The April 24, 2015 issue of The Week  highlights two animal rescue organizations – Pilots N Paws  and Wings Of Rescue – where volunteer fliers are helping shelter dogs and cats avoid the threat of euthanasia by ferrying them from badly crowded urban shelters, where they stand little chance of being rescued, to less burdened areas where they are often quickly adopted. If you have some loose coin burning a hole in your pocket, maybe think about giving them a few shekels to keep up the great work. “More than 4 million pets are euthanized in the U.S. every year, mostly because of overcrowding in shelters. But a growing number of kindhearted pilots have been donating their time, fuel, and aircraft to transporting unwanted rescue dogs to less overburdened shelters, where many of them are quickly adopted. Groups like Wings of Rescue and Pilots N Paws have helped tens of thousands of strays find new homes over the past several years, and the number of volunteer aviators continues to rise. “We get a lot of the glory,” said pilot Angela Garcia. “But in reality, it’s just pure fun.”

Guardian angel with his rescue pups

Since mid-Janaury, Eugenie, Tanner and I have been working with Advertising students at Pepperdine University to design a new campaign for our favorite dog memoir, GIMME SHELTER. The three awesome teams delivered their final pitches last week and we were blown away by the depth and breadth of their creative genius. They covered everything from redesigning the book cover and business cards, to implementing exciting digital, mobil and social media strategies, leaving us with the unenviable task of choosing a ‘winner’. We’ll keep you posted on when, where and how we’ll be rolling out their ideas. A huge thanks to all 19 students, and their amazing professor, Dr. Ginger Rosenkrans, for an unforgettable experience.

Tanner kicking it at a Pepperdine photo shoot

In this week’s issue of his Cesar’s Way Newsletter, dog guru Cesar Millan focuses on ‘dangerous’ dogs and BSL – Breed Specific Legislation. Although it’s discriminatory, and proven not to work, some elected official and communities still advocate banning breeds like Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Mastiffs and other ‘bad’ dogs to keep their citizens from being slaughtered. As Cesar points out, you are 650 times more likely to die in a motor vehicle accident than to be killed by a dog attack. If safety concerns are the issue, then maybe BSL supporters should also consider turning in their driver’s license, draining their swimming pools and lobbying  stringent gun control laws. From Gimme Shelter, here are some odds on the chance of being killed by a Pit Bull:  

–       According to CDC studies, about 10 persons die each year as a result of dog attacks. Of that number, Pit Bulls are responsible for approximately 28% or 2.8 deaths.
–       In 2008, the Consumer Products Safety Commission reported 7 deaths from fireworks. Based on that number, you are two times more likely to die from a fireworks mishap than from a Pit Bull attack.
–       Approximately 10 people a year die from snakebites, 3 times the number killed by Pit Bulls.
–       From 1990-2003, 756 Americans (an average of 58/year) died from lightning strikes. That means you are more than 20 times more likely to be killed by lightening than by a Pit Bull.
–       CDC statistics show that every day 10 people die from drowning, the second leading cause of non-intentional death for people ages 1-14. A person is 1,300 times more likely to drown than to be killed by a Pit Bull.
–       Every year in the U.S. more than 1,700 children (roughly 5 each day) are killed by their parents or guardians, either through abuse or neglect. A child is more than 600 times more likely to be killed by their caretaker than by a Pit Bull.
–       For every Pit Bull that kills, there are MILLIONS that DON’T!


According to a blurb in The Week magazine (Feb. 6, 2015) the National Retail Federation predicts that Americans will spend $700 million on Valentine’s Day gifts…for their pets. Speaking of gifts, if you’re having a tough time shopping for that special dog lover in your life, consider a book.

@ Amazon.com

While the Dog Writer’s Association of American writing awards are still two weeks off, the Malibu Times ran a nice piece on yours truly, and our dear friend Megan Blake, who are  nominated in the online article and radio show categories. Megan, who hosts the awesome A Super Smiley Adventure on PetLife Radio, interviewed us when Gimme Shelter first debuted. Eugenie, Tanner and I plan to celebrate the DWAA event with her, husband Kim, and her pups, Super Smiley and Angel. 

This past Tuesday, Eugenie and I met with Pepperdine University Professor Ginger Rosenkrans’ senior marketing class to field questions from the student teams that will be designing a comprehensive marketing campaign for GIMME SHELTER as their class project. The class was so enthusiastic and insightful! We can’t wait to see what they devise for us. The only tough moment came when one student asked what kind of cell phone I have. Red-faced, I mumbled that I still use a pay-as-you-go flip phone. The students looked away in pity for this out of step tech dinosaur. 

