The dogs of 9/11: Heroes with paws.

The events of 9/11 left an indelible mark on the world, and from a personal standpoint, myself. There are stories and insight I will likely never share, as the memories are just too painful. Suffice to say that every year when the commemorative date approaches, I become much more thoughtful, much less angry, filled with faces and places that I can never forget.

19 years later, there are stories that must be told. These are the ones that we must never forget. Stories of bravery. Stories of heroes, Tails of those who did everything they could to help bring America back.

Yes, I wrote “tails”. For this is about those devoted 4-legged heroes, and the dogged determination they showed in being part of the effort at Ground Zero that terrible day.

There are so many stories already available, I thought to link a few of them here for your reading pleasure. Ones that I gave found to be of interest, comfort, and some peace.

We tell ourselves to “never forget”. This has been a cry of freedom for many generations, each time meaning something a little different. In this case, we must never forget the men and women who sacrificed time and, in some cases, their lives to bring America some closure. Let us not then ever forget the work of these magnificent pups, all of whom have moved on to greener, ethereal pastures.

They live to serve, but they also live to love. In their cases, the did their jobs without fear, knowing they were doing what they were trained to do. Be our partners. Our friends. Our rocks to lean on.

Good boy. Good girl.

Know how you SWEAR your dog knows what you’re thinking? Here’s your answer.

From the way Magnus cocks his ears when he hears certain words, to how Bailey knows exactly the right time to snuggle up when we’re having a bad day, I have always known that dogs have got to be the most perceptive animals on the planet. Emotionally speaking, our kids are tuned into our lives in every aspect, and I’ll wager you feel the same way about your dogs.

It took being a fur Daddy for me to really experience this. When I was a kid and had dogs, never gave it a second thought. But it was when I was going thru a very tough time professionally and personally when Magnus and Bailey showed this side of themselves. I also see it with my Dad and his dog, Gunnar. They’ve been together 11 years now, and there is not one single doubt Gunnar’s mood is 1005 affected by that of my Dad.

Which is why I found this study and article so engrossing.

Dogs used to be pets way back when, but no more. They are family, they are friends, they are companions, and they in many ways become our rocks thru very tough times. Our kids certainly have been that. I could never imagine a day without them, and while they may not understand every word I say, I know they understand the meaning and when to pull in tight.

We need them, so often, more than they need us. Either way, we keep each other whole. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Good kids.


The pup nobody wanted, the boy who needed someone to understand

I will be the first to admit, it’s tough to go into an animal shelter. It’s heart wrenching when I enter those walls and realize how many wonderful lives are there, just waiting for someone to give them a forever home. However, I sally forth and believe in what they do, and that for every little boy and girl, there is the perfect dog. Often, found right here within those walls.

For Bentley Boyers, nothing could be more true. Born with a facial disfigurement that without a doubt made him self-conscious while at the same time having to undergo so many surgeries, you get the feeling all he needed was someone to understand.

That’s where a chance encounter at a shelter between his Daddy and a little girl that no one else seemed to want, changed everyone’s life.

Bentley and his buddy will grow up together, share so many adventures, and be able to look into their eyes knowing they understand each other. When you have the right friend, the best friend, it makes any challenge easier to face. 

A boy and his dog.

Good girl.

Pipsqueak conquers the pandemic from halfway around the world

COVID19 has changed the life of every single person on the planet. More than people, it has impacted those who walk on more than 2 legs, and are just as much family as if they were born into a Mother’s waiting arms. This story about a little girl who started life across the Atlantic, wound up in America, and had to wait what had to seem like an excruciating period of time to reunite with her parents, brought quite the smile to my face.

The perseverance showed by by Pipsqueak’s family is touching, and very understandable. How many of us would go to the figurative “ends of the Earth” to bring our kids home? I would. Cost would be no barrier. I would go in hock deep to reunite with Magnus and Bailey. My guess is many of you feel the same.

We all want 2020 to be over, hopefully returning to some semblance of normalcy. Granted, whatever that “normal” is, it won’t be anything we’re used to. We are all going to have to adapt to a new way of life.

However, our fuzzy and furry kids will be the mainstay. They will be there through it all, looking to us for snuggling, treats, care, MORE TREATS (which is the Bailey way of life), and to them, life will all be as it should.

It was just destined for Pip to find her way home. Here’s to hoping every dog never has to wonder where Mom and Dad went, because they will always be right there for them with a loving touch.

And a treat, of course.

Good girl.

CLEAR THE SHELTERS 2020: When America truly shows it’s heart

Here we go, making that push to help those who truly have nowhere else to turn to than look into our eyes and hearts for changing their lives, and ours, forever.

August is “Clear the Shelters” month across America, where most animal shelters are bending over backwards to make it easy for adoption. Now, to be honest, I have heard some isolated stories about some shelters who are really not doing their best to get behind the effort. Some are even making it difficult to adopt. Fortunately, fro what I’ve been able to tell, this is the exception rather than the norm.

