Saturday, February 28, 2009

My Knight in Shining Armor...Purrs

Some of my best ideas come to me in the shower. I seem to completely zone out under the falling water, which leaves me relaxed and open to any pearls of wisdom that might be trying to find me.

This morning I was in the shower, thinking about how dear my cat, Dickens, has become to me. He is the only male in my home – his three siblings are females. For many years Dickens and my dog, Jake, provided strong male critter energy for me. Jake is gone now, and as a single woman I’ve come to think of Dickens as my knight in shining armor.

There are many funny little books about why dogs/cats are better than men/women – I won’t go there. But Dickens really is very grounding to me, in a way that is different from his sisters.

He is the biggest scaredy cat you could ever imagine – this cat used to be afraid of ears of corn and large, baking potatoes! But around me he is the perfect guy. He knows when I need him by my side, and when it’s ok to be off in the other part of the house. He eats anything I put in his bowl. He lets me know in a clear, concise way that something needs my attention, like a fallen bird or an empty food dish.

Occasionally he feels the need to whack one of his sisters on the side of her head, but he also seems to know when a sister needs comforting. And, he is a perfect role model for healthy living - together we have taken 5 ½ pounds off his large frame. Trust me…Dickens NEVER lets me forget that!

OK – he doesn’t cook, and he certainly doesn’t contribute to the financial coffers of the household. Maybe this four-legged guy IS lacking in some areas that only a two-legged male could fill.
I turned off the water and stepped out of the shower. There was Dickens, sprawled out on the floor. He looked up at me, wagged his tail and purred like a panther. In his eyes I was a size four supermodel...and I was fabulous!

Like I said...a knight in shining armor.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Saying Goodbye to Timmy

It is impossible for me to believe that Timmy the Tiger is gone. He was the feline soul mate of my friend, Kathy Hanson. Kathy was always good about keeping me up-to-date on the many adventures this fabulous twosome shared over their 10 1/2 years together.

But it was their monthly column in a California newspaper that kept me connected to the heart and soul of this extraordinary kitty…and to his very special mom.

Timmy left this world at 10:00 p.m. on February 16, 2009. There was no warning. He was not sick, nothing had happened that day. He just left. Kathy says that is how Timmy would have wanted it – no pain, no suffering, no long goodbyes.

She is also sure he may be rather ticked off over there on the other side, having had his life ended so abruptly! If Cool, CA is hit with an unexpected thunder storm it may be Timmy’s “cattitude” letting everyone know how he feels about the situation.

A light has gone out for me with the loss of Timmy. However, the heavens have gained one VERY BRILLIANT STAR.

You were one of a kind, Timmy…and I will miss you terribly.

Love from your
Auntie Chris

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Magical Pet Portraits

Many years ago I was given a special Christmas gift – a pastel portrait of my dog, Jessie. The gift was even more meaningful because Jessie had just come home on Christmas Eve, having spent the prior week in intensive care. She was very ill, but her failing body was no match for her beautiful spirit.

Jessie and I had that Christmas…and three more wonderful months together. Her portrait hangs in my office, along with one of her daughter, my beloved forever dog, Martha.

If you are thinking about having a portrait done of one of your critters, I want to let you know about Connie Bowen.

Connie is an artist, writer and fellow Oregonian, whose work is simply breathtaking. I’ve had the chance to get to know Connie, and she is as magical as her work. It is no surprise that she describes her journey with pen and brush this way:

"The creative process for me involves meditation and connecting with my higher guidance. I can feel which direction my next project will take. I don't pursue a direction unless it feels fun and exciting to me to work on."

They say “A picture is worth a thousand words.” In Connie’s case, both her artwork…and words…are priceless!


Monday, February 16, 2009

The Shelter Dog wins Writing Award

I've got exciting news! My book, The Shelter Dog, was awarded a prestigious Maxwell Award from the Dog Writers' Association of America. The award was announced at the Dog Writers' annual banquet in New York City, the night before the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.

The Dog Writers’ Association of America, which began in 1935, includes more than 400 professional members who share dog writing tips and information about canine behavior, care, health and training. As a native New Yorker I’m sorry I wasn’t able to be there in person, not only to receive this wonderful award but also to enjoy some real New York pizza!

