For some strange reason (his spotty Oscar picks?) Tanner asked me to pinch hit (write) for him today. He watched the Academy Awards with us and we all thought it was one of those years where, in the absence of a consensus juggernaut like Avatar,  a lot of good, deserving films split the pie. We were glad to see Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity and 12 Years A Slave get some props, and not surprised that Academy snubbed American Hustle (a gang of good actors clearly ‘acting’ in a choppy script) and Wolf Of Wall Street (an overly long paean to greed and selfishness masquerading as a cautionary tale).

With the movies behind us, we can get back to talking about our other favorites, dogs and books. In yesterday’s Parade Magazine, Peter Zheutlin delivered a moving portrait of Greg Mahle, a former restaurant owner who now runs a transport service, Rescue Road Trips, that makes bi-monthly trips from Ohio to the Deep South, to rescue ‘death row’ dogs from high-kill shelter and deliver them to their new the Northeast, where they’re taken in by loving families. If you’d like to contribute to the cause, go to

Thanks to our dear friend, accomplished artist and animal lover Sharon Brooks for turning us on to LOOKING FOR 527 by Susanne Belcher & Christine Baleshta. This slim volume pack a powerful wallop as a writer and artist join forces to illuminate the moving life, and tragic loss of one of the Yellowstone wolves. The authors avoid political diatribes, preferring to let their simple, loving observations of the park and its wolves make the case for reinstating U.S. Fish and Wildlife Endangered Species protection for these majestic creatures. To underscore the good wolves do, this fascinating video details the many ways in which the much maligned predators positively affect the entire ecosystem, and even the physical geography of that American gem, Yellowstone Park.

Tanner with his ‘younger’ woman, Kona

It seems that receiving the B.R.A.G. Medallion for Nonfiction has ushered in a host of honors for Tanner and GIMME SHELTER. First, we’ve been invited as ‘honored guests’ to this year’s Academic Bowl, a scholastic competition for incarcerated youth, some of whom I know from my work at the local probation camp schools. And later this month, we’ve been invited to attend the Avondale Country Club’s 12 Annual Charity Pet Show in Palm Desert. While it’s always great to hang with other animal lovers, this year’s proceeds will go to The Pet Rescue Center. Since March 13, 1998, founder Christine Madruga and her colleagues have placed over 6,033 dogs and 7,050 cats into loving homes. 

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