A PIT BULL ‘PROCEDURE’…HOLIDAY GIVING…’ON THE MOVE’

Because Tanner has so many fans, canine and human, we wanted you to know that he was recently diagnosed with a mast cell tumor that had to be removed. He had surgery today with Dr. Dean Graulich, from Malibu Coast Animal Hospital, who said he’s doing great. He’ll be home later this evening and then the big challenge will be to keep him calm enough to let the wound heal. That’s where Eugenie comes in. She’s a sweet dog mom but I can count on her to make our ferocious beast tow the line. She does that all the time with me. 

Tanner, aka ‘Tanino’ with his parents at Milan’s Duomo
(℅ photoshop)

With Chanukah and Christmas bearing down on us, I thought I’d mention some amazing animal charities that deserve a helping hand, if you’re in the giving mood. Among the hundreds of caring organizations committed to helping dogs, cats and other creatures, these are some of Tanner’s favorites:  Karma RescueDowntown Dog RescueLinda Blair’s Worldheart Foundation, Canine Adoption Rescue League (C.A.R.L.), No Kill L.A./Best Friends, and  Healthcare for Homeless Animals , formerly Malibu Pet Companions, the folks who give pro bono vet care to the animals at the L.A. County Agoura Hills Shelter, Tanner’s home before he came to live with us. Write a check, donate food, buy a gift from their stores, volunteer, whatever you do, they’ll thank you and you’ll be glad you did.

You may have noticed that books (and not just GIMME SHELTER), turn up quite frequently on this blog. That’s because pit bulls, and Tanner in particular, take great pleasure in the well-written word. Tanner asked me to tell you that our dear friend, Kathryn Galan (profiled in Malibu’s Surfside News), will be at Malibu’s Bank of Books tomorrow, Saturday, December 6, at noon, signing copies of her new Young Adult novel ON THE MOVE .  He strongly recommends that you drop in and some copies for the teens in your life, especially the skaters. Here’s what Tanner had to say about this epic skate odyssey: Right from the get-go I was caught up in this fast-paced story of plucky SoCal skate boarders forced to use their skater skills and street smarts when war breaks out and China attacks the USA. The kids in question are a resilient bunch, a diverse, dirty half-dozen determined to be reunited with their scattered families yet taking time to enjoy the awesome skate parks and the adult-sized challenges they face along the way. While boarders will savor Flynn’s impressive knowledge of their sport and culture, the main plot of kids coping with disaster will appeal to all teens and adults. The gang encounters some gnarly post-conflict hurdles but nothing too scary or depressing for even younger readers. Much YA fare targets the feelings and drama of those emotional teen years. While ON THE MOVE takes us inside the lives of the young heroes and heroines – yes, there are girls in the crew! – it also serves up weightier themes and subjects in an accessible, entertaining style. When I finished the book I had two regrets: that I don’t skate, and that the sequel isn’t out yet.

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DOGS IN THE PEN…MORE ON MOURNING

For the past two weeks Lou has been too busy with his Probation kids to post my observations. I heard him telling ‘mom’ (Eugenie) that he had them working on topics as diverse as personal investing, dharma in prison and Kohlberg’s 6 Levels of Moral Development. Phew! Now that he’s finally taking a breather, I wanted to pass along some very heartening news about canines helping humans the way I helped him. Ruth Levine, President and Founder of Karma Rescue, recently shared the following: 

“The Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation (CDCR) approached Karma Rescue with a unique opportunity: could we help them develop a training program inside one of our state prisons that would pair inmates with rescued shelter dogs? While similar programs have been instituted across the nation, Paws For Life is California’s first and only program in a high-security prison involving inmates serving life-term sentences. 


Paws For Life brings rescued shelter dogs to live full-time with inmates at the Los Angeles County CDCR. Over a twelve-week cycle, inmates will learn from Karma trainers how to train our rescue dogs for ‘Canine Good Citizen’ certification. Once a dog earns this designation, the chance for successful adoption increases — as does our ability to rescue another shelter animal in its place. The inmates also benefit: beyond the rehabilitative therapy of a dog’s presence, they are learning “real world” skills and connecting to a larger a humanitarian process outside of the prison walls. This program gives them a way to contribute back to society by helping a dog get a second chance at life. On June 1, we brought five shelter dogs to the prison. Men who had not seen an animal in decades were openly emotional at the sight of the beautiful creatures before them. Just petting our dogs brought many to happy tears. It was a day I will never, ever forget.”

If you’d like to support the project, you can donate on the Karma website.


To follow up on our last post about whether dogs grieve like their human companions, Cesar Millan tackles the subject in his latest newsletter. According to the dog guru, they miss their deceased pack buddies like people miss their dearly departed pals and family. Thankfully, the majority of grieving pups eventually return to their former, joyful selves.

Tanner mourning his eviscerated ‘babies’

  

HELP THE PEOPLE WHO SAVE OUR DOGS

As many of you know, Eugenie, Lou & I donate a portion of the proceeds from GIMME SHELTER to animal rescue groups. So many organizations do amazing work that we’d need another book to list them all. Instead, we’d like to give a well deserved shout out to some of our favs, like Karma Rescue, Downtown Dog Rescue, St. Martin’s Animal Foundation, Linda Blair’s Worldheart Foundation, Animals Advocates Alliance, Canine Adoption Rescue Leage (CARL) of Ventura, and Healthcare for Homeless Animals (formerly Malibu Pet Companions). If you have some spare Benjamins, they’d be happy to take them off your paws so that they can help more dogs like me, and Freckles, whose life was recently saved for a second time by the folks at Karma.

