DOG RESURRECTED…WHO’S IN CHARGE?

What happens when man’s best friend goes missing at sea? As reported in this week’s L.A. Times, San Diego fisherman Nick Haworth was crushed when his beloved German Shepherd, Luna, disappeared on February 10, while he was working two miles from San Clemente Island, a Navy training site. At first, Nick was optimistic that Luna, a strong swimmer, would make it to shore. When weeks passed and searchers found no trace of the dog, Nick feared the worst. Imagine his joy when Luna turned up at the training facility this past Tuesday, a bit thinner but otherwise in good shape.

Nick reunited with Luna

While my human mom and dad, Eugenie and Lou, like to think they lead our pack, truth is, they sometimes forget the rules and let a certain strikingly handsome pit bull take the reins. In a recent newsletter, dog behavior guru Cesar Millan lists some of the key signs that your pack hierarchy might need fixing, among them: letting your pooch eat before you do, giving him free run of the house (like the bed and sofa), having a dog that pulls on the leash during the walk, and a dog that ignores your commands. i.e., refusing to ‘come’ when being asked to leave the dog park. For the full list of no-nos, and how to correct the imbalance of power, read the article

Tanner (far right) greeting his pals at the dog park

Speaking of the dog park, as many of you know, we’ve been regulars at the Trancas Dog Park since it opened in July of 2010. Except for super warm days and rare rainy ones, we make it a point to join the ‘4 o’clock gang’ – Bobby, Cocoa, Rusty, Rocky, Lady, Magnus, Zoe, Alfie – as often as possible. While we dogs do the usual sniffing, running and wrestling, our humans trade gossip and local news. Yesterday brought a nice surprise when a newcomer told Lou that she had just purchased GIMME SHELTER from our soon-to-be-extinct Bank Of Books. While she didn’t recognize the writer (time for a new author photo?), she did recognize the cover dog! Thanks to her and to all of the people who’ve made the book such a positive, fun experience .

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ALL HAIL ‘THE CHAMPIONS’…SAYING ‘GOOD-BYE’

As many of you know, ever since the publication of GIMME SHELTER, my humans and I have made a point to provide monetary support for numerous animal rescue charities, including Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. In addition to practical pet advice, Best Friends Magazine offers moving rescue stories, like The Champions (March/April issue), a powerful, upbeat look at Darcy Dennett’s documentary of the same name. The film chronicles the fate of Little Red, Handsome Dan, Cherry, and two other dogs that were rescued from Michael Vick’s dogfighting operation, and how, with the help of Best Friends and a host of dedicated volunteers, these ‘Vicktory’ dogs found love and redemption after being saved from their hellish plight. Their successful outcomes helped change the mistaken beliefs that dogfight survivors needed to be euthanized,and that BDLs – Breed Discriminatory Laws –  were the answer to preventing dog attacks. (download the movie here) But there’s still work to be done – 12 states still demonize dogfight survivors by labeling them ‘dangerous’ and insisting that they be euthanized – but thanks to the work of devoted dog lovers and pit bull advocates, 19 other states have banned breed discrimination. This pit bull, for one, looks forward to the day (and may it be soon) when stories like this will seem like relics of a bygone, less evolved age. 

Handsome Dan doing what pit bulls do best

Cherry with Paul & Melissa at his new home

While most of Vick’s canine fighters beat the odds and survived their nightmare, a few of the most badly damaged dogs had to be put down. As anyone who has ever faced the choice can attest,  deciding whether or when to euthanize a pet can be a truly gut-wrenching situation. In a recent Cesar’s Way newsletter  the famed dog whisperer offered some very helpful and caring tips on how to cope with putting a pet to sleep, like knowing when it’s time, understanding the procedure, and allowing yourself space and time to grieve. His parting advice: Although saying good-bye is the hardest part of our relationships with our dogs, we can console ourselves by remembering that by rescuing that dog we gave it a chance at a happy life in the first place — and left us with many pleasant memories. Once you’re done with the grieving and back in a positive place, the best tribute you can pay to a dog that’s passed is to give another dog a second chance.”

