Do I need a narrator?

At three minutes to midnight by our planetary Doomsday Clock does it matter?

No, most likely not. But if you have a good story to tell outloud or to write down and share, you need to know about your options. What choices do you have for story narration? Upward to several hundred but let me help narrow that down for you.

A few memorable narrators

  • Cousin Mary in “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • The self loathing man telling “Notes from Underground” by  Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • Alec (a fourteen year old boy) in The Black Stallion by Walter Farley


    So far, these narrators happen to also be main characters but do not let that fool you! 

      As I began this new series “Write Monday” I gave an example

      I started with a storytelling example by one of my favorite contemporary authors. A brief introduction: this a unique writer who writes novels both for adults and children, also an author who’s fame owes much to the Broadway stage adaption of his novel, Wicked: the Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West,” Gregory MacGuire.

      Wicked…written in the third person pronoun, nevertheless this novel entralls me, due to a strong narrative voice. As a reader I felt instant curiousity for a storyteller who dared tell the story of an longheld character defined as “evil.” 

      Not being a longsuffering reader, I refuse to any boredom in a novel, but will stay longer in a nonfiction book, reported to teach a valuable stream of knowledge! 

      Yep, I read like a hopeless snob! 

      Wink, wink. I write fiction. I hold myself to a near impossible standard of excellence, I know “…the better is the enemy of the good.”

      What do narrators do 4 stories?

      A short list of narrator benefits

      • The Black Stallion by Walter Farley
      • Rivet readers by their voice
      • Layer story POV
      • Take a story to a larger world
      • Shift a story into a new time frame
      • Questions strengthens or foolishness of characters
      • Scatter clues, false or true
      • Make judgements on the plot, the character or the secret history 
      • Add complexity & other stories designed to enrich the central plot or readers bond with characters
      • Make readers love or hate the main character more


      It's not whar u look at that matters
      Vincent van Gogh painting

      Would this postman make an interesting narrator? I imagine he would speak at least three languages and take his job seriously.

      Thanks for reading & sharing Dog Leader Mysteries. Deborah Taylor-French

      Write Monday: a story must have legs

      A story must have legs

      I believe this phrase comes as part of a fable or joke, if you know the origins please leave me a comment. A big part of my day ended up being in learning mode on human and mammalian evolution. We even took a turn into the engaging long galleries on dinosaurs, filled with families taking photographs and selfies posed before the bones of many an extinct creature.

      So we sit, still in Act I, our opening for creative nonfiction or fiction. Of course, the legs our stories need do not have any real component, these legs we think about help us to define, form and structure our story like an animal that can stand up and walk. Why do I suggest our stories need to walk on their own legs?

      Can you believe these were herbivores?
      Can you believe these were herbivores?
      Writers need surprises, too

      When a story has good or great bones, it can walk, swim or fly off into surprsing territories. Once you examine what type of animal or genre you write. Much of your headaches settle in the area of telling the story. No matter what Act you happen to be writing, knowing the bones of your story makes the writing come much more easily.

      • bones give shape to stories
      • bones help stories walk, crawl, swim or fly
      • bones help writers pace their stories in readers hands
      • bones lend mood to stories & hint at the ending
      • bones can glow in the dark, long after the story has end
      Does this start a story?
      Am I looking down or looking up through a mirror?

      “…no surprises for the writer, no surprises for the reader.” Robert Frost

      Comparing stories to stage plays

      We can also look at stories and compare them to types of performance art or stage play. Choosing wether your story leans into comedy toward laughter, romps, mixups and ending in marriage and song, or if your story leans toward tragedy bring tears to our eyes and ending in the main character’s death, or for that matter if your story fits a hero’s journey full of challenges, action, thrills, fear. death, mystery and triumph. Defining your genre or story type helps the read know right away what type of a story he or she has landed in.

      Tune in next Monday for more on Act I

      I promise to talk about POV or what is known as point of view and choices available to writers as they being a story of any length. If you write for adults and an educated audience, then switching points of view can work well. Often writers of fiction tell stories from multiple points of view. Your first choice does not have to limit you in your revisions, but it helps to have a solid idea, through reading many, many books like the one your are working on, to gage what works effectively for you as the reader.

      • First person point of view uses the pronoun, I..
      • Second person point of view uses the pronoun, You…
      • Third person point of view uses the pronouns, she, he, and they,

        Does this dog look fearful?
        What’s the story here?

      Thanks for reading, caring and sharing, Deborah Taylor-French

      Write Monday: storytelling bones

      Act I

      Open a story with a hook. What type of hook?
      A punch in a character’s face?

      Maybe. Maybe not.

      1. A narrator says, “I’m going to tell you a story and this is why you must listen,  I haven’t long to live.”
      2. A dark and stormy night (no longer in fashion) means you paint a quick picture of a menacing setting. A train engineer falls asleep at the wheel, standing on a dead-mans switch.
      3. In other words, give us the stakes.
      4. Is this a story about a life and death situation?
      5. A story of lost travelers who end up romantically linked?
      6. A story of revenge long planned as the main character, protagonist or antagonist, imagines his anger served in a chilled glass of strong tasting liquor.

