MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life

MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life
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Monday, December 22, 2014

The True Story of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

My friend sent this to me a few days ago. I had never heard this before and found it really beautiful and inspiring. Maybe you have never heard it either?

The True Story of Rudolph

A man named Bob May, depressed and brokenhearted, stared out his drafty apartment window into the chilling December night. His 4-year-old daughter Barbara sat on his lap quietly sobbing. Bob's wife, Evelyn, was dying of cancer.

Little Barbara couldn't understand why her mommy could never come home. Barbara looked up into her dad's eyes and asked, "Why isn't Mommy just like everybody else's Mommy?"

Bob's jaw tightened and his eyes welled with tears. Her question brought waves of grief, but also of anger. It had been the story of Bob's life. Life always had to be different for Bob. Small when he was a kid, Bob was often bullied by other boys. He was too little at the time to compete in sports. He was often called names he'd rather not remember.

From childhood, Bob was different and never seemed to fit in. Bob did complete college, married his loving wife and was grateful to get his job as a copywriter at Montgomery Ward during the Great Depression.

Then he was blessed with his little girl. But it was all short-lived. Evelyn's bout with cancer stripped them of all their savings and now Bob and his daughter were forced to live in a two-room apartment in the Chicago slums.

Evelyn died just days before Christmas in 1938. Bob struggled to give hope to his child, for whom he couldn't even afford to buy a Christmas gift. But if he couldn't buy a gift, he was determined to make one - a storybook!

Bob had created an animal character in his own mind and told the animal's story to little Barbara to give her comfort and hope. Again and again Bob told the story, embellishing it more with each telling.

Who was the character? What was the story all about? The story Bob May created was his own autobiography in fable form.

The character he created was a misfit outcast like he was. The name of the character? A little reindeer named Rudolph, with a big shiny nose.

Bob finished the book just in time to give it to his little girl on Christmas Day. But the story doesn't end there.

The general manager of Montgomery Ward caught wind of the little storybook and offered Bob May a nominal fee to purchase the rights to print the book.

Wards went on to print, “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and distribute it to children visiting Santa Claus in their stores. By 1946 Wards had printed and distributed more than six million copies of Rudolph.

That same year, a major publisher wanted to purchase the rights from Wards to print an updated version of the book. In an unprecedented gesture of kindness, the CEO of Wards returned all rights back to Bob May.

The book became a best seller. Many toy and marketing deals followed and Bob May, now remarried with a growing family, became wealthy from the story he created to comfort his grieving daughter. But the story doesn't end there either.

Bob's brother-in-law, Johnny Marks, made a song adaptation to Rudolph. Though the song was turned down by such popular vocalists as Bing Crosby and Dinah Shore , it was recorded by the singing cowboy, Gene Autry.

"Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" was released in 1949 and became a phenomenal success, selling more records than any other Christmas song, with the exception  of "White Christmas."
The gift of love that Bob May created for his daughter so long ago kept on returning back to bless him again and again. And Bob May learned the lesson, just like his dear friend Rudolph, that being different isn't so bad. In fact, being different can be a blessing.

Happy Holidays, Everyone!
Dawn Kairns, Author of  Maggie the Dog Who Changed My Life

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Please Just Give Me a Sign

Bailey Bear
My friend recently lost her beautiful Golden Retreiver, Bailey Bear (BB), to heart failure. Like so many of us, she was not prepared and it was a devastating loss for her. Again like so many of us when we lose a beloved pet, she experienced guilt. In her case it was concern that she and her husband had left BB alone too much when they went away on trips. Now, mind you, Bailey Bear was taken to a popular, upscale Boulder kennel where she received a lot of attention from people and played with other dogs. But that was where my friend's guilt came in. Was BB happier with all the excitement of being with other dogs and people than spending time at home with Patricia and her husband? Of course we know the answer to that! I had been on hikes with Patricia and Bailey Bear. BB adored my friend.

Soon after BB passed, Patricia was running one day and talking to BB's spirit. She asked BB  if she had been happy with how they cared for her during her lifetime. Patricia  asked her to give her some sort of a sign that she had been happy. She kept looking around for signs as she ran - butterflies, birds, etc. When she got back in her car after her run and while driving home, Patricia continued to talk to BB.

