MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life

MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life
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Monday, February 28, 2011

EBay Now Allows Puppy Mills to Sell Dogs in its Classified Section.

I received this information today from Rocky Mountain Lab Rescue, sent to them by  Please read and pass this on after signing the petition to let eBay know you want them to stop the sale of live animals in their classified sections.
"Puppy mills" are large-scale commercial operations where dozens of dogs are kept in small cages for their entire lives, forced to give birth to litter after litter until they're no longer fertile, at which point they're usually killed. Puppy mills are unsafe, inhumane, and produce thousands of puppies with serious health problems every year.

Now, puppy mills have found a national vendor: eBay.

A few years ago, eBay had plans to sell animals via online auction. Responsible breeders would never sell dogs via online auction, so this would have resulted in the site becoming a haven for puppy mills. eBay users and anti-cruelty activists spearheaded -- and won -- the fight to prevent eBay from selling live animals.

But now all that's changed.

Despite eBay's claims that it "do[es] not condone unethical treatment of animals," eBay now allows puppy mills to sell dogs in its classified section.

This practice enables flagrant cruelty to dogs, and it has to stop. Tell eBay to shut down its sales of cruelly treated puppies and all live animals.

Puppy mill dogs spend their entire lives in small wire cages, without companionship, and often without vet care, exercise or shelter from the elements. As far as puppy mill owners are concerned, the dogs have one purpose: to supply the pet trade.

The USDA recently admitted that they’ve failed to effectively monitor commercial breeders and puppy mills. When it comes to sites like eBay Classifieds, it’s even worse: Breeders who sell directly to customers online aren’t subject to any USDA regulations.

The best chance we have to shut down puppy mills is to hold vendors accountable.

Click here to tell eBay to shut down all live animal sales immediately:

Posted By:
Dawn Kairns
Blog:      Dawn Kairns and Maggie the Dog 

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Forever Home for Marky!

It is with great joy that I write this post. It's the one I have wanted to write for a long, long time. Remember Marky, the dog Tom and I rescued last January, 2010 in South Texas near the Mexican border? After over a year in foster and 2 "almost" adoptions that didn't happen, our boy FINALLY found his forever family just over a week ago.

They are very nice and loving, according to Brownsville SPCA, and they just fell in love with Marky. Isn't that fantastic? They have two young girls, about 9 and 7 years old, a small Maltese/Poodle mix, and a cat. Marky has joined them living indoors. After doing a home visit that they described as wonderful, Cindy and Laura from BSPCA are very excited as they feel that Marky is going to be very loved and happy there. They said this is the perfect home for any pet -- yes!!

Marky will also enjoy a huge, fenced backyard to play in, always supervised. The wife/Mom in the family is a stay at home mom, so she is always there. Marky hit the jackpot -- which he so deserves. Another wonderful dog off the streets and into a loving home -- as it should be! For a long time I was unsettled about Marky. I was happy he was safe and being cared for, but I so wanted his "forever bond" to begin. I do believe they sense impermanence. Now I feel complete, knowing this sweet boy is finally HOME.

Posted By:
Dawn Kairns
Blog:      Dawn Kairns and Maggie the Dog 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Maddie's New Therapy Dog Job Takes a Back Seat

Our 1st picture of Maddie, 11 months
"Oh, you can just see that she walks around with a smile on her face ..."

"You can just tell that she is a happy dog -- she exudes joy!"

That is my Maddie folks are commenting about. For those of you who have read my book, MAGGIE the dog who changed my life, it's a bit of a déjà vu of what many said about Maggie, right? I feel so blessed to have had these two incredible black Labrador's in our lives who bring joy not only to us, but to everyone who met/meets them.

Enjoying a pig's ear at the Brewing Market
Awhile back I mentioned that Maddie was soon likely to have more of a humane education job in addition to her work at the juvenile center. Unfortunately, the humane educator at our local humane society who was planning to implement a pilot program in the Boulder schools left her position while we were away in Chile. Prior to that we had been discussing the possibility of Maddie being the "pilot" dog, and I the pilot guest speaker for humane education in the schools.

At this time, however, the shelter tells me, they have no plans to take humane education into the schools. Instead, they will continue their on site humane education camps for kids in the summer. So what was that, anyway, that their employee was discussing with me? Was my humane educator "friend" going rogue, without the shelters knowledge? I don't know, but I think she had a great idea. I was sad to see her go.

"I LOVE snowfields!"
So I guess in the meantime Maddie will just have to keep being a therapy dog to those she sees every day, along with, of course, the juvenile center teens.

Until her next job comes along ...

Posted By:
Dawn Kairns
Blog:      Dawn Kairns and Maggie the Dog 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Soul's Touching

Mom/foal we passed on horseback, Chile
I have to share this soul-felt experience with you that I had with a horse yesterday. I have always loved horses, but have ridden only sporadically throughout my life. I recently rode 13 miles on a horse out and back while in Chile in January, on the same trail that Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid supposedly ran cattle on between Argentina and Chile so many years ago. I have never had my own horse, although I dreamed of having one throughout my childhood. My draw to them lately has been strong -- but I'm not sure if it is to ride and take lessons, to simply be near them to learn more about them, or to let them teach me how to be more authentic.

Yesterday as I was driving home I was approaching the street where I knew Colorado Horse Rescue was located. I had never been there, so decided to find it just to have a look. I turned into the first gravel driveway on the left, thinking this was it. Two horses in the pasture each called to me with a soft neigh and watched me as I pulled in. That had never happened before. I parked in the middle of the drive and walked up to the first horse. I patted his head and he was pretty interactive, but eventually turned away. I went up to the reddish brown horse with the black mane, who patiently waited. What happened next was magical. He placed his muzzle on my neck, and left it there as he breathed in and out several times, his breath warming my neck and shoulder. His deep brown eyes looked right into mine. He then moved his muzzle to my nose and mouth; we were head to head, eyes looking into each others', breathing together. Tears welled in my eyes at the connection, and the depth of our souls touching.

