MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life

MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life
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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dog Book Series Raises Awareness of and Funds for Dog Rescue Efforts

What's Your Story?
taken from Happy Tails Books Website

American Humane estimates that 9.6 million animals are euthanized annually in the United States alone. Not included in this statistic are the many animals that suffer abuse in puppy mills. The number of good animals in need of homes is staggering, according to Kyla Duffy of Happy Tails Books, and even so, puppy mills continue to thrive because people see "the cute doggie in the window at the pet shop" and usually think they are getting a better dog than a shelter dog. But they don't know the truth behind a pet store dog's past.

Happy Tails Books recognizes the importance of dog adoption and dog rescue, and collects stories from people like you who have participated in dog rescue or adoption. They then compile them into educational and entertaining books. Their "Lost Souls: FOUND!" series of books raises awareness about dog rescue efforts and provides a source of funding for dog rescue groups.

A rescued dog named Bill was the inspiration for Kyla Duffy to found Happy Tails Books.

"In 2008, two-year-old Bill was released from a puppy mill breeder and put out to auction after spending the first two years of his life sitting in a cage. When Mid-America Boston Terrier Rescue took him into their care he was in horrible shape. Overweight and terrified, he simply cowered in the back of his crate." You can read Bill's full story of recovery from the tragedy of a dog with no life in his eyes to the return of that light and life at Bill was a lost soul, now found by Kyla Duffy.

The stories in Happy Tails Books "reflect the positive changes in many dogs' lives due to human compassion and kindness ... Readers learn that adopted dogs usually turn into great pets, becoming loving companions for the elderly, nurturing playmates for children and all-around best friends for the whole family. The stories are fun, emotional and educational."

Current titles include Lost Souls: Found Inspirational Stories About Golden Retrievers and Lost Souls: Found Inspirational Stories of Adopted Boston Terriers. Look for titles coming soon about the following breeds: labrador retrievers, miniature schnauzers, beagles, boxers and more. Contact to share your inspiring and thought-provoking dog rescue/adoption stories in their upcoming breed books.

My Maggie in my book, MAGGIE the dog who changed my life was not a rescued lab, but her life and her passing inspired me to turn my own life towards dog/animal rescue. In this work, our bond together continues, and the spirit of Maggie lives on ...

Posted By:

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

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Scottsdale Relationships Examiner: "MAGGIE Is A Touching & Personal Insight Into What A Dog Can Do For A Human"

Robin Cain writes for the Scottsdale Examiner about relationships and about what moves her. I am fortunate that my book, MAGGIE the dog who changed my life, moved her, because she wrote about it yesterday in The Scottsdale Examiner. Here's part of what Robin had to say:

"Reading about Maggie, I was reminded of just how little animals ask of us and how much they give us in return. How their non-verbal ways of communicating somehow tell us everything we need to know and how, through them, we become better people. The relationships they form are very simple and uncluttered. We, as humans, should try and learn more from them.

I won’t tell you Maggie’s story – you should read it for yourself – but I will tell you it’s a touching and personal insight to what a dog can do for a human. Written from the heart as a tribute to one creature that truly taught the author a lesson in love, MAGGIE the dog who changed my life speaks to all of us who, at one time or another, have shared that special bond."

You can read Robin Cain's full article, Pets: A Lesson in Fortune, in the September 21, 2009 article in The Scottsdale Relationships Examiner.

I encourage you to follow Robin's 'from the heart' column. And Robin, thank you for reading MAGGIE and letting our relationship touch you. That was my hope for readers in writing it.

Posted By:

Dawn Kairns
Author of MAGGIE the dog who changed my life

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Operation Bark Alert Rescues 2500 dogs in Missouri: Honor Puppy Mill Awareness Day on 9-19-09

Kudos to Attorney General Chris Koster in Missouri. Koster began going after puppy mill owners when he was Cass County Prosecutor. Shutting down puppy mills continues to be a priority now that he is Attorney General.

Taken from Puppy Mill Awareness Day Blog

By Jessica Machetta

The Attorney General's Office and Department of Agriculture have seized more than 100 dogs from an unlicensed puppy breeder in South Central Missouri.

Attorney General Chris Koster says the dogs in the illegal kennel in the Rolla area were lacking water, were sick, and living in what he calls horrendous conditions.