Tanner and his babies

 

HEART MATTERS: DOGS REALLY DO ‘GET’ US…A BIG CAT LOOKING FOR LOVE

Today being Valentine’s Day, and my dad Lou’s birthday, what better time to talk about matters of the heart, the bond between man and his best friend, and creatures looking for love. Just like our human partners, we dogs are susceptible to heart ailments, both physical and emotional. Some of the former are age-related, and some result from diseases such as parvovirus (heart worm), Lyme Disease, and Chagas. To keep your BFF in tip-top shape, dog behavior guru Cesar Millan advises that you give him/her a healthy diet (not too much fatty people food) and plenty of exercise, and that you be aware of symptoms that might signal cardiac issues:  vomiting, swollen belly, fatigue, increased heart rate, fainting, fever, heavy breathing, excessive coughing, loss of weight, discomfort, especially when lying down, and bluish-gray gums. When in doubt, go the the vet. 

with my first Valentine, my late mom, Buzzy, and my first dog, Victory

Do humans love us dogs because we feel your pain?  If you’re one of the legion of dog guardians who thinks that your 4-legged pal truly understands your every mood and thought, you may well be right. In an article in ScienceDaily.com  study author Daniel Mills details a recent trial in which dogs showed an impressive ability to ‘read’ and respond to human emotion. If that’s true, and my money says ‘yes’, then it explains why we canines are so beloved. 

El Jefe

Although Valentine’s Day is a human construct meant to pry cold cash from aspiring Romeos and guilty hubbies, via gaudy jewelry and overpriced prix fixe menus at jam packed restaurants, we non-humans share your desire to meet ‘the one’. While I don’t usually feel much solidarity with felines (with the exception of Gene and Sandra’s hulking Burmese brothers Fatty and New Boy) a recent article in the Los Angeles Times left me rooting for El Jefe, ‘The Boss’, a 4-year-old male Jaguar spotted roaming the Santa Rita Mountains near Tucson. According to the report, Jefe is presumed to be the only wild Jaguar in the U.S. In the spirit of Saint Valentine and interspecies cooperation, here’s hoping he has a honey stashed somewhere, and that they’re busy making beautiful Jaguar babies. 

FAREWELL TO A FRIEND!

We had hoped that this week’s entry would convey good news about GIMME SHELTER but, as often happens in the arts, we’re still waiting for Fate to deliver. Instead, we share the sad word that  Charlie, one of Tanner’s best and oldest friends, has moved on to the dog park in the sky. Like all Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Charlie was small, but he had the heart of a lion, especially when other dogs dared trespass on the sand in front of his Malibu Colony home. He was 8-years-old, about the age Tanner is now, when the boys first met. True to their characters, Charlie hopped on Tanner’s muscular back and started grinding away, letting the pit bull know exactly which of them was the alpha dog. The pattern never changed. If Tanner tagged along for a workout or a cookout, Charlie insisted they ‘dance’ a bit to get reacquainted. The boys shared many long walks together on the Colony Road and carefree jaunts on the beach, where neighbors gave wide berth to the feisty lap dog and his hulking but docile bodyguard. Charlie was 14 when his kidneys began to fail but his loving  ‘dad’, Carl, and the team at Malibu Coast Animal Hospital kept him going for several more months, the last of which was spent nibbling grass fed New York steak. My fondest memory of Charlie is the day, nearly thirteen years ago, when I showed up for a workout with Carl to find his late wife, our dear friend Roberta, weeping uncontrollably.  “What’s wrong?” I asked. Between sobs, she pointed down the beach and gasped, “My dog just ran away!” It was high tide and I was wearing long sweats and high-top sneakers but I took off, tramping through the knee-deep surf, until I found the runaway huddled with a neighbor and his Labs. Like a DB pouncing on a fumble, I scooped Charlie up and splashed back to the house, where I received a hero’s welcome. We’ll miss you, Charlie. 

