Love of the Paws

You love dogs and maybe cats and horses, too. And perhaps you love reading about them and the people who rescue, adopt and foster them as well as love romantic tales with a furry side. I just discovered an incredible book series by an amazing author, Susan Daffron is her name and our interview is below. I am starting the 8th book in her Alpine Grove series and apparently there is a 9th book and a 10th one on its way.

 

What I LOVE LOVE LOVE about these books, unlike other books that have pets in them, romantic comedies, is that Susan’s pets are major characters and play a BIG role in each of the stories. They are integral and integrated into the story. She writes firsthand from her knowledge about animals and it is hilarious at times, heartwarming and each of the books in the series gets better and better. What I also found wonderful is that she continues the characters stories, a little bit, in each of the books, so you feel as though you are getting to know everyone in the town of Alpine Grove. There is no such real town, but there is an Alpine, CA and much of the descriptions relate to where Susan lives in idaho.

 

This book is for dog lovers, cat lovers, even horse lovers. And the romance is very family friendly. In other words, the couple may kiss a little or end up in the sack but there is not a whole lot of spicy sexy details. I found some of the other books where the happy couple jump in the sack one two three, quite unrealistic and disarming. Who does that? no kinky stuff, either, just plain old normal living day to day with dogs and cats kind of thing. Very inspiring for animal lovers.

 

Each book can be read by itself, stands alone, but i think you will miss out if you do not read ALL of them.  Now how can you not love books with names like Chez Stinky, Bark to the Future, the Art of Wag, Luck of the Paw, not to mention a book with pugilies !!!

Here’s the complete list:

Four paws up !!!! Cici agrees, Woof Woof Woof !!!!

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How did you get started writing romantic comedy books ?

I’d written a lot of nonfiction books and my husband started writing fiction. After we published his first book, he encouraged me to give fiction writing a shot. By then, he had acquired many books about story structure and writing, so I read through a few and decided to attempt a novel of my own.

Who is your favorite romantic comedy book author ???

Janet Evanovitch (although technically she’d say her books are mysteries).

Did you plan to have a whole series ahead of time – Alpine Grove ?

I wrote the first book with the possibility of turning it into a series. If the first book hadn’t done well, I’m not sure I would have written the second. But I got enough good feedback from people that I decided to continue.

Did you write about dogs and / or romantic comedy before this series?

I wrote nonfiction books on pet care and rescue, but no fiction whatsoever.

Are the people and pets based upon pets you’ve had, people you know ?

The human characters tend to incorporate aspects of people I’ve met or know, but aren’t really based on anyone in particular. This explains how I develop my characters:

http://www.susandaffron.com/creating-characters-people-love/

The dogs in the first book (Chez Stinky) are very loosely based on the dogs I had from 1996 – 2012. For those who are curious, this post explains which one of my dogs they are based on:

http://www.susandaffron.com/write-what-you-know-applies-to-pets-too/

 

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How do you begin each book?  do you have the names of the characters and plot all worked out ahead of time ?

Most of my books start with an idea. Sometimes it’s something that strikes me as funny or a theme I ran across in a movie, article, or a book that I want to explore. Then I figure out the characters, flesh out the story and put a basic outline into Scrivener. After that I start writing. At about 30K words, I tend to get incredibly stuck and have to print out the outline and figure out where I’m going in more detail. Then I go back to writing.

How do you decide which dogs or cats to feature in each book? 

I think about the type of dog the character might have, since certain types of people are attracted to certain types of dogs. For example, the character Sara Winston in The Treasure of the Hairy Cadre is an athlete. Before the story begins she wants a jogging buddy, so she goes to a shelter and adopts a high-energy Australian Shepherd that she names Holly. This post goes into more detail about how I create animal characters:

http://www.susandaffron.com/creating-animal-characters/

Do you have experience with walking dogs at a shelter or starting a nonprofit animal rescue ?

Yes. I volunteered at an animal shelter for many years and worked part time as a vet tech at a spay/neuter clinic. I didn’t start a rescue myself, but I founded an organization called the National Association of Pet Rescue Professionals that provided educational resources to rescues.

Tell us about your pets

I have three dogs, who are all alumnae of rescue groups. Fiona and Tasha are Samoyeds from Samoyed rescues and Kaylee is a mix of maybe Samoyed and collie that I got from a chow rescue. (The group rescued more than chows; basically, they took anything that was extra furry.)

Do you have a favorite breed of dog or cat that you like?

I’m a fan of Samoyeds (big surprise) but I also love Golden retrievers and retriever mixes. I have a soft spot for long-haired breeds.

What is your favorite book / pet / character ?

Of my books, my favorite character is Kat, since her story carries through the entire series. So I know the most about her life and background. Of the dogs, I love Linus because he’s so sweet and Swoosie amuses me because I incorporated aspects of my dog Fiona into her character.

We talked a little bit about your geek side, how did that influence your writing these books? a few of your characters are kinda geeky… and you said you work for IBM. 