      Another way of talking about this is to discuss foreshadowing or presage. Story openings must make us worry. They must carry fresh tension and trouble into the characters lives.

      Beginning at the beginning does not always make the best story.

      Often writers begin writing a story in the middle or end then write the beginning. But somewhere at the beginning, readers or listeners need to know the who, what, where, when and why. Not unlike my high school newspaper training.

      Before the races or after?
      Where does your story start?

      Photo Credit: Marc Hoffman

      It’s about time (& place)

      The Ancient Greeks discussed story essentials as needing two elements: time and place. So a single character out of time or place must do tons of stuff to grab and hold our attention.

      • Deliver an unforgettable first scene.
      • Deliver a character or characters your audience can root for or despise.
      • Deliver a setting and time that adds tension, triggers worries, fear or pain.

      Example story opening from Egg and Spoon by Gregory MacGuire,

      “The heels of military boots, striking marble floors, made a sound like thrown stones. The old man knew that agents were hunting for him. He capped the inkwell and shook his  pen. In his haste, he splattered the pale French wallpaper around his desk. That will look like spots of dried blood, he thought, my blood.”

      Praise for Egg and Spoon  “Parents need to know that Egg & Spoon is an epic fantasy adventure from Gregory Maguire, the prolific author of the Wicked Years series.” Common Sense Media (.org) book review Egg and Spoon

       Where the Wicked Things Are’Egg & Spoon,’ by Gregory Maguire The New York Times Sunday Book Review  by Leigh Bardugo 8-22-2014.

      Kurt Vonneguts’ advice to writers, “Make your character want something on the first encounter with an audience.”

      Love good storytelling?
      Will your story reach readers?

      Please visit BookBub – Partners to read C.S. Latin’s post “3 Crucial Editing Phases All Authors Need to Sell More Books” published August 4, 2015. I read most of her blog posts that she shares on Twitter because her experience and advice to writers reference the high standards I have learned from other top writers advice.

      Here is a taste of that blog post. “Phase One: Get a structural critique.Just having your book proofread for grammar and punctuation mistakes is not usually enough. All too often writers publish novels that are structurally weak. By all appearances, the novel may be free of copy errors. But when negative reviews and slow sales follow, many writers feel confused as to why their book didn’t skyrocket to best-sellerdom.”

      Write Monday: the craft

      New topic on Dog Leader Mysteries?

      While studying fiction as a writer, I began this blog. All of my Dog Leader Mysteries have dog characters, dog humor and a thread of information on positive vs. negative training.

      After dozens of years of studying and writing fiction, I have decided to write about the craft of writing stories and to share tips for writers who need to tell compelling stories. Writers need support of other writers and quality information on how to connect with readers.

      Although I have written for most of my life, writing fiction still feels new. Well, when does eleven years feel new to you?

      How to study the craft of fiction

      • How to write fiction books
      • Read tons of fiction
      • Write at least a million plus words then keep writing
      • Join a writers’ group or club
      • Attend author book talks
      • Take online seminars on writing
      • Attend writers conferences
      • Participate in writers’ critique groups
      • Become a beta reader for writers you respect

      My bank of knowledge keeps growing

      I’m adding this Write Monday feature post, due to a decade of years as an active member of Redwood Writers. Our club has grown from the forty members when I first joined to a whopping team of nearly three hundred. We also are the most active of the twenty-one branches of the California Writers Club. “Educating writers of all abilities in the craft of writing and in the marketing of their work.”

      Redwood Writers motto? “Writers helping writers.” So in that spirit I will also offer some valuable insight, resources and skills I learn as Redwood Writers Author Support Facilitator.

      Topics RW Author Support Group tends to visit often include:

      • What is craft?
      • Can you define your genre?
      • How do I overcome writers’ block?
      • Where can I find an editor?
      • How to get published?
      • Where can I find readers for my books?

      Facilitator Chair: Deborah Taylor-French writes a monthly column for The Sonoma County Gazette. She has published in The North Bay Business Journal, Changing Hurt to Hope’s Cry of the Nightbird and winning video scripts for Sonoma County Regional Parks. Her stories and poems appear in seven Redwood Writers’ Vintage Voices.

      I like poetry that makes me laugh.
      A good dog + a good book make a great day.

      The business side of writing

      This August at Redwood Writers monthly meeting, our speaker delivered a hot topic with dozens of juicy details all serious writers need to know by Linda Lee. The title of the talk?

      “The Author Website: building a site that works for you”
      Who is Linda Lee?

      Linda Lee is a Web designer, WordPress expert and educator. “…an online expert. She is a writer, speaker, educator, and website designer who demystifies the online experience. Whether you are a novice or veteran Internet user, Linda can help you optimize and monetize your website.” As a former expert marketing executive, Linda Lee, continues to use and teach winning strategies for author Web sites and offers professional editing services.

