Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Broken Bones - Affordable Jewelry for You and Your Heart Dog


EverythingDogBlog #177: (Nearly) Wordless Wednesday, De-Lightful Dog Logos
Broken Bones - the Logo

Broken Bones - the Inspiration








She asked for Broken Bones. . . .

-What?????




Kelly, owner of Broken Bones (a new line of jewelry for dogs and their people) recently told EverythingDogBlog about their innovative logo: “For our Broken Bones logo, we wanted something fun, even whimsical, and, at the same time, a logo that mirrors our product to the public. The cartoon dogs represent the Broken Bones dogs, Charley Girl and Honey Boy Red, who just happen to be part of our family.  
“The two main colors in the logo, green and brown, align with the colors on our website and, coincidently, the brown is similar to the color of Honey Boy Red’s and Charley Girl’s fur.” 
An Emotional Bond that Continues Even When Separated from Your Dog. . . .
Kelly said, “We came up with the idea of Broken Bones while mourning the loss of our beloved Tallulah. The idea was unique - like her - and inspired us to move forward with creating and producing our Broken Bones charms. We wanted others who have a close emotional tie with their dog to be able to express it by wearing a set of Broken Bones along with their favorite pupster.” 
“Mizpaw” (Mizpah)*
‘Broken Bones’ is the best-friend ‘mizpaw’ for dogs and their people. Your dog wears one half of the ‘Broken Bones’ (either half) on his collar and you wear the other half on a necklace or attached to your key chain, purse or backpack.
When you hold the two halves together, they make a whole bone and the broken heart in the middle is mended, with a paw print on one side of the heart and a handprint on the other. 
“The charms are made of durable lead-free zinc,” continued Broken Bones. “We offer a silver- or black-tone ball chain necklace and a hand-made black leather necklace. We also have two different clasps that you can use to attach the Broken Bones to a collar, necklace, bracelet, or key chain. You can find Broken Bones and accessories on www.BrokenBones.biz. Also check out the Pup Page featuring happy dogs wearing their Broken Bones."
Located in Tucson, Arizona, the Broken Bones line of jewelry is proudly made in the USA. Find them on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/broken.bones.dog.charm.
Remember:  Nothing says, “I Love You!” like a couple of Broken Bones!
(Logo and photo courtesy of Broken Bones)
*mispaw/mispah: see Wikipedia here for more about mispah, the emotional bond. “The mizpah has come to connote an emotional bond between people who are separated (either physically or by death). Mizpah jewelry is often made in the form of a coin-shaped pendant cut in two with a zig-zag line . . . and worn to signify the bond. Additionally, the word ‘mizpah’ can often be found on headstones in cemeteries and on other memorials.”
(This first appeared on ColumbiaPatch.com and the other Patch online newspapers in Maryland on 25 June 2014.)

Monday, June 23, 2014

Book Review: Dog is my Co-Pilot (rescue/shelter dogs, private pilots)


Dog is My Copilot: Rescue Tales of Flying Dogs, Second Chances, and the Hero Who Might Live Next Door, by Patrick Regan (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 136 pages, 2012, $16.99)


Behind Every Flight is a Story (at least 25 wagging dog ‘tails’ here!)

Question: What is more endearing than a dog’s head on your shoulder as you drive home?

Answer: A dog’s head on your shoulder as you pilot your plane to the dog’s new home and new life!

Dog is My Copilot is the novel (new) idea of a marriage of pilots who love to fly and dogs who need transportation to new homes – and the countless people who bring them together.

An idea conceived almost by accident in 2007, the organization Pilots N Paws (www.pilotsnpaws.org) has grown exponentially to transport dogs and other needy animals mostly from the South and Southeast, places of high density homeless pups, to the MidWest and Northeast, where dogs are dearly wanted.

Pilots N Paws is a 501(c)(3) charity so the pilots are true volunteers of their time, fuel, and planes. Currently more than 2,000 pilots have registered to save dog-lives, flying short hops of a hundred miles to longer flights of more than two thousand miles with some requiring up to 10 legs, including automobile shuttles: Pennsylvania to Arizona was a single long in-air transport flight while, in 2010, seven legs fanned out in all directions from 12 rescues and shelters near New Orleans to 15 receiving organizations mobilized all over the country to offer new homes and get the dogs there in record time.

