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“Between the attitude toward the dog of those far past centuries and the attitude of today is a vast journey in the direction of kindness and a heart of sympathy.” Will Judy, 1949
On Valentine’s Day, my husband Rich and I headed into New York City for the Dog Writers Association of America’s Awards banquet. Fittingly, my book, (a true labor of love), Dog’s Best Friend: Will Judy, Founder of National Dog Week, and Dog World Publisher, had received a Maxwell Medallion nomination in the Reference category. As Judy was highly influential in the establishment of the DWAA back in 1935, and Maxwell Riddle was his protégé, it was quite an honor. Alas, we did not bring home the Maxwell but some stellar connections were made and more books are in progress. One of them a collaboration with Laura Pople, founder of Seer Farms, will share the poignant stories of the people and pets of this special place.
Located in a rural area of New Jersey, Seer Farms was founded in 2009 by Laura and her board, to embrace the mission that our pets are truly family members and no circumstance should ever separate them from us. Seer Farms is a facility that will take in the family cat(s) or dog(s) (and occasional “other” creature) of those in need and care for them until the situation permits pets and people to reunite under one roof. These pets come to her as the result of military deployments, domestic violence, natural disasters and from pet owners who are going through challenging times and need a hand in caring for their pets until more fortunate circumstances prevail. By offering this unique opportunity, many pets are saved from abandonment and uncertain fates.
I had the opportunity to meet Laura recently when Rich, and dog, Teddy, helped me deliver a collection of donated supplies. During our visit, we met a woman who was there to spend time with two of her dogs that are being cared for by the facility. Deb told us that she had lost her home in Hurricane Sandy, and like many others, still had not fully recovered from that life-changing event of three and a half years ago. Her home is in the process of being raised and when that is complete, she and her dogs will enjoy their special Reunion Day when they hop into her car and take that much-awaited ride home. Deb appreciates these visits but notes that at the end of each, her dogs try to lead her to the car so that they can go home with her. As someone who personally witnessed the devastation of that storm, I can attest to how important this oasis has been for so many.
I can’t think of a happier event than the occasion of something like Reunion Day – having your beloved pet once again by your side, – having come through the worst of times, and now, ready to provide comfort and support to each other as their journey continues.
In her actions and her life’s work, Laura and her staff and board, have made a major difference in the lives of animals, and the humans who love them. Their work and mission fully embrace what Will Judy wrote so many years ago, “Between the attitude toward the dog of those far past centuries and the attitude of today is a vast journey in the direction of kindness and a heart of sympathy.”
I thank all those who contributed to our Seer Farms supply drive: Maureen Johnson and the Sayer and Schoberg Families, Bonnie Werkmeister, Boy Scout Pack 16 of Pt. Pleasant, NJ, Skittles (the Bichon) Barros and the members of the Junior Auxiliary Unit of American Legion Post 348 in Brick, NJ.
Recovery, Reunion, Renewal….that is the goal of Seer Farms. To read more about this unique sheltering model, its staff and volunteers:http://seerfarms.org/
Come join in the fun and hear me speak about writing for the pet-industry and beyond at the Blog Paws Conference in Phoenix, AZ June 23-25. https://www.pinterest.com/blogpaws/blogpaws-conference-photos/
I want to thank those who helped out on the occasion of my 2nd Annual On-Line Birthday Wish Fund for Laura Pople of Seer Farms held last Sunday. I recently learned that Laura has been appointed to serve on a new long term Hurricane Sandy Recovery Committee. I think this was a great choice as Laura knows how to get things done for both humans and their Companion Animals. If you wish to contribute to Seer Farms, here is their link. http://www.seerfarms.org/donate.php
Also, I extend a huge thanks to Lynne Fowler and her terrific group Oodles of Doodles Rescue Collective. They have placed several dogs already in the new year, including mine, an adorable little Shih Poo named Teddy that I was supposed to foster but instead he captured our hearts and now calls this place his home. My interview with Oodles and my own “Foster Failure” experience will be presented shortly. Although I have failed, I do hope to return to fostering in the spring!
In honor of the Inauguration of our President, I present a post that was supposed to run in late October through election day. Due to certain catastrophic weather events, it remained stored on my computer. Today, I thought it would be fun to present Chuck Sambuchino and his book on canine politics. The following is a brief, but fun interview with the author:
Please tell us a little about your background in the writing industry. I work for Writer’s Digest Books in Cincinnati. I edit the GUIDE TO LITERARY AGENTS http://www.guidetoliteraryagents.com/blog as well as the CHILDREN’S WRITER’S & ILLUSTRATOR’S MARKET. I love working for WD and helping people get published. I love writing about the craft and business of writing. And I like writing my own humor books, too. I eat, sleep and breathe this stuff, and have for years. If people want to know more about, simple things to do is to find me on Twitter (@chucksambuchino), befriend me on Facebook, or check out my website http://www.chucksambuchino.com
Why do you enjoy writing in the Humor genre? Do you find it a challenge keeping up with writing about the Agenting Industry? I’ve always been a sarcastic guy — I wasn’t class clown, but I was runner up. (But I’m not bitter! No way!) Writing humor books gives me an outlet to make people laugh besides my wife. Writing humor is also nice because humor books are often bought as gifts. It’s interesting to see how your writing is given as a gift all over the country. Everyone loves to laugh.
