How Dogs – and Humans – Change Me

rescue animalIt’s been a busy few months for the Magical Dogs team travelling around meeting dogs and local animal rescues. I’ve heard stories of dogs abandoned and abused and met dogs who, in a rational world, shouldn’t be here. But they are.

Despite where they came from or what they’ve been through, they are ready, willing and able to move on…to let go…and to make the rest of their life the best of their life.  I am constantly astounded by the amount of compassion and forgiveness these dogs have in their heart.

And, in witnessing it, I am changed. And hopeful.

Every day, I witness people who take dogs into their homes and hearts to foster or adopt. Many have physical, emotional and mental injuries or illnesses that need attention and time.  Many don’t know what it is to be loved or to get regular meals.  Despite all the other responsibilities they have in their life,  I am constantly astounded by the compassion and love humans have in their heart to change a dog’s world and reality.

And, in witnessing it, I am changed. And hopeful.

Despite all that is going on in our world right now, the connection between humans and dogs is a beautiful, simple example of how our world could be.  By focusing and holding onto that same compassion, love and forgiveness I witness every day between humans and their dogs, we truly can change our world.

I am hopeful.

 

 

Magical Dogs Paying it Forward

When I set out to publish Magical Dogs, I made the conscious and deliberate decision to donate a portion of every book purchased directly from me (in person or from the Magical Dogs website) to animals in need. It was a paw it forwardway for Brooke, Ava and I to pay forward your support of us and the book.

I’m beyond thrilled to tell you, the Magical Dogs community, that thanks to your generosity and support of the book in the six weeks since it was released, we have definitely paid it forward,

During my tour in Florida, I was able to make donations to Great Dawg Rescue, Animal Welfare League of Charlotte CountyMarrvelous Pet Rescues and Pet Rescue by Judy.

And….drum roll, please… from the three local events here in my hometown, I was able to donate enough to a local family so that IMG_20160327_0825191Roman, their diabetes alert dog, will be joining them at the end of June. This dog will change the life of their son with type 1 diabetes. This dog will change the life of his parents who now live in constant fear and concern. How awesome is that?!?! We are changing lives – lives of humans and, especially, lives of dogs everywhere.

Great job, Magical Dogs community! Together we are evidence that *Magic* still exists.  Together we are living proof that the *Magic*  of love, hope and especially the magic that dogs bring into our lives and the world – is alive, well and very real.

With Sincere and Heartfelt Gratitude ~ Patti, Ava (& Brooke)

 

 

No Place Like Home

Welcome to Florida USA

Welcome to Florida USA

I left New Jersey on March 6th with a trunk full of books and a heart full of hope and excitement.  I was heading to Florida on my first-ever book and speaking tour. I was going to visit family and friends, meet some new friends and sell a ton of books so I could pay off some outstanding debt.

I arrived home yesterday with a heart full of mixed emotions. I was blessed to spend precious time with family and friends. And I got to meet some incredible people doing incredible things for dogs at incredible rescue organizations:  Great Dawg RescuePet Rescue by Judy,  Animal Welfare League of Charlotte County and Marrvelous Pet Rescues.

But there’s a piece of me that is so sad. So very, very, very sad.  It had nothing to do with the fact that almost all of the books I brought down with me were still in my trunk or the outstanding debt which is still outstanding.

It was the eyes. I can still see the eyes of every dog in Florida waiting to be adopted.  All those dogs – all those eyes – looking up at me from their kennel.  Big, beautiful eyes so filled with hope that maybe, just maybe, I was their ticket out of there and into a fur-ever home.  Dog at Home

I got to witness a few dogs find a new home and family. And several more had applications submitted. But there were so many still waiting. And for that I am sad. I am so very, very, very sad.

If I had the money and the space…but I don’t.  So I want to thank everyone who volunteers at a rescue. And I want to thank everyone who fosters – or has adopted or rescued – a dog so they can spend tonight in a home with a full belly knowing what it is to be cared for and loved.  You are all truly angels on earth.

when i win the lottery

Magical Moments In Time

 

Dad with bookIt was a beautiful, sunny morning.  Ava was snoozing by the front door when suddenly she hopped up and began barking.  Walking over to the door, I saw an 18-wheeler coming up the street.

Interesting, I thought…and odd. 18-wheelers don’t typically come up our street. And then it stopped. In front of my house.

The driver hopped out of the cab and walked to my front door.  I assumed he was lost and needed directions.  He wasn’t lost.  He was delivering Magical Dog and, like a kid on Christmas morning,  I cracked open the box, grabbed the top copy and Ava and I walked down the street to my father’s house.