"Now here comes the WOW part." she told me as she recounted her story to me. "As I was walking into the door of my house Rhonda (BB's caregiver from Cottonwood Kennel) sent me a text with a photo that I thought was BB. A couple of minutes later she sent another text to tell me that the photo she sent was of BB's sister. Her name was Lola and it was the first time she had been to Cottonwood! She did some things that reminded Rhonda of BB, so she looked at her information. Lola had the same birthday as Bailey Bear - Valentine's Day 11 years ago! Rhonda confirmed with the owners when they picked her up that she came from the same breeder. I think BB gave me a sign through Lola."

As though BB wasn't convinced that was enough of a sign, Patricia had a most unusual experience with a wild animal -- a marmot -- right on her front door step. She heard a noise and went to explore. There, standing at her front door looking right in the window and scratching on it as if to want in, was a marmot! That just doesn't happen!

"In the 12 years we've lived here, I have NEVER seen a marmot up here," Patricia told me. "Roman (her husband) saw a marmot one time about 3 years ago."

Marmots don't do this!!
I, too, have had out of the ordinary experiences with wild animals after a loved one has passed. Like the bird who grazed my face with its' wing after my parents' passed. You may call it coincidence. But I can't ignore the serendipity of it all. How about you? Do you have your own stories you'd like to share in the comments below about how your pets or other loved ones who have passed have found a way to make their presence known to you from the other side?

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

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Why Are There So Many Animal Stories?

Several months ago I was watching Mark Nepo on the Oprah Winfrey network (OWN).  I don't remember how the topic came around to animals but evidently Mark asked a Native American elder why there were so many animal stories.  The wise elder responded:


"Animals never forget their original instructions, but human beings do.  So we need animals in our lives to remember the constancy of love, to be present, to be immediate to heaven here on earth."

Maddie & Tigger in back of truck on way to Tucson last winter

How true is this? Can you relate? I sure can.

Maddie's favorite activity in the world!

Along those lines Rev. Ed Bacon, also on the OWN network commented that animals "have this power to show us our true selves."

The ever-present Tigger
Where on earth would we be without the animals in our lives?

Order pages for my books:

MAGGIE the Dog Who Changed My Life
FINAL YEARS Stories of Parent Care, Loss and lives Changed

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Possible Cure for Canine Parvovirus?

My Precious Maggie as a Puppy
According to the AP, a North Dakota company that discovered an antibody technology while trying to cure dying geese is using its research to save puppies. Early tests with Avianax performed on 50 puppies in seven states resulted in a 90 percent cure rate for parvovirus, which kills some puppies while others are often euthanized due to the high cost of treatment.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued a conditional permit for the field trials that are taking place in sites in seven states. Visit this ABC news link to learn more and read the full AP article.

If you wish, a click on my book titles below will take you to their order pages:

MAGGIE the Dog Who Changed My Life
FINAL YEARS Stories of Parent Care, Loss and lives Changed

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Cooper the Family Dog Protects 3-Year-Old Boy in NorthDakota

Posted on @GoodNewsCops on Twitter
The family dog, Cooper, protected a missing 3-year-old boy from the elements near his home early Tuesday morning, including a thunderstorm, in Cooperstown, North Dakota.

3-year-old Carson Urness had been missing since about 7:30 p.m. Monday evening. He wandered away from his family’s 10-plus acre property while his mother was inside watching their 11-month-old daughter. Cooper was also "missing."

"Cooper is the family's German shepherd-Golden retriever mix who was adopted three years ago by the family after he had been found abandoned on the side of the road near a relative’s house," according to a May 8 Newsmax article.

The parents were joined by local police, a fire department airplane, and 200 neighbors in the in the search for their son. But they were unable to locate the boy. Due to weather conditions those searching on foot were sent home at about 2:00 a.m.

Police sent out a four-wheeler at about 2:30 a.m. on a final sweep of the property, and discovered Carson in a patch of tall grass with his faithful dog lying over him.

Read full Thursday, May 8, 2014 story by Michael Mullins here on Newsmax.

You can order my books here:
MAGGIE the Dog Who Changed My Life
FINAL YEARS Stories of Parent Care, Loss and lives Changed

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Fight Pet Cancer

My precious black lab, Maggie, was taken way too early by cancer. This is a photo of her taken just days before we had to say good bye. You can see the sadness in her eyes.