The Shelter Dog tells the story of Hero, an angel dog who asks to come back to earth so he can experience the joy of being adopted from an animal shelter. After all, he thinks, what could be better that having a special person choose you – out of all the other dogs – to come home and live with them?

So Hero waits patiently in a shelter, hoping today will be the day his forever family finds him. But will anyone be able to see how extraordinary this old shelter dog, with the wobbly back leg, really is?

As Hero is about to discover, things don’t always turn out the way you plan. Sometimes they turn out better!

To learn more about The Shelter Dog stop by Lighthearted Press or

Here’s to all shelter critters – may they find their forever families soon!


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Stump - not just a tree

I confess I don’t know much about the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. I just love dogs, no matter how colorful their family tree may be.

But when I saw the new Best in Show winner at Westminster I fell in love. Stump, the 10-year old Sussex Spaniel who took the top prize, is the oldest winner in the show’s history. He had retired back in 2004, and after surviving a serious illness came back to wow the crowd.

I’ve said this many times before – there’s something very special about older dogs. They keep showing up in life, because…unlike human beings…they don’t seem to know they’re not young pups anymore. They don’t care about birth certificates, Botox or mirrors – they just want to be loved, have some fun, and curl up by their people at the end of the day.

Congratulations to Stump – a winning branch on his family tree!


Saturday, February 07, 2009

The Deer, the Cat and Buck the Dog

If you have a few moments check out this YouTube video:

Maybe one day we really WILL all be able to get along...just like the deer and the cat.

And for those who believe in miracles (I do!) be sure to read this wonderful story about Buck, the 7-year-old Golden Retriever who survived 6 months in the Montana wilderness before he and his family in Washington were re-united.

This story should leave you with a smile as big as...well...Buck's!


Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Forever Cats

A few days ago I was talking with Arlene Eis, a fellow animal lover from Columbus, OH, about how my 4 kitties and I are getting along without a dog running around our home.

It’s really tough…my heart is definitely aware that something important is missing. However, as I told Arlene, for years the kitties graciously shared me with the dogs who were in my life, watching as I’d head out on walks, rides or other adventures that were for “dogs only.”

After I lost Jake in 2006 I could hear the kitties asking me for some special time that would be for “cats only.” In the beginning I couldn’t imagine that happening. I’d come home and look for a doggie face in the window, or I’d open the door expecting to be met by an excited, tail-wagging canine.

But as the months went by I began spending quality time every day with each of my kitties, and I quickly became enchanted by them in a way I hadn’t experienced before! Suddenly I was eager to crawl into their magical little world, and the more they felt my excitement the more they wanted to share it with me.

Arlene asked me if I was the person who came up with the term “forever dog.” She hadn’t heard it before she read my book For Every Dog An Angel. In fact, the first edition of the book, published in 1997, was subtitled The Forever Dog.

Perhaps it’s curious that a person who possibly created the term “forever dog” is currently without a dog.

But let me tell you all about my forever cats…


Sunday, February 01, 2009

How much did that Super Bowl ad cost?

The answer is - $3 million for a thirty second commercial.

According to, the definition of the word “advertising” is:

the act or practice of calling public attention to one’s product, service, need, etc., especially by paid announcements in newspapers and magazines, over radio or television, on billboards, etc.

When I see a television commercial that appeals to me I may remember the catchy jingle or famous celebrity, but I probably won't remember the product or who the company was.

However, if an organization bought a 15 second Super Bowl ad instead, took 10 seconds to tell me their product message, and then took the remaining 5 seconds to say the 1.5 million dollars that didn’t go into this ad was donated to animal shelters across the country, I can assure you THAT company’s name I WOULD remember!

That company would be the talk of the town on Monday. It would be celebrated, blogged about and toasted by animal lovers around the world. If the company offered a product or service I was interested in and could get behind I would gladly sing its praises until my voice cracked.

If not animals, maybe those unused advertising dollars could be donated to local homeless shelters or food banks in their state. If the company had experienced lay-offs perhaps the money could be used to help laid-off employees pay for their medical benefits.

To me this makes complete sense.

Am I crazy?