I’ve been married to a programmer for a long time and worked in technology for years, starting as a technical writer. It was inevitable that I would include a few geeky people in my books. This post goes into it a bit more:

http://www.susandaffron.com/geeks-and-nerds-in-romance/

Do you have an agent, publisher or did you self-publish the books? in either case, why?

My books are published by my publishing company Logical Expressions, Inc. which has published more than just my books, so technically the corporation is a micropublisher. I was traditionally published (nonfiction) years ago and had an agent. It would take a LOT of money and unusually good contract terms to tempt me to accept a traditional publishing deal at this point. Although self-publishing is a lot of work, I have the flexibility and freedom to write the books I want to write.

Have you traveled a lot ? travel with your pets?

We’ve traveled with our pets a lot in the last few years because the current crew of dogs are great on road trips. (The prior pack was NOT.)

Any particular dog friendly places that you enjoy taking the dogs?

We live in Idaho and there are thousands upon thousands of acres of trails and forested areas to explore. The dogs love going hiking with us.

Are you an equestrian?  met any real life cowboys like Clay?

I’m a pathetic horseback rider, but I do enjoy it. I don’t own horses, but I have met quite a few people involved in the equestrian world. I did some research on horse trainers and Clay is compilation of a bunch of stories I read about their lives.

Are you a dog trainer?

I only train my own dogs, which is plenty. Almost all of my dogs have been to obedience classes with varying degrees of success. Fiona got her AKC Canine Good Citizen certification, which means mostly that she likes treats a LOT so she’s easy to train. I plan to take Tasha to classes later this summer.

What inspires you about writing about dogs and cats and romance?

I like writing about the relationships people have with each other and their pets. For most people I know, pets are part of their family and often play a big role in the decisions people make. So quite a few of my books explore those ideas.

Are you working on any new books, series related to pets?

I’m about halfway through the first draft of  the as-yet-untitled tenth novel in the Alpine Grove series. The dog in this one is a yellow Labrador retriever named Harley that the main character, Lisa Lowell, is fostering for the local rescue group.

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Filed under adoption, belly rubs, breeds, canine cuteness, cats, dog friendly, dog hair, Uncategorized

In a dog eats cats world 

 

A headline reads: a celebrity sums up politician in epic three words on twitter, or somebody says something outrageous, ugly or otherwise.

you click on the headline because you have just got to hear, watch, read what they said. and you need a laugh and it is guaranteed to be uproariously funny, right. but when you watch the video or read the tweet, it is dumb. you’ve just been had again and again by headlines designed to get you to click on them.

and sometimes it is bait and switch. the headline says one thing and then you click and it discusses, explains, opines about something else.

we know that too many politicians and others rely upon lies aka 1984’s war is peace, freedom is slavery, etc. and Goebbel’s propaganda strategy (that worked) that you keep on telling the lie over and over ad infinitum ad nauseum and eventually people will believe the lie no matter all of the facts, debunking of the myths, and countering intelligence that others do.

lies and fear mongering have worked for many years. It usually always is about politics and votes. Like the great bathroom debacle in North Carolina.

North Carolina’s transgender bathroom battle: what sparked it, and what’s next http://gu.com/p/4j7gg/stw

Transgender Dog Unsure Which Tree To Pee On

 

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https://www.ncscooper.com/transgender-dog-unsure-which-tree-to-pee-on/

and some people continue to tell BIG LIES knowing that they are false in order to sell products, services, ideologies and candidates.

truth vs lies.

facts vs myths, stereotypes and propaganda

BIAS against pit bull type dogs based on myths

http://www.mnn.com/family/pets/stories/is-it-time-do-away-breed-names-shelters

http://barkpost.com/shelter-removes-breed-labels-study/

pitbull-logo-watermark

 

There are myths and stereotypes told about everyone. And especially those who are not white and male and rich are punished for not being white, male, pretending to be Christian while not following Jesus’ edicts and rich. And there are myths and stereotypes told about various dog breeds, Muslims, Mexicans, gay people, transgender people, Jewish people, women, African Americans, homeless people, poor people, and the list goes on.

Did you know that being aka existing without a home in the US is a crime? That is, if you are eating, sleeping, sitting, lying down in public, camping, parking overnight, you can be arrested, and have all of your meager belongings taken away from you, next thing will be breathing in public…. aka taking up space on the planet, our tax dollars at work.

Many people think that people without homes are lazy bums who refuse to work or want to be homeless, are drug addicts, alcoholics, or mentally ill. And being homeless aka a criminal for being alive, will never happen to me!

Except that it does and has happened and the homeless population is primarily made up of formerly middle class people including single moms with children, women leaving domestic violence and/or abusive situations, seniors, half who cannot afford housing and more than half in CA, veterans, working poor, people who have lost their homes due to foreclosure, illness and other reasons. Traumatized people who have been banned and evicted from society. Your former neighbors trying to survive without sleep, no bed, unable to go to the bathroom, take a shower, or even to sit down or lie down or JUST BE ALIVE.