Freckles
In keeping with our rescue theme, if you live in the Los Angeles area and you’re thinking about a rescue dog, or cat, then be sure to check out the Best Friends/No Kill LA mega-adoption this weekend Saturday, May 3, and Sunday, May 4, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles. The popular event has a mission of turning L.A. into the nation’s largest No-Kill City by 2017, will feature more than 1,000 adoptable pets from 50 rescue groups.  “Last fall, the NKLA Adoption Weekend found homes for close to 400 dogs and cats in 48 hours and we hope to beat that number this spring,” said Marc Peralta, executive director of Best Friends Animal Society – Los Angeles. “Any Angeleno who is looking to adopt should check out the NKLA Adoption Weekend, as it’s the perfect venue to find your new best friend. You can even bring your dog along for a meet and greet.”

Eugenie and Tanner @ last year’s event

GRAZIE, MERCI, DOMO ARIGATO, GRACIAS, DANKE…THANK YOU!

Each year, my 2-legged parents and the rest of their breed set aside a special day to be ‘Thankful’ which looks to me like an excuse to eat way too much yummy food that I don’t get to share. This year’s festa (Lou’s word) was at the home of Eugenie’s dad, Gene, and his wife, Sandra. Although they’re cat people, I like them very much and appreciate them letting me attend the party and steal the spotlight, as we pit bulls often do. Although I was denied a share of the goodies, I’d like to mention some of the many amazing things I’m thankful for

For Lou & Eugenie, who took me into their home and made me part of their family when no one else wanted me. They shower me with love, calm me when I’m frightened and make every day a fun adventure, even my baths and the car rides. Lou even wrote a book (with lots of help from Kathryn) and made me a local celebrity…For their friends and family (too many to mention) who treat me like a real person to be loved, respected and cherished…For my dog pals, Ceba, Otto, Dexter, Kona, Lola, Porter, Lucky, Coco, Charley, Buddha, Aldo, Harley, Magnus, Rocky, Rusty, Blur, Lady, Charger, Luna, Carl, Bobby, Roxie, the 3 Bellas and all of the gang from Malibu Villas and the Trancas Dog park. For the dog park, the beach, the farm, the meadow, and all of the other cool places were I get to run and explore. For squeaky toys, Skinnees, Kongas, tennis balls, Lou’s socks and the Malibu Villas cats. For chicken strips, Denta Bones, Check-ups, liver bits and the very occasional (hint, hint) table scrap. For the great SoCal weather. For my three comfy beds, and my parents’ Tempurpedic, where we get to cuddle and watch TV. For Dr. Lisa, Tony Rollins, Rob Lerner, and all of the staff and volunteers at the Agoura Hills Shelter where I started out. For Malibu Pet Companions, Karma Rescue, C.A.R.L., Linda Blair’s Worldheart Foundation, and all of the other amazing rescue groups that work to help dogs in need, especially pit bulls…For all the amazing humans who choose to share their lives and loves with dogs like me. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!

Coming home from Trancas dog park 
Exploring ‘The Farm’


NO CIGAR…BUT SOME NICE WORDS

Earlier this year, Eugenie and I convinced Lou to enter GIMME SHELTER in the annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards Competition. Although he won’t admit, we all felt we had a good shot to win the big enchilada. Turns out we came close, but no cigar. We did, however, receive a very positive commentary from the judge that we’d like to share: GIMME SHELTER is a well written, sincere account of a special friendship between Mr. Spirito and his dog. Unlike many pet-human memoirs, this once tells an appealing story with a real arc for both the author and the dog Tanner.The author does a nice job integrating his early family experiences with his ‘current’ story of acquiring and caring for…the rescued pit bull. It’s important for the reader to have some context about the author’s anger issues, and the italicized passages provide real insight…Another element that works well is the information and advice on pet / dog owning, presented at the end of the chapters. This is a generous extra, which elevates the book above the run-of-the-mill.”

Tanner on alert for the sound of treats

Courtesy of Karma Rescue, here’s a great poem by Joe Hernandez-Kolski that captures the joie de vivre of our four-legged pals and the need to step up the rescue efforts until they all find two-leggeds partners. (cute dog, too)


Attention Tanner fans and Pit Bull lovers! Don’t miss the freeGIMME SHELTER’ HALLOWEEN GIVEAWAY, October 31 & November 1.  See why American Dog Magazine called GIMME SHELTER “Wonderful, interesting and insightful” and why Actor/Author Harry Hamlin said “I loved this book!” To get your free copy, just go to our Amazon page. Don’t have a Kindle? Download the free reader app for your PC. Mac or iPad. And please share this with your friends.

SPAY & NEUTER FOR L.A. PIT BULLS – FREE, and GOOD KARMA!

Thanks to Karma Rescue, Los Angeles owners of Pit Bulls and Pit Bulls mixes can spay or neuter their dogs free of charge. ‘Fixing’ your dog can curb aggression and will help reduce the population of unwanted animals. Tanner hopes that lots of people will take advantage of this great deal. He’s ‘fixed’ and still a, handsome, buff boy.  To learn more or make an appointment (there are clinics on both the East and West sides of town) contact Karma Rescue (310) 512-7833 or email Karma at info@karmarescue.org. The offer is good until the end of 2013.

Tanner and his peeps near the Malibu Library