BLUE RIBBON WEARING, FUND RAISING ‘PET OF THE WEEK’

Saturday marked the end of a hurricane week for me, and my human companions. On Sunday, March 30, we strutted our stuff at the 12th Annual Avondale Charity Pet Show where they  broke their previous fundraising records, the proceeds going to The Pet Rescue Center in Coachella. A certain Pit Bull Johnson and his human Boswell sold copies of GIMME SHELTER while my ‘mom’ Eugenie, displayed her amazing stone sculptures. We met tons of great people and pets including Joan & Kathleen Hopp, Kathleen’s son, Colton, his pal, Connor, and a super fine petite hottie named Jenny, and Joan’s sleek, shy pit girl, Nikki. As a ‘Thank You’ for my part, the Avondale gang presented me with my first blue ribbon, which I’ll always treasure. 

A Blue Ribbon Day
E’s mom, Melissa with ‘Jenny’!

We’d barely returned from Palm Springs when Eugenie opened the Malibu Surfside News and shrieked, “Look who’s in the paper!” It was a picture of me as ‘Pet Of The Week’, curled up in my bed, the essence of a dignified yet lovable pit bull. Seems mom slipped it to the paper on the QT, the sweet little rat.

Saturday, April 4,  meant another long car trip, this time to Lemon Park in Simi Valley for their 4th Annual Bark For Life cancer fundraiser. It was a gorgeous day in a gorgeous spot where Lou & I reprised our roles as ‘Grand Marshals’, surrounded by gangs of dogs and humans all strolling to raise money for a noble cause. Kudos of organizer Laura Leonard (rescue mom for 3 dogs) and her legion of volunteers and sponsors. We have one more event left on the calendar – a cable TV interview. After that, I’m taking a break and demanding a raise in my ‘pay’ of chicken treats and squeaky toys. Either that, or Lou can dress up like a pit bull and do it all himself.

The ‘family’ @ Bark For Life

Lou & Tanner with Doug & his rescue Cane Corso, Sasha

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TANNER COMES THROUGH…TWICE!

We all know that dogs are man’s best friend but, the past few weeks, Tanner has been going above and beyond. On Saturday, August 3, he was the star of our hugely successful Barnes & Noble book signing in Thousand Oaks. He was friendly, sweet and so well-behaved, even when other dogs cruised by. People adored him and stopped to trade dog stories and to buy GIMME SHELTER

Then on Sunday, August 4, Tanner was back at it again, helping me serve as Grand Marshal and kicking off the fundraising walk at the American Cancer Society ‘Bark For Life’ event. Luckily it was overcast and cool, so he didn’t poop out on a very short stroll. As a reward for his PR efforts, Tanner got to scarf down some rare roast beef and to cuddle all night on the bed. By popular request, here’s the text of the welcome speech we gave.

Dealing with cancer is challenging on many levels.  It is stressful, it’s frightening but it can also empowering. One thing that helps us cope with the struggle is the support of our friends, our families, caring strangers and our dogs. Given that this Malibu’s first annual BARK FOR LIFE fundraising walk, I should say especially our dogs. As someone who has grappled with cancer and other serious issues, I’ve seen firsthand the difference a 4-legged therapist can make. That’s why I’m here today…to speak about how dogs help comfort and heal us when we need it most.

1) THEY ARE CHEAPER THAN DOCTORS AND THERAPISTS, MORE FUN AND ALWAYS ON CALL.– That’s why they make such great healers. We know they will be there for us no matter what. They don’t care if we have insurance, and for most of us, their ‘fee’ is some cuddles and a rawhide treat or two…or five.

2) DOGS DON’T JUDGE – Except when it comes squeaky toys, they don’t judge. They don’t care if you lose weight, gain weight, have more hair, less hair or no hair. They don’t care about our jobs, the cars we drive or  the clothes we wear.  To our dogs, we have no flaws. We’re perfect just the way we are. They love us because that’s what they do. Period. All they ask from us in return is a little exercise and affection. if only all of our two-legged pals were so easy and accommodating.

3) DOG ARE PLAYFUL – Regardless of what’s going on in the world or our bodies – if the stock market’s down, or Dwight Howard ditches us for Houston, or Congress is behaving like
unruly kindergartners, or we’re feeling like we’ve been run over by a cement truck – our dogs are always up for play. We can take a lesson from them and when things get stressful, or seem hopeless, we can go for a ride and stick our head out the car window, or go for a run, a walk or just sit on a bench in the sun. Your dog never looks at you and says ‘We really need to work more’.

4) DOGS ARE WISE! – They live in harmony with nature. They don’t care about social trends, how many Twitter followers or Facebook friends you have, how much your movie grossed, how many books you’ve sold.  They have no list of  ‘should’s. They sleep when they’re tired, eat when they’re hungry (except pugs and labs, who eat all the time), play when they need exercise. They don’t worry (well, maybe just a little around dinner time) and they never give advice. They don’t dwell on the past, or try to control the future. They are fully PRESENT. Every day, they get, up wag their tails and go about their lives, doing their very best, living in the moment, every moment. They have one message: be joyous, be present, and LET’S PLAY! or as Laura so aptly put it, let’s BARK FOR LIFE.”

Lou & Tanner with Bark for Life organizer Laura Leonard and her rescue dog Barkley.

FIRE YOUR TRAINER, AND GET A DOG!

Following hard on the heals of our last posting, the L.A. Times ran a piece ‘Can Pets Lead Owners to Health? , echoing our claim that walking your dog can help improve both canine and human fitness. 

                                                                                ~~~~~

In the blatant self-promotion category, this weekend will be a busy one for Tanner, Eugenie and me. On Saturday, August 3, from 11:30-12:30 we’ll be signing books at Barnes & Noble in Thousand Oaks, The Promenade, 160 S. Westlake Blvd., Thousand Oaks, CA 91362, (805) 446-2820.

On Sunday, August 4, we’ll be serving as ‘Grand Marshals’ of Malibu’s first annual American Cancer Society ‘Bark For Life‘ fundraising walk. It will take place at Legacy Park in the Civic Center. Registration starts at 10:00 and the event will kick off at 11:00 with a speech from yours truly.

Lou, Eugenie and Tanner @ Legacy Park, Malibu