 

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“Since the year 2000, more than 80 percent of metropolitan areas saw their household incomes decline, pointing to a shrinking middle class that’s fueling economic insecurity.”

http://www.salon.com/2016/05/14/the_middle_class_is_dying_partner/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-homeless-doj-20150907-story.html

But people can discern the Truth in their heart of hearts. Some people want to believe the lies for their own personal reasons, agendas, and motives. If you are a builder, developer, or landlord who wants to make maximum amounts of money, you can tell yourself that seniors, poor people,disabled people, single moms with children, and others can find some place else to live. Except they cannot and you know it.

And if you are a church or a nonprofit agency who is supposed to be helping house or feed or find jobs or whatever for other people and all you are really doing is you are making a very good salary, work in a luxury building, and/or spending the donation and grant money you garner on everything but what your stated mission is, that your charity spends a very small percentage, if any, on their stated goals, then you know in your heart that you are cheating, stealing and NOT DOING YOUR JOB. Why does a nonprofit in Monterey, for instance, need hundreds of thousands of dollars, feeding homeless women, when ALL of the food is donated and their staff is all volunteers? Where is that money going? Hint, it is NOT being spent on Housing women without homes. Not even for a single night.

Why are millions of dollars raised every day/week/month/year to HOUSE PETS but so little raised to HOUSE HUMAN BEINGS  ???? What if there were charities who housed BOTH HUMANS AND THEIR PETS AND/OR HOUSED HUMANS SO THAT THEY COULD FOSTER OR ADOPT A PET???

Think of all of the humans languishing and dying on the streets, in cars and all of the pit bull type dogs being euthanized and / or dying in shelters.

There are some folks coming up with creative solutions to house people and pets.  How about you???  What are you doing to house people and pets???  What can you do? What are you able / willing to do?

What people do not realize is that when people without homes have pets or even if they do not have pets, that pets ARE affected, too.

Thanks !!!

A fun contest from the good folks at Advances Shelter systems, Inc., creator of SHIFT PODS that serve as temporary and / or emergency housing for all kinds of folks around the world, for festivals, events and camping options for those who like to travel and the great outdoors.

Stark white and ready for some street art! Good with a spray can? Send shift pods your art! If they like it they may send you a SHIFTPOD to paint for their charity auction for Ecuador. These ARTPODS will be auctioned off to raise money to help people who lost everything in the huge earthquake. #‎emergencyresponse #‎shiftpod #‎shelterpod #‎artpod #‎burningman #‎festival #‎ecuador #‎earthquake

 

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Filed under animal rescue, Baby Boomers, breeds, California, camping, Canada, contest, creative artwork, dogs, end dog racism, Uncategorized

It is the pits and not the pits

did it all begin with dogs?

the rancor, recrimination, disdain, and discrimination,

small versus large dogs.

breed discrimination.

breed bans.

BSL.

talk to any owner of a German Shepherd, Rottweiler, or pit bull (which is not a breed, a bunch of bully breeds including American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrirer, Pit Bull Terrier, and others) are lumped together and called pit bulls, and they will tell you about how their dog(s) are vilified, demonized, shunned, and/or called mean, vicious and/or killer dogs, no matter the dog.

is it any wonder then now we have right here in America:

people

red vs blue

GOP vs Democrats

conservatives vs liberals

Bernie supporters versus Hillary

men versus women

white Christian evangelicals aka white supremacists against everyone

heterosexuals against LGBT folks

white people versus nonwhite people

rich versus poor and middle class

1% versus 99%

housed versus unhoused

child molesters and rapists versus transgendered

environmentalists aka tree huggers versus climate change deniers and oil companies, big pharma and nuke, coal, industries

vegetarians and vegans versus meat eaters

war mongers versus pacifists

north versus south

didn’t we fight this war before, I seem to recall something…

people divided

a nation in crisis 

fighting each other and the whole world

when will we learn the lessons and stop blaming one another, pointing fingers, spewing hatred?

it is not the dogs, not the people…

 

a nation gone mad accusing one another for our problems

 

we are NOT NOT NOT going to solve anything with slurs, epithets, walls and bans

 

can we just agree to disagree and MOVEO N?????

 

****

 

on a different note, Cici and I are traveling and met with Howard Epstein in LA for lunch yesterday. It was fun and yummy and we grew up in the same neighborhood in NYC, went to the same high school at different times.

 

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Filed under bigotry against dogs, boycott, breed specific laws, breeds, pit bull, travel with dog, Uncategorized, USA Today, war on women, Washington

Nine years: the good, bad and ugly

Nine years ago today 51 terrified, traumatized, and unsocialized dogs, who had been forced to fight or were used as bait dogs, were rescued from Michael Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels in Surrey Virginia. Normally, these dogs would be held as evidence and eventually humanely euthanized. But in this groundbreaking case, it was decided, due to the request of Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, BADRAP, and other loud animal loving voices and the agreement of the judge, that these dogs would be individually evaluated to see if any of them could be saved and rehabilitated.

From Jacqueline Bedsaul Johnson (she and Kevin Johnson adopted Ray)

“Each dog was to be tested for dog aggression as well as human aggression. It was hoped that two or three of the 49 surviving dogs (two died while in care) would be deemed salvageable. Imagine everyone’s surprise when all but one of the dogs showed at least some degree of ability to be rehabilitated.

