MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life

MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life
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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Chamberlin's Abusers Deserve Maximum Sentence (videos)

Chamberlin, a sweet lab-mix, was abandoned and found tied to a tree in the yard of an abandoned home, where it's thought he endured two long months without food and shelter; and he had minimal water. He was too weak to stand. Nelli Brock and Wilbert Morrison, Jr., are charged with 2 counts of felony animal cruelty. They will appear in court on Friday, October 29, 2010. Please contact the district attorney asking for the harshest penalty.  See the Sample Letter to the DA here as a guide.

Thank you to Laura Lassiter and Our Compass blog  for making me aware of this letter to the DA (click link at end of post to see on "Our Compass")  so we can all help Chamberlin and be sure his abusers receive the maximum sentence for animal cruelty.

Chamberlin's Story

Chamberlin's Physical Rehab

Chamberlin's Abuser's being arrested (video) -- the case:

Please click link below for a sample letter to the district attorney that you can use to help Chamberlin's abusers receive the maximum sentence for animal cruelty for what they did to Chamberlin:

Posted by: 

Dawn Kairns 
Author of MAGGIE the dog who changed my life A Story of Love
"They stay in our lives for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same." -- Author Unknown
Become a fan on Facebook of MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life

Friday, October 22, 2010

Destruction of Dog Pound Gas Chamber

A victory indeed ...Now we need to destroy all of these cruel gas chambers around the country to stop the excruciating deaths animals experience in them.

Posted by: 

Dawn Kairns
Author of
MAGGIE the dog who changed my life A Story of Love
"They stay in our lives for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same." -- Author Unknown
Become a fan on Facebook of MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life

2009 Indie Book Awards Finalist
DWAA 2008 Merial Human-Animal Bond Award Finalist

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Happy Birthday, Maggie

Sheridan Hotel, Crested Butte, CO







Posted by: 

Dawn Kairns
Author of
MAGGIE the dog who changed my life A Story of Love
"They stay in our lives for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same." -- Author Unknown
Become a fan on Facebook of MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life

2009 Indie Book Awards Finalist
DWAA 2008 Merial Human-Animal Bond Award Finalist 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Do Our Animals Who Pass Visit Us from The Other Side?

My wonderful feline girl, Cinnamon, did not have some of the usual fears and aversions you'd expect from cats. For example, when it snowed, she couldn't wait to go outside and tromp through it, or sit under a chair outside and look around for where she wanted to trudge next. As opposed to my previous kitty, Shanna, who merely had to see snow through the window inside to begin shaking her foot as though it was already wet!

Gone from this physical world, but STILL a presence ...
In Cinnamon's later years, when I stood in front of the mirror in the bathroom ready to dry my hair, Cinnamon came in and lay against the back of my legs. I cherished the feel of her soft fur against me. I got my hair dryer out and explained to her I was about to turn it on and she probably wouldn't like it. Then I held it down to her so she could sniff it and know what I was about to do. She was not phased. I would shrug in a bit of disbelief, and turn it on. Maybe Cinnamon would get up and saunter a couple feet away to sit in the doorway and watch me. And maybe she'd stay put right there, against my legs, letting me continue to relish her closeness, her softness; not in the least bit rattled. I came to love these moments with her. Maddie, our black lab, lay a safe distance away in our bedroom, resting or sleeping, with no hint of coming into the bathroom.

So it was no surprise how much I missed it when she Cinnamon got sick, began her decline, and stopped our special bathroom moments. When she passed on August 26, 2010, I knew these treasured times were gone forever.

"Black dogs will ALWAYS be my favorite!"

A couple of weeks later, I pulled out my hair dryer after my shower and stood as always in front of the bathroom mirror to dry my hair. In walked Maddie. Now you have to understand that Maddie steers clear of the bathroom during and after my shower (as opposed to Maggie, who I also had magical connecting moments with in the bathroom prior to my shower). I think it's too warm for her. So imagine my surprise when Maddie walked in, with a bit of a peculiar look on her face, and took small steps to curl into a ball against the back of my legs, EXACTLY as Cinnamon had done!! I was in utter amazement, and my tears began to flow. I could feel my Cinnamon speaking to me through Maddie. Maddie never did this before, and has not done it since (although she did walk in with a bit of a sheepish look the other night, brush against me, and walk out as I dried my hair).

What do you think? Have you had experiences like this with your animals? Do you brush it off or shrug it off to coincidence? Or do you look for those communications with your loved ones from the other side and validate them?

