Dog Blog

Sunday, March 31, 2013


I received word earlier this evening that a dear friend of mine, Pat Burda, passed away this morning from complications of diabetes.  Pat and I shared a love for basset hounds.  There was never a hound too sick or too old for Pat to give a second chance at a happy life.  She volunteered for many years at local shelters before moving to Texas with her husband, Don.  They lived in our neighborhood, and we met one day when they followed us to our house after seeing the BASSET ON BOARD sign in the window of our car.  We had our dogs, Dolly and Patti, with us at the time, and their bassets were on board in their car, too.  We were destined to meet.  Pat and Don attended several of our Basset Hound picnics in the early 90s, and their basset, Greta, was prize winner in the Howl-off one year.  She out-sang every dog there.  

I never saw Pat again after she moved to Texas, but we talked often on the phone, mostly about our dogs.  She frequently sent me lovely gifts.  Every Christmas I could depend on a parcel from her, which was always so appreciated.  Her greatest desire after she became crippled with her disease was to be able to walk her dogs again.  She loved her dogs so very much and was so devoted to them.  She never did get to walk them again, so this evening we walked our bassets in memory of her.  There was a beautiful sunset tonight after the storm, the kind with rays of light that reach toward Heaven.  I also saw a large, gray mourning dove sitting right on the stoop of our front porch before we left the house for our walk.  It stayed there a long time.  I know Pat sent it.  I believe that birds are messengers from Heaven because I've seen them before, just after someone I care about passes.  I saw a beautiful white dove on our roof the evening of the day when my dad died on March 30 five years ago.  It stayed there a long time, then flew off into a brilliant sunset like this one did.  A dove also alit on the exact spot on the lawn where my beloved little basset, Dolly, had last lain before she died so prematurely.  The birds were a powerful symbol of peace, love, and reassurance at a time most needed.    

Some of the shelter stories Pat told me gave me inspiration for my fourth mystery, due out in May.  I'm sorry she'll never get to read it.  Pat was a big woman with a great, big heart and such a loving spirit.  I will greatly miss her kindness and friendship, but I know she's tending to all the bassets waddling beyond Rainbow Bridge.   

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


If this doesn't make you feel guilty, nothing else will: 


Friday, March 22, 2013


Here's one of many reasons why I continue to vote for Senator Barbara Boxer, the animals' champion:

United States Senate

Dear Ms. Wright:

Because you have previously written to me with your concerns
regarding animal welfare, I wanted to let you know about an
important new bill.
I am proud to report that I am an original co-sponsor of S.395,
the Puppy Uniform Protection and Safety (PUPS) Act.  This
bipartisan legislation would close a loophole in the Animal
Welfare Act (AWA) and require dog sellers who breed 50
or more dogs annually for sale, including those who conduct
business over the internet, to provide more humane treatment
of all dogs.
As you may know, breeders who sell dogs to brokers or pet stores
must be licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA),
undergo USDA-led inspections, and provide sanitary and humane
conditions for the dogs they breed.  However, dog breeders often
sell directly to the public, and sales are increasingly conducted
over the internet.  Unfortunately, these breeders can circumvent
federal oversight because they are not currently subject to AWA
The PUPS Act has been referred to the Senate Agriculture Committee.
Be assured that I will work with my colleagues to see this bill passed by
Congress and signed into law.
Thank you for your past correspondence on animal welfare matters.
Please know that I will continue working to ensure that animals are
treated humanely.


Barbara Boxer
United States Senator

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


        In Loving Memory of Bubba Gump
              ?/1995 - March 20, 2009
           Gone but never, ever forgotten

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


As I'm sure you've noticed, Spring has suddenly sprung in Sacramento.  Today is warm, and the temp is going to get increasingly warm as the week progresses.  It's predicted to hit the 80s, and that means if you are in the habit of taking your dog along with you for the ride in your car in wintertime, parking him when you parked the car (I really hope you don't because it's not safe to do so for many reasons), then it's definitely time now to leave Rover or Fifi at home.  