For six months, my father had grown increasingly impatient, telling me repeatedly, “Just stop writing and publish it already.”

I tried to explain that it wasn’t done. I tried explaining the writing and editing (and re-editing) process to him.  I told him there was still a book cover to be designed and a company who needed to do the interior layout before it went to the printer.  But my father just wanted me to finish the darn book!  He wanted it done…he wanted to see it…and hold it.

And now, as I handed him the book, he smiled and said, “Oh, you got it?”

“Yep!”, I said, “finally”.  We both smiled.

The next morning the phone rang.  I picked it up and my father said, “Pat, I just wanted to tell you I started reading your book.  It’s good.  It’s really, really good.”

And I cried.

My father has long been my hero.  He is a man of few words but deep emotions.  He is one of the most loving, caring and honest beings on this earth ~ and what he thinks about things has always been important to me. And here he was telling me my book was really good.

Today was my official book launch at our local County library.  Looking out into the audience as I read from the book, I saw my father’s face. Tomorrow is his 93rd birthday.We had cake and celebrated – the book and my dad.

I am incredibly, amazingly, overwhelmingly blessed and grateful for these precious, magical moments thanks to a group of some very Magical Dogs.

 

Birthday Wishes for Ava

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Ava on the day we brought her home.

Tuesday is Ava’s 2nd birthday.

On March 1, 2014, Ava came into the world, weighing a mere 4 ounces.

On the day she was born, the thought of another dog was the farthest thing from my mind.  My dog, Brooke, was alive and well – or so I thought.

As you’ll read in the page of Magical Dogs, a few shorts days after Ava entered the world, Brooke unexpectedly left it. I was distraught, shattered, inconsolable ~ all the things pet parents go through after a beloved animal companion passes over the Rainbow Bridge.  I decided I wasn’t going to get another dog ~ at least not for a very, very, very long time.

However, within two months, as if by magic, Ava was in our lives.  A little ball of fluff and love and sharp little puppy teeth.  She had the l-o-n-g-e-s-t legs I’d ever seen on a puppy. The breeder kept telling me “She’ll grow into them” – and I kept thinking for her to grow into them she’d end up being six feet tall!

Ava settled into my heart, home and life with ease but, before long, began exhibiting some behavior that concerned me.  When I would take the trash out she would immediately try to dig under the fence to get to me, howling and crying incessantly. Leaving her alone for any period – even just a few minutes – would result in coming home to a frantic, frazzled puppy covered in drool.

Everyone had their opinion on what to do from “just leave her, she’ll figure it out” to “she’s controlling you.”  Consultations with Animal Behaviorists, trainers, etc. all resulted in the same diagnosis: severe separation anxiety. Separation anxiety is very real and extremely heartbreaking. To this day, Ava cannot be left alone.

Not yet.

I trust this will not be her story or legacy. I know in my heart-of-hearts that we will get through this.  I have begun to reach out with earnest to experts in the field to get her through and beyond this.  I trust in one of the sequels to Magical Dogs you’ll read about Ava’s journey to a calm, relaxed state-of-mind and life ~ and all her joyful experiences AFTER separation anxiety.

Ava Shay and Sean

Ava with her best friend, my son’s dog, Shay. They were both puppies here and had just recently joined our family. Pictures shows her long, beautiful legs.

It is the hope of every parent (human, canine or other) that our children (human, canine, or other) grow up with a sense of wonder, joy, confidence and calm.  That is my hope for my little girl, Ava, on her second birthday.

Ava Bean, thank you for two years of love, cuddles, puppy kisses. laughter and your trademark froggy kick. Just as you grew into those long, beautiful legs, may you now grow into a long, beautiful and peaceful life.

Love you, Ava ~ always and forever!

xo! mommy

Bringing Roman Home

Roman 2One of the stories in Magical Dogs is about a mom, her eight-year old son and a dog named Roman.

James has type 1 diabetes.  Until I met them I had no idea what that meant since I was familiar with type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 is usually discovered in adulthood.  The person may or may not have symptoms before their diagnosis and can maintain a healthy blood sugar level through diet, insulin or medicine.  It can also be prevented or delayed through a healthy lifestyle. This is the type of diabetes most of us know.

James has  type 1 diabetes which is a whole different animal. Once known as juvenile-onset diabetes because symptoms usually start in childhood or young adulthood, it is often discovered when the individual becomes suddenly and seriously ill and seeks medical help. The sudden symptoms are caused by their blood sugar levels. Low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) are common.  Type 1 diabetes cannot be prevented.