Koster teamed up with Department of Agriculture officials and the Humane Society in St. Louis to have the dogs impounded. There will be a court hearing in the next few weeks, Koster says, and hopefully, after that they can be moved to safety.

Koster says since Operation Bark Alert went into effect about six months ago, more than 2,500 dogs have been seized by the state.

Koster says Missouri has a bad reputation for being the puppy mill capital of the U.S. and that he's working with Agriculture director Jon Hagler on several initiatives to clean up the system.
The dogs were taken from Doolittle Kennels, an unlicensed dog-breeding kennel owned by Tim King. The Sheriff’s Department aided in the rescue.

Koster began going after puppy mill owners when he served as Cass County Prosecutor, saying shutting down such operations was a priority then and continues to be a priority as Attorney General, where he can make a difference statewide, he says.

Koster urges the public to visit to report unlicensed breeders.

Posted By:

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

Monday, September 14, 2009

L.A. Pet Store Agrees to Hold Adoptions and End Sale of Puppy Mill Dogs

I'm pretty excited about an article regarding puppy mills that I read in the summer issue of The American Dog Magazine. According to Carole Raphaelle Davis in her article titled, Inside The 'Rescue Revolution' "the owner of Elaine's Pet Depot signed an agreement to hand over all of her puppy mill dogs to Good Dog Animal Rescue for adoption. The agreement with the lynchpin store of a national chain of pet stores included a statement that reflected the store's commitment to working with rescue organizations. The store agreed to hold adoptions and end its sale of puppy mill dogs."

This victory occurred after five weeks of protests by activists. So the activism works. 70% of week end business was deterred at pet stores twhere protesters waved graphic signs of dogs suffering in the mills. Over twelve stores in the heart of Los Angeles have closed or converted to rescue in just over a year says Raphaelle Davis.

Some stores are converting from selling puppy mill dogs to holding adoptions for shelter dogs prior to being picketed in order to avoid bad publicity. Or they simply close.

Even though New York is the largest market for puppy mill dogs, the national welfare organizations are watching Los Angeles because they believe L.A. is the most important with a celebrity culture that dictates trends. Will the nation will follow Los Angeles? That is the hope.

There is a national effort from rescue organizations to eliminate puppy mills, and Jennifer Fearing of the Humane Society of the United States believes that both the supply and demand end of the "business" must be addressed. This includes passing legislation to improve standards of care in existing mills , and closing or converting the retail outlets that sell the pups. Petsmart and PETCO are good examples that this model of adopting shelter animals works.

To read the full article, grab a summer issue of The American Dog Magazine or go to The American Dog Magazine online.

Maddie and Cinnamon in the picture above are both shelter rescues. Maggie, my dog who motivated me to write my book, MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life, came from a good breeder. Please, when you decide you want a pet, choose adoption first. There are so many dogs and cats in shelters who will be euthanized simply because there are not enough people to adopt them. If you want a purebred dog, remember you can get one of just about any breed from a breed rescue group. If you do decide you want to buy a purebred puppy and don't want a rescued dog, please be sure to get your pup from one of the many responsible breeders out there -- not from a retail pet store as their supply of puppies most often come from puppy mills.

Posted By:

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

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Dogs and Kids Learning Together in Teacher's Pet Program

Last week Amy Johnson who started Teacher's Pet: Dogs and Kids Learning Together in Michigan, commented on my blog post, "American Humane Association Launchers Innovative 'Therapy Animals Supporting Kids' Program." Amy has created this type of unique program that pairs abused or difficult-to-adopt shelter dogs with at-risk youth for 10 weeks. The kids in the program have had issues with mental and behavioral problems, substance abuse or even violent felonies.

(Information Based On Teacher's Pet: Dogs and Kids Learning Together Website and the Macomb Daily, August 31, 2009 article by Chad Selweski):

After learning the basics of animal handling, identifying stress in dogs, & why it's important to be able to step into the dog's paws and see the world through their eyes, the kids, who often feel worthless or like criminals, become student trainers. They work with the dogs on basic commands such as "sit, stay, down, leave it, drop it, how to walk on a leash, not jumping on people, improving focus and socialization and more."