Lou with the Pepperdine University marketing students

A few weeks back, an L.A. Times article by Abby Sewell reported that L.A. County Supervisors are considering upgrading the county’s 6 outdated animal shelters. Here’s hoping they follow through and make life more bearable for the tens of thousands of dogs and cats they house each year. According to the story, 50 % are eventually euthanized, 43 % are adopted, and  only 8% are reunited with their owners. 

former shelter dog Tanner with his best pal, Charlie, and Lou


With Christmas only a few days off, I wanted to share a pretty cool experience that my mom, Eugenie, had this week. She was driving to work in Malibu when traffic suddenly ground to a halt. She glanced across the highway to the lush Pepperdine University lawn where she saw a dozen deer charging down the hill, followed by a free roaming dog. Just as the deer reached the edge of the highway, the dog’s owner appeared and called him off. Poised on the edge of the blacktop, Rudolph and company about-faced and headed back toward the mountains, where a fat dude in a red suit was waiting beside a cherry red Camaro. Really.

A nativity scene was erected in a church yard. During the night, workers can across this scene. The dog…a Shepherd 

                                                                ~ ~ ~
About MABEL, a pit bull rescue from the Central Coast, north of Santa Barbara. She’s in need of a great home and this video shows just how lucky whoever steps up will be. If you or someone you know wants to adopt this ray of ‘Sunshine’, get in touch and we’ll connect you with her volunteer caretakers. 
                                                               ~ ~ ~
Since we’re spinning yarns and touting great dogs, here’s an excerpt from GIMME SHELTER about my first Christmas with Lou and Eugenie. Enjoy, and Buon Natale, Feliz Navidad, Joyeux Noel or just have a Merry! – “There’s magic in the scent of a real Christmas tree. One whiff of a Scotch Pine or a majestic Douglas Fir and I’m seven again, scouring the Sears Catalog, scribbling Christmas lists, and baking cookies for Santa. Dogs aren’t quite that nostalgic. For them, a real tree is just a handy porta-potty. With that in mind, we skipped the walk down memory lane and settled for an unholy fiber optic “tree,” a cross between a Chia Pet and a Lava Lamp. Tanner watched from his bed while we hung the ornaments and garland. We lugged a small mountain of gifts from the garage, dusted them off (thanks to Eugenie, they’d been wrapped since our Solvang trip in October), and deftly arranged them under the polyester bush, creating the perfect Hallmark moment. Then we left to have a glass of wine with some neighbors. We came home to a scene from The Terminator. The tree was askew. The floor was littered with ornaments. Scraps of soggy wrapping paper were strewn about the room like confetti. In our brief absence, Tanner had clawed his way to the bottom of the pile where we’d stashed some plush dog toys.

From day one he’d been gentle, even nurturing, with his “babies.” Lately, however, he’d started savaging them at an alarming rate. The carnage began one evening when we went to a movie. He was fired up and wanted to play. We thought about bringing him along, but weren’t sure he could handle staying in the car alone. And there was always the puking thing. As we closed the door, he glared at us, annoyed at being left behind with so much fuel in his tank. We returned to find his bed had been ransacked, the sheepskin throw torn to shreds. In the past, he’d accidentally ruined a few toys. With his shark-like jaws some collateral damage was inevitable. This was clearly intentional. And he wasn’t finished. In quick succession he gutted Duckie, decapitated Blooie, and mangled his new bear, nicknamed Un Occhio since he was now missing an eye. Sharpie somehow survived the rampage, but was so disfigured that he could star in Phantom of the OperaHoping to stem the onslaught, we bought Tanner a Konga, a thick, rubber toy the pet store clerk called “indestructible”. He promptly trashed it…and four subsequent replacements. When I complained, the saleswoman threw up her hands.“You might want to skip the toys,” she said, “and just buy him an old Buick.”


I don’t know how much longer Lou will let me keep posting so I thought I’d write about how we dogs usually avoid politics and stick to helping our 2-legged friends, no matter what their leanings.  Except when it comes to BSL, dog fighting and tainted treats, you’ll never catch us growling over partisan issues. That said, I wanted to mention the anniversary of 911 and what local students are doing to honor the memory of the people who died that day. For the past several years, students at nearby Pepperdine University (the water polo or volleyball players ?) have placed nearly 3,000 flags, from the victims’ respective nations, on the sweeping great lawn in memory of the dead. Lou and Eugenie took me there, and strolling through the impressive display flapping banners was a moving event. Lou said it reminded him of the simple crosses they place at Veteran’s cemeteries but I’ve never been so I’ll take his word for it. It will be up several more days so if you’re a local or passing by, be sure to stop and take it in.

Tanner, American Staffordshire Terrier on the Pepperdine University 9-11 Lawn

On a sunnier but related note, check out this video of a faithful pup being reunited with his soldier ‘dad’ who has just returned from a 6-month absence in combat. If this doesn’t make you smile, go see the undertaker, cause you just might be dead.

How many people would do this for a friend?
OM! Tanner and Eugenie getting mellow @ The Sacred Space, Summerland, CA

Lou with Tanner and his pal, Magnus, aka Mag-A-Noos @ Trancas Dogpark