MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life

MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life
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Wednesday, September 16, 2015

I'm Still Here With You

My sister said good-bye to her soul mate dog of 13 years last week, Sadie. When I lost my soul mate dog, Maggie, I was devastated and of course, my sister is also devastated and lost without her canine companion. This heart-melting poem was sent to me yesterday by a friend with the subject line, "Losing a Pet," and so I sent it to my sister. It so describes how I feel about our beloved pets' spirits still being with us. At the end the email message said "Go like Animal Rescue Home page for more." I did, but was not able to find this beautiful poem that brought tears welling up in my eyes. So I do not know who to attribute it to. If it is from the Animal Rescue Home, thank you:

"I stood by your bed last night, I came to have a peep.
I could see that you were crying, You found it hard to sleep.
I whined to you softly as you brushed away a tear,
"It's me, I haven't left you, I'm well, I'm fine, I'm here."

I was close to you at breakfast, I watched you pour the tea,
You were thinking of the many times, your hands reached down to me.
I was with you at the shops today, Your arms were getting sore.
I longed to take your parcels, I wish I could do more.

I was with you at my grave today, You tend it with such care.
I want to re-assure you, that I'm not lying there.
I walked with you towards the house, as you fumbled for your key.
I gently put my paw on you, I smiled and said " it's me."

You looked so very tired, and sank into a chair.
I tried so hard to let you know, that I was standing there.
It's possible for me, to be so near you everyday.
To say to you with certainty, "I never went away."
You sat there very quietly, then smiled, I think you knew...
In the stillness of that evening, I was very close to you.

The day is over... I smile and watch you yawning
and say "good-night, God bless, I'll see you in the morning."
And when the time is right for you to cross the brief divide,
I'll rush across to greet you and we'll stand, side by side.
I have so many things to show you, there is so much for you to see.

Be patient, live your journey out...then come home to be with me...."

Author Unknown to me

Thursday, May 7, 2015

So Many Dogs, So Little Time

YOU can Recover From the Loss of Your Beloved Canine Companion

Maggie & me days before she died
"'Older dogs that have lived their entire lives with someone are taken to humane societies and rescue groups for reasons as numerous as dog breeds. They have the hardest time being adopted,' Dawn Kairns writes-- in one of the best of all the dog books I've read yet -- in a market full of grieving pet owners immortalizing their pet with a book. This one is filled with insight and wisdom.

'I have this feeling that our special animal friends find their way back to us after they pass on,' Dawn Kairns tells us. Pet owners the world over will believe it, or want to believe it. After losing her beloved canine companion Maggie, Kairns delved into Jung and cited evidence details about Maggie that support this consoling theory: 'The collective unconscious is where we come from, we return to it when we can, and we ultimately return to it when we die.'

"I had just finished reading another dog lover's lament, Mark J. Ascher's "Humphrey Was Here." Interesting contrasts between the two dog owners. Ascher is more of a skeptic. This sounds like me: 'If it was God's will, I wanted to know how he dispersed his tragedies -- an immediate investigation of (God's) distribution system was in order. If I had bad karma, I demanded to know what I had done in another life ... If everything happened for a reason, I wanted to know the reason now, when the pain was intense. I wanted answers; I kept coming up with questions.'

But Kairns offers that spiritual consolation I can only hope-wish-hope for: '...there’s more to this world than what we experience with our limited five senses. Can it be that the spirit world is right here, but most of us lack the extrasensory abilities to perceive it?'

The book opens in a present-tense account of life with Maggie, the dog who is so much more than a pet. Later we get to the "if only I'd known" and "what if" stuff, thoughts we all suffer. One factor contributing to Maggie's untimely demise may have been the thing we believe is best for our pets. My own (former) vet scoffed at me when I pointed out the #1 ingredient in Science Diet is grain. Which one of us got the college degree in veterinary science, he said? Well, call me impudent, but I noticed our dogs fared better when they sneaked out and found fresh venison. No, it never became a staple of their diet, but their droppings clearly showed that fresh venison was easier on their digestive system. Unfortunately, their love of people food and their ability to get it (mastery of the cute, pleading face) also may have led to their pancreative failure at ages 13 and 14. For large Collies, maybe the life expectancy is rarely much better than that. And if you asked Blaise and Bailey, I'm sure they'd have opted for shorter lives than lives without chicken, roast beef, pizza and the occasional cheese puff.

Page after page of this book "speaks" to me as a mother of three and a former companion of two majestic, nearly human Collies. I kept Kindle-sharing lines that had me nodding in agreement or empathy. Rather than retype them here, I'll trust readers to find the page of Kindle Highlights.

I'm skeptical about some of the reincarnation theories but very hopeful that we will indeed meet up again with our lost loved ones, canine, feline, human, equine, or whatever, in a next life. Those who experience the "evidence" are blessed.

This book delivers the happy ending of a new adventure with another dog. So many bereft dog lovers say they'll never get another dog because of the pain of losing one again, or because no dog can replace the one who died. There are so many, many dogs out there, on death row in animal shelters, awaiting adoption. No one with the means to care for a dog has to go dog-less.

My husband is in no hurry to get another dog, but I'm ready for one to turn up, scouring the Rescue sites and local shelter listings, watching and waiting. Meanwhile, I'm one of those strangers who accosts dog owners in public: “I need a dog fix." Mine died. (Or, "We’re here on vacation, and mine is at home.”) Thanks to all of you who indulge me and let me greet your dog.

NOTE: this is one Kindle-Share that bears repeating far and wide --

Maggie loved the switch from dog food to raw
'There are now several brands of high-quality pet foods made with human-grade protein as the first ingredient and without by-products or chemical preservatives. These can be found at smaller holistic pet food stores and include brands such as Canidae, Innova, Natural Balance, and Chicken Soup for the Dog Lovers Soul, among others. Flint River Ranch products can be ordered online.'

Kairns recommends a diet of raw ground turkey, vegetables, grains, and beans, adding vitamin supplements and a nutritional powder of kelp, nutritional yeast, bone meal, and lecithin.

I would add that if your dog has allergies, inform the delivery guys who offer a treat to every dog who greets them. One of our Collies tested allergic to beef, brewer's yeast, and a gazillion other ingredients in dog food and treats."

Posted by Dawn Kairns and taken directly from Carol Kean's Amazon Review. I added the photos. To Carol, my heartfelt thanks. She captures the essence of MAGGIE better than anyone to date in both her above review of MAGGIE and on the Kindle Highlights page:

the ability exists in all of us to intuitively communicate with nature and animals. It’s “the first language, the foundation of spoken and written words, and the common link Read more Kindle Highlights quotes here.

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Simpsons Co-Creator Was an Angel to the Animals

A CARE (Colorado Animal Rescue Express) rescue dog
Did you know that Sam Simon, the co-creator of "The Simpsons" spent millions of dollars each year to save the lives of dogs through his establishment of the Sam Simon Foundation? His non-profit organization for dogs was also created to enrich people's lives.

Simon passed away on March 8, 2015 after a battle with colon cancer that was diagnosed in 2012. After learning of his prognosis of only several months to live, Simon decided give his millions to animal charities and the hungry. Not that he wasn't already spending millions to help animals even before his late stage cancer diagnosis. On  a wonderful piece of real estate in Malibu, his Foundation gave stray and abandoned dogs a new chance at life. In 2007, 60 Minutes called the Sam Simon Foundation “the grandest dog shelter in the country."

Some of the ways Simon has used his millions to help animals and the animal rights cause include:

  • a mobile veterinary clinic that travels throughout Los Angeles to assist low-income folks and their pets.
  • a hearing dog program where the Foundation rescues dogs from shelters and humane societies and trains them to become Certified Hearing Dogs.
  • service dogs for veterans where the foundation trains shelter dogs to assist veterans with PTSD, or trained to help veterans with hearing loss, traumatic brain injury or moderate physical limitations.
  • visitation at assisted living facilities where dogs regularly visit and brighten the days of residents of Los Angeles assisted living facilities.
  • adoption program for shelter and rescue dogs where those rescued dogs who don't quite have what it takes to be service dogs can still make amazing companions. 
Markie, rescued in Texas by my husband and me
Simon has also made large donations to PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. The latter was able to add a fourth ship to its fleet (since Simon bought it for them), and this ship is now defending whales from Japanese whaling activities in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

Simon also created the Feeding Families program in 2011 to respond to families and individuals in economic crisis who are unable to provide food for their children and pets, feeding about 200 families per day. As though all of this is not enough of an amazing legacy, Simon, along with Ingrid Newkirk and PETA began buying zoos and circuses in order to send the animals, those he referred to as "the most abused animals in the country," to a sanctuary.

Thank you, Mr. Simon, for your legacy of love to the animals. And thanks to the Care 2 Causes Blog for the full story on Sam Simon and his wonderful animal philanthropy.

