Gracie was a rescue puppy, so tiny when she was adopted that she had to be fed from a bottle for the first weeks.  The family was told that she was a chihuahua mix, and would be a very small dog, exactly what they were looking for.  Gracie thrived in her new, loving environment, and reached about 50 pounds at 11 months old.  So much for the chihuahua heritage!  Her size was a surprise, but her personality was everything they’d hoped for and more.

Like little kids, puppies explore their world by chewing.  Unfortunately, Gracie ate a hand-towel, and became very ill.  Her family pulled all their savings and credit card cash, nearly $4000, to pay for surgery to save the dog they all adored.  Gracie came through the surgery and seemed to be doing pretty well, but then her abdomen began to fill with fluid.  Luckily the vet that treated Gracie participates in a monthly volunteer cat spay and neuter clinic.  Dr. C knew how much the family loved Gracie, and wanted an opportunity to give her another chance. Dr. C also knew the other vet, Dr. McR, would provide another pair of experienced hands to try and save the puppy.

Gracie headGracie body


I took one look at this sweet face and fell in love, as did all the other volunteers.  Gracie was a very, very sick little girl, but we all wanted so much for her to pull through.  She was the last patient of the day, and everyone was sending up silent prayers as the two wonderful vets worked on her.  Gracie’s family was incredibly grateful for all the extra effort, but not surprised that their puppy had touched all our hearts.  The family’s two little girls didn’t really understand, but did their best to help their best friend recuperate when she came home.

kids loving Gracie


Unfortunately, Gracie began to fail once again.  My best friend was haunted by Gracie’s struggles, and made arrangements for one last try to save her.  She made arrangements with an amazing veterinarian surgeon to try to save Gracie.  The family agreed, and the cost was put on my friend’s personal charge account.  In spite of all the prayers and efforts, Gracie’s heart stopped on the operating table and they couldn’t bring her back.

This puppy touched so many lives, and her story still does.  We are now asking everyone to please donate anything you can towards my friend’s account at the vet office, so that her kindness doesn’t have to absorb all the cost of Gracie’s surgery.  We were unable to set up a bank account or PayPal account for the Gracie fund donations, since it’s a single animal rather than a certified charity.  You can send PayPal funds from your account to the PayPal account, and indicate it’s for the Gracie fund.  The funds will then go to the vet hospital that performed the surgery, and I will be happy to provide documentation of all the funds received and forwarded to the vet hospital.  I’ve never done anything like this before, but would love to see many people share in this effort, rather than my friend having to handle it all herself.

Thank you so very much.  This is a wonderful family, and their memories of Gracie will be even more special if they can see a multitude of people taking part in this effort for Gracie’s memory.

Gracie, full face


Dear Mom, From Your Puppy

This is the letter my daughter, Sheryl Wilson, received recently from her puppy, Yogi.  He’s a 3- month-old australian shepherd, with quite a personality.  Sheryl’s other dog, mentioned in the letter, is Shante, a 7-year-old American Eskimo.  Just had to share:

Hey mom;

I wanted to write you a note to let you know I’m a little disapointed in your behavior this morning. You’re looking a little rough and acting like you did all the work yesterday. So I think you need a little reminding:
I was the one who went on their first walk yesterday. Let me tell you, it’s no easy feat to run circles around you and Shante and make sure that you two get tangled up and not me, all the while holding her leash in my mouth so I can lead her around.

Then I go home, expecting a little down time, but no, we were under attack. An assault came in the form of a huge stick. I went into puppy ninja mode and had to take it down. I growled, I bit, and I tore apart those bristles. No broom is gonna come into my house and threaten my family.

After this home invasion, I tried to lay down again, but what is that I hear? I can’t believe it, yep that damn vacuum has the nerve to show its face again. After last times beat down I was sure I’d seen the last of it. However, this time it came out with a vengeance. I attacked it over and over, but it wasn’t going down without a fight. I then saw the open closet and knew my best bet was to herd it in there. It was dicey for awhile, but I finally got the job done. I don’t think we’re going to see that damn thing for awhile.  Whew puppy saved the day again.

I guess you didn’t realize I was saving all of our lives because you brought out the mop and decided to clean. I knew you weren’t strong enough to push, so being the gallant puppy I am, I had to jump on top and push the mop for you. Next time, please ask me before you start a project you can’t do yourself!

Finally, after a long day it was time for bed. Don’t get me wrong, I love sleeping in your bed, but if you could keep your legs on your side I would really appreciate it.  I’d worked hard and needed my sleep.  Unfortunately, I’m not sure if it was my life- threatening altercations with the broom or the vacuum that gave me nightmares.  I just found myself crying and kicking out in my sleep.  Luckily, you heard the cries of your warrior and pulled me up next to you.  I felt myself calm down, go limp in slumber, and start to drift off….when wait!  What was that cool air ruffling my hair coming from? Oh, you have a fan, pointed directly at you so you can be cool and comfy.  I guess no consideration is given for your true life hero that saves you on a daily basis!  Well, in your slumber you forgot about my stealth ninja moves. It took a little maneuvering and, yes, a few swift kicks to the side of your face, but I was victorious in shoving you off the pillow and enjoying the benefits of my labor.