NOW is the time to find your furever friend and member of the family. The COVID19 pandemic has been a nightmare for many animals, as people are dumping their kids into shelters, onto streets, miles away from civilization to rid themselves of the responsibility they agreed to.

The animals can’t help it. One day they have a bed, the next day it’s dirt, bad weather and no food or water. One day they have what they hope is forever love, and the next minutes it’s gone. They have no idea what they did wrong, why it’s happening, how to get back to their family.

What they need is a new family. Someone who will love them forever, no matter if they have days, weeks, months or year remaining. And yes, there is a cost in human dollars. But the return in unconditional love is worth every penny.

Dogs, cats, rabbits, (and I have a real love for those little guys), and every type of animal needs your help, and your heart.

So here are some links to stories from across America on these efforts to clear the shelters. No, my aim is not to shame anyone. My purposes is to help everyone see why this is a positive thing to do in a world that, lately, doesn’t seem to have many positives.

Be part of the solution. Bring a new member of your family into the fold. Love unconditionally, and get that love in return.

From disaster to a dog just waiting for Mom & Dad to show up

Honestly, this is one of those things I always think about when the kids travel with us. They have their own comfortable back seat, restraints, and we’re always ensuring they’re OK. When we’re moving at any real speed, windows are up and i will NEVER allow Magnus or Bailey to hang their head out of an open window. The horror stories of digs being injured by flying debris are just too frightening. Hey, it’s one less thing to worry about and it keeps them safe.

I read this story and had to wonder how often it happens to people. Just a casual drive, an accident you could not prevent, and your precious pup is seriously injured or even wanders away. In this case, their pet Roo was actually ejected from the vehicle! A francit post-crash search no he was nowhere to be found. Add emergency room visits, the clamor of paramedics trying to save human life, and all of a sudden, you find yourself wondering where that boy went, was he injured, how do we find him, so many things get to work.

What started as a terrible tale turned into a positive. but not without a lot of concern and I’ll wager panicked moments. Hell, when Magnus wandered away from the house we were living in when he was only a couple of years old because I left THREE doors open for him to walk out, I was a madman scouring the neighborhood. Luckily, he was about 4 houses down just at the lakeside watching ducks. You better believe there hasn’t been an open door at ANY time since then! But I will admit, he’s a perfect gentleman now who just sits and waits for Daddy.

Now, the story of Roo, and a reason to smile. Oh, and what he was doing hen they found hm?

Good boy.

The love affair with Max, and why our fuzzy kids mean so much

Boy, this one had me really holding back the waterworks.

I friended Max Graf back in 2009 on Facebook. His posts were always friendly, upbeat, funny and brought a smile to my face. I always wished him a Happy Birthday, and even responded a few times with a smile of my own.

Max never really answered back on his own. After all, it’s hard to do without opposable thumbs

Max was the constant companion for a South Florida family that made him the “spokesdog” for their pet business. Max was always there as an ambassador and part of the sales staff until he retired last year. I always told myself, “You need to get there and shake his paw”. I never did. We always believe there is more time in life than we are granted. I also didn’t know Max was getting up their in years.

Max passed away this week, quietly and peacefully with his family. The departure of a furry friend is unlike anything related to a human farewell. They cannot speak to us, tell us they are in pain or discomfort, because to them this is just another day in life. They do, however, in so many ways, tell us when the time is right for them to go. Max had apparently sent the signs, and his family knew the time was here.

On his Facebook page, his Dad wrote the following tribute to his friend and kid. I read it, and could not hold back the tears for several minutes. It is, without question, the kind of farewell we all should have in our life.

Max Graf, September 4, 2003 – August 17, 2020.

Max Graf, aka Fuzz Face, The Moo, Mr. Moo, Little Moo, Tough Guy, Stinker Butt, Snorkle Puss, and Little Junior, passed away August 17, 2020, with his loving doggy mother and father at his side.

Born September 4, 2003, Max was an orphan left to fend for himself on the mean streets of Hialeah, Florida. Utilizing his dazzling charm, his rock n’ roll star good looks, and his gregarious nature, Max forged his way into a rescue group and, ultimately, to his forever home.

A confident canine with plenty of ‘pinions and a keen intellect, Max studied hard to become the best dog he could be; graduating Magna Cum Laude and earning his Good Canine Citizen degree.

His studies prepared him well for future success and he showed great prowess in Sitting, Staying, Leash Walking, Rolling Over, Butt Sniffing, Rolling in Stinky Stuff, and his favorite, Duck Chasing.

In 2009, Max partnered with his family to open a retail business in Plantation, Florida that specialized in healthy foods and treats for dogs and cats. Over the years, Max helped the business grow and thrive, serving in key roles like Taste Tester, Chief of Security, Store Greeter, and Quality Control Manager.