“One dog, who had been bred and fought repeatedly, was just too emotionally and physically damaged to try and save. She was humanely euthanized. The remaining 48 dogs were dispersed to 8 different rescue groups for adoption, rehabilitation or sanctuary. 22 of the most damaged dogs were sent to a sanctuary to begin working towards recovery and eventual adoption.

Forty of these dogs have been adopted and are now living in loving homes with kids cats, and other dogs. Dogs like Cherry Garcia, who just had one leg amputated, Handsome Dan, Little Red, Mel, Layla, Curly, Jhumpa Jones, Jonny, Oscar, Uba, Iggy, Audie, Zippy, Stella and Ginger. I was lucky to have met Red, Stella and Ginger and their guardians a few years ago at the Monterey SPCA.

https://celiasue.com/2009/08/22/survivor-dogs/

Some of the dogs have become therapy dogs, agility champions and emotional support animals. Others have gone to the Rainbow Bridge including Red, Lucas, Leo, Jasmine, Georgia, Hector (and his brother Wallace, who was not a Victory dog but an unwanted shelter dog who became a world champion disc dog), Ray and others.

“These dogs were victims, not criminals. And because of their bravery and loving nature they have taught us all so much. If dogs like these – dogs who were trained, fought and abused – can become loving family members, how can anyone say that Pit Bull-type dogs are inherently dangerous? It just doesn’t make sense.

“Dogs that are seized are now routinely assessed for rehabilitation. There is no longer a belief that these dogs are somehow responsible for the life that was forced on them. That they are damaged goods, better off dead.”

“In the coming days, many of the adoptive families of the dogs rescued from Bad Newz Kennels will be traveling to Virginia to what is now known as Good Newz Rehab Center. In the field where once our dogs were chained, trees will be planted to memorialize each of the dogs. Each tree will have a plaque listing the dog’s name and their family’s name.

“This is not a media event, but a private ceremony and pilgrimage for the people who have loved these incredible dogs. Vicktory Dog Oscar‘s mom Rachel and artist/writer Levity Tomkinson of the Re51lient Project have designed a t-shirt to commemorate the event, and to help raise money for the families traveling to honor their dogs.

http://barkpost.com/good/michael-vick-most-infamous-dogfighting-anniversary/

A movie about the dogs called The Champions” premiered in 2015 and has been screened at festivals and events around the country. It’s also available for purchase online. Directed by Darcy Dennett, the film follows six dogs from unlikely survival to adoption. The film has won awards, including People’s Choice for Best Documentary at the Denver Film Festival. Pit bulls are banned in Denver.

https://celiasue.com/2015/10/15/victory-dogs-film-the-champions/

A word about The Re51lient Project: 51 Paintings of the Dogs Rescued from Michael Vick’s Bad Newz Kennels. The Re51lient Project is an art advocacy project that combines Levity’s signature style pop-art painting and positive, emotionally driven writing.

She aims to promote a highly positive image for pit bull and pit bull type dogs, dogs rescued from fighting rings and to show others that if these dogs can triumph, love, forgive, continue forward and just simply be happy, then we as humans have the ability to wake up every morning and do the same. These dogs shows us the potential that we all have and provide a palpable inspiration and hope that we can change our lives.

Levity is the proud momma to a pit mix, Rinlee, (who incidentally is the reason that she began painting dogs in 2010). She has followed the stories of the dogs rescued from Bad Newz Kennels. Rinlee is the reason that she began painting “Dog Pawps” which twas the artistic foundation to create The Re51lient Project.

“Dogs are as close as we can get to perfection here on Earth,” says Levity. “They are these little hearts and beings and spirits that every day, they do their best. That’s all they know how to do. They love infallibly  I feel like with these dogs in particular, all of the feelings and traits are magnified even more because they have been exposed to more than any living being ever should, but look at them. They are beautiful, they are happy, they’re forgiving, they love. They’re re51lient. That have changed the world and have the ability to cause more change, simply by being them. They have certainly changed my life.

“These dogs will be remembered with love, with reverence, appreciation. They’ll be remembered with tears, both happy and sad. They will be remembered in every dog rescued from a fighting ring that has been given, is being given or will be given a chance to be evaluated and seen as an individual. They will be remembered by not only their lives, but by the lives of the other dogs that they saved.

“These dogs deserved a chance at life. People finally had the chance to see that dogs rescued from fighting rings have every right, just as any other dog, to be seen as individuals. Because of these dogs, other dogs rescued from fighting rings, both large and small, have been given the chance to be seen simply as dogs and therefore, given a chance at the lives they always should have had.

“These dogs absolutely have set a precedent in how dogs from fighting rings are evaluated. They truly changed the landscape and I am so grateful to the people who so deeply believed and worked towards helping others see that these dogs must be treated as individuals,”  Levity concluded.

 

The dogs in their own woofs… words …

Ginger 

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“Today marks nine years since I was rescued from Bad Newz Kennels. Today I woke up snuggled under a pile of covers with a sweet kiss on my nose from mom…life is good.