Posted by: 

Dawn Kairns
Author of
MAGGIE the dog who changed my life A Story of Love
"They stay in our lives for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same." -- Author Unknown
Become a fan on Facebook of MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life

2009 Indie Book Awards Finalist
DWAA 2008 Merial Human-Animal Bond Award Finalist 

Friday, October 15, 2010

Slow Dance

This poem was written by a terminally ill teenage girl with cancer. In it, I found a big lesson for myself. Now I share it with you to find what might be yours ...


written by a teenager with cancer.

Have you ever

On a merry-go-round?

Or listened to

Slapping on the ground?

Ever followed a
butterfly's erratic flight?

Or gazed at the sun into the

You better slow down.

dance so

Time is short.

The music

Do you run through each day


When you ask How are you?

Do you hear

When the day is done

Do you lie
in your

With the next hundred chores

Running through
your head?

You'd better
slow down

Don't dance so

Time is

The music won't

Ever told your

We'll do it

And in your

Not see

Ever lost

Let a good
friendship die

Cause you
never had time

To call
and say,'Hi'

better slow down.

Don't dance
so fast.

is short.

The music won't

When you run
so fast to get somewhere

miss half the fun of getting

When you worry and hurry
through your

It is like an unopened


Life is not a

Do take it

Hear the

Before the song is


Sharing this poem with us is her dying wish ...

Posted By:

Dawn Kairns
Author of
MAGGIE the dog who changed my life A Story of Love
"They stay in our lives for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same." -- Author Unknown
Become a fan on Facebook of MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life

2009 Indie Book Awards Finalist
DWAA 2008 Merial Human-Animal Bond Award Finalist 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Puppy Mills Cause Grave Suffering: Cast Your November Vote To Improve Standards

Proposition B: What It Means for Puppy Mills in Missouri

Re-printed from the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association
By Deanna Tolliver, DVM,

As a veterinarian, I took an oath to protect animal health and relieve animal suffering. Unfortunately, as a veterinarian in Missouri, I have witnessed the worst kind of suffering in dogs from puppy mills—rotten and infected teeth, mammary gland tumors, ear and skin diseases, overgrown toenails that curl into foot pads, and coats matted so heavily that the animals could barely walk. Most of these conditions result from years of neglect and could have been prevented or treated with proper veterinary care.

Given what I have seen in these kennel dogs, I consider it my professional responsibility to support Proposition B, the Puppy Mill Cruelty Prevention Act. This commonsense measure on the November state ballot will provide more humane standards for the care of all dogs in puppy mills throughout the state.

How will Prop B impact the puppy mill industry?

Prop B would require large, commercial breeding facilities to provide dogs with sufficient food and clean water; necessary veterinary care; adequate living space, shelter and exercise; and essential rest between breeding cycles. It would also prohibit the use of wire kennel flooring and stacked cages.

The measure would also limit the number of adult breeding dogs that facilities can keep to 50 (it does not apply to breeders with 10 or fewer intact female dogs). Since each female dog is capable of producing up to five or more puppies per litter, a breeder could still sell roughly 200 to 400 puppies a year, with a potential income exceeding $100,000—much greater than that of most families in Missouri.

Changes to mass-breeding operations are long overdue

The recent rescue of more than 100 dogs from two operations in Camden and Greene counties undoubtedly confirms that Missouri has an ongoing problem with many of its 3,000 mass puppy-production facilities. The Better Business Bureau, the USDA Office of the Inspector General and the Missouri state auditor all released recent reports detailing insufficient oversight of our puppy mill industry and the grave suffering it causes—both for the dogs and for their future families.

In spite of the neglect that many of these dogs have suffered, those of us involved in rehabilitating puppy mill dogs are amazed at how quickly they respond to a gentle hand and good veterinary care. I believe that Prop B will have a substantial impact on the well-being of these dogs.

Support is on the rise, but help is still needed

Prop B has garnered mainstream support from the Humane Society of Missouri, Central Missouri Humane Society, Southwest Missouri Humane Society, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), Best Friends Animal Society and The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). In addition, a number of veterinarians and veterinary clinics, responsible dog breeders, religious leaders and many Missouri businesses have endorsed Prop B in order to ensure more humane treatment of commercially kenneled dogs.

As the election nears, I hope more veterinary professionals will vote YES on Prop B, endorse and support the measure, and encourage colleagues, clients, friends and family to do the same.

