Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Project Pooch

If you haven't heard of Project Pooch, you may want to visit their website to learn more about the important work being done by this organization.

Located in Woodburn, OR, Project Pooch pairs incarcerated youth at a correctional facility with homeless dogs who are looking for their forever homes. With professional guidance, youths learn to train and groom the dogs until the pups are ready to meet potential adopters.

Several years ago I became involved with Maya, a neighborhood dog who was living her life at the end of a chain. The family relinquished Maya to my care, and with the help of several caring people I was able to get Maya into the Project Pooch program. The exuberant pup received some much-needed behavioral assistance, and shortly thereafter was able to find a loving home.

I am grateful Maya and her family came into my life, for they were the inspiration for my holiday book, Old Dog and the Christmas Wish. As I said in the dedication for that book, may Maya run free for many happy years!


Lighthearted Press

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Therapy Dogs

For many years my dog, Jake, and I used to visit my Mom in the nursing home that specialized in patients with Alzheimer's Disease. During those visits I'd watch senior citizens - most of whom lived in the private world that the disease inflicts upon them - perk up whenever Jake came over to say hello. Old faces would start to smile as the residents ran their gnarled fingers through Jake's thick black-and-white fur.

Debra J. White, with the Phoenix Animal Care Coalition, tells this story about her therapy dog, Luke:

"I've boasted about my therapy dog Luke before but I've been so proud of him lately. Our audience has been little kids lately, toddlers 2-5 years old. One little girl who loves dogs and cats but has never had one, hugged and kissed him, played with his ears, toes, and nose and Luke just rested on the floor. Then he kissed her. She laughed.

"Another little one wanted to share her Pepperidge Farm goldfish with him. I said to just give him one. She dumped out her entire cup and of course Luke ate them all. That made all the kids giggle. I read a Cat in the Hat series to them. And they asked about dogs in the hat.

"Luke wasn't my first choice that scorching hot summer day in 1999 but I am so glad I listened to my friend when she said adopt him. For a throw away dog who was in a shelter at least twice, he's healed a lot of hearts. "

I've discussed it with my4 cats, and they unanimously agree that being therapy felines isn't their cup of tea. Guess that will have to wait until a new dog finds me....


Sunday, March 09, 2008

A True Angel

Anyone who has been reading this blog over the past year or so knows about my beloved dog, Jake, who walked by my side for many years before I lost him in 2006. I would have done ANYTHING for him – and I did, right up until the end.

There is a story about another dog named Jake, and the woman who did everything SHE could for him – Tammy Grimes. Back in January I wrote about Tammy, and the organization she founded, Dogs Deserve Better. In 2006 Tammy intervened on behalf of Jake, a very old German Shepherd mix, who lay near death in his backyard for three days, unable to move and without food or water.

The story of the trial that followed Tammy’s intervention is posted at the Best Friends Animal Society Website:

This should bring tears to the eyes of any human being with a heart, whether or not you share your life with an animal. I have to wonder if the Pennsylvania judge who handed down the sentence in this sad case is familiar with the work of humanitarian, and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Dr. Albert Schweitzer. Here are two relevant quotes from this great man:

“A man is truly ethical only when he obeys the compulsion to help all life which he is able to assist, and shrinks from injuring anything that lives.”

“Compassion, in which all ethics must take root, can only attain its full breadth and depth if it embraces all living creatures and does not limit itself to mankind.”

Perhaps the judge needs to post these words on her chambers door, and read them each and every time she steps into the courtroom.


Saturday, March 01, 2008

In Memory of Patton

I just had to post this picture of Patton Nola, shown celebrating his 18th birthday last August. Here’s what his “Mom” Brenda wrote:

“A dear friend sent me a copy of For Every Dog an Angel after we lost our precious angel, Patton Nola, on January 5, 2008. Patton celebrated his 18th birthday on 08/11/07. Although he died peacefully with us as I had prayed, we grieve daily for him. He was a special, special little boy … he will be in our hearts forever.”

My heart goes out to Brenda and her husband, Paul Joseph. Eighteen years was a very long time – just not long enough….