cat, Martini Beethoven.  Ada’s dogs have appeared in numerous television commercials.  A recent session had them filming segments for Animal Planet and National Geographic, and Ada recently worked on the set of 30 Rock as a dog stylist.  They have also appeared on the Martha Stewart Show, the Conan O’Brien Show and Sabado Gigante/Univision among others. To read more about Ada and her talented pooches, please go to

Ada is the Creative Director for the Fashion Show Event to be held at Christmas Feet.  Hosted by Harrison Forbes, noted Pet Behaviorist and host of Pet Talk, a nationally syndicated radio show, some adorable dogs will make their way down the “cat walk” modeling creations designed by Ada.  Among them, none other than Bocker Labradoodle sporting a red satin outfit with black trim and sunglasses.  Bocker will be escorted by actress Amanda Henderson, star of eat, pray, love!  Other lovely four-legged models include Rose Russo’s Penny Lane and Lilly Pads and Lola, Tuffy and Munchie, “owned” by Lourdes Lebron. 

Bocker and Amanda Henderson will light up the Cat Walk at Christmas Feet

On February 11th,  at 8:00pm for the sixth year, Ada will present the Pre-Westminster Fashion Show at the Pennsylvania Hotel in Manhattan, something I’ll share more about as the day nears. 

I sure wish I could attend this exciting event, but my work takes me elsewhere.  But since I’ve always wanted to attend a Westminster Event, I  may just accept Ada’s invitation and take in that fashion show for myself in February!  Perhaps Ada can help design some fun dogwear for an upcoming National Dog Week observance. 

 Thank you for taking the time to share  all your accomplishments with me, Ada.  For more information about Christmas Feet please call (212) 661-6640.

On a sad note, one of Ada’s beloved dogs,  Tequila Bon passed yesterday, making it a very difficult day at the Nieves household.  We are so sorry to hear about your loss, Ada.

Welcome to my Blog, a place for humans with a “Weekness” for dogs…To learn more about National Dog Week please refer to ABOUT.  Thank you.

“Dogs are doctors and psychiatrists as well as teachers…The presence and companionship of dogs, the observation of their playful antics have helped patients on their way back to normal thinking and living.”  William Lewis Judy, Founder of National Dog Week, 1949

On September 9, 2001, Rose Russo, who had worked as an NYPD police officer and detective for 13 years, celebrated her birthday on the rooftop of her Brooklyn apartment.  Rose recalls taking in the amazing view of the World Trade Center, content with her life as a public servant, happy to be of help to so many. Two days later, on September 11th, her life, like those of so many others, would be shattered by the events that took place that day, and Rose’s vision of retiring as a member of the NYPD had abruptly ended.

As a result of injuries suffered as a responder to the WTC, Rose was diagnosed with a condition known as Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome(CRPS), a debilitating condition that worsens over time.  Rose frustratingly recounts how, “Every doctor simply wished me luck and sent me on my way. No one could even explain the condition to me.  All I knew was my nerves would continue to deteriorate.  My body would continue to breakdown and I could very possibly end up in a wheelchair.”

With this prognosis, Rose fell into a deep depression; she needed to find something to bring some joy into her life.  The cure, DOGS! Rose enrolled in the New York School of Dog Training and found a new purpose for living.  Bonding with Anthony Jerone, owner of the facility in Queens, New York, Rose quickly became his prize student.  “I directed and I followed. There was no task or stunt I would not undertake.  I soon found myself teaching his German shepherd how to crawl. Training and grooming became my life.”

Then Rose met Diane Zdrodowski, a breeder of Cavalier King Charles spaniels.  Rose fell in love with the breed, and soon welcomed new puppy Penny-Lane into her life.  Rose says that Cavalier King Charles spaniels are highly affectionate, playful and aim to please.  With their beautiful bright eyes, they can melt hearts and make excellent companions.  “Penny-Lane knows when I am having good days and when I am having bad ones,” says Rose, explaining on days when her pain confined her to bed, Penny-Lane would stay by her side.  So what’s better than one Cavalier King Charles spaniel, how about two?  That same year, Rose welcomed Penny-Lane’s cousin Lily-Pads into the pack.  Together, they give Rose a reason to get out of bed and help other dogs and families with problematic dogs.

No one needs to tell these three how important an occasion like National Dog Week is.  This year, during the week of September 19th, Rose, Penny-Lane and Lily-Pads will honor its 82nd observance by heading to the Westchester SPCA and helping with the annual blanket and sheet drive.  Afterward, the girls will attend a Doggie play date at RoCo Training, Boarding & Grooming where Rose will assist local dogs to increase their socializations skills. 

Yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting Rose, husband Lou, Lilly Pads, Penny-Lane and also Holly, Rose’s resuced Wheaten terrier.  Lilly and Penny enjoyed celebarting their birthdays in high-style, with scads of adorable friends and a doggy fashion show.  Those were some hot pups, and I’m not talking about the weather!  Thanks for having us.

We salute Rose and her service to man and dog! Her story truly embodies the mission of Will Judy’s National Dog Week Movement.


"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”