It’s a children’s story, centered around an aging boxer named Snort and the two children who love him.
But it’s a tale that applies to any grieving pet owner, serving to remind us, when that sad and difficult time comes, not to dwell on what you have lost but to celebrate the dog you got to have, and reflect on all he taught you.
In reasoned tones, and without relying once on that old fallback, ”The Rainbow Bridge,” it tells the story of a family that loses their dog, works through their grief and honors him in healthy and respectful ways.
The book centers on a boxer named Snort, and the two children, Savy and Sunne, who worry when he gets too sick to chase his ball.
Savy’s parents explain that Snort will need to leave their family because it’s the only way that Snort’s pain will go away.
Savy accepts that, but isn’t so sure how she will cope without her best friend.
In “Snort’s Special Gift,” Savy and her family explore different ways to grieve for and remember a beloved pet — from planting a tree in his memory to crafting tributes, like the one Savy composes in his honor.
In the end, Savy discovers that all the gifts Snort shared with her in life will, like his memory, always be there.
The author of the book, Suzann Yue, lives with her two adopted children and husband in Medina, Minnesota , where she coaches martial arts and is a photographer. She has won eight world karate championship titles, and started a karate school specializing in training children with attention deficit disorders.
The remarkable illustrations were done by Lin Wang, who received a bachelor of fine arts degree from Guangzhou Academy and a Masters degree from Savannah College of Art and Design. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and children.
(For all our news and reviews of dog books, visit our “Good Dog Reads“ page.)
Posted by jwoestendiek September 17th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, beaver pond books, book, books, books on dogs, childrens book, death, dogs, gift, gifts, good dog reads, grief, grieving, lin wang, loss, mourning, pets, review, savy, snort, snorts special gift, sunne, suzann yue
That wolf-like creature that state wildlife officials are trying to capture in Philadelphia’s Pennypack Park may be somebody’s pet.
Kasey Lyons, 21, says it looks a lot like Levi, the timber wolf-Alaskan malamute mix he bought in Florida on Valentine’s Day for his then-fiancee. (That’s him above in his street clothes.)
A month later, while visiting Lyons’ mother, the couple lost the dog in Pennypack Park. Lyons placed ads and put up posters, but to no avail, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
Tuesday night, Lyons saw a photo of the animal (left) and a story about the mystery creature on Philly.com.
He says it looked just like Levi, whose name is the same as Lyons’ middle one.
On Wednesday evening, Lyons searched a section of Pennypack Park where the animal had been spotted repeatedly over several months, bringing along Levi’s old leash, and his other dog, Tiny, a Lab-bulldog mix.
Lyons was living in Florida when he got the hybrid pup. He and then-fiancee Brittany Hopkin were training Levi when, according to Lyons, she let him loose and the hybrid ran off.
The couple have since broken up. Lyons lives in Philadelphia now, and Hopkin has relocated to Georgia.
Still, he wants to find the dog and return him to her. In Pennsylvania, though, one needs a special permit to own a hybrid wolf-dog. While Lyons says he bought the dog legally, for $400, in Florida and has papers and receipts, he doesn’t hold a permit.
Jerry Czech, a wildlife conservation officer with the Pennsylvania Game Commission, said the wolf-dog, once found, would have to be forfeited.
(Photos: Philadelphia Inquirer)
Posted by jwoestendiek June 28th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, capture, dog, dogs, fiancee, gift, hybrid, kasey lyons, levi, lost, malamute, mix, officials, park, pennypack, pets, philadelphia, trap, valentines day, wandering, wildlife, wolf
Revised, reconfigured and ready to get you all the way through 2013, the “Travels with Ace” calendar is back on sale for a limited time.
A heavy-duty, 18-month wall calendar, it’s illustrated with photos from our year-long, 27,000-mile trip across America — from the coast of Maine, where Ace was the first dog in America to see the sunrise one day in October, to the shores of Monterey, where Ace hopped up for a closer look at a bust of John Steinbeck — the author who inspired our journey.