Carl & Charlie

As anyone who’s ever loved a pet can attest, their loss can shake us as profoundly as the death of a relative. In describing his attempt to cope with the sudden death of his beloved Doberman, Red, Washington Post Food & Dining Editor Joe Yonan had this to say: I’m no stranger to death. I was a mess of anger and confusion when my father, suffering the aftermath of a stroke, took his last gasps one day in 1995, his children gathered around his hospital bed. And three years later, the death of my sweet, beloved sister Bonny after a withering battle with brain cancer was nothing short of heartbreaking. Yet somehow, and much to my distress, the death of my dog seems even harder. I haven’t felt grief quite like this since, well, the death of my previous dog five years ago. (read the entire article)

Tanner & Charlie

I WAS A DOG. I DID MY BEST.

With Tanner’s permission, we start the New Year on a bittersweet note. For the sweet part, we’re relieved to report (yet again) that our canine nomad Rex has found a home. According to a friend who volunteers at the Best Friends Sanctuary in West L.A. Shortly after his failed Thanksgiving adoption, a gay married couple stepped up and took him home with them. We have a our fingers (and paws) crossed, hoping that this one sticks, and that this doggie soap opera (As The Bone Turns?) has drawn to a final, happy close.

REX


Rex – fingers crossed!

As Rex begins his new adventure, another of our doggie bffs is fast approaching the end of his. The little guy has lived a long, happy, pampered life but lately his organs have begun to fail. Like all of us, he’s facing a relentless, undefeated foe – Father Time. It’s probably a shortcoming of my character but, ever since I was a boy, animals, and family pets in particular, have always touched me in a way my human counterparts don’t. Thinking about our friend’s aging pup, I happened to recall an article by writer Jim Krusoe that I read in the L.A. Times Book Section in December 1993 in which he detailed his lifelong infatuation with dogs. It moved me then and it moves me now, and so I thought I’d share a bit of it:  “And yes, like Rilke, I love dogs because they do trust us to figure out their problems and their pain, whereas I am incapable of even scratching the surface of my own. My favorite memory of my current dog (a setter–English, not Irish, just to show that like my parents, I too am capable of surprise in my advancing years) is of one day when he was six-months old and disappeared while out on a walk in the hills around our house. I found him thirty minutes later, apparently having chased a rabbit into a cactus patch, covered from the top of his head to his tail with broad, flat spines. Embroidered as he was with inch-long spikes, he simply refused to move and waited for me to come and find him, which I finally had. To remove the spines with a bandanna wrapped around my hand took another half an hour, and when I was finished he just got up, wagged once, and went looking for another bunny. I have the same dog now. I had chosen an English setter for the breed’s elegance and grace, but this one grew to a goofy giant of an animal with enough lip and jowl to sew into a beach blanket. Still, he has that look, and stares at me now, patiently waiting for me to open a door to let him out so he can run out into the back yard to bark at imaginary thugs and robbers and thus feel as if he’s accomplished something for the day. Which after all, may be the final reason I am so fond of dogs. Unlike us, they can act and not know what it is to measure themselves against every other dog who has ever barked into the vacant air or to doubt the importance of the act itself. For them, at the end, they can simply say, “I was a dog. I did my best. Now it is finished.” (entire article)

 T & C beach


 Tanner & Charlie on Colony Beach, 2009

Rebell HeadofMeadow n.TruroRebell @ Cape Cod circa 1987

 Dudley

with Dudley (aka – The Man-Killing Pug) circa, 1998

 animals - Roxanne, Blanche

Eugenie withRoxanne (the Dalmation from Hell) and Blanche cica 1995

CIAO, 2105 – A LOOK BACK

“Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.” – There’s wisdom in these words by Hall of Fame pitcher Satchel Paige, but, as it draws to a close, 2015 still deserves a recap. We launched the year with a fun day at LACMA,  where a pit bull loving cashier gave us free entry to the awesome Samurai exhibit.  Later that month, we were fortunate to see our niece, the uber talented Margaret Spirito, perform her ‘Sound Of  Dirty Jersey’ show at Rockwell, LA. Even better, we had a surprise visit from our Garden State friends TJ Coan and Jane DeNoble  who joined us for the show.