Each type of flight, short or long, is possible: each is a success, thanks to the numerous people and pilots with love in their hearts for these pupsters.

One plane sports a flier in a window noting this plane has saved 157 canine lives from Chihuahuas to Golden Retrievers. Another pilot sticks a dog decal on his plane for every dog passenger, much like the pilots in World War 2 did for every Zero shot down.

The Book

Stunning before and after photos that grab your heart depict a dog looking out a plane window, dogs in flight in two-seaters and in the cockpit, two retired military working dogs going to their new lives and new homes, and a dog in a convertible on the ground gazing up longingly at the sky toward a plane in flight.

Each pilot in the air and the myriads of dog people working on the ground are truly “angels in the sky” for these very luck and very deserving dogs.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Book Review: The Dog Who Could Fly (dog, WWII, RAF, dog-human bond)

EverythingDogBlog #176: A War Story, A Love Story Bound to be a Bestseller!
The Dog Who Could Fly: The Incredible True Story of a WWII Airman and the Four-Footed Hero Who Flew at His Side, by Damien Lewis (Simon & Schuster, 2013, 288 pages, $26 - and worth every penny!) 
Enthralling Read
By the co-author of Sergeant Rex,The Dog Who Could Fly only gets better and better as you find yourself reading faster and faster.  You know the ending but you have to read the whole book to find out how it gets there.
Like a murder mystery or crime movie, you know exactly how many pages are left or how many minutes: you just can’t figure out how it happens but finally everything falls into place and you are satisfied that there is only one way for the story to end.
And it is a good one!
Understated
Damien Lewis’ writing style is understated with fairly short sentences and words, though there are a handful of glitches where a British word or sentence structure causes a bump. It is not a children’s book, however, though I can see a children’s version in the future. Many years ago, it was to have been a movie by Twentieth Century Fox and hopefully it will be again when the popularity of this book receives a new audience.
The Dog Who is an easy read, perhaps even a ‘beach book’ or a ‘plane read’ but you won’t have time for a nap in flight once you start The Dog Who! Full of suspense and love, loyalty and humor, it also has a riveting plot as well as character development, war buddy camaraderie, and even a few love interests - the primary one being between dog and man. The war and flight accounts are not detailed enough, however, to lose women readers, and veterans will reminisce about their own war experiences and ‘battle buddies.’
The Dog with Nine Lives
Antis the German Shepherd Dog is four weeks old when discovered in an abandoned house in No Man’s Land by two European airmen shot down by the Nazis. Antis adopts the gunner, a Czech airman (Robert Bozdech) flying for Free France and later for the RAF. He is fed chocolates (not recommended) and becomes an ‘early warning signal’ for the ‘bad guys,’ be they on ground or in the air.
Thus, Antis saves lives, over and over again (humans have difficulty believing the canine’s extraordinary and amazing sense of hearing, though). In the process, he stows aboard a fighter plane, is eventually wounded by flak, is fitted for his own oxygen mask, sustains gunshot injuries inflicted by an irate sheep farmer, survives a crash landing, and lives many additional adventures, one seemingly more breath-taking (or humorous) than the last – but there are also sad moments and forebodings which must be endured as well.
Grounded at last by injuries, Antis patiently waits on the runway every time his airman leaves on a mission: when the returning plane must land at a different airport due to weather, injuries, or running out of fuel, Antis continues to wait . . .
The Heart of the Story
Antis is the dog everyone wants – the dog we call a ‘heart dog.’
Originally published in Britain as War DogThe Dog Who is primarily a love story between a man and a dog. When I read in the preface that everafter, the Czech airman never had another dog and would not permit his children to have a dog either, I felt that was going a bit too far, but that was before I read the complete story of Antis’ loyalty and deep deep love for the man who saved him as a pup.
A bond like no other I have ever seen portrayed in a book, the bond between Antis and his human is tested again and again - and survives, just as the RAF mascot dog and his person survive the war. The Czech airman finally learns that in war, you have to put your dog first, every time.
I would read anything by Damien Lewis: Sergeant Rex is next on my list. Put it and The Dog Who on your list, too.
*I generally avoid rating books, and I’m a tough grader, but I do give The Dog Who an A minus – only because I dislike the dated term, master, and prefer the British title of War Dog - trivial reasons perhaps, you might think. If so, you can raise Antis’ grade to an A!
(This review first appeared on ColumbiaPatch.com and the other Maryland Patch online newspapers on 22 June 2014.)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Book Review: Until Tuesday (service dog, war veteran, golden retriever)