 

Uba

For my dog (Uba), on this day he went from being a puppy waiting to be a victim of unimaginable cruelty to a puppy actually being mentally and emotionally tortured. This was the day that his emotional well being was sacrificed. The Vick dogs changed the conversation and so, so many dogs are alive today because of them, so I don’t begrudge the world his emotional challenges. Nine years ago today was not the first day my dog felt love. It was probably the first day he was truly terrified.”

 

BADRAP

“The time period between their seizure (April 2007) and release to rescue (October 2007) did damage to many of the dogs from the case. The now-timid Ginger scampered back and forth like a scared feral cat in the back of her kennel, Frodo pressed himself to the ground when the shelter clatter finally got to him (he’s still noise sensitive), and the energetic Uba paced in neurotic figure eights to relieve his tedium. Our stomachs were in knots during the months that this set of dogs was in lock down. While we waited anxiously for the courts to allow us to evaluate, and then, okay their release, we knew the damage done by their impossible conditions could be irreparable in some or all of the dogs.

“…We’ve learned so much from the Vick dogs, and their lessons have changed us forever. One of their biggest lessons though tends to be forgotten in the excitement of their adoption success. We’d love it if every time readers hear of a new batch of victims rounded up from a cruelty case, you would consider the Vick dogs’ long and difficult post-seizure experience and ask, “What’s being done to keep this latest set of dogs comfortable, vetted and sane while we wait for help to arrive?” The answer to that question could make all the difference in whether the cruelty they suffer ends for good the moment they’re seized by authorities — not several months later, after they’re finally released to rescue.

“NOTE: With all due respect to the incredible people who came together to seize the “Vick dogs” in April 2007, we will be celebrating the five year anniversary ‘happy style’ in October — on the date that the federal courts finally waved them out of the shelters and onto freedom. What a HAPPY day that was!”

http://badrap-blog.blogspot.com/2012/04/vick-dogs-five-years-post-seizure-has.html

 

Little Red enjoying the sunshine

 

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Handsome Dan

“Because so many people worked to save us, went to bat for us, took a chance on us, and gave us the tools to learn how to live in the human world, the climate has now changed for dogs like me rescued from the horrific world of dogfighting. They are no longer victims, now they can be survivors. Until dogfighting is no more, we will continue to fight for the survivors.

“I owe so much to my special friends Nicole Rattay (the first person I learned to trust on the other side), Rebecca Huss (my court appointed guardian), Donna Reynolds and Tim Racer (for your hard work and granting me my name), John Garcia (for so much, including advocating for my move to Best Friends and all the one-on-one time), Betsy Kidder (my first mama), Kristi Littrell (for finding my family), Crissa and Damien and all of my other caregivers, Cherry Garcia (my first playmate), Little Red (my first roommate and girlfriend), Ann Allums (for bringing me home) and countless others who helped me find my way. Thank you from the bottom of my big pittie heart, from me and my mama!”

 

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Handsome Before when he was known as Hanover 22

 

 

After with his dear friend Cherry Garcia and mama Heather who operates an animal rescue organization named after Handsome

 

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Cherry Garcia now

 

Cherry-leg-7

Cherry’s brother Novi when he saw CHERRY, first thing he did was count his legs ‘1, 2, 3; Cherry has 3 legs now and he is awesome!’

To watch Cherry’s recovery and all of his adventures that will follow, you can ‘like’ his Facebook page.

http://barkpost.com/cherry-vicktory-dog-amputation-champion/

 

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Filed under adoption, animal rescue, animal stars, badrap, best friends animal sanctuary, pit bull, Uncategorized, Vicktory dogs

Lucky 13 California beaches

Sun, surf and sand with your dog

We’ll have fun fun fun with our furry friends begging for a vacation at the beach. Your favorite canine will love going surfing, swimming, fetching, sniffing, sunning and digging in the sand at all of these dog-friendly beaches.

1. Newport Beach

Miles of surfer and puppy friendly sand! What furshionista would not want to walk on a leash on this expansive sandy beach, surrounded by millionaire homes? Cici thinks it is a great place to sunbathe, relax and dream. And after hours, have a bonfire with your best friend, listening to the waves crashing and munch on s’mores while telling woof woof stories.

https://theocbarkyard.wordpress.com/2015/02/11/dog-friendly-beaches-in-orange-county/

2. Torrance Beach 

Rat Beach is a little known beach near Redondo Beach in Palos Verdes Estates. Doggies can run off leash on soft sand for a mile and a half.    

https://celiasue.com/2012/06/27/july-4th-in-southern-california/

dog-friendly

3.   Huntington Beach

Pooches can catch a wave, shoot a curl, hang four paws and practice their best moves at doggie surf camp for Surf City’s annual Surf Dog event. Three days of doggone fun for everyone.

http://surfcitysurfdog.com/

4. Laguna Beach

Romping and rolling on leash is allowed during the non-tourist season from September to June and before 9 a.m. and after 6 p.m. during the rest of the year. But there are still fun shops, art to paw at, doggie parks to chase other dogs in, music and dance festivals and skateboarding for pooches with imagination and energy to spare.