You can buy it and get more information here, or by clicking on that ad to the left.
Fifty percent of profits from the sale of the calendar go to Rolling Dog Farm, a sanctuary for deaf, blind and disabled animals in New Hampshire (and also one of the stops on our trip).
We’ve added photos of one stop that we didn’t include the first time around — the Coon Dog Cemetery in Tuscumbia, Alabama.
The rest of the calendar is packed with images from some of our other stops:
@Salvation Mountain in California, where Leonard Knight has fashioned and painted a mountain in honor of God.
@Niagara Falls, where Ace — ohmigod! — almost disappeared.
@The Lodge, a gentleman’s club in Dallas, where we met one of Michael Vick’s former dogs, and where Ace briefly took the stage.
@Various points south, like Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, where we kept running into kudzu dogs.
@The mountains of North Carolina, where we went in search of the elusive — and sometimes not so elusive — white squirrel.
@Rolling Dog Farm, where we reconnected with some old friends.
@John Steinbeck’s former home in Sag Harbor, N.Y., where we began retracing the route the author took in “Travels with Charley.”
@A marina in Baltimore, where we lived on a sailboat for a week, which Ace mostly liked.
Initial sales of the calendar raised $400 for Rolling Dog Farm.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 5th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, alabama, america, animals, arizona, baltimore, bandera, calendar, calendars, california, coast, coon dog cemetery, dallas texas, dog, dogs, fathers day, following, gentleman's club, gift, gifts, john steinbeck, john woestendiek, lancaster, maine, monterey, new hamsphire, niagara falls, north carolina, ohmidog!, oregon, path, pets, photography, photos, road trip, rolling dog farm, route, salinas, strip clubs, the lodge, trail, travel, travels with ace, travels with charley, trip, tucson, wall calendar, white squirrels, winslow
If you think animal welfare can get vicious — what with all the desperate-for-funds parties involved, all the politics, all the backstabbing — consider, if you will, the calendar industry.
Having recently stepped into the field myself — you may call me either an entrepreneur or impresario; I think I prefer the latter – I’m amazed at all the calendars vying for the public’s attention, and that’s just counting the ones for good animal causes.
Of course, it would be foolish of me to mention any of them by name, as that might cut into sales of my “Travels with Ace: One Dog’s Year on the Road” calendar, 50 percent of the profits from which go to Rolling Dog Farm, a sanctuary for blind, deaf and disabled animals in New Hampshire.
The ”Travels with Ace” calendar — and here is a page where you may learn more about it (and buy it repeatedly) — documents the year Ace and I spent traveling across America, emulating John Steinbeck and his poodle Charley.
As Steinbeck did in his classic work “Travels with Charley” I hope to turn my travels with Ace into a book — though one far different from his, one more whimsical, one that takes itself far less seriously, one that’s more like the dog, which is really what my trip, unlike his, was about. It’s different, too, in this way: While Steinbeck was attempting to take the pulse of mainstream Americans, I, by nature, gravitate to offbeat types.
Ace, too; maybe that’s why we’re a team. It’s also why you’ll find us, as you flip through the months, hanging with hobos in Tucson, climbing brightly painted Salvation Mountain in California, and rubbing elbows (and nothing more) with the staff at a strip club in Dallas.
But that was the fun part, and a diversion from what we’re here to talk about today — the business of wall calendars.
The business world can get pretty cut-throat, which is why I’ve always detoured around it whenever possible. It’s also why we won’t be mentioning any competitors, like BARCS Orioles calendar, and why we will snub as well the Maryland SPCA calendar, not to mention the ASPCA calendar.
We realize you have many calender buying options. We realize, too, that you can usually get them for free, if you’re willing to look at advertisements for insurance companies, funeral homes, hardware stores, banks or real estate agents.