To read more and endorse the measure, please visit Another veterinary perspective can be found in this letter to the editor, submitted to the Columbia Missourian newspaper by Dr. C. B. Chastain, DVM, DACVIM, a professor at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine, in support of Proposition B.

Dr. Deanna Tolliver, DVM, is a Prop B endorser, HSVMA veterinary member and owner of Cross Creek Animal Hospital in Waynesville, MO. She is also the proud pet parent of Janie, a Yorkshire terrier puppy mill survivor born with elbow dysplasia, who seemingly repaid the favor of her adoption by alerting Dr. Tolliver to an intruder and saving her from possible harm.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

An Animal is Abused Every 10 Seconds in America

The sad reality is that an animal is abused every 10 seconds in America. 

You can help change this unacceptable reality by becoming an ASPCA Guardian. I am writing this post to join the ASPCA and Dogtime in support of this great animal welfare cause. The ASPCA Guardians are a group of dedicated friends like you who make regular monthly gifts. This level of support makes it possible for the ASPCA to reach and rescue animals in need. You will be helping the ASPCA to make a difference for animals every month of the year. This reliable income will allow the ASPCA to focus more resources on their lifesaving programs, and less on raising the necessary funds.

Please take a moment to watch this ASPCA video that was sent to me by Dog Time Media (DogTime's mission is "to keep dogs out of shelters and to help those who are in shelters find loving homes"). Watch and listen to Tim Rickey, ASPCA Senior Director of Field Investigations and Response teams at work in the field.

In 2008 alone, the ASPCA Mobile Clinic Program spayed and neutered over 23,220 animals—a 63% increase over 2007, thereby impacting the problem of unwanted offspring and pet homelessness. Let's help keep the ASPCA in the field doing what they do best, rather than having them spend their time having to raise money. To donate to the ASPCA, please click here.

You can see below what your monthly contribution will do. ASPCA members like it because it's easy to budget and it feels great to be making a difference for animals every month of the year:
  • A donation of $18/month, you can help 10 animals get adopted.
  • A donation of $20/month helps keep the ASPCA Disaster Response Trailers stocked.
  • A donation of $36/month allows 5 dogs and 5 cats to get spayed and neutered and receive vaccinations.
Please become a Guardian and join the ASPCA donations program today. To donate to the ASPCA, please click here.

Posted by:

Dawn Kairns  

Twitter: themaggiebook

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

What Not to Say to Someone Who Is Grieving the Loss of a Pet

Having just lost Cinnamon, our beloved 17 year old cat, I can really relate to author Ingrid King's article about what NOT to say when someone is grieving the loss of their precious pet. I think you, too, will relate to Ingrid's well-written article. I share this for all of you dealing with pet loss, and for those of you who have friends or loved ones who have recently lost beloved animals. AND for Amber and Cinnamon:

Written by Ingrid King , author of Buckleys Story

Amber, Ingrid's cat
As a society, we are not equipped to handle grief and loss, and many people don't know what to say to someone who is grieving.  This can be compounded when the loss is that of a pet.  Even people who are genuinely sorry and want to express their sympathy often don't know what to say to comfort the grieving person.  

It is difficult to know what to say, and as a result, people often, without meaning to, say the wrong things that, rather than providing comfort, only serve to upset the grieving person even more.   Sometimes, the best thing to say is to simply acknowledge the loss - because the only thing worse than saying the wrong thing is to not say anything at all.  As I'm dealing with my own grief about  Amber, I am once again reminded of how much some of the things people say hurt, even though they're offered with the best intentions.

I know how you feel.  Everybody experiences loss differently.  While we may have lost pets ourselves, we can't know how the grieving person feels, because each pet and each relationship is unique.

Saying something like "I, too, have lost a pet, and I remember how awful it feels - my heart goes out to you"  instead acknowledges the griever's feelings without being presumptuous.

It will get better or time heals all wounds.  Grieving people know this on an intellectual level, but they sure don't feel that way, especially not in the early stages of grief.  Trite phrases like these only serve to minimize the loss and the very real pain the grieving person is feeling now.

Acknowledge the grieving person's sadness and pain without diminishing their emotions by suggesting that they're only temporary.

She's in a better place now.  It was probably for the best.   It was God's will.  Any variation of this will not be helpful to someone who's grieving.  Even if their belief system supports this, they're not going to find comfort in these words, and they may, in fact, serve to emphasize their pain.