  http://www.lagunabeachmagazine.com/four-legged-laguna/

5. Carmel

Soak up the sun and surf at one of the dog-friendliest beaches on the planet. Canines run wild and free (one of the few leash-free beaches in California) along the sand for miles. Fodor’s and others have named Carmel the pet friendliest city in the USA for good reason. Otherwise known as doggie heaven. White sand, blue skies and waves, who could woof for anything more?

https://celiasue.com/2014/07/08/summer-fun-in-doggie-heaven/

6. Pebble Beach

After enjoying the surf and sand, canines in the know and their hoomans can watch the sunset, listen to bagpipes, and eat tasty gourmet treats on the patio fire pit area of the Inn at Spanish Bay at Pebble Beach.

https://celiasue.com/2014/07/08/summer-fun-in-doggie-heaven/

7. Pacific Grove

Asilomar Coastal Trail is where friendly furry four-leggeds sniff and explore, along Sunset Drive. There is a wooden boardwalk and bridge and lots of off leash fun to be had at Spanish Bay Beach, right after the State Beach.

http://www.coastalcaninemag.com/issues/spring2011/ccdwasilomar.html

8. Mendocino

Speaking of dog friendly coastal paradises, where else but Mendo can a dog do everything (and more) of what a dog’s gotta do? Van Damme State Beach and Noyo Beach are the hippiest and happiest places for pooches. Where else on earth can canines paddle a canoe, go kayaking, tiptoe through the tulips for free at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, get a few licks of an ice cream cone (also free), go shopping, dining and camping, all within a few miles?

http://www.mendocinofun.com/pet-friendly/

9. San Diego

Dog beach baby is where the nouveau ripe and famous go for a little R&R (rough and rambunctious), zoomies. This is the best melting spot for hot dogs of all sizes, shapes, colors, and breeds.

https://oceanbeachsandiego.com/attractions/beaches/dog-beach

10. Morro Bay

North of the Rock, at North Point Beach, canines can frolic off leash on a two-mile stretch of sand. At the Morro Bay Visitors Center (which keeps changing location), Cici had a selfie taken with a surf board.

http://www.visitsanluisobispocounty.com/blog/794/dog-friendly-beaches-abound-in-slo-county

Beach baby bungalows

11. Pismo Beach

Four paws in the sand. Do not wish to work on your tan or hate the feel of the pebbles beneath your paws? Take your hooman out for a sunset stroll along the pier. Roam the bluffs above Shell Beach at Dinosaur Caves Park.

http://www.visitsanluisobispocounty.com/blog/794/dog-friendly-beaches-abound-in-slo-county

https://celiasue.com/2013/05/02/slo-has-gone-to-the-dogs/

12. Bodega Bay

Schoolhouse Beach, Goat Rock Beach and the other state beaches are a dog’s best bet for sun and surf. Some of the campgrounds are dog friendly and others are not. The freshest fish and chips on the planet can be had at the Boat House where furry pals can party on the patio.

https://celiasue.com/2009/05/26/the-birds-fly-over-jenner/

 13. Dillon Beach

Marin county’s off leash private beach allows hoomans to call their dogs who play nice and friendly with others from the tide line to the water.

 Dillon Beach Resort – Beach

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Mean dogs and “locking jaws”

I had started this blog post before two things happened. Yesterday, my dog went missing for five hours. And an article in Newsweek about pit bulls.

Because my dog is a pit bull mix and I know that some people hate blocky headed bully dogs, besides becoming frantic and worried and searching all over tarnation for her, I had the additional concerns that she could have been hurt, abused, shot on sight, and / or killed in a shelter because of the way she looks. She may or may not even be part American Pit Bull Terrier, have not had her DNA tested. I know she is part Dalmatian and looks and acts like an APBT. Anyway, the point is that I had someone tell me that she could have been picked up to be used as a bait dog or sold by druggies to dog fighters. I was half out of my head when she finally surfaced because of these concerns and it was also getting dark.

 

I think what actually happened is that someone spooked her. I hope that they did not hurt her. She stayed underneath someone’s camper for five hours. That is not normal behavior for my dog. I had taken her over to a neighbor’s camper to cheer the neighbor up. Cici loves this woman and I had taken her over there before yesterday. I will not take her over there again because when I went back to get her, the woman did not even know that Cici was missing, nor did she even come over to apologize to me, nor help me and others look for her.

Lost Dogs 

By the way, I did remember to Call Home Again, to let them know that she was lost. They will contact all local authorities for you with the dog’s photo and microchip info and will let you know if anyone has found the dog. Good service. And I asked all the neighbors I could find and asked for their help. And as I drove around, I asked everyone I could see and talk to if they saw my dog.  I also asked my online friends to pray, send good thoughts, vibes, send Cici and me light, for her to be found safe and sound before dark, asap. And a bunch of doggie mamas responded favorably to being asked and shared the news. A whole bunch of networking paid off.

 

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A Yorkie and an Aussie Shepherd and a pit bull, really?