During his tenure, Max never missed a day of work and took pride in his ability to win over new customers. Many would come to the shop just to see him and ask for his advice about what food or treats they should get for their pup. Max retired in June, 2019 and settled into enjoying life at home with his family and loved ones.

“all his sweet and shaggy life,
always near me, never troubling me,
and asking nothing.”

Rest in peace, my beautiful friend. There will always only be you.

Love, Dad …and Mom too.

God rest your soul, Max. Yes, we know you have a soul. Those who love as deeply as you did, and who engender such love in return, have indeed the perfect soul.

Good boy.

From helpless to a home, Brooklyn can finally relax

August is “Clear the Shelters” month, and there likely has never been a more daunting time for those seeking to ensure every animal has a forever home. COVID-19 has made it difficult financially for many people to bring another mouth to feed into their lives, and you would think shelters everywhere would be overflowing. Part of the problem few talk about it is the number of abandoned pets, mostly dogs, that are being either turned into shelters or simply left to beg and die on the streets. The entire thought is more than a little gut-wrenching for anyone with a heart.

Which is why stories such as these are so important to note. In the darkness of the pandemic, stories are emerging from across America about people turning to and actually emptying a number of shelters. COVID-19 has created a lot of depression and loneliness at every level, and people are finding there is nothing like that furry companion to brighten the days, even just a little bit.

Brooklyn had been in the Hamilton Township (NJ) Animal Shelter and Adoption Center for seven years. Think about that. For you and me, seven years doesn’t seem like much. For Brooklyn, that’s more than half her life. While she has been helped along by a foster Dad, she never had a place to call her own.

Until now.

There’s not much to the story, just a 15 second blurb on local TV news and a social media post. However, there she is with her new family. She’s going HOME, the first one she has known in a very long time.

Animals such as Brooklyn know change when the see and experience it. They know the difference between being in a cage over being in a home. They are social and experience emotions in so many ways. In essence, they are just like children. All they need is a little love, a warm place to lay their head, and the knowledge someone is there for them. That’s not a lot to ask, and in this time of so much need among us all, stories like this make me believe there is indeed hope for a society that at times seems so cold.

Find your new friend at a shelter. The love you get in return will be unconditional and wrap you in it’s arms so tight, you will never want to let go.

Thank you to everyone who ensures that dogs like Brooklyn can be safe and sound for the rest of their lives.

Good girl.

Shake paws with the most dogged car salesman ever

We’re dedicated viewers of programs such as “Lucky Dog”, where pooches who seem destined for a tough and perhaps unfortunate life are given another chance and find their furever homes. While the program is set n California, we need to remind ourselves that around the world, there are those pups and adult dogs facing difficult times. A good deal of them never do find that special place to call their own.

In this case, however, it’s one of those “luck of the draw” moments, where a dog named Tucson manages to happen upon the right place, the right time, and the right people who felt the need to reach out and help.

Tucson has to be the most successful automobile salesman (salesdog?) in he world. Given that chance, he’s now running the show, or so it seems, at a Hyundai dealership in Brazil. From a young pup with no hope, his story has gone worldwide thanks to the caring nature of those at the dealership. From helpless, to famous.

It just goes to show that we all need to keep our eyes, and our hearts, open for possibilities. Tucson likely didn’t get a second look from a lot of people, but all it took was one person to show him some love.

Now, it WOULD be interesting to have Tucson be in the passenger seat for a test drive.

Good boy.

Coping with the pandemic is often just a pooch away

It has not been easy for anyone here in the pandemic summer of 2020. Covid-19 has, in some cases, created irreparable damage to individual lives and certainly careers. Many people have been turning to therapy, medication, alcohol, the usual things we humans reach for in difficult times

However, there might be just an ever-so-slight bright spot in all this madness. As we seek to find ways in dealing with our new normal, we’re turning more and more to bringing home a new addition to the family. In the process, we’re saving more than just one life.

Adoptions are up across the country.  In some cases I’ve read where every dog needing a home has found one and the kennels are actually empty. Sad they don’t always stay that way, but some shelters are building up a backlog of people wanting to adopt. In most cases, we’re talking quality adopters who truly come seeking more than just a handbag.

These are always dogs who have so much love to give, and I cannot stress enough how people should look at the older dogs. By older, sometimes that can be just 4 or 5 years of age. They desperately need someone new, having been loved in many cases and now simply abandoned. A lot of families are tight on money, and the dog, along with other pets, are sometimes the first to go. I’ve seen far too many cases where they are often just dumped on the road instead of the shelter.

The pandemic has made us all think long and hard about life, and what we do with it. There is nothing finer than sharing the simple act of love with those in need, whether 2, 3 or 4-legged. These are the wonderful, beautiful, touching stories that we will look back on and say, “remember how that ball of fur saved us in the pandemic year?”

That’s what I mean, it’s more than saving one life. It’s saving us all.

With that, the love lasts well past the years spent together.

Fun and entertaining dog tales from around the world