Monday, January 28, 2008

Go Home, Toby

As you can probably tell from my books, I just LOVE old dogs…but I’m not the only one who feels that way. The following story came from Linda Parker, a special animal lover who lives in Florida:

“I, too, love old dogs. When I was a little girl, I adored the old dog who lived next to my grandmother's little farm house in Ashtabula, Ohio. That old Newfoundland dog was a black, tumbled mass of fur, burrs, and snarls but my three sisters and I thought he was beautiful. He would slowly amble over to my grandmother's backyard and we would spend hours fussing with his hair. Four little girls finger-combing thru that dog's wooly coat!

He only knew one command: if anyone said, "Go home Toby", he would SLOWLY get to his feet and SLOWLY walk home. No amount of pleading, ("I was only kidding Toby... pleeeease stay"), would get him to turn around and come back to us. No amount of holding his giant head would get him to stay! If the words were said, he would amble home.

Instantly we would then turn our wrath on the foolish sister who had ruined our fun. I realize, as a grownup, that to a child it was such a temptation to say the magic words, Go Home Toby. It amazed a child to see the massive dog follow the command -- but we had each pledged we would NOT utter the words! Oh my - pity the soul who broke the pledge!

Today, as four grown up sisters, we all treasure our memories of Toby -- and we still burst out in giggles when one of us whispers the magic words, Go Home Toby.”

Pretty sweet, huh?


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Dogs Deserve better

You may not be familiar with the organization Dogs Deserve Better. This group of dedicated individuals is committed to freeing dogs who spend their entire lives on chains, and bringing them inside the home where they can be loved and respected members of the family.

Why did DDB Founder Tammy Grimes feel called to intervene on behalf of dogs who live their lives on chains? As Tammy says:

“Because they are the forgotten cause. Their abuse is much more subtle, no less insidious. They may not be in immediate danger of death. But death of the soul is still death to me. And they are dying out there, piece by piece, hour by hour.”

Most of the dog lovers I know have experienced the heartache of driving by a dog who is ALWAYS chained in the yard. It may be 10 degrees or 100 degrees, raining, snowing or sunny, but the dog is always out. If there is a water bowl you KNOW that water is hardly ever changed. As one man told me, when I spoke to him about the frozen water in his chained dog’s bowl, “He was able to drink UNTIL the water froze!”

How do you respond to this kind of stupidity?

There is a family in my neighborhood who keeps their dog chained in the yard. It is hard to understand why these people continue to bring dogs home, because they appear to have no interest in their dog's well-being. This dog got out of his mud pit the other day, dragging his chain behind him. He became entangled on a bush in someone’s yard, forcing the property owner to call the authorities. He had no choice – the dog could not be approached.

There is a sound you never want to hear. It is the agonizing sound of a dog screaming, because he has just been tased by a stun gun. I heard that sound the other day. It kept me up for several nights. I will NEVER forget that sound. It was not the dog’s fault. I knew it. The officer who shot him knew it. The neighbors knew it. Everyone knew it – except the man who keeps this poor dog chained in his yard.

Learn about the laws in your community pertaining to animal abuse. If you know a dog is being neglected or is in pain, contact the authorities. Our county Shelter Director told me all they can do is enforce the laws…and the laws are weak. She told me if I don’t like the laws then I should contact my legislators and find out what can be done to change them. She's right.

It’s a long process - I know that. But if WE don’t stand up for these suffering animals…if WE don’t speak up on their behalf…then WHO WILL???
To learn more about Dogs Deserve Better please visit them online at

Sunday, January 06, 2008


A very sweet person did something special for me. Just a little kindness, but it really touched me. I’ve gotten used to doing everything by myself….I forget there are people out there who like to help when they can.

I was thinking about what this person did as I hauled a bunch of packages out of the back of my car the other day. I had brought them to a shipping center to be mailed. I knew I had this big sappy grin on my face…kindness always makes me happy. I turned around and bumped into a person who was standing there, wanting to help with my packages.

The next stop was a place to buy some steel shelving units. It IS, after all, that organizing time of the year. With a lot of moaning and groaning I was able to get these heavy boxes into my shopping cart. However, getting them OUT of the cart and INTO my car was another story. They were wedged in too tight. I knew I’d have to wheel the whole thing back to the store and ask for help. Before I could start back a man had jumped out of his car and took care of getting those boxes loaded into my car.

I have always believed that doing good things will come back to a person many times over.
But I think being grateful also attracts this type of love and support from others.

It’s time to go through all my boxes and bags, so I can decide what should be thrown out and what should be kept and neatly put up on my new shelves. Whiling I’m doing this, I plan to make a lot more space… for gratitude.