well, practically wordless Wednesday… for me and her royal silliness…
Heroes Come in Different Species
An Abused Pit Bull and Human Survivor Share Hope and Healing
Some people see a pit bull and go running for the hills fearing that they will be maimed due to the sensationalizing of (and often untrue) pit bull attack stories overreported by the media. Then there are dog lovers and advocates who see a dog just like any other dog. Donna Lawrence is one of the latter. Yes, even after she WAS attacked by a pit bull.
A recent survey of people who admitted to having negative opinions of pit bulls, 60 percent of the participants cited media reports as the basis of their negative opinions.
“One person and one animal can make a powerful difference in the world,” said Donna. She survived an attack and later adopted an abused pit bull puppy who was set on fire. Her courage and commitment to dogs inspires people around the world.
Donna and Susie’s story of Love, Hope, Courage and Forgiveness has been made into a movie called Susie’s Hope which recently aired on UPTV.
The DVD will be released this fall, but you can preorder through Best Buy now!
Donna thought Susie was dead when she found her in a park. “My heart melted the instant I saw her. I had so much compassion for her. I saw this six week old puppy with third degree burns all over her body and I couldn’t understand how someone could do this to her. I had never seen abuse like this before. She was so little and frail with scars all over her body. Her ears were burned off. She had broken bones. Susie needed a lot of love and protection,” Donna explained.
“As I held her, covered in bandages, she kissed my face. She was so loving and just wanted me to hold her. I was captivated. We were kindred spirits. I could relate to her pain and suffering. She was wrongfully attacked. We both had a lot of physical and emotional scars and fears to conquer.”
A few weeks before she met Susie, Donna had been feeding her neighbor’s abandoned and abused pit bull who was chained up 24/7. One day the dog became aggressive and attacked Donna’s legs. She thought she was going to die.
It is important to note that the attack on Donna was not because the dog was a pit bull. The attack fit the profile cited in a recent report published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA)/ The report discusses dog bite prevention and cites factors involved in attacks. Breed is not a factor. The dog that attacked Donna was chained up (a resident dog not a pet), abused, neglected, not neutered and no able bodied person was there to intervene.
“I was working through some serious emotional turmoil, and one weekend when I had Susie in my care, I got the tragic news that I would never be able to have children—as a result of the attack. I cried all the way home from the doctor’s office. When we got home, it was like God spoke to me,” Donna recalled. “You see that puppy, she has been abused, set on fire, and left for dead. Yet she is forgiving. She is not living in the past. She is happy and thankful to be alive. She is moving on with her life and so can you. I want you to adopt her. I have big plans for you–bigger than you can imagine. And you will never fear dogs again.” So, I listened to God. I let go of my hurt and anger and trusted in God that together we would bring healing to people and animals.”
Pit bulls and their bad reputation never bothered Donna. She considers pit bulls “loyal and affectionate dogs with loving hearts.” Before the pit bull that attacked her and adopting Susie, Donna rescued another pit bull named Samson. “He was so sweet; I’d take him to the salon with me every day and he’d sit by the dryers while the gals got their hair done. He’d look over their shoulders as if he was reading the magazines with them!”
Wanting justice (a punishment to fit the crime) for what happened to Susie, Donna was concerned that Susie’s abuser would go free. Animal cruelty laws were very lenient in North Carolina at the time and had not been changed in a very long time. The person who abused Susie was only given jail time because the court could charge him with destroying someone else’s property. Susie was treated as property rather than a living being. So, Donna helped to pass Susie’s Law with stiffer fines and jail time for animal abusers.
It was a team effort. “In March 2010, we canvassed the state of North Carolina, sharing Susie’s story. We sent out emails, postcards and letters with our “request for change.” We took Susie before the city council and county commissioners Votes were unanimous in the House and Senate (after taking one look at Susie). The Bill was signed by Governor Perdue in June 2010, with Susie’s paw of approval. The law was put into effect in December 2010.”
“Remember, serial killers practice abusing animals first and then move on to innocent children and adults,” Donna declared.