Writing about the agenting business is tough because it’s always in flux. Agents retire; new ones pop up. Nowadays, with the rise of e-publishing and the slow evolution of the role of agents, I need to know what’s going on more than ever.
What inspired Red Dog, Blue Dog? My wonderful and flabby dog, Graham. Since I got him five years ago, I’ve become known as “that dog guy” by people at work because I talk about him too much. I also talk about politics too much. Mixing the two was my wife’s idea. That’s how RED DOG / BLUE DOG http://www.reddog-bluedog.com was born.
Tell us about your own experience as a dog “owner.” Graham is the best. He does absolutely nothing but beg for treats and we love him anyway. I can’t believe that I fought my wife on getting a dog for years. His addition to the home has been so wonderful for us in the past five years. He has also put quite a dent in our savings due to his penchant of nonstop eating…
Many former US Presidents knew that dogs were a powerful resource when attracting good press and Good Will. Do you think President Obama is using his full “Bo-tential?” No. Lots of people are dog owners, and Bo is ripe for being used as a zinger or punchline in a debate.
Do you think a dog can ever be President and if so, what qualities would make them a good leader of our nation? You would need a dog who understands the canine middle class. This dog would have to find a way to get more parks for running and bathroom time. This dog would have to promise to lower taxes on milkbones. This dog would have to explain that we should be rewarding Americans who give more belly rubs, not outsourcing those belly rubs to China. I could go on and on about this…
Thank you Chuck. I apologize for the delay in posting this, but I’ve learned to “roll-over” with the punches and go with the storm surge! Best of luck to you with all your writing ventures and thank you for the help you provide for so many authors.
Last year, on the occasion of my birthday, I sat down and created a Face book event to raise money for Project Pets and their Spay and Neuter initiatives. It was such a success that I decided to do it again. I contacted an animal advocate I greatly admire who works out of his home in the Midwest and invited him to be the fund’s recipient. He declined and said, “Do something to help the displaced pets of Hurricane Sandy.” I knew that Laura Pople of Seer Farms in Jackson, NJ was doing just that. So, as I turn 40 (again) I am asking my friends to help us all out here on the East Coast. The storm may be gone but its “Legacy” endures and will for some time to come.
I thank my Midwest advocate friend for his generous spirit and for what he accomplishes for many animals in need on a shoe string. He wishes to remain anonymous. Many of our large “helping” organizations could learn a lot from him. So many of you ask me how they can help those who are trying to recover from the Super Storm. Here is an easy and simple way.
I have created a Face book event, but here is the Chip In Link for Seer Farms. Please earmark your donation with the note, “LBK Birthday Fund.” Thank you for anything you can give. http://www.seerfarms.org/donate.php
Now here are a few words from Laura:
For Hurricane Sandy victims, their pets are all that many of these families have left of their homes. Seer Farms has been working to keep these families intact since the days immediately following the storm. To date, more than 200 displaced Sandy animals have found temporary refuge at Seer Farms while their families rebuild their lives and their houses. Already more than half of these animals have returned home.
Seer Farms is a nonprofit organization in New Jersey that was established in 2008 to help families whose lives have been shattered due to natural disaster, homelessness, abuse, catastrophic illness, and other major life crises. We are located in Jackson, in the heart of Ocean County, one of the hardest hit counties in NJ by Sandy. Super Storm Sandy has destroyed so many homes in New Jersey. Seer Farms is helping to ensure that it doesn’t destroy families as well. And we are doing so even as we continue to provide temporary care to families impacted by other life crises as well.
Since Sandy first struck the Jersey Shore, Seer Farms has been getting calls and emails from families with pets who cannot return to their homes. Or whose homes are no longer there to return to. Families who can seek temporary placement for themselves through FEMA or family often cannot have their animals join them in the temporary housing they secure. These families are overwhelmed by the enormity of the change wrought upon their lives by Super Storm Sandy, and the thought of losing their beloved animals is often too much to bear.
For some families with no place to go, they are choosing to stay in inadequate housing conditions, but want to make sure their animals are safe. These animals have been through traumatic events that, in many cases, stress their immune systems and compromise their health. They need the attention of an organization that understands their medical risks, and works with veterinarians to return these animals to good health. At Seer Farms, they get that attention.