I met James’s mom at the coffee shop where she works.  There was a cup on the counter which simply said, “Donations for James’ Diabetes Alert Dog”.  We talked that day, and in the coming months, we talked more ~ and I would learn more about type 1 diabetes, diabetes alert dogs and this familydiabetes‘s journey.

Their journey, as is the journey of every person and family dealing with type 1, isn’t easy (as the post on the right points out).

Shari said recently, “There is always a chance that James could not wake up. This is one of the most stressful, scary and hardest things i have to deal with as a type 1 mom….putting my son to bed. This is why Roman, our diabetes alert dog is so important to us and our family. He will be another tool in helping James and us manage his disease.”

Roman, a black Lab, has been trained to alert James or his parents if James experiences a sudden drop.  Roman will bring another level of safety and security to this family – and to James. Roman, as Shari wrote above, could help save her son’s life..

As a mother and grandmother,  I can’t imagine the anguish and fear that must fill Shari’s heart and mind every night when she tucks James in.  I know she is a woman with a strong faith which, I believe helps. But I want her, her family – and especially James – to have another level of comfort and help. I want to help them bring Roman home.

A diabetes alert dog takes a long time to train and, as a result, they are expensive. As any dog parent knows, once here there will be ongoing expenses (food, vaccinations, vet bills, training, etc). This family has been fundraising for a long time and they are finally coming down the home stretch with the final funds they need to bring Roman home.

I am honored to share their story (as well as the story of the woman training Roman) in Magical Dogs.  I am also donating a portion of book sales from my first three local events to this family. My hope is to get them even closer (and maybe across) the finish line   And for anyone unable to attend any of these events but would still like to help, please visit their GoFundMe page: James and Roman’s Go Fund Me page.

Together, we CAN bring Roman home.

 

A Very Magical Birthday

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Brooke on the day we brought her home

Dear Brooke,

Today I celebrate the “birth” of Magical Dogs: the book, the website and the blog. This was done intentionally as a way to honor and remember you on this day~ your birthday.

You always loved celebrating your birthday. Actually you loved celebrating everybody’s birthday and every holiday.  You loved the joy and the laughter and the family being together. And you loved unwrapping your presents. You loved it all.

And I loved you.

I’m not sure I ever told you but back in the 1980’s I wrote “My Life List” (what many today call a ‘bucket list’).  #8 on that List was to “own a dog”.

Checking that off my list wouldn’t happen for many, many years because, I believe, God was waiting for the perfect dog (for me) to come into the world. That happened on February 13, 2002 – the day you were born.

You were the tiniest of the litter (only 6 ounces) and you developed pneumonia in the first weeks of your life.  I remember my first conversation with the woman who had you.  I knew in my heart-of-hearts that you were my girl but she wanted to keep you.  I’m glad she changed her mind because I can’t imagine my life without you.

You were only a little over 6 lbs. on the day you walked into my life – and heart – and slept in my lap the entire drive home.  When we got home you ran around the yard, and the house, and then crawled back into my lap and fell asleep- and I fell hopelessly in love.

I’m not sure I realized the enormity of that love (or how much you impacted me – and my life) until our final week together. In the days, weeks and months after you passed over the Rainbow Bridge, I wrote in my journal to deal with my broken heart. People sent me notes, cards and letters and talked about dogs they had loved and how their dog had changed their life.  As I read their notes and wrote, my heart began to heal and the seed was planted for Magical Dogs.

Just as you slept at my feet during the years I spent writing my first book, you were with me as I wrote Magical Dogs.  I felt you with me every day.  It was my dream and hope to finish the book by your birthday as a way to celebrate and honor you.  And here it is – your birthday – and in your honor and memory I am over-the-moon excited to:

  • Officially launch Magical Dogs:Love and Lessons from Our Canine Companions into the world.  I can’t wait to share your story – our story – and the story of other *magical* dogs with dog lovers everywhere.
  • Launch the Magical Dogs website and this Magical Moments blog – and how perfect that the first post is about you!
  • Announce to the world that a portion of all books purchased through this website (or from me at an event) will be donated to animals in need. My gift to you on your birthday – and going forward – is that together you, Ava and I will be able to bless and help other dogs.
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Happy Birthday, my sweet Brooke.  You have my heart – and all my love – forever.

Happy, Happy, Happy Birthday, Brooke! Thank you for choosing me. Thank you for loving me and changing me and my life.  Thank you for it all.  I love you ~ forever and always.

xo! Mom