Now, Donna has high hopes for the impact of the movie. “We hope that Susie’s Hope will start a nationwide movement, to bring national public and legislative awareness, to change laws in every state. Maybe even a national law to protect all animals. Some states have great animal cruelty laws, and then, some don’t. I hope the movie will motivate others to make a difference and change in their own state, or hometown, for the sake of the animals. I also hope the movie will motivate people to never give up on the things they are passionate about.”
Through Susie’s Hope™ the non-profit organization, Donna and Susie teach people how to treat animals properly.
“Susie and I are on a mission to do all we can to stand up for the rights of animals. It is time for a change in our society. We need to stop turning the other cheek to abuse and start reporting abuse whenever we see it. We need to crack down on puppy mills and backyard breeding. Fight for changes in your own state. Let’s get animals off of chains and make them a part of the family. We hope people will take care of their pets, and learn how to be safe around them, to love and respect them.”
When Susie and Donna visit schools, “I usually ask the children to offer Susie a treat. I teach kids in the schools how to approach animals,and to always ask permission. Not all animals enjoy kids running up to them and getting in their face, or riding them like a horse. Children need to learn at an early age to respect an animal’s space and how to gently approach them.
“People need to understand animals have feelings and emotions just like we do. They feel pain, loneliness and rejection, and they know when they are loved–and when they are not.”
Susie turned five years old in June (2014). “Susie loves chasing her brother and sister dogs around in the yard. She loves going to work with me at the salon. (She gives the clients kisses and shows off with her favorite tricks–riding a skateboard, jumping through a hula hoop, playing dead, counting, reading, pointing to colors, and more). She loves to eat peanut butter. She loves riding in the car and traveling. I think she likes being my friend. Susie does like other doggies, but it takes her a bit to warm up to them–she has to make sure she can trust them.
“Susie and I are on a mission to do all we can to stand up for the rights of animals. It is time for a change in our society. We need to stop turning the other cheek to abuse and start reporting abuse whenever we see it in our neighborhoods, communities or our workplace. We need to crack down on puppy mills and backyard breeding. We want to encourage everyone to fight for changes in your own state and communities. Let’s get animals off of chains and make them a part of the family. We hope people will continue to educate children as well as adults in their own communities how to take care of their pets, and how to be safe around them, to love them and respect them,” she concluded.
Susie is a nominee in the American Human Association Hero Dog Awards contest. As the 2014 AHA Therapy Dog, please consider voting for her. (Visit www.susieshope.com orwww.susieshope-nc.org for more information).
wow, this was a very difficult box to open but once we did, Cici and I were beyond words excited and delighted, woof woof woof
we have received and reviewed a few of these monthly boxes and liked them. But this one has the MOST goodies of them all !!! Plus, you can customize the boxes. And subscriptions start at $32/mo and go up to $61 depending on how many pets in your PawPack and how many months you commit to upfront.
Cici has been chewing on an old slipper that is threads basically, not much left to chew on (well, besides the other toys she chewed open to get to the squeaker in a few minutes)
and in this pawbox, are a few toys that she is chewing on that last longer than a few minutes…
happy dog !!!!
And these toys and treats are easy to take with you when you travel with your pooch. Keeps them busy chewing away.
a very strong rope (twisted) toy, good karma rope toy
Steph’s mom, green puppy organic cotton “biscuit” (well, she really likes the squeak squeak squeak of this one)
silver Planet Dog Orbee-tuff double sided tuff (fill with treats)
the “hot dog” she was able to chew up and yellow stuffing is falling out, oh well
plus there were two kinds of treats
Buddy biscuits by Cloud Star, peanut butter soft chews
True chews, premium chicken jerky made in the USA
a water bottle
Harry Barker facial spray for that refreshing au d’canine scents
Ear wipe cleaner
a large clip for a dog food bag
Organic doggie bar
Did we mention how much we love love love this paw pack ? Your pooches will never forgive you if you don’t sign up to get them some.