Margaret Spirito doing ‘Dirty Jersey’

The month came to a fabulous close, when we met Pepperdine University Professor. Ginger Rosenkrans and her Marketing 475 students to kick off their spring semester ad campaign featuring Lou and GIMME SHELTER, as the client. Not long afterward, we learned that Lou’s alma mater, Iona College, had featured Gimme Shelter in their Magazine’s book section. Thanks to a strong recommendation from our producer friend, Doug Curtis, Lou landed a gig writing a script treatment for the true story of a lady pilot from the 1930s who defied her powerful banker father to elope with a young flight instructor. In February, the Malibu Times ran a nice piece on Lou, and fellow Malibu resident, radio hostess and friend Megan Blake, who were nominated for writing awards by the Dog Writers Association of America. Tanner and Megan’s dogs, Smiley and Angel, made the paper, too. Sadly, February wasn’t all good news. On Valentine’s Day, Lou’s birthday, Tanner injured his eye while playing with his pals Porter and Lola. The badly scratched cornea that would require five vet visits and take more than two months to heal. At the time we didn’t know how serious it was, or we might’ve skipped our getaway to San Luis Obispo. Glad we didn’t. March brought a very nice mention of Gimme Shelter on the Malibu Times Magazine book page. It was heartening to think that, after more than two years, our little book is still finding a warm, receptive audience. Like February, March was a bittersweet time. We were shocked to learn that our beloved friend, Tanner’s trainer Tony Rollins, had passed away from diabetes related complications and that one of Tanner’s favorite little buddies, Doug and Jean’s Ceba, had succumbed to old age. The feisty shih tzu was a regal, class act. Almost as shocking, but not nearly as sad, was the word that our bffs, Joe and Linda Simone, had quit NYC to for San Antonio, TX, to be closer to their son, Justin, and his bride, Nicole. 

Eugenie, Linda, Joe & Lou – 2000, NYC

April saw the culmination of the Pepperdine University marketing pitches. All three teams offered us amazing ideas for all sorts of social media applications, but Muse Media won the competition. For us, the highlights were their public service announcement featuring Tanner and voiced by our good friend Danny Ducovny, and a zany Bob Dylan inspired book trailer starring Tanner (of course) and Lou. The Pepperdine influence carried over into May, when we launched the redesigned Gimme Shelter and Lou’s new websiteJune was a very big month on the writing and sculpture front. First, GIMME SHELTER snagged a coveted (and very hard to land for an indie book) Publishers Weekly review  to go along with a fun Instagram mention by indieBrag, the folks that honor the best in indie books. And he wasn’t finished. When a major producer raved about the movie treatment Lou had written, the client hired him to pen the film script tentatively titled Wings Of Love. Not to be outdone, Eugenie and her sculpture were featured in the Sustainability issue of Unity Art Magazine, her first (but certainly not her last) national publication. 