"Thank you. I have never had this with a horse before," I told the gentle giant as I gently rubbed his face. "Thank you for this gift."

Beautiful horse we walked by on last Chile hike
He moved his muzzle to my other shoulder as I held his head close to mine -- and we hugged that way for several moments. His eyes never left my face. My heart was wide open, eyes still wet. I didn't want to leave such a moment of presence and connection, but it was time to go.

This wasn't the Rescue, I learned, but with direction I found it a little further down the road. When I drove past my new equine friend on my way back from the Horse Rescue, he watched my car until I turned the corner to head towards home. I'll be back, my friend, I'll be back. Thank you. I won't forget these special moments with you.

Posted By:
Dawn Kairns
Blog:      Dawn Kairns and Maggie the Dog 

Friday, February 11, 2011

Is Happiness A Choice?

Cochamo' Valley
I have not written a post in several weeks as we were away in Chile. My niece, Heather, is there for a year teaching English to Chileans. Going to visit her was our motivation. But the trip expanded from where Heather is in Santiago to the Cochamo' Valley, Northern Patagonia and the Lakes District, Southern Patagonia and Torres del Paine. Our last stop was Punta Arenas, right on the Straight of Magellan, to meet up with Heather again for a few days. It truly was the trip of a lifetime for us.

Tom and I riding to La Junta
"Life changes" was a topic rolling around in my psyche as we traveled.  Long ago I read a quote that said, "Subtle shifts create profound choice."Heather reminded me of that when she said, "How can anyone make the big changes if they can't make the small ones?" Profound. She would know -- she has made many in the past year.

There are many small changes I'm ready to make. Like simply getting to bed at 10 p.m. and not stretching the night on to 11 p.m. or midnight. Many possibilities are stirring side.  One includes "What direction do I want to take with my blog? Expand it? (which I'm doing for today's post) Stop it? But more on that another time. 

For today, I'll stick to  "happiness" as I feature my niece, Heather Wolfinger, in this guest post originally posted on her China to Chile blog. If you want to learn more about her experiences and travel in Chile, I encourage you to click on China to Chile and start reading!

Is happiness a choice?

Heather and I in Punta Arenas
I've managed to form quite a routine since I began my summer school schedule, one that involves going to bed and waking up at same time every day, something I hadn't been able to do in my first 5 months here. Although it was nice to have a bit of a variation in schedule, it's definitely true what they say about your body being happier if you get the same amount of sleep every night.

Part of my morning routine gets me to the Metro just in time to grab a Publimetro, one of the free newspaper publications that they hand out every morning. I usually go straight to my horoscope, peruse the remaining contents for awhile, and then take it home to Ita who then reads it cover to cover every afternoon.

This morning's edition is dedicated to happiness, more specifically about taking control and learning how to be happy. It also features a brief interview with Gretchen Rubin, the author of a book called The Happiness Project, which now appears to be published in several different languages. I actually read this book over the summer before I left for Chile, and although I didn't start my own project, I focused on the underlying theme that is present in many books of this nature, the idea that we are partially responsible for creating just how happy we actually are. In order to change our level of happiness, we have to change something.

Many of us fall victim to the circumstances of our lives. In saying this I'm not referring to those people who are truly suffering with a horrible disease or who have experienced something really tragic. I mean the people who get caught up in their daily lives without ever really taking the time to think about what's important to them or if they even like what they're doing. I had started to become one of those people, and indirectly that's what brought me here to Chile. I just needed a change...

I wanted to get away from my American lifestyle of going through the motions and killing time by buying more stuff at Target. I didn't give away everything I own, but simply due to space limitations I am living a much more simplistic life on a wage that's about half of what I was making at home. It's not having less stuff that has made a difference, it's what I've done to fill the space that has sparked the change. I don't drive, shop, or watch a lot of TV. That alone has freed up time to ride my bike, practice more yoga, read, journal, walk, improve my Spanish, etc. My friends Amie and Bryan are making similar plans for their own lives, and Bryan writes beautifully about minimalism here.

I know that many of my friends at home don't have the option to spend this much time on "themselves". They have busy lives, small children, work, and other responsibilities that bring them stress. The author of this book was in a similar situation with her own busy life and small children, but over the course of a year she managed to make very small changes and saw significant results.

What's something very small in your own life that you could change that would bring you greater happiness? Not a resolution, not a diet, not a pledge to give up Diet Coke...think about it. Pick up Gretchen's book, check out her website, or start making your own list. It could be something really small like pledging to have dinner with your family at the table every night. It's still January people, the perfect time to start.

Posted By:
Dawn Kairns
Blog:      Dawn Kairns and Maggie the Dog 

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Spiritual Side of the Human-Animal Bond: "MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life" In Depth Video Interview

I have not blogged for several weeks as I have been away in Chile. I have much to share soon about the street dogs of Chile who grabbed my heart, but it will take me awhile to finish "arriving" and write it. In the meantime, this author/book interview with me about my book, MAGGIE the dog who changed my life aired on Channel 8 in Broomfield, CO in January while I was out of the country. I have had many interviews since I wrote my book, but Stacy MacKenzie was a great interviewer, which allowed for the most in depth book interview I have had to date. I invite you to take a look as we discuss some of the lesser talked about aspects of the human-animal bond -- the spiritual side.

Posted By:
Dawn Kairns
"They stay in our lives for a while, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same." -- Author Unknown
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