5 Ways to Help a Lonely Pet
Chronic loneliness and social isolation is not only debilitating for humans; dogs and cats can also suffer the psychological, and perhaps physical, impacts of being alone and not emotionally connected or engaged on a regular basis. Pet loneliness, which differs from separation anxiety, can manifest from a new or temporary situation triggered by changes like moving to a new home, a teenager going off to college, or a significant schedule alteration for the owner. More worryingly, it can be a long-term problem caused by prolonged seclusion—a situation that, unfortunately, becomes a way of life for many of our nation’s four-legged family members.
There is debate as to whether or not research on chronic loneliness, proven to have direct links to impeding both the mental and physical health of humans—including conditions like dementia, insomnia, anxiety, depression and potentially lethal heart disease—impacts pets in similar ways. More certainly, however, even beyond potential ominous health concerns, lonely pets can be unhappy, bored and lethargic. This often leads to a variety of unsavory behaviors and dissatisfaction for all involved. The more social the pet’s nature, the higher probability that problems will be present and persist.
(Fortunately, my Cici, the Polka Dot Princess, is rarely home alone. And when she is, her couch or my bed or her house (her crate) are where she resides and sleeps until I come back). But not all dogs are so lucky. In addition to the list below, we would add, put the TV or radio on or some comforting canine music, give them a familiar article of clothing with your smell on it, and/or depending upon their level of separation anxiety, you might give them a dose of Rescue Remedy or another all natural calming remedy before you leave, to keep them happy. You could also bring them to doggie daycare or hire a pet sitter or dog walker on a regular basis if possible.
To help keep America’s dogs and cats more stimulated and satisfied during “alone time,” Paul Mann, Founder and CEO of FETCH! Pet Care, offers these 5 tips on how to avoid pet loneliness and turn this sad face into a happy doggie smile: (you know the sad eyes face that they give you before you leave when they know they are not going with you)
Avoiding, rectifying or reversing a pet’s state of loneliness can have tremendous and immediate benefits for the animal and the household at large. Following even a few of the tips above will improve a pet’s quality of life and surely get their tail wagging again.
Paul Mann is the Founder and CEO of Fetch! Pet Care—the nation’s largest and most trusted franchisor for professional pet sitting, dog walking, and pet fitness/exercise services—serving thousands of pets and pet parents throughout the United States from coast to coast. He may be reached online at: www.FetchPetCare.com.
We all know that dogs love to chew on bones (and other items, but we won’t go into that here). I have given Cici all kinds of chews and bones. I have given her raw bones, frozen, but she would chomp them up and I was always afraid that those large pieces of bones might hurt her. What to do? You gotta give your dog a bone to chew on but you are not supposed to give them cooked bones and raw bones can be hard too. (Pun intended).
How about a healthy alternative… Mercola dental bones
We have long been a fan of Dr. Joseph Mercola online. The info on his website is quite good, alternatively delicious and healing. And his team includes Dr. Karen Becker, a vet. So, we were delighted to receive these dental bones for Cici’s review. And she LOVES them. She gets one per day and drools whenever I take one out to give it to her. And it is good for me because I know that they are great for her teeth. Win-win. All four paws up and two thumbs up !
Ingredients include: Organic brown rice powder, Tapioca starch, water, natural chicken flavor, Organic Pea powder, Brewers Dried Yeast, Parsley powder, Peppermint oil, Rosemary Oil and Vitamin E. Gluten-free.
Some info on Dr. Mercola’s website about oral health in dogs:
According to the American Veterinary Dental Society (AVDS), 80% of dogs show oral distress by age 3. It’s one of the most common health issues treated in animal health clinics today.
Dr Becker says in the video that telling you not to brush your dog’s teeth is like telling you to forego brushing and just chew granola. She suggests that our dog’s oral health is VERY important. And that is why it is important to brush your dog’s teeth every day. So these bones are not a substitute for that. (Although I admit am not a big fan of brushing Cici’s teeth).
Here’s a quick checklist to help you start taking better care of your dog’s teeth:
Avoid dog chews with these ingredients:
Here are some of the not-so-natural ingredients you’ll see listed:
Mercola Healthy Pets Dog Dental Bones come in two sizes and contain absolutely no corn, soy, gluten, extra fat or sugar, or animal byproducts..