part of the winning Pepperdine University campaign

Martial arts got the spotlight in July, when Lou was hired to be a technical advisor for a video shoot on the Japanese art of kendo. He had a ball working with director Ben Kufrin and kendo Sensei Carry Mizobe. In August, we were rocked by the passing of our cherished friend and client Roberta Deutsch. A vivacious and talented dancer who appeared in dozens of TV shows and as one of the Jet girls in the movie version of Westside Story, Eugenie considered Roberta an older sister.  In September, Lou got the news that one of his  former  karate teachers, Harlan Cary Poe, had passed away in New York City. The gloom lifted a bit in October and November when Lou and his cowriter, Max McGill, were awarded Fifth Place in the Writers Digest National Writing Competition for their screenplay Out-Rageous, the true tale of Perry Watkins, a feisty drag queen and the only soldier to successfully challenge the U.S. Military’s ban on gays. Later in the Fall, Lou had a sweet surprise when Sensei Mel Pralgo recognized his 35 years of martial arts training by promoting him to Godan or 5th degree black belt. Not long afterward, Eugenie was part of a terrific group show at Canvas Malibu, where her sculptures are currently on display. 

Eugenie & Danny Ducovny @ Canvas Malibu show

December brought the year to a sweet, symmetrical finish. We opened the month as we started 2015 by attending Margaret Spirito’s revised and totally fantastic ‘Dirty Jersey’ show. The kid blew the roof off, garnering mad applause and rave reviews. Then, after much patient back and forth, the East River Academy at New York’s Riker’s Island prison purchased copies of Gimme Shelter to use in their dog training program. Coupled with the sales made to Los Angeles County’s Probation Department, the book would now be helping at risk youth on both coasts. 

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We don’t want to spill the beans or jinx ourselves but 2016 promises to be every bit as terrific as 2015. If it all pans out, we hope to have big news about GIMME SHELTER. So, thanks for following us, and stay tuned.

REX FINDS A HOME…ALMOST

UPDATE: We posted this on December 10, 2015. Since then we’ve learned that Rex was returned to Best Friends when the couple decided they weren’t a good fit for him. It’s a sad turn of events but, in keeping with our mantra, we will keep writing about him until he finds the permanent, loving home he deserves.

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In traditional karate,we end each class with a series of mantras meant to help focus our commitment to the art. The last one reads, “Never give up.” Well that applies to Life and dog rescue, too. More than one year ago, Santa Maria California animal shelter volunteer Connie Kruse contacted me asking for help in placing Rex, gorgeous people that had been house there for 18 months.  we passed his info around and cross our fingers. Several people applied to take him, but. for various reasons, the adoptions all fell through. This past May Connie and her team brought Rex to the Best Friends/NKLA mega-adoption in Los Angeles where he was transferred to the Best Friends shelter in West LA. In the hope that he might fare better there. Sometime around Thanksgiving, after 762 days in two shelters, a loving couple gave him a forever home. Another dog lover and friend of Gimme Shelter  Erika Brunson, stepped up to pay the adoption fee. 

Rex – Merry Christmas!

It’s a great ending to a long, difficult story, but Rex is just one of thousands of dogs in need of loving homes. If you’d like to do something to help the others, consider donating money, dog supplies, or your time to a shelter or rescue group working to save dogs like Rex and our Tanner. As many of you know, since we published Gimme Shelter, we’ve donated a good portion of the profits to rescue groups like Healthcare for Homeless Animals (formerly Malibu pet companions), Karma RescueBest Friends Animal Sanctuary ( currently running a $2-$1 matching drive),  Canine Adoption Rescue League, and Linda Blair’s (yes, The Exorcist’s Linda Blair) Worldheart Foundation. Who knows, you might have a hand in saving the next Rex. Thanks to Connie, Erica, Best Friends, and the Santa Maria Shelter for never giving up. 