EverythingDogBlog #175: The Big Kids’ Tuesday Book!

But, is it gold?
Until Tuesday, A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him, by Luis Montalvan with Bret Witter, Hyperion Press, 2011, 252 pp, $22.99.
Buy it Locally and Help Homeless Dogs
You can get your own copy of Until Tuesday through ThankfulPaws, a Maryland food bank for pets – email contact@ThankfulPaws.org or place your order by leaving a message at 410-622-4892.
It Must Be, . . .but, . . . . 
A magnetic book at first glance, about a wounded warrior (nowadays a winner in any bookstore) and the friendliest, most gorgeous breed of dog ever: the golden retriever. And since Until Tuesday is about saving a life, it must be inspiring, right?
With an unforgettable cover photo of a golden retriever holding dog tags in his mouth, how can you not read Until Tuesday?
A good book has a good story, well-written with good pacing, content, and other mechanics of writing, along with that indefinable trait: magic! Tuesday has it all.  (I must confess: I cried.) Having said that, a few considerations bear further scrutiny.
Tuesday and Dewey
Bret Witter also co-wrote the well-known Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World. Both the Dewey book and the Tuesday book are similarly about animals who save people. Dewey was a common cat whose personality was anything but common – he may have saved a whole town! Tuesday is a service dog (psychological bodyguard for mentally wounded warriors?), highly skilled, who is also a very sensitive people-lover, and could be said to have saved the author.
Pre-publication quotes praise Tuesday. Of course, one was from Witter’s other co-author (of Dewey fame). But some books just catch on with the public, perhaps due to great marketing or great timing – both Dewey and Tuesday fit this bill.
Both books relate incident after incident, but Tuesday travels further along the character development continuum though it covers not an entire life (like Dewey) but merely a few years.
Readers may feel that both books include too much extraneous material they want to skip over: Dewey, about the personal foibles of a head librarian and a small town in Iowa, and Tuesday, with too many pages about one US soldier (albeit an officer) in Iraq - which could have been much briefer if it were not that then the book would be shorter!
Do we really get to know either one of the animals through all this extraneous material?
I think not.
About that Trust Thing, . . . .
A secondary theme in Until Tuesday is of two wounded individuals meeting and learning to trust each other (Tuesday had an unusual puppyhood but in no way would I consider him psychologically ‘wounded,’ even though he was raised by Puppies Behind Bars). Montalvan writes, “We weren’t made for each other but we turned out to be exactly what the other needed.”
My first thought while reading was that Until Tuesday is the book Michael Vick needs to read to learn that dogs not only provide cruel entertainment and illegal gambling wins but can also save lives with their skilled assistance and unconditional love.
Hmmmm,. . . .
When I read between the lines, I saw a book written with all the right words but ones that just missed coming from the heart.
Yes, Tuesday does provide a service by retrieving items off the floor so Montalvan won’t re-injure his back. Yes, Tuesday is there to lean on for balance when Montalvan gets dizzy as a result of his traumatic brain injury (TBI) but the book doesn’t portray well enough how these dogs can be someone’s eyes or ears or even counteract the effects of PTSD.
Yes, Tuesday mitigates the effects of flashbacks, nightmares, social anxiety, agoraphobia, and panic attacks, and Tuesday will alert him to ‘danger’ but “Tuesday’s greatest contribution was his presence. . . .He was a buffer against the world, . . . .”
I ask: is this enough for a $25,000 donated investment – the cost of training a service dog?
Tuesday may be just Montalvan’s better-half with a full-body wag - a very expensive pet dog. (“For veterans, happiness is a warm puppy.”) Too expensive for the VA, for an animal to comfort and calm more than to do things the veteran cannot do.
Pets and service dogs overlap in value and accomplishments. Service dogs are not emotional support animals: they are far more than that. The comfort of a pet is invaluable but a pet need not be trained by a service dog organization to do this. Yes, a service dog gets one out of the apartment but a pet dog does the same! Ditto for cuddling.
On the other hand, Until Tuesday is a book that is more about the love between a man and his service dog than merely a recounting of what a service dog can do for someone - which may be a service itself!
A pro-Army, anti-Iraq War book is not hard for this combat veteran/book reviewer to comprehend. “You’re a changed person after combat.” Yet the former Army officer still wears his combat boots and decorates his apartment with his military awards.
Tuesday?
I am ambivalent about Until Tuesday but I would still love a Tuesday of my own!
Read the book yourself and make up your own mind.
Are the omissions in not telling the entire story about what a service dog can do important or does Tuesday bring enough needed attention to the plight of service dogs being illegally turned away from commercial establishments as well as the deep bond that can form between handler and service dog? How can a graduate student tell us so little about his journalism classes (essentially a writing apprenticeship) and so much about publishing editorials (10 articles between May and July of one year) and speaking nationally about the war and veterans’ issues? Why does a journalist with a graduate degree need another person to help write a book?
On the other hand, no book is perfect and even an imperfect book can do good. Or can it? Is this book a service or a disservice to service dogs?
________________________________________________
(I have seen videos of Montalvan on the Internet. I have read Internet accounts of his incident in Iraq that differs from his accounting. I attended a talk by the author and, as a dog trainer, I felt a bit uncomfortable in that Tuesday often needed to be told several times to do something and cuddled with people while ‘in uniform.’ I have spoken with social workers who train psychiatric service dogs for veterans who also feel Until Tuesday is not accurate. These, plus the minor flaws mentioned above lead me to be ambivalent about Montalvan and his book. But, see for yourself!)

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Book Review: Tuesday Tucks Me In (service dog, golden retriever)

And now, kids have their own Tuesday book.

EverythingDogBlog #174: Dog Book Review for the Younger Set

Tuesday Tucks Me In: The Loyal Bond between a Soldier and his Service Dog, by Luis Montalvan with Bret Witter (Roaring Book Press, 2014, 39 pp, $16.99, for Kindergarten through Grade 4).
How I Wish. . . .
Tuesday Tucks Me In – how the reader will wish he had a Tuesday, too!
A typical day in the life of a service dog who is more than just a service dog – Tuesday is also Luis Montalvan’s best friend (just as “dog is man’s best friend”).
Told in Tuesday’s own words, Tuesday wakes Luis up, brings him his socks, accompanies him on the subway and to the doctor and yes, even to the dog park. Tuesday also tucks Luis in at night and even sleeps with him to ward off bad dreams of the war he fought in.
Tuesday, A Two-Way Street
Not a sequel to Until Tuesday*, but a children’s book with two goals, both well-met: first, a book about a typical day in the life of a service dog and, secondly, the story of two best friends.
Your child will definitely want a golden retriever after reading this wonderful picture book of the two best friends and helpers, Tuesday and Luis, living in New York City.
Poster Photography
From the first photo of Tuesday’s face, up close and personal, which is the first thing Luis sees in the morning, to the full-page and even two-page spreads, to my favorite – of Tuesday on his hind legs with a toy in his retriever-mouth and his ears flapping joyously – the fantastic photography gives us a true picture of the life of Tuesday and Luis, even to their hugs and nodding off to sleep together, as well as Tuesday getting his coat  brushed and even his teeth!
This is a life that every child can identify with and will not soon forget. I venture to say your child will point out every golden retriever he sees for a long time to come! And want one for himself.
Service Dogs
If you visit www.TuesdayTucksMeIn.com you will also find a short quiz about service dogs, Service Dog Do’s and Don’ts [sic], which should even have been in the back of the book. It’s kid-easy while still being educational – just like the book.
Everyday Friends
I highly recommend Tuesday Tucks for children who like dogs, for those who have a service dog or may get one, or even for kids who see a service dog around town. A fun and warm story of everyday life for man’s best friend.
*Tomorrow, read about Until Tuesday, the original book, for older kids and adults. 
(This article first appeared on ColumbiaPatch.com and the other Maryland online newspapers [Patches] on 18 June 2014.)

Monday, June 9, 2014

Book Review: How to Foster Dogs (temporary dogs, care, problems/solutions, rescues/shelters)

EverythingDogBlog #173: Foster Families Needed - Yours?

How to Foster Dogs: From Homeless to Homeward Bound, by Pat Miller (Dogwise, 2014, 158 pages, $14.95)

Not sure you have what it takes to take on a dog - or another dog? Haven’t had a dog since you were a child when your mother probably ‘did it all’? Never had a dog but would love to get one? Want to learn about dogs?

Fostering may just be your answer.

You Want to Foster, But. . . . 
 
The dog world needs more foster families and yours may be just right!

You will have all the help you need if you research rescue/shelter organizations to find the right fit, gain some knowledge via books like How to Foster Dogs: From Homeless to Homeward Bound and from experienced people, and keep at it by asking the right questions for you.

Temporary Dogs

Foster is also a stellar reference for the experienced foster family, answering questions you may never have thought to ask.

Superb Organization, Easy to Read

Foster begins by defining the term, fostering, and by detailing the types of organizations one can foster for (or foster with), as well as the benefits for you and for dogs. Foster then delves into the various kinds of shelters and rescues and how to select one whose philosophy matches yours and which offers a continuing education and support program for foster families.

“Bringing Your Foster Home”

Don’t know how to get ready for your foster dog, how to introduce him to your canine, feline, and human family as well as his new routine? Pat Miller is here to help, and to give solutions for when things go wrong. She also includes sections on socialization and the all-important record keeping.

Feeding, grooming, veterinary care, exercise, training (and training tools) are covered in Chapter 4 while the final chapter will help you say goodbye – if the foster-dog foster-family match doesn’t work out or when you, bittersweetly, turn your foster over to his forever family. It’s OK to say goodbye.

Prevention and Solutions

Chapters 5-9 discuss common issues that fosters (and all dogs) may have – and how to help those dogs. From common problems like barking, escaping and house soiling to the more complex behavior issues of fearful dogs (“Finding Courage”), and topics such as aggression and separation anxiety/distress (“Home Alone,” a dog’s worst nightmare).

Miller defines and offers solutions of management and training but she begins the ‘problems’ chapters with refuting the fallacy of dominance and the myth of the alpha dog, a much needed discussion in every dog book, for every dog family, in every dog class. Miller was one of the first to help the dog training community heal the damage the ‘dominance’ philosophy has caused to dogs and the bond between them and their people.

Who is Pat Miller?

Dog trainer and horsewoman Pat Miller got her start in California shelters decades ago and has made a successful business career with animals. She has a knack for jumping on the bandwagon and making a new dog sport or activity more popular by learning about it early, then teaching others and writing about it.

Must Read

Foster is a must-read for all shelter and rescue people, all foster families and even new dog people! But, it is not just a book to read once: rather, keep it handy for the life of your dog. “Ready, Set, Go!”

Read more about it: DogWise is a superb source of EverythingDog – simply the best publishing company and bookseller for dog people. Reach them at www.dogwise.com

Caveat: This book was sent to me by the publisher for review. This article first appeared on ColumbiaPatch.com on 10 June 2014 and the other Maryland Patches.

Book Review: Sergeant Stubby (dog, WWI)

EverythingDogBlog #172: Canine Hero of WWI

Sergeant Stubby: How a Stray Dog and His Best Friend Helped Win World War I and Stole the Heart of a Nation, by Ann Bausum (National Geographic, 2014, $24, 239 pages)

A Dog Truly Worthy of a Book

I kept coming back to Sergeant Stubby in the bookstore: finally, I picked the book up and purchased it to read over the weekend of the 70th anniversary of D-Day -while dogsitting, even. I found it to be “The story of a man and his dog, a dog and his man, inseparably bonded for life and ever after.” Yes, dogs and soldiers do go together.

The foreward is riveting, by David Sharpe, founder and chair of Companions for Heroes, an organization I will be writing about soon.

Decorated by Pershing

A dog “. . . smuggled to France. Off to the front. Survived four offensive campaigns. Wounded. Gassed. Captured a German, single-muzzledly. Decorated and feted. . . What a war. What an act. What a show. What a dog!” What a hero!

Good things come in three’s: each of the three sections of Sergeant Stubby begins with two pages setting the stage – what life was like in the US at the time. And the time, of course, was World War I.
The sections, Two Recruits, War and Peace, and Homecoming, are irregularly interesting. We no longer have homecomings like the one depicted in the book, war and peace is no longer the same, and two such recruits could never have gotten away with what these two recruits, Robert Conroy and Stubby, got away with.

Nevertheless, author Ann Bausum undertook a worthy project in researching and speculating on a story set nearly one hundred years ago. War and Peace, the middle section, tells much about the war: even for this combat veteran, perhaps too much - not exciting enough, not personal enough.

We have to hand it to Bausum, however, in that she does not fabricate anything. Instead, she tells what history has recorded and writes that probably Private Conroy and Stubby would have done X if confronted with Y during the Battle of Z. And the reader definitely lives though the constant rain and the cold chow that soldiers everywhere endure. So, a shorter book might have been better: surely, fewer words about the war itself and also about the apr├Ęs-war publicity. The final section seems to be merely a list of events in prose rather than a development of character or plot (reminiscent of Dogs of War [see below]).

The Myth Expands

Although the first third of the book, about the two recruits (confirmed chums Conroy and Stubby) are heartwarming and a bit suspenseful (will Stubby be successfully stowed aboard the troop ship bound for Europe?), the final part really takes the cake: Conroy sets out a public relations tour and even makes a scrapbook of Stubby happenings (uncommon in the Twenties).

The Friendship of a Dog Who Could Even Salute!
 
Stubby, though not a military working dog, befriended everyone and seemed to know who needed comfort when in a time of war, far from home. He quickly became the mascot of his unit and, indeed, in the words of some, mascot to the entire AEF (Allied Expeditionary Forces).

A friend of (three) presidents and babies alike, at war’s end, Stubby’s reputation only expanded exponentially as he was lauded in newspapers, attended veterans reunions, marched in parades (and even executed an “Eyes Right”!), joined the American Legion, and became a half-time sensation at football games.

A Dog Worthy of a Movie

Now, I await the movie version to show us a history of the bond between soldier and soldier, between man and dog, the story of a type of dog no longer in favor (a pit-type, actually a brindle and white bull terrier mix, most likely). And, of course, a children’s version of Sergeant Stubby (already published, as a matter of fact).

What a wonderful tribute to a maligned breed mix that would be!

“. . . There are Times When a Dog is More Than a Dog. . . . “

Today, a stuffed Stubby resides in the Smithsonian, along with “his” medals and Army paraphernalia. Put Stubby on your next itinerary to Washington, DC!

Read more about military dogs here: Trident K9 Warriors, Soldier Dogs, Sergeant Rex (reviews to come), Dogs of War. Also, for ages 10 and up, and also by National Geographic, Bausum’s Stubby the War Dog, packed with period photographs, family memorabilia and vintage artwork tells the true story of WWI’s bravest dog.

Local note: Although Stubby was a Connecticut dog who met Conroy at Yale, after his war service, he became the mascot of Catholic University when Conroy attended law school there, in Washington, DC. (Conroy also attended four other law schools and joined the precursor of the FBI as a special agent.)

Caveat: This article first appeared in ColumbiaPatch.com and the other Maryland Patches on 9 June 2014.