And for puppies, senior dogs and dogs with delicate or missing teeth, Mercola Healthy Pets Gentle Dental Bones (1.43 oz./40.54 g) come in two sizes.
My goodness time has flown by. I’ve never had a pet for this long. And it has been amazing. Cici is such a good girl.
A very cute message from Dogbook for Cici today…
Am also very thankful to Gillian for giving Cici this wonderful gift for her birthday this year. (More about Gillian below the portrait of Cici she painted). What do you think ???
If YOU would like to WIN a FREE/complimentary portrait of YOUR pet from Gillian, we are having a CONTEST… This rafflecopter will go live after Tuesday, August 5, all you have to do is click the link and enter the contest !!!
My interview with Gillian:
how long does it usually/generally take you to do a pet portrait?
A portrait takes about a week but turn around is about 3 weeks usually due to other business. I can do a rush if necessary.
your favorite dog? do you still have the bullldog or have any other cats or dogs of your own? if so, names, ages
My favorite dog is HENRY!!! He is still around and the best ever! I had a cat Zebedee who is sadly no longer with us. Henry is 7 now and super healthy and happy. Henry and Zebedee were not friends! Henry used to chase her but she was much faster and could gain the higher ground.
what do you like about painting pets?
I absolutely love animals and how they change our world. I really think they are the best and they make us so happy! Painting them is always a challenge because you want to capture their essence and their personality. Anyway – I always start off thinking it is impossible – so when I am able to get it it’s exciting. Also I get SUCH positive feedback from the owners that it is very rewarding. People often get very emotional when they see their pet in a painting.
how do you access the personality of the pet in order to paint it?
A lot of time it is the eyes that are the most important aspect. They do say eyes are the window to the soul and I have found this to be very true. One thing I’ve learned is that a really good photograph is important to my result. I also ask for additional photos to get a sense of the pet’s personality.
is it easier to paint cats or dogs or same difference?
I think cats are often a little trickier to photograph. They can be more elusive.
do you prefer cats or dogs as pets? (there are benefits for each, I love both)
I too love both! I have never had a dog before Henry – and I am completely smitten with him. I have had cats my whole life and they are wonderful. But as you say – there are benefits to both and personally I think no home is complete without pets. Dogs hang on your every move whereas cats tend to be more independent. I love them all though!!!
what do you like most about cats? dogs?
Cats are so beautiful and graceful. I love just to watch them. And you always feel favored when they give you their attention! My cat Zebedee used to sleep on my head. It was slightly annoying but funny too. Dogs are awesome! I love their different personalities and how they find out how to communicate their desires with you. My dog Henry hates it when my husband and I are in different rooms so he always tries to herd us into the same room! It’s really funny.
any funny or heartwarming stories about painting dogs or cats?
Well probably the funniest was trying to paint Henry. I hadn’t painted an animal before but I always paint from life. He often sits in the same position but dogs aren’t really models! You can’t get them to sit still for several hours! I eventually realized I needed a photograph to achieve success.
what is the most unusual portraIts you have done of pets and painted any famous dogs or cats?
As to unusual or celebrity she has painted Stephen King’s (the writer) girlfriend’s hairless cats.
what is the type of paint you use?
work with oils.
do people usually have their pets painted before or after they’ve passed on or both?
I have mostly done pets that are still around but a few in memoriam. People sometimes give them as gifts when a pet is getting older. I actually did a painting for my father who has two Siamese who would always sleep hugging each other. Sadly the older one passed away recently but I know he treasures the painting and the memories of always seeing them in the same chair hugging each other.
I guess I just feel lucky to be doing this. Pets enhance our lives in so many ways and really when you can have a relationship with an animal it is something so special. I’m glad to be able to add to a pet owners pleasure in that experience.