‘WAX ON, WAX OFF’…RIKER’S ISLAND…HERO, THE DOG

Sensei Mel Pralgo and dad

As some of you know, riding in the car used to be rough (ruff?) on me. Now that I’ve conquered my auto-neurotic phobia, I get to go to interesting events, like the other night when I went with mom to the Traditional Karate Institute (Thousand Oaks, CA) to see dad get his Godan or 5th degree black belt in Okinawan GoJu karate, the “Wax on, wax off” fighting art featured in the original Karate Kid movies. Dad’s been practicing karate for almost 40 years now, ever since his college days when he needed an activity to replace basketball. Here’s how he explains it in the revised GIMME SHELTERCollege hoops proved unlikely (a triple threat: I was a short, white, and a poor ball handler), and so I quit organized ball to focus on my studies. I was playing h-o-r-s-e in the gym one afternoon when a fellow student invited me to join the Karate Club. Given my quick temper and pugnacious attitude, you would think that I’d jumped at the chance.With Bruce Lee’s Fists of Fury some two years off, the U.S. martial arts boom was still cresting. While cosmopolitan centers like New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco already had judo, jujitsu, karate, and tai chi, in blue-collar burgs like Elizabeth, New Jersey, the Asian fighting arts were practically unheard of…Having finished with round ball, though, my volcanic energy still needed a new outlet. That first evening at Karate Club, I knelt in front of Sensei Gotay, a sixth-degree black belt and decorated New York City police officer with a background in boxing and judo. He paired me with a senior student who patiently showed me how to properly knot my pristine white belt. Mission accomplished, he had me squat down into a “horse stance.” Then he demonstrated the basic blocks and punches. By the end of class, my legs were jelly, but I was hooked, enthralled with the focus and discipline that the art demanded.” 

Dad (3rd from right, pimp mustache) with Sensei Al Gotay and the Iona College Karate Club 1970

Speaking of that awesome book about the bond between man and dog, we’re pleased to announce that East River Academythe school at NYC’s Riker’s Island, has purchased copies of Gimme Shelter for students in their dog training program. Last year, L.A. County bought copies for their juvenile camp school libraries so the book is now reaching troubled kids on both coasts. Thanks to ERA’s principal. Tonya Threadgill, for putting us in the mix, and to Mary Runyan for helping us navigate the NYC school vendor process. 

with dad at the dojo

We always look forward to Dog Whisperer Cesar Millan’s newsletters which contain helpful advice on dog behavioral issues. In the November 15 issue, he talks about dog aggression and how the desire to fight or kill is something that man instills in his canine companions. However, when it comes to red zone dogs, they are made, not born — and they are made by humans. We’ve been doing it for thousands of years, at least as far back as Roman war dogs if not earlier. These dogs were formidable because they were bred to be that way, and this is how and why mastiffs were originally created. They came into battle with their humans and were unleashed to be killing machines. As I said, though, even if dogs are bred to have the physical capabilities for waging war, they do not naturally have the instinctual tendency. That must be created in them and, unfortunately, humans are still doing this to dogs that will never see a battlefield.”

Hanging with mom, dad and uncle Danny Ducovny at Canvas, Malibu art party 11-21-15

 Another fabulous source for upbeat stories on man’s best friend is The Week magazine. A few months back, the chronicled how a stray dog in Dallas saved a mother dog and her abandoned  litter of 10 puppies. When a rescue volunteer showed up, the pooch, now named Hero, led her into the woods to mom and her babies. 

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If you think we dogs (and our kitty cousins)  don’t have clout, think again. According the American Pet Products Association, Americans will spend $60 billion – yes, you read that correctly – on their pets this year, with $30+billion going to gourmet pet food. 

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Finally, here’s a craigslist post that shows what happens when you force a man to choose between his dog and a woman.

NATIONAL PIT BULL AWARENESS DAY – Some Famous ‘Pitties’

Because today is National Pit Bull Awareness Day, I thought I’d give a shout out to my breed and some of the more notable ‘bullies’ who’ve made headlines thorohg the years. As many of you know (and as we pointed out in our our last post), ‘pitties’ were and still are known for their agreeable and loyal temperaments. It’s what lead to us being labeled ‘nanny dogs’, because we are so gentle with and protective of the human young in our packs. Helen Keller had this to say about her beloved Sir Thomas: “Whenever it is possible, my dog accompanies me on a walk or a ride or sail. I have had many dog friends – huge mastiffs, soft-eyed spaniels, wood-wise setters and honest, homely bull terriers. At present, the lord of my affection if one of these bull terriers. he has a long pedigree, a crooked tail and the drollest ‘phiz’ in dogdom. My dog friends seem to understand my limitations and always keep close beside me when I am alone. I love their affectionate ways and the wag of their tails.”