I had a wonderful night of sleep and woke up ready to defend your honor. But no! All you said was “it’s 5 am, go away!” The gall…..well, you enjoy your pitiful sleep and you better hope that ninja puppy takes pity on you and will save you again. Try to remember to honor and pamper those that save you every day.


your puppy (Yogi)


Room For a New Buddy? Or Two?

Serving as a kitten-mom can be an incredible joy, even though it’s hard work and completely takes over the household. I don’t do it anymore myself, but still serve as an unofficial “godmother” every year to orphan kittens lucky enough to be raised by caring people. Many of the kittens steal the hearts of their rescue families, and never have to leave. Others, like these two very special little guys, need to find an adoptive home as special as the one where they are being raised.

Mitzy and Fritz were found when they were just days old as tiny, helpless little mites.
Mitzy 1 Fritz 1

Kittens, like babies are incredibly entertaining. Watching them grow and explore their worlds is great fun, but makes it nearly impossible to not fall in love. Both of these babies has been cuddled and loved since day one, and have grown into loving, cuddly, independent individuals.

Mitzy’s favorite place to sleep is on her person’s lap or chest when they’re in bed trying to sleep.

Mitzy 2Mitzy 3

Fritz is a total love bug, enjoying nothing better than being cuddled, petted, and riding around on a pair of shoulders. He isn’t quite as adventuresome as his sister, but would love to be somebody’s snuggle baby.

Fritz 2 Fritz 3

Both kittens are in excellent health, litter trained, good eaters, gentle at play, and great with anyone. They were raised with dachshunds, but were utterly unimpressed when introduced to my Great Dane. They have started their shots, and will be fixed before going to an adoptive home. Do you have a place in your home for a very special little buddy? Or two? They’d love to go together, but should do just fine if they have to be separated. If you can open your home and heart to them, please contact me for further information.

kittens with Brutus

Validation, Powerful Motivation!

It’s been a long time since I’ve taken time to post to this blog, but not because I wasn’t thinking about great topics. Whole articles would compose themselves in my mind, but never made their way to my fingers on the keyboard. The demands of running a company, writing against self-imposed publishing deadlines, family and just plain life seem to intrude every time I want to sit down and write a new post.

Some truths are so self-evident that we take them for granted and don’t think about how much they impact our lives. Praise, for example, is something we all know we should give to our kids to help boost their self-image. Teaching children and our pets through positive reinforcement is supposed to be the best way. Getting the most productivity out of employees is best achieved through praise, rather than negative tactics. These ideas are well known and accepted, but probably not thought about very much when it comes to our own motivation. I know I didn’t realize how powerful it can be until a recent experience.

Front CoverI wrote a book in 2006 called “Bottlekatz, A Complete Care Guide for Orphan Kittens,” then updated it with a new edition in 2013. This book was created for a very narrow niche, those people who rescued kittens that needed to be bottle-fed. I wrote it because, after raising 511 bottle-babies myself, I knew how difficult it was to keep the kittens alive and wanted other people to be able to benefit from my experiences. The purpose was not fame or profit, but to help more kittens survive through educating the people who rescued them. The book has done well, and is now used as a training manual for rescue groups all over the country.

I’ve achieved a level of authority in the world of cat rescue thanks to the book, but never thought of it much as a noteworthy book because of its narrow appeal. In spite of that, I submitted the book to a panel of judges for a local publishing and author group’s annual awards contest. The group, the Northern California Publishers and Authors, known as NCPA, has many extremely talented and experienced authors and publishers, so I was honored to just be part of the event. In fact, I was a little fearful about having the panel of judges read such a limited scope book and compare it to the other submissions.

The awards dinner was wonderful, with lots of opportunities to talk with some pretty exciting people. I was very proud to see my little book exhibited among the entries, and stunned when it won Honorable Mention in the General Non-Fiction category. I was shocked and thrilled to receive a plaque and stickers marked with the magic words “Book Award Winner.” The judges assured me later that my book was not only well written, but was clearly the authoritative work in its field, meeting all their criteria for an award winner in its category.

IMG_1096I was excited and proud, determined to do just as well next year when I will have two new books to submit. Since the awards dinner I’ve thought about my reaction and realized what a powerful thing that award was. It was not the top award, but it was validation of my identity and worth as a writer. I already knew the value of the information in the book, but this was completely different. This award felt like I’d earned my place among other authors, and affirmed the value of my vision as a writer.

I have a newly published book called “From Hindsight to Insight: A Traditional to Metaphysical Memoir, and am releasing another one within the month called “Faces of Rescue.’ I’m also writing a new one that will be called “Laura’s Dash, The Story of One Woman’s Amazing, Ordinary Life,” which should be completed next summer. That one little award has revitalized my creativity and my motivation.

We all need validation of our worth, whether we are children just learning who we are, or if we are jaded adults who need to be reminded of the value we bring to the world. Just as we all need it, we can all give that vital validation to those around us. A smile, a heartfelt thank you, a bit of praise for a job well done, even just a hug can make a huge difference in someone’s life. That small gesture will make you feel better inside, and the validation it provides can be just what someone needs to propel them forward.