The kids split their time between the classroom where they learn about proper care for animals, and engaging in hands-on communication with the dogs. Both human and canine benefit from learning to read body language and "how to deal with emotions, stress, anger and stubbornness."

The tremendous growth and behavioral improvements that occur in the dogs as a result of the human-animal bond dramatically improves their adoptability. Through this transformation in the shelter dogs, which increases their chances of finding "forever homes," student trainers are able to experience making a powerful difference in the lives of these animals. After all, these are dogs that likely would have been euthanized without this program intervention. The kids' self esteem and confidence grows as a result. On August 31, 2009, Chad Selweski, staff writer for the Macomb Daily reports that "the youths learn commitment, responsibility, socialization and communication skills. Chuck Seidelman, a veteran juvenile justice administrator, was skeptical of the program at first, but states they have seen "a major improvement to these kids' lives. It's been very, very positive."

The canine graduates are available for adoption at the end of the 10-week program. If you are interested in adopting one of these dogs, visit Amy Johnson's website, Teacher's Pet: Dogs and Kids Learning Together. URL is

According to the Macomb Daily, the program is run by a non-profit organization that Johnson formed in 2003 and is funded by grants and donors. It is primarily conducted by volunteers. As such, it presents no cost to Macomb County.

There is a larger movement across the nation (that Teacher's Pet is based on) that relies upon animals to improve treatment and care at "nursing homes, counseling centers, physical therapy clinics, hospices and hospitals."

It's a beautiful win-win. The at-risk kids save the lives of the dogs, and in turn, the dogs seem to be doing the same for them by helping them find their hearts again.

For more information about the program, visit

Posted By:

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

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Gone But Not Forgotten: Book Excerpt from MAGGIE the dog who changed my life

Gone But Not Forgotten ...

Some of you may not know that "Maggie the Dog" in my blog name was my precious black labrador, my canine soul mate who inspired me to write my book in her honor, MAGGIE the dog who changed my life. It was Maggie who taught me who dogs are, about animal telepathy, and how to trust my own intuition/inner guidance system. My journey with Maggie led me into the appalling discovery of what is contained in commercial pet food and how that may be contributing to disease in our pets; it also raised many questions about how often to vaccinate our pets. It was Maggie who inspired me to share this with the world by writing about these often ignored, hushed subjects; and to also reach out to those of you who are deeply grieving the loss of your own beloved pets, to let you know that you are not alone; and to offer hope in your darkest hour that you will heal in time ...


Once in every dog lover’s life, if you’re lucky, that special once-in-a-lifetime dog comes along. You know this relationship is golden, a gift from the spirit world. You have found a soul mate. Animal and human spirits are inextricably intertwined, and you know there will never be another dog that comes close to the presence of this one and the bond that you share. For me, Maggie is that dog.

You know it when it happens. You think a thought and your dog responds. She knows what you’re asking of her, even though you never trained her to do it. You recognize that your communication is beyond words, beyond training. How do you explain it? You peer into her eyes and know you are looking into the depths of a loving, advanced soul. You may wonder, as I did, who are you in there?

When Maggie and I are out hiking, running errands, or just hanging out being “girlfriends,” I meet several people who have loved and lost such powerful relationships with their canine companions. They recognize that magic between Maggie and me, for once you experience it with your dog, you can’t miss it when it appears before you. I see the longing in their eyes, the painful missing, and the ache of irreplaceable loss.

“You just made my day,” one man wistfully tells Maggie when she greets him at the coffee shop.

Sometimes I see this man keep his distance, and he just nods at me—as though it’s too unbearable for him to touch the pain of his loss at this moment. I imagine his own precious memories with his dog dancing before his eyes.

“Enjoy every moment you have with her,” the gentleman at the coffee shop tells me.

I do enjoy her every moment. I know the day will come when I will walk in his shoes with that mournful longing, when I’ll be forced to learn to live with her absence. But to know it intellectually and to live it, I would later find, have nothing in common. That day, as far as I am concerned, is so far in the distant future it doesn’t even exist in my awareness.

As a child I was taught that animals were inferior to humans. We were superior to all life on Earth. This teaching was inherent in both culture and religion. Maggie helps me challenge that belief. She shows me over her lifetime that she is an intelligent, emotional being with a huge presence. I learn to respect her as a being who I share this planet with--a different--not a lesser being.

Posted By:

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