These warm, sunny days mean that your car's interior is going to get up to dog baking degrees in a hurry, and that means big trouble for your dog.  If you aren't yet aware of the dangers a hot car poses to pets, please do your pet a favor and take time to acquaint yourself with them now.  Better yet, take Red Rover's MY DOG IS COOL pledge. Cracking the car windows and leaving the dog in the shade don't do a damn thing to protect the animal from heatstroke.  Shade changes position throughout the day with the sun, and even opening windows wide doesn't mean your dog won't overheat.  He doesn't have sweat glands like we do and can't cool himself as efficiently, so you must take extra precautions to keep him safe.  That also applies to your backyard.  Make sure your dog has a shaded area that will stay shaded throughout the day and that he has plenty of fresh, cool water to drink.

PLEASE, PLEASE don't leave your dog in the car to suffer irreversible damage to his brain or internal organs and ultimately die.  The internal damage done to him from heat stroke isn't always apparent until later.  If he is panting heavily, has a glazed look in his eyes and seems frantic, then he's in distress from overheating.  Waste no time getting him home and run cool, not cold, water over him to get his temperature down.  Then it's off the vet with him for a full checkup.  Wouldn't it be less costly to you and your pet to leave him at home in the first place?  

Aside from the danger of heatstroke, pets regularly get stolen from cars, sometimes even by well-intentioned pet lovers who think thoughtless, negligent owners who'd leave a dog in a car to die really don't deserve them.  I agree!  In a day when people's attention spans are diminishing and there are so many distractions to diminish them even further, it's just too easy to lose track of the time that you'll be inside the grocery store or, doG forbid, a mall.  Of course, if you have a service dog, that means he can go inside stores with you, at least until more local businesses relax their rigid rules about pets in stores.  I saw a dog riding in a shopping cart at an Office Max the other day.  No one complained.  That aside, the best way to ensure your pet's safety is leave him at home.  If he's anything like my dogs, he'll appreciate a little quiet nap time while you run your errands.

Thursday, March 07, 2013


A friend of mine lost her Pug, Tuxedo, on February 1.  She is heartbroken.  Here's a photo of Tuxedo Wong when he was just a pup.  A lovely poem accompanies his photo.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013


My humorous article, NOSES FOR CRIME, is featured in the Pet Spotlight on Crimespree Magazine.  I talk about how my dogs inspire my writing.  It's very nicely presented with beautiful color photos of my dogs.  I hope you'll check it out.  

Monday, March 04, 2013


On March 7th, The Wild Rose Press is holding a promotion for Holding Off For a Hero by fellow Maxwell Award-winning Canadian author and friend, Gail MacMillan.  The e-book will be free from their site only for 24 hours.  I encourage you to visit the site and check out Gail's book with the adorable Pug on the cover.  Her pug, Bruiser, was the inspiration for the book.


My great uncle John in Kentucky sent some more information about our family's ancestry on my mother's side of the family which I find intriguing.  Turns out that we are descended from the Huguenots, who were members of the Protestant Reformed Church of France during the 16th and 17th centuries.  Our ancestor, also named John, fled to England and finally to America to escape religious prosecution by the Catholics, including the terrible St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre, in which 5,000 to 30,000 were killed, although there were also underlying political reasons for the slaughter.  (Sound familiar?)  Later, my great, great grandfather became Kentucky's first Methodist Circuit Rider.  That's something like Jehovah's Witnesses (but not the same) who go door to door spreading their religion, only GG Grandpa did it on a horse.  

About the same time as the Huguenots, the first mention of a "basset" dog in France appeared  in La Venerie, an illustrated hunting text written by Jacques du Fouilloux in 1585.

Experts are now saying that there is such a thing as genetic memory and that along with our other genetic traits, like height or eye color, we can inherit other attributes from our ancestors of long ago.  I'm not particularly religious like my early ancestors were, though others on mom's side of the family certainly are.  This makes me wonder if any of those Huguenots I'm descended from might also have had a basset hound or two.  Could there be a link between Huguenots and hounds in history?   

Saturday, March 02, 2013


The Pets Saving Pets Photo Fundraiser began March 1.  
For every vote that a pet gets, Happy Tails Pet Sanctuary will receive $1 to support their many important programs, such as animal rescue and adoption, feral cat assistance, and community outreach and education. Every dollar/vote will make a difference in the lives of so many pets!  Vote at the link provided above. 

I hope you'll cast a vote for my photo entry "Bay Alarm" (that's Peaches in the photo) in the Pets Saving Pets fundraiser.