But we have the one thing (in addition to being good for 18, count ‘em, 18 months; in addition to featuring our old dog friends back in Baltimore; in addition to showing you the dogs and people we met in our travels) that no other calendar has:
He, despite his starring role in the calendar, has been of absolutely no help when it comes to the handling, the packing, the shipping, the signing (yes I sign each one) and the never-ending trips and long waits in line at the post office.
I am doing all the heavy lifting, all the monotonous work, and more of it than I expected — and I’m loving it.
Why? I think it has something to do with Christmas, and with the giving (though I am far from giving them away), and, maybe most of all, with keeping me occupied over the holidays.
Living alone, not counting Ace, and having gotten away in recent years from any sort of decorating, baking, caroling, playing Santa in dog photo with Santa fundraisers, or other festive acts, I tend to get a little Scroogy around the holidays.
With the demands of the calendar, though, my apartment — though it is elf-free — is feeling a little like Santa’s workshop.
I bustle about with scissors and markers and tape and lists, attempting to make sure, with all due precision, that orders get filled and delivered — unscathed, we hope — to all those who ordered them. (I think, at one point, I was even humming a happy tune.)
While nobody’s getting rich, except maybe for the company that printed them, the calendar is doing well. Our first printing sold out, and they’re all in the hands of the post office now. Our second shipment should arrive here this week.
The bulk of our orders are coming through PayPal, but if you want to order by mail, send a check for $28 and your address to ohmidog!, 804-D Avalon Road, Winston-Salem, NC, 27104.
If you live in Canada, or Europe, or someplace like that, precisely throw in a little more for shipping.
And to all those who ordered one, to all those who didn’t, and even to all those other dog calendar-selling organizatons, Happy Holidays!
Posted by jwoestendiek December 5th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 2012, 2013, ace, america, animal welfare, animals, business, calendar, christmas, competitition, dogs, gift, good causes, holidays, john steinbeck, ohmidog!, pets, photography, road trip, rolling dog farm, salvation mountain, santa, strip club, travel, travels with ace, travels with ace calendar, travels with charley
If in your house you have a wall
In a kitchen, bedroom or a hall
And if sometimes you can’t recall
What day it is — no, not at all
Here’s a gift that will enthrall
Almost each and every one of y’all
It’s about a dog quite tall
Who crossed a country far from small
But here’s the best part of it all
You can skip the shopping mall
Happy Black Friday. I — in exchange for forcing you to ready my hasty poetry — am about to make your life easier. No need to thank me.
The calendar recaptures some of the more memorable moments from our one year and 27,000 miles of travels across the country, about half of that spent retracing the route John Steinbeck, 50 years ago, took with his poodle in “Travels with Charley.”
The way I figure it, if you buy enough copies, you might be able to avoid the mall altogether, and you’ll be contributing to a good cause.
Half of all profits will go to Rolling Dog Farm in New Hampshire, formerly Rolling Dog Ranch in Montana. The sanctuary for blind, deaf and disabled animals relocated last year, and it was one of the stops on our journey across America.
Inside our calendar, you’ll find 18 unusual slices of American life – from our visit to John Steinbeck’s grave in Salinas, California, to dropping in at a gentlemen’s club in Dallas, where Ace spent time with Mel, a former Michael Vick dog.
From Dog Mountain in Vermont (one artist’s tribute to dog) to Salvation Mountain in California (one artist’s tribute to God). From Maine’s magnificent coast to Niagara’s roaring falls. From standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona to spotting dogs in the kudzu in Mississippi.
The calendar allows you to relive our journey, without spending a penny on gas; to see the places we went, the people we met and the dogs we bumped into.One month also features some of our old dog friends back in Baltimore.
It’s $25, plus $3 for shipping and handling, and each copy is hand signed by me – not Ace, though, as he has declared a moratorium on pawtographs.
It’s an 18-month calendar, which will carry you all the way to June, 2013.
And, or so we hope, it will raise a few bucks for Rolling Dog Farm, which you can learn more about here.
To place your orders, visit this page.
Posted by jwoestendiek November 25th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: 18-month, 2012, ace, america, animals, arizona, baltimore, blind, calendar, california, deaf, disabled, dog mountain, dogs, donate, gift, holiday, john steinbeck, john woestendiek, kudzu dogs, maine, mel, michael vick, niagara falls, ohmidog!, pets, photography, photos, proceeds, profits, riverside park, road trip, rolling dog farm, salvation mountain, sanctuary, travels with ace, vick dog
One of Ace’s biggest fans — though she has never met him — sent us a gift this week, and it arrived just in time for my birthday.
It came in a huge box that, when we found it on our doorstep, got us both curious. I lugged it into the house, assuming it was for me, and Ace sniffed while I searched for scissors. I opened it up and pulled out what was inside, causing foam peanuts to spill everywhere.
Ace, determining the foam peanuts weren’t edible and finding them a little intimidating went into the next room — until I was done removing the contents and cleaning up the peanuts.
“Hey,” I hollered. “It’s for you.”
He came back in, sniffed some more, and took a look at the pictures on the sides. They were of him. It was a custom made feeding station, decorated with photos of some of our favorite moments on the road.
It was from Sue Kottwitz in Missouri, a loyal reader of Travels with Ace, who advertises her company, For Love of a Dog, on ohmidog! She and her husband, Gary, had built and decorated it — not just an incredibly thoughtful gift, but a much-needed one.
I’d bought Ace, after he started experiencing back problems, a plastic feeding station — but even though it was for big dogs, it wasn’t really elevated enough for a dog of his stature. And of course I wrote about it.
Sue took note, ordered me by email to take his measurements, and asked me for a list of my favorite moments during the 25,000 miles of traveling across America Ace and I recently completed. Then she notified me something was coming my way.
The feeder has huge photos of Ace on both sides, and the front is decorated with photos of some of those favorite moments — meeting Mel, a former Michael Vick dog, in Dallas; watching the sun rise on Cadillac Mountain in Maine; visiting Rolling Dog Ranch in New Hampshire and Dog Mountain in Vermont; volunteering at Best Friends in Utah; paying our respects at John Steinbeck’s grave. And of course, kudzu dogs.
Now, everytime Ace is fed, which is twice a day, I, who still sometimes hunger to be back on the road, get to relive the trip. Ace — more interested of course in what’s in the feeder than on it — gets to eat comfortably.
Thanks, Sue and Gary, for a gift that feeds us both.
Posted by jwoestendiek September 5th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, america, animals, birthday, dog, dogs, feeding station, for love of a dog, gift, memories, pets, road trip, sue kottwitz, travels with ace
So many people have expressed interest in adopting “Guess,” the 5-month-old poodle-schnauzer mix who was almost air-mailed, that the city of Minneapolis plans to hold a drawing to help determine where he will call home.
The drawing will be held around 2 p.m. Friday at the Minneapolis Animal Care and Control shelter, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
Ten names will be initially drawn, and assigned a number. Those people will then fill out an application. After screening, the dog will be awarded to the first eligible person whose name was drawn.
The new owner will be required pay the standard adoption fee, and for a pet license, and sign an agreement to have Guess neutered on “Spay Day” (Feb. 22) before taking him home.
On Jan. 25, Stacey Champion put Guess in a box sealed with packing tape and dropped the package off at a post office near her home, telling postal officials it contained a toy robot. The box was addressed to her 11-year-old son in Georgia, for whom Guess was intended as a birthday gift.
Postal workers opened the box after noticing it was moving and hearing the dog panting.
Champion, 39, has been charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty. She attended an administrative hearing in hopes of getting the dog back but was turned down. On Monday, when she failed to post a bond to pay for Guess’ shelter expenses, she lost any future chance to get the dog back, which would have been a possibility had she been found innocent.
That cleared the way for Guess to be officially put up for adoption.