Helen Keller and Sir Thomas

 Buster Brown, a popular cartoon character and the mascot of  the eponymous shoe company, had a pit bull named Tige. During WWI, a pit bull named Sergeant Stubby distinguished himself in combat and became America’s mot honored and beloved war dog. (read our post on Sgt. StubbyAnd, or course, their was Petey, the black-eyed canine star of the Our Gang Comedies

Petey

Sgt. Stubby

On a more contemporary note, a certain, strikingly handsome pit bull plays a pivotal role in GIMME SHELTER, the story of an angry man who finds salvation when he rescues an abused, homeless pit bull. So what’s the takeaway here? Whether he’s a pit bull or some other fabulous dog, be sure to spoil your pooch tomorrow, and every day. Our dog lives are short, and all we want from our human partners is affection, exercise, and lots and lots of treats and toys! A small price to pay for all the love we send your way.

with Tanner @ Calamigos Ranch

A HORSE NAMED ‘BRUCE’…MELLOW PIT BULLS…MOVING CLOSER TO ‘NO KILL’

While I usually write about dogs and, then, chiefly pit bulls, the L.A. Times recently ran  great piece about a champion calf roper who needed a new partner and took a chance on a rodeo washout named Bruce. It’s the kind of  feel good, ‘underdog’ (in this case, under horse?) tale that makes you want to go out and hug a steed, and maybe a cowboy. 

Bryce Runyan and ‘Bruce’

I don’t want to crow – a whole flock of the clever birds hangs around outside our condo hoping we’ll toss them some stale bread – but Cesar Millan recently posted a list of the ‘Best Dog Breeds for Kids’. Care to guess which was number nine, ahead of poodles? Here’s what he had to say about my kind: “The media pays a lot of attention to pit bull attacks – way more than other breeds – but these pups are actually great with kids as long as you do a good job of training and socializing them early. Luckily, pits are smart and highly trainable – plus they really like pleasing people. Couple that with the fact that they’re energetic, playful, and solid enough to put up with a lot of roughhousing but don’t need a whole lot of exercise and you have a wonderful dog for children. Plus, who’s going to mess with a kid who has a pit?” Since I’m on a role, a recent Instagram post from @pitbullstagram claims that, according to the American Temperament Test Society, in tests involving 400 or more dogs, pit bulls rank second in temperament (the test covers aggression, panic, avoidance, and other behavioral traits), behind only Labrador retrievers and ahead of their golden cousins. 

What, me worry? Only if we run out of margaritas!

If you follow this blog, you’ll know that we’re big fans of Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, a super cool rescue group that sponsors the twice-annual ‘No Kill LA’ mega adoptions. Their recent newsletter contained the wonderful news that that deaths from euthanasia at L.A. County Animal Services shelters continue to plummet. The story notes that: For the fiscal year of 2014-2015, the six LAAS shelters recorded historically low killings and euthanization: 11,737. That number is a decline of 8 percent from the previous year’s number of 12,683. The overall save rate for LAAS has increased to 78.5 percent, or 88.4 percent for dogs and 68.7 percent for cats. The threshold save rate for a community to be considered “no-kill” is 90 percent. “These numbers reflect the hard work of a lot of groups and individuals coming together to save shelter pets in Los Angeles,” said Francis Battista, co-founder of Best Friends Animal Society and one of the architect of NKLA. The next mega-adoption is right around the corner, November 7-8 at the LaBrea Tar Pits, so stop by, take home a BFF, and help make the City of Angles a ‘no kill’ zone.