Ok, now onto the Newsweek article. Read it if you will.

Here are my comments about it:

http://www.newsweek.com/pit-bulls-label-shelters-study-441318

I appreciate the overall stop labeling all dogs as pit bulls and leaving them in shelters. I do however want to clear up a couple of important things.

1. There are more like 20 breeds that can be labeled pit bull including mastiffs, pit bull terriers, the ones you mentioned and more.

2. The myth about locking jaws is a terrible myth. Talk to any vet or dog expert or dog owner, even.

It is a myth that keeps the dogs banned and deemed dangerous, scary, mean and vicious. Dog fighters and others who get their macho on from training dogs to be mean love these types of myths but the people who really love dogs and pit bulls know this is just a bunch of dangerous hype.

Not true, no such mechanism as a locking jaw. I know personally. I have opened up my dog’s mouth when she was latched onto something and did not want to let go. Terriers can be very stubborn and persistent. When they want something, they want it. And I have even stuck my hands into her mouth to get something out of there that she did not want to let go of. Like a child’s saying NO NO NO, this is a canine’s way of saying No, I want this and I am not going to let go of it. No locking jaw mechanism, just a stubborn terrier.

By the way, I emailed Newsweek with my comments and also commented on their Twitter.  Google them and let them know what you think.

 

My comment to Newsweek paid off, here it is:

Hello Sue,

Thank you so much for your comment on my article. I deleted the part about locked jaws and added a correction at the bottom of the article saying that locked jaws are a myth. The last thing I want is to make dogs labeled as pit bulls appear dangerous or scary in any way.

For your comment on other breeds labeled as pit bulls, I didn’t say that the three breeds I mentioned were the only breeds labeled as pit bulls, just that they are the most commonly labeled breeds. So a correction won’t be necessary, but thank you for the information. Hopefully one day we won’t have any breed labels.

Thank you,

Morgan Mitchell

Newsweek Magazine

 

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Cici 2

 

Mean dogs and dog bites / attacks

Below is what dog experts know to be red flags that can lead to dog bites / attacks.

Dog experts agree that the most dangerous types of dogs include:

1.  unfixed (not spayed, not neutered)

2. unsocialized and untrained (dogs left chained up 24/7 and not part of the family)

3. abused (dogs treated cruelly, hurt physically, verbally and / or used in unhealthy ways*)

4. sick (a dog that is hurt or sick)

5. mamas with puppies (watch out for mamas guarding their babies)

6. roaming in packs (dogs roaming the streets with no human guardian)

7. left alone with children (NEVER leave a dog alone with a child, NEVER)

8. an unknown dog (a dog that is not known to you). Get to know the dog slowly, through a fence, perhaps or with the owner/guardian.

LISTEN Up if the owner/guardian of a dog says that their dog is mean or vicious or whatever, BELIEVE THEM. They KNOW their dog, so BEWARE.

Please notice that in NONE of the above scenarios are breeds mentioned. Because ANY dog can be mean, vicious, attack or bite another dog or a human being. And statistics show that the dogs that do bite and / or attack are dogs in any and all of the categories shown above.

This is why Breed Specific Legislation does not work because bans and BSL target various breeds of dogs. And it is not because a dog is a certain breed that a dog bites or attacks. It is because of the red flag factors above. There can also be genetic imbalances and chemistry in dogs that make them react or respond in vicious ways (born with a defect).

*Dogs that are overbred, used in dog fighting, used as bait dogs and other such cases can be put into the abused category).

 

Better to be safe than sorry. Evaluate each dog on an individual basis and know dog’s body language and the red flags above. These will enable you to be responsible, prepared and able to prevent dog bites and attacks. Please share and educate others.

interior-pet-policy

 

True life example:

A very small dog with a mean disposition who barks, growls and snaps at other dogs got a lesson the other day when she approached the wrong dog, a larger dog, a dog that was not playing. The larger dog taught that small dog a lesson and the owner was very glad because his dog was cruising for a bruising and he knew it.

 

Now hopefully the small dog will think twice before snapping, growling and showing off her mean attitude to larger dogs (and maybe other dogs in general? one can only hope).

 

 

 

 

 

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Camping is for the Dogs

Cici and I love to go camping and below are some tips for camping with the dogs. And we would like to introduce you to our new friends, the Webers, Christian and Kirstin, and their dog Fred, who also has white and black spots all over. He was rescued a few years ago on a trip to Mexico. He does some fun tricks like shake hands and he is awfully sweet (says Cici, woof woof woof).

Here he is having fun camping out with his family’s Shift Pod tent.

 

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40.1 million Americans, or 14 percent of the US population over age six, camped in 2013.

Spring and Summer are a hop, skip and jump away. It is not too late to start planning your summer vacation. The lure of scenic wonders and natural splendors appeal to people of all ages. And camping is a great way to get away from it all, commune with nature, spend quality time with family, friends and the dog and let go of stress at a reasonable cost.