“We’ve gotten calls from all over the globe,” Jeanette Wiedmeier of Minneapolis Animal Care and Control told Fox News. “311 has taken calls from Europe. They’ve taken emails from people who are outraged and excited about this story, and they want only the best for this dog. We’ve just been overwhelmed with the amount of attention this little six-pound guy has gotten so far.”
(Photo by Elizabeth Flores / Star-Tribune)
Posted by jwoestendiek February 16th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: adopter, adoption, airmail, airmailed, almost, almost mailed, animal cruelty, birthday, dog, drawing, gift, guess, interest, mailed, minneapolis, mix, outpouring, package, packed, poodle, post office, postal workers, puppy, rescue, schnauzer, sealed, shelter, stacey champion
The value of Bo — a gift to the president from the late Sen. Ted Kennedy — was listed on annual financial disclosure forms the White House released Monday, according to the Associated Press.
Dollar-wise, the Portuguese water dog, was a mere drip compared to the president’s other income, including royalties from his books, “Dreams From My Father” and “Audacity of Hope,” which brought in between $1 million and $5 million each.
In addition to his $400,000 annual salary, Obama listed a number investments which, including those held jointly with his wife, were worth between $2.2 million and $7.5 million in 2009. His Nobel Peace Prize carried a $1.4 million award, but the president donated that to charity.
(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Posted by jwoestendiek May 18th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, barack obama, bo, bo obama, bobama, disclosure, dog, dogs, financial, first family, gift, income, news, obama, ohmidog!, pets, portuguese water dog, president, ted kennedy, value, white house
A pair of expensive pearl earrings that Prince William gave to his girlfriend Kate Middleton on her 28th birthday have been recovered, slightly the worse for wear after going in one end of Middleton’s dog, Otto, and out the other.
The Daily Mail reports that Middleton suspected Otto, a black cocker spaniel, gobbled down the antique earrings. After monitoring his output for several days, her suspicions were confirmed.
Alas, Otto had chewed the jewelry so that, even after they reappeared, the earrings were unwearable.
The Mail reports that the earrings went missing from the ornamental dish on Middleton’s bedside table where she kept them.
“It seems that Otto had got into her room and eaten the pearl earrings. He was sitting on the end of her bed looking very pleased with himself and licking his paws,” the newspaper quotes an unidentified friend of the couple as saying.
When Kate told William she feared her dog had eaten the earrings, he burst out laughing, the friend said.
Kate monitored Otto closely, taking him for walks several times a day, and during one of them the earrings finally emerged — too chewed up to be rescued.
The prince has promised her another pair.
Posted by jwoestendiek March 8th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, antique, cocker spaniel, dog, dogs, earrings, eated, feces, gift, kate middleton, otto, pearl, pearls, pets, poop, prince william, recovered, royalty, swallowed, waste
I’m going to poop on this party.
A dog collar that can open a beer bottle may be mildly funny the first time around, but I’d think the novelty would quickly wear off this novelty — even among frat boys.
On top of the whole dog-as-appliance indignity — among all the noble purposes dog serve, I wouldn’t rank opening your beer too high among them — I would think there could be safety concerns as well.
The Bark4beer website seems to say as much: “Please use with adult supervision as this product is not intended for children. Bark4Beer, L.L.C.. shall not be liable for any special or consequential damages that result from the use of, or the inability to use, the materials on this site …”
If something’s not safe for children, I don’t want my dog wearing it.
The idea for the collar came at a pool party, where two young entrepreneurs were forced to use their dog’s collar to open a beer bottle’s non-twist-off top.
“After months of product testing, we are confident to release our revolutionary invention,” their website says. The inventors add, “Essentially, we can turn your favorite four-legged friend into the ultimate party animal ensuring that there is no shortage of tail at your next party.”
Posted by jwoestendiek December 23rd, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: bark4beer, beer, bottle, christmas, collar, dog, dogs, gift, ideas, invention, inventors, opener, party animal, products, video, what i don't want for christmas, what i want for christmas