Since November 2011, when his foster mother, Carla, was forced to move, beautiful MARLEY has been living at the Canine Rescue & Adoption League (C.A.R.L.) of Ventura County. We’re hoping one of you can change that. Carla says that Marley is “big and strong but extremely loving and gentle. He had do be taught how to bark by my girl pit, and even then he rarely barked. He never destroyed anything in the house or dug in the yard.  He got along great with my girl pit and even my sister’s male Yorkie, who lived with us. I am attaching pictures of him from the C.A.R.L. website, # 3731. He would  make someone a wonderful pet if they gave him a chance.” Carla would welcome calls or email from anyone interested in him. Her number is 805/302-8428)”

ps – We met Carla at Barnes & Noble in Thousand Oaks where she works and where we had our book signing on August 3.


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.


According to an article in the Los Angeles Daily News, ‘kill’ rates plummeted this year at County Animal Care facilities, and are approaching a decade low. “Los Angeles Animal Services was on track to have put down 4,00 fewer cats and dogs in the fiscal year that ended June 30 compare to the previous year, with final numbers due out next week. “The city is poised for its best year of reducing shelter deaths and increasing the live-save rate since the city established it no-kill goal a decade ago,” said LAAS General Manager Brenda Barnette in a statement. “I believe this success belongs to all pet loving Angelenos.” That means groups like No Kill L.A. and their supporters like Kristen Bauer Von Straten who plays fetching, feisty vampire ‘Pam’ on HBO’s True Blood and stars in the latest NKLA ad.

Kristen Bauer Von Straten as ‘Pam’ on HBO’s True Blood

Finally, if you’re a member of the ‘dogs are great but people stink’ club, it might be time to rethink your misanthropy in light of a story by L.A. Times reporter Bob Pool about Martha Aguel, a homeless woman with two dogs, who rescued a North Hollywood man’s lsot beagle and then declined a reward, saying she was just “glad he had his dog back”. With help from the grateful dog owner, County officials are trying to get Martha and her two dogs, Chino & Nina, permanent shelter.


Summer…a time of long, lazy days spent lounging at the beach or pool, eating junk food and reading trashy novels (or moving dog books!). Hah! Tanner, Eugenie and I have been busier than ever trying to stay on top of work, book business and social events. That’s probably why we forgot to trumpet the fabulous article about GIMME SHELTER in the July-August issue of Malibu Times Magazine. Writer Michael Aushenker’s piece was very flattering and  the photos by our dear friend and ace photographer, Roxanne McCann, make us look like movie stars. That’s no great feat with Eugenie and Tanner, who always look terrific ,but I sure needed her magic. Roxanne began her career doing stills on film sets, and learned photography at the side of Academy Award-winning Cinematographers. Her photographs have been published around the world, and her fine art is in private collections in many countries. If you’re thinking about doing photos for a big event – a graduation, anniversary, wedding, book signing or just to have some great shots – you should give Rox a call.

Lou, Eugenie & Tanner @ Diesel Books, Malibu (photo by Roxanne McCann)

As someone who cares about all animals, pets and their wilderness cousins, I was heartened to read about the Malibu City Council’s vote to oppose the sale and use of rodentcides, which often harm our resident raccoons, possums, squirrels, bobcats, coyotes and birds. In explaining his support, a local rabbi, Levi Cunin, offered this quote from well-known book on Jewish mysticism, Tomer Devorah, by Rabbi Moshe Cordevero: “in addition… one’s compassion must spread over all creatures. Do not humiliate them, do not destroy them, for the Higher wisdom has compassion on all creatures, and its compassion spreads forth over all of creation, the inanimate creations (such as minerals) the vegetative creations (all plants) living creatures (all animals, mammals etc.), and the speaking creatures (humans). And for this reason our sages cautioned us regarding disrespecting our food source. This matter is noteworthy, for just as the Higher wisdom, does not waste any existence, and everything is made from there (the higher wisdom) as it is written “You have made everything with wisdom” so shall be the mercy of man on all of His workings, blessed be the source”. Amen.


As you know, Tanner, Eugenie and I often use this blog to thank friends, family and supporters who promote GIMME SHELTER, animal rescue and other things we consider important and fun. Well, Al Santillo, a master baker from my hometown of Elizabeth NJ, deserves kudos as our biggest fan. Although our families lived in the Peterstown neighborhood (the Burg for locals) and did business together, that doesn’t explain why Al, who’s busy running his family’s terrific pizzeria and bakery, would make the time and effort to share the book with his friends and customers. Next to Diesel, our local bookseller, Al has sold more copies than any other person or outlet. So, when you’re in back East and looking for a great, award-winning pizza, and some fun conversation, stop by Santillo’s and tell Al Tanner and Lou sent you.

The Maestro at work. Grazie, Al.


Between book events, working at Probation and workouts, things get hectic around our place. Maybe that’s why we’ve neglected to mention that the Gimme Shelter Campaign recently made our 2nd and 3rd official donations to the Linda Blair Worldheart Foundation and the St. Martin’s Animal Foundation. For new visitors, we’ve promised to donate 10% of the profits from GIMME SHELTER to various animal rescue groups. We’re at 3 and counting, so keep buying books and we’ll keep sharing the proceeds.

Pit-Lab pups being fostered by Sky Valencia of St. Martin’s Animals Foundation.
Interested? Contact:

With all of those cute kitty YouTube videos, it’s tough to keep current on dog news so here are two stories that might be of interest.
– An L.A. Times‘ piece from June 22 detailed the protests by China animals lovers upset with mistreatment of stranded dolphins and the traditional Yulin dog meat festival. In a country not noted for its human rights concerns, it’s heartening to hear that people are willing to speak up about perceived animal cruelty.
– The April issue of Scientific American ran a piece by Kate Wong outlining scientists’ theories that adaptation to humans starchy diet may have lead to the domestication of dogs and cats. I love Tanner but he is NOT getting my pizza!


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 The offer is good until the end of 2013.

Tanner and his peeps near the Malibu Library


Woke up this morning to find that WOOF, a digital dog magazine from India, yes India, just published a piece I wrote for them entitled What A Bullie!. The story (p. 14-16), which is based on material from the GIMME SHELTER sidebars, offers readers some useful tips on adopting and caring for a Pit Bull or any shelter dog. Following the article, which has several great photos of Tanner, there’s a full-page profile of the book. Thanks to Nirav for contacting me and running the story.

Tanner, Eugenie and Lou (photo by Roxanne McCann)