Even if the grieving person believes that our animal friends never really die and that their spirits live on, any of the above phrases, directed at them in the middle of profound sadness, invalidate the very real pain of missing the lost pet's physical presence.

Let me know if there's anything I can do.  This is a classic, and natural, response to grief - we feel helpless, and we want to help the grieving person.  However, people who are grieving don't think straight, and usually don't know what they need help with, and reaching out or asking for help often requires more of an effort than they can handle.

Offer to do something concrete instead, such as bringing a prepared meal to the grieving person, or running errands for them.  If you know the person very well and you think it would be acceptable, stop by to check on them.  Otherwise, call them, but accept that they may not want to answer the phone.  Leave a supportive message, and check back again a few days later.

It was only a pet.  I find it hard to believe that some people are still saying this - it is callous and uncaring, even coming from someone who's not an animal person.  I'm fortunate that the majority of people in my life are animal people, so I've not heard this one personally, but I'm being told that it still happens more than you would think.

When are you going to get another one?  Not quite as shocking as the one above, but equally inappropriate.  Grieving pet parents know that getting a new pet can never replace the lost one, but getting a new pet after a loss is a very individual decision - everyone's schedule is going to be different.  (Read Life after Loss - Getting a New Pet for more on this topic.)

Don't cry.  Most people are uncomfortable in the presence of others who are crying.  It is painful to see someone you care about cry, but by telling them not to cry, you are prolonging the grieving process for them.

Tears heal and are part of the natural grieving process.  One of the best things you can do for someone who is grieving is to let them cry in your presence.  Offer comfort, but don't make them feel that it's not okay to cry.

There is no "cure" or "solution" for grief - it's an individual journey.  Navigating through the grieving process is difficult not just for the person who is mourning a loss, but also for those around the person.  The best thing any of us can do for someone who is grieving the loss of a pet is to set aside our own discomfort with death and loss and gently support them in their grief.

Cinnamon in our yard Spring, 2010
To learn more about Ingrid King, and her wonderful book about the lessons she learned from her cat, Buckley, visit and And visit and fill out the contact form requesting to receive 10 Steps to Deal With the Loss of Your Pet and for more resources on pet loss grief and support.

Posted by:

Dawn Kairns  

Twitter: themaggiebook

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Untold Story: Maggie the Dog Meets the Bull

Maggie among the wildflowers in Rustler's Gulch in Crested Butte
Well, here I am once again in Crested Butte, taking a little personal retreat. Even though I arrived after the fall Aspen trees reached their peak in color, the brilliant yellows, oranges, and greens on Keebler Pass were still  nothing short of awe-inspiring. I love this place.

I took a day off from hiking today -- my legs needed it. As I was planning my hike for tomorrow on the Lower Loop trail closer to town, I suddenly realized this is the hike that contains the untold story about Maggie that never made it into my book. Why? I simply forgot to put it in!

Here it is. Some of the Lower Loop trail crosses over private property. Tom, Maggie, and I were crossing a flat, pasture like area. I could wait no longer. We were by a large tree, so I decided it was a private enough spot to use as a bathroom. Just as I was quite compromised, with drawers down, Maggie suddenly charged forward a few feet away from me, and then promptly hid behind Tom, looking through his legs. Perplexed, I looked over to my right -- and froze for a moment in my squat. For just a few feet away, blending in to the shade of the tree, was a very large bull, slowly getting to his feet to meet our "brave" dogs' challenge.

"Oh my God!" I panicked and hurriedly pulled my clothes back together and stood up, praying it didn't charge Tom and Maggie directly. The dark monster-bull with large horns intact stood there for a moment, deciding what to do with this foolish dog and her people. Without either of us saying a word, Tom leashed Maggie, and we backed away very slowly at first, and then picked up speed as we got further away. He didn't charge -- thank heaven! Of course by this time Maggie wasn't at all concerned. After all, she was counting on us to protect her!

Once we were safe and the adrenalin wore off, we were in stitches about the entire scene -- the way Maggie false-charged the bull and then hid behind Tom for protection! That's our girl, bluffing a bull while I'm half clothed and nearly next to it.

Maggie in Rustler's Gulch in Crested Butte, CO
This seems an appropriate time to share this missing and fun story with you; and to honor Maggie -- October is Maggie's birthday month. Happy Birthday, Girlfriend. I know you're out there somewhere ... and we'll always, always be connected.

Posted by:

Dawn Kairns  

Twitter: themaggiebook