Whether it is to the nearest lake, beach or creek, mountain area or a typical tourist destination such as Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Arrowhead, Joshua Tree National Park, Big Sur or Big Bear, everyone needs to get out of dodge for some rest and relaxation for a few weeks.

If you have your own RV, camper, minivan, tent trailer or tent and sleeping bag, you may want to reserve camping spots in national or state parks far in advance because the most popular places with limited sites are going to get booked up quickly.

Travel Light

Pack only essential items that you will need such as a first aid kit, batteries, flashlight, food, and water. If you are traveling with kids and/or pets, you will have more items such as dog food, leashes, toys, treats, towels and blankets.  Other items for dogs include collapsible bowls, poop bags, brush, extra leashes and collars, and a life vest for water activities such as canoeing, swimming, boating in lakes, ocean or rivers.

What is Bugging you

When you go camping with your dog, be sure to give them some flea and tick prevention and take some spray with you.

Who nose 

Make sure ID tags are in place, along with proof of vaccinations in case you need to show these.

Beware 

Dogs are usually allowed in parks but you definitely do not want to allow them to be in areas where they can get stung by bees, get foxtails stuck in their ears, mouth, eyes, hot sand can be rough on four paws and so can hot rocks and please keep them away from toxic plants, flowers and weeds, and garbage.

Do not let your dogs roam and disturb the wildlife such as rabbits, squirrels, bears, coyotes and mountain lions. Contact the park ranger or park host for assistance if an unexpected and uninvited visitor should show up at your campsite.

Glamping or Camping?

If you prefer to backpack and hike trails, you can carry a tent and sleeping bag with you. You can also reserve a yurt, cabin, tipi or motel to sleep in at some parks (usually they do not allow pets but some do, check with the campground). Many campgrounds are crowded and busier on holiday weekends so organize your time to avoid the rush.

Speaking of Tents

Speaking of tents, many regular tents are not sealed well and some have ceilings made of screen with a rain fly.  This will not keep any dirt out or any heat in.  Regular tents also have many parts and pieces to assemble each time and parts to lose in between camping trips.

Pop-Up Pods

pod-tent

SHIFT PODS are an extraordinary insulated tent that is portable, easy to use, insulated, comfortable, easy to transport, and sets up in minutes (without all those loose poles).

SHIFTPODS set up as one complete unit.  The stakes and lines are the only parts you have to connect once the SHIFTPOD is set up.  The SHIFTPODS are 12 feet across and 6.5 feet tall and can be set up by one person in less than 2 minutes.   SHIFT PODS are made out of sturdy and weather-proof materials. They are made with a three-layer, insulated, UV-reflective nylon that reflects the sun’s rays to keep things cool inside during the heat of the day and warm all night.

The Shiftpod was designed specifically for the harsh environment of the Black Rock Desert of northern Nevada and can remain set up for a few weeks at a time. This comes in handy (and highly recommended) when you are going camping in unpredictable desert weather and other climates. The tent is heat-reflective so the blinding sun doesn’t wake you up. It is so simple to set up that even the least handy aka clumsy individual can put it together.

Space is not only the final frontier but the Shiftpod has plenty of room inside to stretch out and get comfortable. When fully assembled it covers a 12-foot by 12-foot area, and stands 6.5-feet in height, allowing most people to comfortably stand up without having to lower their heads. This gives the tent enough room to accommodate a queen-sized mattress, as well as plenty of gear and other equipment too.

There are six portal windows that allow exterior light to filer into the structure without compromising interior temperatures. Waterproof zippers help to keep both moisture and sand at bay. The floor can even be zipped out for quick and easy cleaning, and the tent even comes with high quality stakes and two combination locks to secure the door.

These silver futuristic looking tents weigh about 60 pounds and cost $1195 MSRP.  If people pre-order and wait 30-90 days for delivery they get $300 off.  Used SHIFTPODS sell for $600.  Can be shipped UPS and taken on an airplane.

For more info, go to:

 

https://shiftpods.com

 

Cici and I are going to be setting up our new ShiftPod soon at our new Mobile Home Park, where we are living in a very tiny camper. We have a fenced in yard, kiddie pool, two big chairs (a recliner and a rocking chair) and our ShiftPod outside. When we do get it set up, just a matter of space right now, we will share photos. Also, we need a bed to go inside of it, so that we can sleep outside.

Meanwhile, here’s a photo of Cici in her new yard having a sun bath. She loves that people and doggies come by to visit her. And the bars are the ramp that was built for us to go into and out of the camper.

Photo on 3-27-16 at 12.01 PM #2

https://homesweetinyhome.wordpress.com/2016/03/28/tents-campers-and-dogs-oh-my/

 

Upcoming Las Vegas Event

 

ShiftPods will be featured at this event coming up near Las Vegas. You could win one. You could sleep in one. You could see what the ShiftPod is all about up close and personal.

 

http://www.furtherfuture.com/

A new kind of music and lifestyle festival. From 12pm on Friday April 29 through sunset on Sunday May 1, 2016, we will gather at the Moapa River Indian Reservation near Las Vegas, Nevada, for a weekend filled with incredible music, visionary speakers, inspirational art and human connection.

 

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