Posted by Dawn Kairns
Author of Maggie the Dog Who Changed My Life

Sunday, February 8, 2015

What Is a Puppy Mill?

I have written about puppy mills before, but because there are still between 2,000 and 3,000 USDA-licensed breeders (or puppy mills) known to be operating in the United States, we still have much work to do to raise awareness to end this horrific treatment of our best friends. This number does not include the breeders who are not required to be licensed by the USDA or the number of illegal puppy mill breeders operating without a license, it's impossible to accurately know how many there truly are. "The ASPCA estimates that there could be as many as 10,000 puppy mills in the United States."

The highest concentration of puppy mills is in the Midwest, with Missouri being the leading puppy mill state. There are also high concentrations of puppy mills in Pennsylvania, Ohio and upstate New York, and parts of Wisconsin. "Commercial dog breeding is very prevalent among Amish and Mennonite farmers."

What Is a Puppy Mill

Although there is no legal definition of a puppy mill, according to the ASPCA, a puppy mill "is a large-scale commercial dog breeding operation where profit is given priority over the well-being of the dogs."

Some puppy mill puppies are sold to pet shops and their lineage records are often falsified. Others are sold directly to the public "over the Internet (many puppies sold online come from puppy mills), through newspaper ads, and at swap meets and flea markets." Because breeding at puppy mills is done with no consideration of genetic quality, generations of dogs are born with hereditary defects which the unsuspecting public "inherits" when they purchase a new puppy through those means mentioned above. A responsible breeders, on the other hand, "places the utmost importance on producing the healthiest puppies possible."

When a pet store owner tells you they get their puppies from "licensed USDA breeders" or "local breeders," it means they get their puppies from puppy mills. A breeder must be licensed by the USDA in order to sell puppies to pet stores, and pet stores often use this licensing to provide a false sense of security to their customers. Responsible breeders want to screen potential buyers to ensure that their puppies will go to good homes, so they would never sell a puppy through a pet store.

Conditions Are Deplorable in Puppy Mills

The conditions most puppy mill dogs are kept in are deplorable. According to the ASPCA, "puppy mills usually house dogs in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, without adequate veterinary care, food, water and socialization. Puppy mill dogs do not get to experience treats, toys, exercise or basic grooming. To minimize waste cleanup, dogs are often kept in cages with wire flooring that injures their paws and legs—and it is not unusual for cages to be stacked up in columns. Breeding dogs at mills might spend their entire lives outdoors, exposed to the elements, or crammed inside filthy structures where they never get the chance to feel the sun or breathe fresh air." Female dogs are bred with little to no recovery time between litters. After a few years, when they can no longer can reproduce because they are so depleted, they are frequently killed.

Having Papers Means Nothing!

Being "registered" or "having papers" merely means that the puppy's parents both had papers. Many registered dogs are sold in puppy mills. "Many, many pedigreed dogs come from puppy mills! The only way you can be sure that a puppy came from a reputable source is to see where he or she came from yourself."

What You Can Do?

Adopt! Many purebred dogs end up in shelters or rescue groups, so please explore these options before you search for a reputable breeder. If you do buy a dog from a breeder, be sure to meet the puppy's parents or at least the mother. Check out their living conditions. "Never meet a breeder at an off-site location, and never have a puppy shipped to you sight-unseen."

Better yet, adopt a puppy mill survivor. "Puppy mill survivors often need patient, loving adopters who can help them learn to trust people."

Above all, refuse to shop at any store that sells puppies, even if you are only buying food or toys. This is the best way to put puppy mills out of business.

Thank you to the ASPCA for this information. To learn more about puppy mills, the health and behavioral problems found with puppy mill dogs, and what you can do to help this cause, visit their website.

Posted by Dawn Kairns, author of MAGGIE the Dog Who Changed My Life

Friday, January 16, 2015

Dog Rides Bus to Dog Park By Herself

KOMO Channel 4 reported this Seattle story of Eclipse, a black lab/mastiff mix who has seemed to figure out mass transit on her own! Eclipse jumps on the bus by herself and gets off at the dog park when her owner takes too long finishing his cigarette at the bus stop! He catches up with her later. Passengers and bus drivers alike know Eclipse and she makes their day. Enjoy watching this KOMO  news report--I sure did:

Read the full story here: Seattle dog's rush hour ride: on the bus, by herself, weekly

Posted by: Dawn Kairns
Author of MAGGIE the Dog Who Changed My Life