Gillian Wainwright was born in London and lived in Italy and Belgium before moving to the United States. She became interested in painting in her teen-age years and went on to go to undergraduate school at the California College of Arts and Crafts. Later Gillian got her Masters degree in painting at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, and since then has exhibited in numerous shows in New York City. Having had cats all her life Gillian got her first dog, Henry, a French Bulldog with adorable green eyes (very rare),with her husband David. As a Christmas present to David she painted a portrait of Henry for him, which he treasures. The portrait holds a prominent place in their living room. This became the very first NYC PetPortrait! Since then, Gillian has created many more pet portraits to the delight of pet owners around the world. Gillian has a unique ability to capture the most beautiful moments for pet owners everywhere. To view a few other examples of Gillian’s paintings go to www.nycpetportraits.com.
This is an incredible week for pit bulls with Pit Bull Week at HuffPost Green and this movie, wow !!!
A pit bull attack survivor adopts an abused pit bull … this just makes me cry. The courage exhibited by Donna Lawrence is truly inspirational and healing. (Imagine if someone else who shall remain nameless went on this path instead of the path of hate and revenge, oh well, everyone chooses what they do).
The movie Susie’s Hope, the true story of Greensboro, NC’s Donna Lawrence (played by Emmanuelle Vaugier, “Two and A Half Men,” “CSY: NY”), a natural-born animal lover who barely survives a ferocious, life-threatening attack by an abused pit bull but learns to overcome her new fear of dogs and move forward in the most unexpected way – by adopting and caring for a brutally abused, abandoned pit bull-mix puppy named Susie. Susie’s Hope premieres exclusively on UP on Sunday, August 3 at 8:00 p.m. EST / 7:00 p.m. PST.
“Susie’s Hope is an inspirational, hopeful movie about unexpected second chances and compassion,” said Sophia Kelley, senior vice president of programming, UP. “After almost losing her life, Donna Lawrence finds the strength to face her newfound fear of dogs and motivate a state to pass legislation to help prevent cruelty to animals. Susie’s Hope is a truly touching film that’s guaranteed to uplift all who watch it.”
Susie’s Hope recounts the story of Donna Lawrence (Emmanuelle Vaugier), a long-time dog enthusiast and caretaker, who warily observes the neglect and deterioration of a nearby neighbor’s pit bull and volunteers to help. When the owner moves and abandons the dog, Donna is left behind as the animal’s caretaker. Every day, she places a bowl of food in the doghouse and walks away. During a routine visit, the fearful dog attacks Donna without warning, pinning her to the ground, viciously clenching her at the throat. Donna calls out to God and finds the strength to throw the dog off and roll away. After being rushed to the emergency room by a neighbor, the doctors tell her that she is lucky to have all of her limbs as well as her life. Donna receives 45 stitches in her leg and spends the next two months learning to walk again.
With the help of her husband Roy (Burgess Jenkins), Donna heals physically but the emotional scars of the traumatic attack leave her shaken and frightened until she meets Susie. Donna’s close friend, Ramona (Andrea Powell) is who initially comes across Susie, a pit bull-mix puppy that had been beaten, set on fire, and left to die by her former owner. Both having experienced vicious attacks, Donna and Susie share mutual fears and learn to conquer them together. Donna makes peace with her wrongful attack and Susie forgives humans for hers. Spearheading a group of like-minded individuals, the pair ultimately inspire and move an entire state to take a legislative stand against animal cruelty through the passage of “Susie’s Law,” which strengthened North Carolina’s penalties for animal abuse into a Class H felony.
About Donna Lawrence and Susie:
Donna and Susie have worked to overcome their mutual traumatic experiences to inspire and minister to others (human and canine). Donna and Susie visit schools, nursing homes, churches, burn centers and organizations, and attend pet adoption fairs and fundraisers to motivate and educate people surrounding animal cruelty. Captivating the hearts of those that learn of Susie’s story, Susie was recently recognized as the 2014 Therapy Dog winner for The American Humane Association Hero Dog AwardsTM. The commendable recognition has placed Susie in the national finals (as one of the eight finalist contenders) of the 2014 American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards™. To vote for Susie, visit: http://www.herodogawards.org/vote?nominee=35549916. Voting ends Monday, September 15, 2014 at 12 p.m. EST.
For more information about the Susie’s Law and the Susie’s Hope™ non-profit organization, which promotes education and awareness of the care and responsibility required in owning pets as well as animal safety around unfamiliar animals: