Archive for January, 2015

Beginning on Monday, February 2, I will be holding a bi-weekly Animal Lightworkers call to focus on sending out love and light to the animals and to individuals and groups locally and around the world. More and more people are realizing the power of love and how we can bring about change to this world just by being the change we want to see. Love attracts more love. If you are actively involved with animal welfare – an employee at a shelter/rescue, a volunteer, or helping in any other way – you may be seeing a lot of criticism, judgment, and hatred directed towards individuals or groups. Social media is often a place for tremendous controversy. This negativity does not help the animals. We need to join together, with love, to be able to give more to the animals. By sending love and light to all who want to help animals, I am hoping to transform that negativity so that we can work together to help more animals. Hatred and anger only attracts more hatred; fighting one another does not help. Darkness cannot survive in the light.

In this biweekly conference call, participants will learn how to bring the light from the Universe into themselves and send it to the animals and people who want to help them. Please spread the word that this call to action is happening. If you truly love animals, they need us to be the love that they embody.

Please join us on Monday, February 2 at 7:30pm (EST). The call-in number is 712-775-7031 and the ID is 372-416-395. I invite you also to join the Meetup group so you can get notifications about future calls:

MLK Quote Hate Cannot Drive Out Hate


One More Dog

Thinking of getting a second, third, fourth dog? Be prepared, your happy household may get turned upset down. Pack dynamics can change very quickly with the addition of a new personality. As a frequent foster mom with my own two dogs, I can personally attest to this, and would not have believed it if I hadn’t experienced it myself.

My dogs are 10-year-old Standard Poodles, Monty and Monet, who I adopted last year. They have very sweet, even temperaments. Monty especially. He’s a docile, happy dog who gets along with everyone. Monet is docile too, however, can be a little bitchy with some other dogs. She can be the “fun police” too, trying to interrupt when other dogs are playing. I have had other foster dogs and even watched friends’ dogs in my home, and Monty and Monet always got along great with them.

Two weeks ago, I agreed to foster Norm, a 9-month-old Basset/Boxer mix. When he arrived, he was so shy and withdrawn. He cowered in the corner most of the first night and ran from me for several days. He spent most of his energy avoiding contact, even with Monty and Monet. But as I worked with Norm and he grew more trusting, his real personality began to emerge. Monty and Norm started to play together. Monty seemed to enjoy the new playmate. Norm often tried to initiate play with Monet as well. True to form, Monet rejected his advances by growling and even chasing him away. I was not surprised by her reaction. But Norm did not take the correction – he continued to try to play with Monet despite her obvious signals.

One morning, Monty and Norm were playing and Monet looked as if she wanted to play too. She followed them around and tried to get in the game. She mimicked their play by nipping at Monty’s back leg. Monty whirled around and went after her. It was not play. She came back at him and in an instant, I had a full blown dogfight on my hands. Monty and Monet had NEVER fought before, always best buddies. Nobody was hurt, thank goodness. I was stunned beyond belief at what I had just seen and very grateful that I had enough sense to keep a close watch in the dogs’ interactions. The presence of a new dog, a different personality, had changed everything.

So if you are considering adding another dog to your household, be prepared for anything. I would suggest you get the name of a highly qualified dog trainer to give advice for introducing a new dog and to help if any issues arise.

People frequently ask me for advice about their dog or their friends’ dogs’ behavior. I don’t mind and I really want to help but it’s not so easy to give accurate information without more details and a first-hand look at the situation. It’s also irresponsible to give advice without more information. Just the other day, a friend emailed me that her friend recently started dating a man and whenever they hug, her dog barks at them. She wanted advice to give her friend. How would you answer this request?

Behavior issues can be complicated and require knowledge not only of dog behavior but more importantly, people behavior. Unless you have education and experience, it can be tempting to give advice without looking further into the situation. In this case of the dog barking at the hugging couple, my first question back to them would be – what do you do when the dog barks at you?  This is such a key question because dogs are usually reacting to our actions. Are they yelling at the dog when he barks? Ignoring him? Giving into him and not hugging??!!   Each one of these scenarios can result in a very different behavior from the dog and different advice from me.

Do you find yourself giving behavior advice to others? Be very careful, for what worked for you and your dog may not be the right solution your friend’s dog. My neighbor has a small but mighty Chihuahua who growls and snaps at other dogs. She was telling me that another neighbor told her to jerk the leash and scream “No!” to the dog. It worked for the neighbor’s dog but obviously wasn’t working for the Chihuahua. She was biting for my dog’s nose as we talked. While I would NEVER give this kind of punitive advice, the reason it worked for the neighbor’s dog was probably due to personality differences in the dogs. Softer, more mild-mannered dogs can be scared into stopping some behaviors while stronger-willed dogs will feed off of punishment and get worse.

Dog behavior and human behavior is not black and white. There are so many factors to consider. It’s a lifelong learning experience with every dog teaching us something new.  It’s humbling yet lots of fun!

Miracles Can Happen at Any Time

I spent much of the last couple of months watching Christmas movies. Yes, I admit it, I’m a sap for anything that has to do with Christmas. Now that the holidays are over, I’m very sad that these movies are no longer playing because I love the messages of hope they give. Many of the movies’ themes are about miracles that happen at Christmastime. Truly the original Christmas, the birth of Jesus, was a miracle. But I believe that miracles can happen anytime, not just during Christmas. So take heart, you don’t have to wait until next Christmas for that miracle you’ve been praying for to happen!

The longer I live, the more I realize that miracles are happening all the time and come to us in the form of other people and even the animals. Miracles don’t have to be big things like parting the Red Sea. They can come as answers to our prayers – large or small – in the form of a phone call from a friend just when you needed to talk to someone, being at the right place at the right time to meet a person who will help you find your next job, having a stranger stop to help you if have car troubles, or money coming in just when you need it most.

Animals play just as much a part in delivering miracles to us. Stories abound of how shelter pets have brought special help to their adopters in the form of healing, therapy, and even guidance. That’s what happened to me with my dogs. Starting with Caper, my first Golden Retriever who led me to a new career of helping the animals, all the way through all of dogs including my foster dogs, they each delivered a miracle of some sort to my life. You just have to be aware and look around for them. They could be leading you into a direction that you never dreamed of.

You too can bring miracles to other people’s lives. Every day places us in positions to help one another. But too many of us are so wrapped up in our own problems that we don’t stop to see the suffering of others in its many disguises. Just a kind word to someone can change someone’s day. I’ll never forget the day I was in a hurry when I stopped in the grocery store to grab a few items. The lines were long, and the cashier in my line was particularly slow. As I approached the cashier, I saw a sign that said she was in training. I could see that she was stressed and upset. My irritation at being held up for so long immediately dissipated. As the trainee rang up my order, I told her that she was doing a great job. She gave me a broad smile and said “thank you.” I felt so good that I was able to make her feel good. This wasn’t a miracle but to her, it might have made a difference. What if she was considering quitting? Who knows what she may have been thinking?

The message of Christmas is that the light and love are here for us always, not just at Christmastime. Be the miracle in someone else’s life!

Goodnight Snoopy and Woodstock