Our focus is on helping these families keep their animals in their lives. Our current census is now at 135% what it was pre-Sandy. We are placing as many animals as we can within our current facilities and extending our foster network to accept the overflow. Another dozen animals are scheduled to arrive at Seer Farms within the next week, and we expect to see even more as families reconcile with the devastation SuperStorm Sandy visited upon their homes and lives and are forced from FEMA housing into new, often less pet-friendly housing arrangements beginning next week.
One Seer Farms’ client, whose Jersey Shore home was essentially washed away by the storm, gives this chilling account of her Super Storm Sandy experience: “My animals are my family. I could not leave them. Four times [before and during the storm] rescuers came to my house and asked me to leave. But they wouldn’t take my animals so I stayed behind. The storm hit and the water rushed in. Soon everything but the top of my mattress was under water. It was pitch dark as the water kept rising. I heard a splash and realized that one of my cats had fallen into the water. I started thrashing in the water to find her. When I did so, my dog launched into the water after me. Now I was trying to pull both animals from the cold water. After both animals were rescued and safe, I realized I couldn’t let myself fall asleep. I had to stay awake in case anyone else fell in. Sure enough, two more times throughout the night I had to pull my babies from what would have been certain drowning if I had not stayed.”
This woman loves her pets; she risked her life for them. Seer Farms is helping her put her life back together by providing a safe place for her pets to stay until she can rebuild and reclaim them.
Thank you Laura, for all you and your organization do! I hope this helps.
“The dog is quick to sniff, grunt, blow his breath – he inhales deeply and repeatedly; a questioning look comes into his eyes as his nose seeks to get information or solve a momentary mystery.” Will Judy, Founder of National Dog Week, written in 1949
After my last post, I feel a need to write something positive. But before I move on, I just wanted to say that when you have a large platform, you have a large responsibility. Some say Kelly Ripa’s comments were taken out of context, or spoken carelessly off the cuff. But I think that when you fail to address the feelings of so many humans who are in emotional pain and you exhibit such blatant disregard for the lives of so many endangered dogs, you have abused your role and missed an opportunity to do some real good. I don’t have nearly as many followers or make the kind of money Kelly Ripa does, but if just one of my posts influences someone to make real change, I’ll consider myself a success. I hope something good can still come out of all of this. http://blog.aspca.org/content/truth-about-pit-bulls?utm_source=newsalertemail_101912&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsalert
Last night when I spoke to my mom she said, “So I read your post. I can tell you were mad. I found two typos.” Perhaps my mom is my biggest fan, and best editor, and that would be all I really need.
So…all this got me thinking of plans for next year’s National Dog Week. If plans go well, my biography of the man who established the occasion will be out and circulating and I will have a good working draft of my sequel to Something’s Lost and Must be Found in progress as well as other projects that are under review as we speak. With the help of my publisher, I hope to have a larger platform from which to work.
Now, about that pawsitivity…Just to recap, over the course of National Dog Week, our number of “Likes” on our Facebook Page doubled! Please keep referring others so we can be stronger next year. https://www.facebook.com/events/349723731783742/#!/pages/National-Dog-Week/218596591491974?fref=ts
As I mentioned previously, under the directive of Principal John Billen, the students and teachers of Midstreams Elementary School in Brick, NJ, collected a nice monetary donation for a local fostering group and they invited me to set up a table at their Fall Festival to collect linen and bedding items for a local shelter. I made a very nice delivery to our local shelter just yesterday.
And what about those Junior Auxiliary members of Brick American Legion Unit 348? Last week they donated $500.00 to Laura Pople at Seer Farms in Jackson, NJ, and they still have another donation at the ready for another group! Those girls made a successful campaign at the post’s Canteen selling colorful stars for a dollar apiece and asking the general American Legion membership and the local VFW Post for contributions. All came through with flying colors and I personally thank them all.
The cameras for the NDW Paws to Pose Project are returning to me now. Can’t wait to work with New Jersey-based Pet Photographer, Joseph Frazz, on presenting them. Next year, I would love to have a NDW representative in each state (or several). These reps would just make sure some kind of activity was planned in their state during National Dog Week. It could be anything, a parade, party, dog food pantry drive, change collection, reading at a library or book shop. It’s a nice opportunity for school and church groups and many other organizations to get involved. I will post more about this soon. It is never too early to plan. Please contact me at email@example.com if you would like to be included. No event or action is too small.
Let’s put National Dog Week back on a tight leash and be the enlightened ones to lead it back to the occasion it was meant to be, a time of fun, yes, but also a time to reflect on some important issues facing our dogs and the way they affect our lives.
Also…if you like what I am doing here, please visit my Crowd Funding Project and give me a paw. Thank you. We have a few weeks left. http://www.indiegogo.com/LisaBegin-Kruysman-Author
Blog Notes: We send our good friend, Bocker the Labradoodle, a big Get Well Wish! Our next post will present a light-hearted interview with author Chuck Sambuchino of Writer’s Digest Books, on his timely Pawlitical new book, Red Dog, Blue Dog. http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents