MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life

MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life
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Monday, March 30, 2009

Nightline Features Puppy Mill Investigation

On Friday, March 27, 2009, ABC's Nightline featured a segment on the investigation of puppy mills. According to the report, which this post is a synopsis of, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania is said by some to be the "Puppy Mill Capitol of the World," where many Amish farms sacrifice animal welfare in the name of business. Main Line Animal Rescue went into some of these puppy mills and videotaped under cover.

Some of these facilities contain hundreds of dogs who never get to experience the joys of running outdoors or breathing fresh air during their lives in a puppy mill. Due to the sheer numbers of dogs in puppy mills, the farmers deal with the problem of barking by de-barking the dogs. This is done by shoving sharp instruments down their throats to destroy their vocal cords. The adult dogs kept for breeding often suffer through wounds and infections, untreated. Sadly, it's legal to euthanize or shoot a dog in PA that puppy mill owners deem are no longer useful to them
, such as a female who is too old to produce more puppies. Main Line Animal Rescue often gets called by puppy mill owners one hour before they are going to kill a dog. One such Golden Retriever rescued by Main Line was found to have several C-section scars. It's thought that many female dogs like her often have C-sections performed by the farmers, who then stitch them back together with twine -- all of this done without anesthesia.

Bill Smith of Main Line Animal Rescue says that most of these dogs, when rescued, don't know how to walk on solid ground. They move like a crab, because it's so foreign to them. Having lived their entire lives with their paws on chicken wire, they just don't know how to walk on a solid surface. Cages are often stacked on top of each other, and the waste from one page falls into the cage below. The dogs' paws are offered inflamed from living on chicken wire.

For these farmers/commercial puppy mill facilities, the dogs are merely an income, nothing more than a cash crop. The puppies themselves are often sold by the puppy mills to pet stores that sell them to the public. Many unsuspecting and uninformed people walk into these pet stores and see the precious little puppy faces, and purchase them. They have no idea of the "industry of secrecy" these puppies came from, or the horrendous conditions that they are supporting.

Main Line
Animal Rescue
has been instrumental in getting new legislation for puppy mill dogs to have access to a solid floor and outdoor exercise. A great step, yet so far to go to create basic rights and humane treatment for such gentle souls. Main Line Animal Rescue has been very instrumental in raising public awareness of the deplorable conditions in puppy mills. When featured on Oprah last year, it was one of the most watched Oprah episodes ever. I donate 10% of my publisher royalties for my book to Main Line Animal Rescue. Please help spread the truth about puppy mills, and when you decide to get a dog, please consider rescuing from a shelter or breed rescue group.

Based on ABC's March 27, 2009 Nightline feature on Puppy Mills

posted by:

Dawn Kairns
Author of
MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life

Thursday, March 26, 2009

SKYPE Book Club Meet a Great Success

My first book club "attendance"using the SKYPE technology as a way to meet with my readers was a fun and empowering experience for both the South Padre Island book club myself. The SKYPE book club meeting took place between my home in Boulder, Colorado and the home of Nancy Clarke in South Padre Island, Texas. It lasted 37 minutes as the group asked me questions and discussed my book, MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life. I think this opens doors for authors, and particularly for self-published authors, to meet with book club readers. It is very personable and interactive. We were all on a high from the experience! I hope to meet with more book clubs in the future on SKYPE.

posted by:

Dawn Kairns
Author of MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life

Monday, March 23, 2009

SKYPE A New Way for Authors to Meet with Book Club Readers Nationwide

I sent out the following press release this weekend regarding my first upcoming SKYPE book club meeting on Wednesday evening, 7:00 p.m. (mountain time) March 25. (Note time change--press release said 5:30 p.m.) I will be SKYPING from my home in Boulder, CO to the home of Nancy Clarke, where the book club meeting on South Padre Island, Texas will take place to discuss my book, MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life. We tried the connection last night to work out the kinks since it's the first use of SKYPE for both of us--we got it working and are pretty excited to see how it goes this Wednesday evening!


A New Way for Authors to Meet With Their Readers: Boulder Author to Meet with South Padre Island Book Club via Skype

Authors' goal is to donate portions of book proceeds from Maggie: The Dog Who Changed My Life, released in July, 2008 to animal rescue groups. Her goal is also to reach those grieving from the loss of their pets to offer them support (through her book) in their time of grief. To learn more visit the author's website at and her blog at

Boulder, CO, March 23, 2009 – Dawn Kairns, the Boulder author of Maggie: The Dog Who Changed My Life, will meet with a South Padre Island, TX book club via Skype on Wednesday, March 25, 2009 at 5:30 p.m. Mountain time. “This will be my first time meeting with my readers on Skype, but I don’t think it will be my last,” says Kairns.

Ann Johnson, LCSW of the Human Animal Bond Trust (the group of veterinarians and mental health professionals who run this Pet Loss Group) in Denver states, “I plan to share Maggie: The Dog Who Changed My Life with all members of the Human Animal Bond Trust, Inc. and to keep the book available at our Pet Loss Group meetings. As one of the three mental health professionals who have facilitated our Pet Loss Support Group for the past 20+ years, and a dog/animal person forever, I can only agree with everything you've included in your book and would wish everyone could read it.” Kairns’ hope is that the love from her deep bond with Maggie will speak to readers who connect with their dogs in the same way, and will offer support to those experiencing pet loss. Pet guardians who have experienced the profound sense of loss that comes with losing their own cherished pets will find a kindred spirit in this book.

In Maggie: The Dog Who Changed My Life, the author’s black lab, Maggie, helps Kairns find her place in the world, both personally and professionally. Through their relationship Kairns learns that dogs are intelligent, emotional beings that can sense our thoughts. “My book explores a deeper, spiritual side of the human-canine bond,” says the author, “including animal telepathy, and the importance of trusting our intuition and dream messages.

“Animals are such gifts to us and the human-animal bond can be such a powerful part of our lives,” says Kairns, who did book signings at fundraisers to benefit the Laguna Madre Humane Society during her winter stay in South Padre. Dawn has donated portions of book proceeds to CO humane societies (The Humane Society of Boulder Valley (HSBV) and The Denver Dumb Friends League), The Laguna Madre Humane Society in Texas, and to Mainline Animal Rescue (MLAR) in PA. MLAR is devoted to raising awareness of the conditions in puppy mills and rescuing their canine victims, a passionate cause the author shares. Kairns has also donated her books to numerous shelter or rescue group fund raisers (Longmont Humane Society, Safe Harbor Lab Rescue, Golden Retriever Rescue of the Rockies, Laguna Madre Humane Society, and MLAR). Dawn donated her books to HSBV in 2008 and has done so again for the upcoming April 25, 2009 Puttin’ on the Leash silent auction. 10% of Dawn's publisher royalties from Maggie: The Dog Who Changed My Life are donated to MLAR.

Kairns will meet with a Boulder book club on May 6, 2009 and with a Parker Library group in Douglas County for a Reading, Discussion, and Book Signing on June 3, 2009 at 7:00 p.m.

Maggie: The Dog Who Changed My Life is available at the Boulder Barnes & Noble, Boulder Bookstore, The Tattered Cover, McGuckin’s Hardware, and Longmont Borders. You may order online at:,, and

Author Bio
Dawn was born and raised in northwestern Indiana, but Colorado has been home for over 31 years. A lifelong animal lover, her passion for dogs led her to volunteer with local rescue organizations, including the Humane Society of Boulder Valley, Front Range Labrador Rescue, and Freedom Service Dogs. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the author and her husband travelled to Mississippi to work with the Humane Society of the United States assisting the displaced Katrina dogs. Her own dog and cat are rescues. A family nurse practitioner turned writer, Dawn Kairns has also published in nursing journals, American Fitness magazine, The Daily Camera online, and Real Travel Adventures Magazine.

To schedule an interview or a discussion with your book group via phone or SKYPE:

Contact: Dawn Kairns
Tel: 303-449-4624 or 303-579-0547
Fax: 303-449-4416


Book Information

ISBN: 978-0-595-47435-6
Publication Date: July, 2008
Price: $15.95
Publisher: iUniverse
Trade Paperback: 151 pages

Media for February, 8, 2009 press release. to view December, 2008 press release.

Posted by:

Dawn Kairns

Friday, March 20, 2009

More Amazing Tuned-In Dog Stories

Here are yet more stories where dogs exhibit an incredible ability to tune-in to their humans. There's even one example where a dog announced himself in a dream before he showed up in his guardian's life. MAGGIE and I were not alone in our remarkable communication!

My hope in sharing so many different experiences is that dogs (all animals) and their unrecognized body, mind, and energy reading abilities will be recognized in the scientific community and in the eyes of the world. May they be lifted up where they belong, so to speak, and recognized for the precious, special spiritual beings they are, capable of understanding us and of powerfully connecting with us.

Here is Janine's beautiful narrative of Reyna turning herself into a service dog:

"My story is less about what I was thinking and more how I was feeling. A couple of years ago, I ruptured a disc in my back and was in excruciating pain for several days. The first day, both of my German Shepherds were a lot less demanding than usual, which I greatly appreciated. The second day, though, my girl, Reyna, completely shocked me. She turned herself into a service dog (she's been trained for search & rescue, but never for service work). She just knew that I could not get up, sit down, or pick anything up from the floor without help. When I would start to get up from the couch or chair, she would come over (no calling from me) and let me brace myself on her back. The same when I was ready to sit down. If I needed to pick up something, she would immediately stand perfectly still beside me while I used her to lower myself to the floor and stand back up. She even made a point of keeping her brother (much larger and extremely goofy at the time) from bumping into me. For several days, Reyna was my rock. And then one day, she stopped. She just knew that I was finally capable of doing those things on my own, and she was right. And she never behaved like that again."

Here's what Steph shared about her dog, Lucy learning to trust:

"...My black lab, Lucy, was very skittish as a puppy ... she may let us pet her for a few seconds before chickening out and running away. We rescued her from a shelter when she was about 3 months old...she was just very, very submissive and skittish.
We all went on a trip a few years back ...
Lucy was about 5 months old at the time ... At some point, Lucy had eaten something unnoticed by us, and got very sick. She threw up mounds... about eight times in 30 minutes. After her last bought of vomiting, she was very weak and shaky. I sat on the floor... talking softly and rubbing her little back, telling her it would be okay and that I would always love her and take care of her. All of a sudden, she turned her little body and leaned into me, seemingly comforted by my tone of voice and actions.

Ever since then, Lucy has been a people-lover! She completely came out of her shell, trusts us completely, and accepts love and petting for hours..."

Denise says Shannon helped pull weeds; Sputnik filled his own water dish; Sonja saved her life:

"Many times I was working in the yard, pulling weeds and Shannon ... was out and about in the yard. One day it was hot and [there were] lots of weeds and I was thinking, 'boy wouldn't it be so nice if I could teach you to help pull weeds?' Within moments she came near me in the same row and started digging, grabbing the weeds, and putting them into the can beside us ...

As for Sputnik, who happened to be my first service dog, I trained ... myself. A unique pup who had developed seizures early, [he] was able to tell what I was thinking and react to it. One day I thought, 'Oh I better double check his water bowl to make sure he got ... fresh water.' All of a sudden, he ran into the kitchen, grabbed his bowl and put it under the sink ... He was a tall dog and [was] taught to use his paws for various things; he turned on the faucet and got his bowl filled. Unfortunately, he wasn't too graceful; by the time I heard the water and got into the kitchen, water was pretty much all over the floor. Though still ... some in his bowl...

Now ... Sonja ... saved my life a number of times, but she had to communicate to me so I would be aware of such danger. Where I used to live ... the apartment's stove ... when the wind blew the pilot would go out. She was actually in training so at times she stayed home when Sputnik and I went out. However, one day when we got home the whole house ... had nothing but shredded paper. You name it, it was shredded. But in a strange way, though at first I didn't realize it. She would start at the front door and actually make a path, using the shredded paper going towards the kitchen ... stopping right at the door ... This happened a couple of times in the same path. But it was her way of trying to communicate to me that something was totally wrong in the kitchen.

For me I believe it's all about the inner bonding stages that an animal and their human partner has beyond the physical style of bonding."

And then there is Nancy, whose dog came to her in a dream before he showed up on her doorstep:

"I've had a difficult time picking out one thing or another to point out to say, 'oh she/he does this or that to show how they read my thoughts'. The truth has become for me that it is a natural part of our relationships. All of them, 4 dogs and 5 cats, have varying ways of 'talking' to me, telling me their needs and 'knowing' what is to happen next. What others may find
remarkable as far as communication and understanding each other is just common place for us.

In 2006 a dog came to live with me for the rest of his life. I dreamed of him one night. A great black dog who was racing across the sky to join my pack. The next day my sister called to tell me of a black German Shepherd living in the mountains of West Virginia. He needed a home. 'Would i take him'?

After he lived with us a few days I named him Lightfoot... Little did i realize that i had
named him after the road on which he was found, 'Camp Lightfoot Road', without having been told where he was found.

He was a geriatric dog who came to our home as he was on his way out of this world ... he spent most of his time alone and had many issues ... He brought with him so many lessons of patience. He is still teaching me, and even though his body is no longer here, I am still learning from his short time here ... '

Skye raises some wonderful questions about the telepathic bond that seems more readily available with some dogs more than others:

"I am a skeptic (scientist, actually) and am reading Sheldrake's book at the moment ... I am interested in the ESP relationship and also in the non-ESP relationship.

I wonder why some of us have this 'bond' with only some dogs??? And not others or all dogs? Is it a function of circumstances or of the dog?

Does it develop at the beginning of the relationship or does it sometimes develop over a long period of time?

... (I am using BOND in quotes to signify this ESP-type relationship. )

Some have posted about the 'bond' being one-way. Others have posted about the 'bond' being in the opposite direction. I assume it is also bi-directional.

Can it be taught? ..."

I will leave you on this note, with Skye's questions, and hope to hear your responses in your comments.

Posted by:

Dawn Kairns
Author of MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Is Reading Our Energy Key to Dogs Reading Thoughts?

To continue my discussion of how our dogs us, I want to share a story from the DogRead group from Meaghan, about Quibble, her search and rescue dog:

"... I have a brilliant little Kelpie who is training for USAR work (Urban Search & Rescue); finding live people in disaster or building collapse situations. From the beginning of this training, no matter what I threw at him, Quibble would clearly get it and we would move on to the next task. Everything practical made total sense to him but when it came to the 'heeling' work..., I just couldn't get through to him. In his defense, he's very much a 'fly at life' kind of guy and previous to this training I never bothered with formal off leash heeling. Our background is working stock and I trained all my dogs that 'heel' meant as long as you are behind this line and walking with me, I really don't care about an exact position. So I'm still struggling with 'heel' ...

I had a friend down for Christmas who's a good motivational trainer. I asked her to watch us and see if there was anything she could see that I was doing to make this so difficult for him ... I explained what I had been doing and her comment was 'he should understand it.' It was just an offhand comment, but of all we talked about it's what stuck with me the most.

I thought about it a lot, and slept on it, where I do my best thinking. Next time I took him out for a training session, with no real changes except my thoughts changing from 'what am I doing wrong' to 'this little bugger is playing me' ... We had a much better session. I didn't mechanically do anything different but he really does get it ... All I can see that really changed is how I'm picturing the sessions in my mind." (italics mine)

It's possible that being the great readers of nonverbal communication and energy that dogs are, that Quibble picked up Meaghan's change in energy, which Cesar Millan (the dog whisperer) talks about often. She was probably more congruent, which translated into her body language, in this case. Sometimes dogs read our bodies, sometimes our thoughts, and sometimes they read both. Is reading our energy the way our dogs read both our nonverbals and our thoughts?