Cancer is the number one disease in pets. It prematurely ends the lives of more dogs and cats than any other disease. The Morris Animal Foundation has been funding pet cancer research since 1962; they have funded hundreds of cancer studies.  "Our research has led to more effective treatments, better diagnostic tools and identification of genetic risk factors—all of which are helping owners and veterinarians prevent and treat cancer in pets."

The Morris Animal Foundation is giving funds to more than 30 active cancer studies in 2014 and they are conducting the Golden Retriever Lifetime Study (Blue Buffalo is a platinum sponsor of this study). It is "the largest canine study ever conducted in veterinary medicine."  

“Every pet deserves a long, healthy life. Sadly, cancer has taken the lives of too many pets, including my beloved dog Luna,” said David Haworth, DVM, PhD, president/CEO of Morris Animal Foundation. “Our Foundation is working with the very best veterinary scientists in the world to help us understand cancer ... We believe that research is the answer to cancer.”

The Morris Animal Foundation has launched the Unite to Fight Pet Cancer Campaign to help invest in preventions and treatments for the deadly cancers that take our pets. You can join the Unite to Fight Virtual Pet Cancer Walk on Sunday, June 22, 2014 an inaugural virtual fundraising event that will give pet guardians all around the world a way to honor their dogs and cats who have succumbed to cancer and to come together to support pet cancer research funded by Morris Animal Foundation.

To order my books click links:
MAGGIE the Dog Who Changed My Life
FINAL YEARS Stories of Parent Care, Loss and lives Changed

Friday, February 28, 2014

Dog Voice and Sight Program Meeting Correction with Boulder City Council & OSMP

After my last post regarding the March 5 meeting of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) and the Boulder City Council regarding OSMP recommendations to update the Voice and Sight Tag Program in Boulder, I received an email from Steve Armstead, OSMP Environmental Planner and Project Lead informing me of the following:

"On March 5, an ordinance modifying the city code to enable the program updates will be presented to the Boulder City Council. As an initial introduction of the ordinance, this item is expected to be placed on the council’s 'consent agenda' which means there isn’t a public hearing for the item. A public hearing on the proposed changes will likely happen at a second meeting tentatively planned for April 1."

I inquired with FIDOS and was told that "the Voice and Sight discussion may be moved off the agenda all together as there is a discussion about a Sister City in Japan. We are working with the city to make sure it
will be on that date and will be sending out a newsletter with the final proposals and update on the
Council schedule on Friday the 28th or Saturday, after OSMP releases the final proposals...We can however provide feedback to the Council during the open session which precedes the meeting." This is important as it will give the new council members 2 weeks to consider about what they hear.

"What you can do is after 4.30pm on Friday 28th, sign up to speak at this link  But if it's not in the agenda, you won't have a place to speak, so you may want to go to this link to voice your opinion in an email to the Boulder City Council on the proposed restrictive changes to the Voice and Sight Program for dogs and their guardians on Boulder Open Space

"On the second reading it will be on the agenda and people will be able to talk directly to the item..." But by that time, says FIDOS from past experience many councilors have made up their minds by then. So Boulder dog guardians please let your voices be heard!

Click title below if you want to order  my book(s):

Monday, February 24, 2014

Protect Boulder Dogs' Freedom on Open Space

From Boulder FIDOS and B4ROS:

Help me continue playing on Boulder trails
Boulder City Council will meet to have the first reading of OSMP’s extreme proposed Green Tag program changes on Wednesday, March 5th.

Please attend to show your support for your fellow dog guardians, and to show your opposition to the proposed green tag program changes. You're asked to come to the meeting wearing your dog leash, to plan to speak at the meeting and/or write to the Council members at

Here are some talking points for a speech or letter recommended by FIDOS (Friends Interested in Dogs and Open Space and B4ROS (Boulder for Reasonable Open Space) to oppose OSMP’s extreme proposed changed to the Green Tag program. I have copied all of the following verbatim:

1) OSMP is unnecessarily attempting to punish the majority of dog guardians for the infractions of a few.
2) OSMP’s proposed changes are unfair. OSMP has gone over the top in targeting the single user group of dog guardians with these costly, complex, and excessively punitive proposals.
3) Regarding offenses such as one strike loss of Green Tag for chasing wildlife, or two strike loss of Green Tag if your dog does not come IMMEDIATELY when called --- No other user group faces loss of open space privileges for committing any offenses on or off of open space. Climbers do not lose open space privileges if they violate a seasonal raptor closure. Mountain bikers do not lose open space privileges for biking on a trail closed to bikers. Hikers do not lose open space privileges for hiking on closed trails, or for creating social trails. People do not lose open space privileges for harassing wildlife while trying to take that perfect photograph. Dog guardians should not be unfairly targeted with the harsh punishments outlined in OSMP’s proposals, which would even include Green Tag loss for a single offense of chasing a squirrel into a tree - on Open Space land or anywhere in the city of Boulder.
4) The $734,000 price tag, for just the first year, needed to implement OSMP’s proposed Green Tag Program changes, then followed by a $135,000 ongoing annual cost, is too high. This money could perhaps be better spent on building new trails.
5) Historically, Boulder has always been a dog friendly place. Just look at the picture in the 1967 first Open Space tax poster. If we don’t allow dogs proper off-leash access, only the wealthy, who can afford acres of land, will have this privilege. This culture of dog friendliness has been eroding gradually, and now there is another OSMP proposal to introduce a much more restrictive and controlled environment, with a complex set of rules and punitive regulations. Dogs are family members. Dogs need to run and to exercise. Dogs benefit us all by making us lead healthier lifestyles.

Maddie loves to run on Boulder trails
OSMP has used your tax dollars to prepare and fund unnecessary changes to the Voice and Sight program. These changes will have only 'social' impact (memo to council 6/18/13), designed solely to reduce dog related 'conflict' on open space. This perceived conflict is supported by carefully designed studies paid for by OSMP to counter previous studies conducted by CU.

Voice and Sight dog guardians will face increased fees, penalties and revocation of V&S open space access as well as DUI style re-education for an enhanced range of infractions. No other open space user cohort is governed by regulation of this scope and magnitude.

Click title below if you want to order  my book(s):

Friday, February 7, 2014

Craigslist Inadvertently Causing Harm to Animals

According to the Care2 petition site, "Craigslist is helping dog abusers find animals to torture by failing to enforce their own rules." You won't find the animals for sale in the "for sale" section because it is supposedly against the policy of Craigslist. Some dogs and cats are offered for free. The concern is that animals given away on Craigslist could be used for research facilities, as bait animals for dog fighting, or by people who torture and kill animals. Technically, you can’t sell animals on Craigslist, but you can charge a re-homing fee. This may open a door for puppy mill operators, too.

What can you do? You can visit  the Care 2 petition site to sign the petition to DEMAND AN END TO SELLING DOGS ON CRAIGSLIST. You can help save the sweet innocent face above from the poor dog below.

Ariel Wulff made a great suggestion in the article Pets in Danger on Craigslist. Because Craigslist reaches every major city in US, she viewed the Craigslist pet ads every day in her city and skimmed every dog and cat ad. She wrote a short letter to each person  advertising their pet on Craigslist for free. Ariel believes that "many of these people love their pets and don’t even want to get rid of them, but are in desperate situations and feel like they have no other choice. They honestly do not know the danger they are putting their beloved pets in."  She suggests we can do the same in our cities. It's a way to do something to help dogs and cats that you may never have thought of.

Check out my books on Amazon if you are interested:
MAGGIE the dog who changed my life  
FINAL YEARS Stories of Parent Care, Loss and Lives Changed

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Wasn't It Yesterday?

How did it happen? Wasn't it just yesterday we adopted her at 10 months old from the Denver Municipal Animal Shelter? She is clearly the most agile dog we have ever had. Now, my girl, Maddie is 8 1/2 years old. Still vital and lively, still joyful and loving life. Smart and understanding so much. (She benefited from what Maggie taught me about how much dogs tune in and understand what we are saying and what we want).

But I see the changes. The expanding white hair under her chin and between her paws. The limp when she gets up at times, not going as far on hikes, tiring more quickly when she plays. So I want to honor you, my Maddie girl, by sharing these photos of you with the world. I am grateful for you and hoping we have, oh, so many more years together. 

2011 or 2012? 

My beautiful girl doing her favorite thing, 2012

Ball fun, 2012

Throw the stick! Lake Havasu, January 2014

With Tigger on way to AZ in truck, December 2013

Camper contentment, December, 2013

Sun snooze in Catalina State Park, December 2013

 Thank you, Maddie girl, for being in my life. Love you, Poo.

Click title below if you want to order my book(s):