Posted by:

Dawn Kairns
Author of MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life

Friday, March 13, 2009

Telepathy In Our canines

I think there are those signs we exhibit, like putting on our shoes or turning off the computer, that are signals to our dogs that they clearly recognize as coming before we engage in a fun activity with them. But what about those times when our only signals are our thoughts?

J. Allen Boone shares experiences in his book, Kinship With All Life, where Strongheart, the famous Hollywood dog from years ago, was in another room and came running in when Mr. Boone began merely thinking of taking him into the hills for a romp. I share an experience in Maggie: the dog who changed my life about Maggie's sulking reaction after she buried her nose in my work clothes and realized, "no fun for us together today;" and her very excited response when I had my casual home clothes on, which usually meant a hike or a trip to the lake. But an interesting thing happened when I had on my work clothes (she had her typical sulking reaction) and I was in front of the bathroom mirror applying my make up, thinking, "Hmm. I have a short workday. Maybe I can take Maggie with me and she can wait in the car while I see my patients, and we can go for a hike..." Suddenly she's up, staring at me, her tail beginning it's wag. How does she know what's going on in the privacy of my mind? I'm not looking her direction as I roll mascara onto my eyelashes.

In the field of psychoneuroimmunology, they say that our thoughts create chemicals in our brains. Dogs have such a profound sense of smell. Do our canine buddies smell our thoughts, much like a seizure alert dog might smell the chemical changes of an impending seizure?

But then there's the case of Jill Meza and her dog, Cinnamon, reported in the Santa Maria Times. Cinnamon alerted Jill prior to her heart arrhythmia and a hypoglycemia attack with different signals for each. When Jill was on a trip to Cuba, and Cinnamon was staying with a friend in the United States, Jill dreamed Cinnamon was pushing on her leg, her signal for low blood sugar. Jill got up, checked her blood sugar, and it was very low. She later learned that Cinnamon became very agitated the same night, at the very time Jill was having her attack. So how does smell account for that one? I am pretty prone to believe in spiritual and energetic connections in life, including with our beloved animals. Perhaps particularly with our animals where our deep bond may allow for telepathy and intuition to operate so naturally.

What about the other way around? Do you have those times when your dog stares a hole right through you? They may be simply trying to tell us, "I have to go outside," or I want a treat," or "I'm bored, let's go play." Are there also those times our dogs try to get a more profound message to us, like the woman whose dog kept nudging her in the breast who later discovered she had breast cancer? Do we listen and try to tune into them the way they do us? Perhaps you do if you are an animal communicator or have your own intuition very attuned. But many of us have a long way to go to read our dog's communication to us. Many of us just don't always know how to get it. Tuning in to how our animals communicate with us, and receiving their messages, can be a real gift to them.

My belief is we all had telepathic abilities preverbally, but we humans tended to lose them with the advent of language. Our animals haven't. Humans that haven't lost the ability we call psychics or animal communicators. They may be the ones to help us recover some of our own intuitive abilities to help us better understand our animal's needs. Recording your dreams may be another way to begin to tune in to intuition and telepathic communication. I was astounded to discover some of the ways I received messages from or about Maggie through my own telepathic dreams.

Posted by
Dawn Kairns
Author of MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life

Thursday, March 5, 2009

New Law Imposes New Regulations to Increase the Size of Cages, Require Annual Veterinary Checkups and Crack Down on Inhumane Puppy Mills

As an avid supporter of banning puppy mills, I am posting the following article from the Lancaster New Era published today, March 05, 2009 and written by Ryan Robinson.

I donate 10% of royalties on my book to Mainline Animal Rescue in Pennsylvania, an organization dedicated to rescuing puppy mill dogs and banning puppy mills due to their deplorable conditions. To educate yourself about puppy mills visit:

Mainline Animal Rescue (MLAR)

With Tougher Rules, Many Kennels Close. Over 300 Licensed Kennels Across Pa. Shut Down, while others seek local zoning approvals for the First Time.

By RYAN ROBINSON, Staff Writer

Five months after Gov. Ed Rendell approved tighter regulations on dog kennels, scores in Lancaster County and across the state are going out of business.

Others, meanwhile, are seeking local zoning approvals for the first time as a result of the new law.

Chris Ryder, a state Department of Agriculture spokesman, said more than 300 licensed Pennsylvania kennels have indicated to the state that they will close this year.

That's 11 percent of the 2,674 licensed dog kennels in Pennsylvania in 2008.

One of every six licensed dog kennels in Lancaster County — 17 percent — has said it will close this year, Ryder said. That would drop the number of kennels here from 299 to 248.
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In all of 2008, kennel closings in Pennsylvania totaled 256.

"We anticipate the number (closing) will go up throughout the year," Ryder said of 2009. "Some have indicated that they don't wish to upgrade their kennels."

Others are dropping licenses because they don't need one, he said, mentioning kennels with less than 26 dogs as an example.

Ken Brandt, executive director of the Pennsylvania Professional Dog Breeders Association, said it's too early to tell how many kennels will close because of the new rules. The rules went into effect in December for non-commercial kennels, but won't start for commercial kennels until October. Commercial kennels are those that sell more than 60 dogs a year or sell dogs to pet stores.

Brandt believes most kennels that do close will be smaller ones, with 50 or 60 dogs, which may not be able to afford to expand.

"I'm concerned about the Lancaster County farmer, that this has become a sideline to them. They take care of puppies very well and this income is probably what keeps them on the farm," Brandt said today. "If you have to double the space for your dogs, you either have to double the area or reduce the number of dogs."

Brandt doesn't expect many large kennel operators to close.

In October, Rendell signed a bill intended to improve the care and treatment of dogs kept in Pennsylvania's larger commercial kennels.

The new law imposes new regulations to increase the size of cages, require annual veterinary checkups and crack down on what critics describe as inhumane puppy mills.

But Brandt said the regulations may not ultimately help improve the care of dogs.

"This does not remove the need for puppies," he said. "They're going to be coming from somewhere, either other states or out of the country where there are not near the health concerns we had in Pennsylvania."

Rendell's bill also stipulates that kennel owners prove they have local zoning approval before a state license is renewed.

Many kennels in Lancaster County have operated with state licenses for years, but never received approval from their local municipality.

Salisbury Township has heard appeals for seven kennels so far this year, and granted approval to five of them.

East Earl Township's zoning hearing board will consider approving three existing kennels March 16.

West Cocalico Township's zoning hearing board will consider approving two existing kennels March 19.

Earl Township's zoning hearing board Monday night will consider allowing Paul M. and Susan H. Hoover to continue to operate their Butter Fly Kennel on their 30-acre farm at 246 Kurtz Road.

It has had a state license, but no local zoning approval, for six years. Earl zoners approved a similar request from another kennel owner last month.

"It seems to be the reasoning we are hearing, that they were not aware of other requirements," said Barry Wagner, a zoning officer for several area townships, including Earl.

The Hoovers want to use a 16-by-40-foot portion of an existing shop building to operate a dog-breeding facility with a maximum of 35 dogs, according to their application.

There is some pressure on local zoning hearing boards to approve the kennels, Brandt said, because if dog breeders feel they have been wronged, "they are very apt to go through the court system."

One of Lancaster County's state dog wardens, Travis Hess, said he expects more existing kennels here to seek local zoning approval in coming months.

He said Lancaster County, which far outpaces all other counties in the state in the number of kennels, has 209 dog breeding kennels, 27 boarding kennels and 12 nonprofit kennels.

Written by RYAN ROBINSON, Staff Writer

Posted by Dawn Kairns
Author of MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life