      Please visit Linda Lee’s Web site Askmepc-webdesign

      Writing fiction tends to be a seven-day a week obsession. A grand adventure in self-employment or a hobby for some who love the craft of storytelling. A number of writers work as magazine editors, literary agents work in the business of publishing or write for pay in the fields of technical, business or news.

      The writing I love tells compelling stories.

      Diverse types of writing demand good storytelling skills. Bloggers, news features, newsletters of nonprofits, creative nonfiction, magazine stories, educational textbooks, even letter writing (a lost art?) all benefit from good storytelling.

      Write Monday: why tune in?

      Tune in to discuss questions like these.

      1. Can you define good storytelling?
      2. What mistakes do bad storytellers make that you hate?
      3. Have you ever helped someone write a better story?
      4. Tips for better storytelling.
      5. Lists to strengthen on your next blog post. Fun discussion on what helps writers get better at writing. Samples of the good, the bad and the ugly writing.

      The writing I love to read for pleasure falls in the category of fiction, especially historical fiction and mystery fiction. I happen to love learn. Plus I love stories!

      Sun lover dogs

      Senior dogs’ sunbaths

      All of our dogs were sunbathers, even my keeshonds! Keeshonds that have a double coat to keep them warm in snow and ice. Dawn and Nabisco loved to go outside and lay in the sun. How odd that they loved a short naps and feeling overheated. Their two-layered coats grown for chilly Dutch barges and cool winters did not stop them from stretching out in a patch of sunshine until they were panting hot.

      Happy campers
      Keeshond smiling Dawn + Kid
       Nabisco tiny +cropped
      Girl hugs her keeshond dog

      This senior dog, Babe, lowered her ears to let the rays warm another section of her forehead.

      Babe smiles
      Senior dog has a sunbath

      I believe Babe’s pet parents adopted her. She has become the neighborhood favorite, naturally mellow and happy to hang with guys or gals. She even tolerates little barky dogs like our Sydney  (Please, don’t tell Syd that! He thinks of himself as a king, and believes he is the all time favorite of everyone in the world).

      Some like it hot, some like it cold, me I like it whichever way I like it.
      Senior dogs rock, Sydney knows!
      Join the Blog Paws Community.
      Senior Dogs Rock

      5 tips for handling amnesia and back story


      New blog topic on Mondays: Moaning Monday am writing

      For my readers who are also writers of fiction. Roz Morris, author and editor, best selling author of “Nail Your Novel” has a treat for writers today.

      5 Tips for…amnesia and back story.

      Oh, terrific topic! Backstory, like an awkward meeting…forgettable or a nagging childhood ghost (beaten into a messy trashy pulp?) hits me where I live. I happen to love writers who can turn backstory into artful supense like Gregory MacGuire in “Egg and Spoon” or Margaret Atwood in “Alias Grace.”

      I’ve been avoiding putting much of it in any of my short fiction or novels, but as a reader I love knowing why a character is stuck in his or her life and resists change or healing. Reblogging this now on my new Moaning (bout writing) Monday.

      Please go smell the roses on Roz’s blog!
      smell the roses
      Do you Brass Band our floriabunda, perfect for the sunset side of the garden.



      Originally posted on Nail Your Novel:

      amnesiaI haven’t forgotten I’m half-way through the self-editing masterclass snapshots, but I got this fantastic question from a writer who’d read a post of mine about back story.

      I’ve begun the same novel a couple times and it relies so heavily on back story that I’ve begun to wonder if I should just write it as a separate novel.

      But I want to write a novel about AFTER the hero saves the world – and in doing so has forgotten HOW he did it and WHAT happened, which is a huge plot point. I want to avoid the ‘zero to hero’ shtick that is so overdone – and I want the reveals to be important with emotional impact. I’m not sure it will work. Thoughts?

      (Here’s the post that started it, and the question in full. Scroll down and look for Mark.)

      I like this concept of exploring…

      View original 495 more words

      Safe rides 4 dogs

      Go for a ride?

      “Go for a ride.” These words sound so sweet to our dogs. Of course, they love to have their nose out the window smelling the world that is speeding. But your dog needs a seatbelt or to ride safely in a tied down pet safe crate. specially  if they must ride in an open truck bed. California law and public safety states that dogs in truck beds must be cross tied though their harnesses to each side of the truck. An acceptable alliterative inside to secured each dog inside a dog crate rated for vehicle transport. Each crate must be firmly tied down for the weight of the crate plus the dog and will not come lose in the case of a traffic accident.

      Please don’t let your dog ride loss in the back of a truck. I have watched a dog flip and hit the street as a mini truck driver hit his breaks, luckily the dog was not hurt (that time).

      Not safe for dogs to ride.

      Dog time is longer than people time.
      No tie downs for 2 young German shepherds

      “It has been estimated that at least 100,000 dogs die each year when (accidentally) tossed from pickup trucks, For your dog’s safety, don’t let it ride in the back of an open pickup truck. Even if it isn’t killed, it could be lost and you might not even know where it fell out.”

      ”In Pickups-A Bad Idea” The Humane Society of Utah’s website.

      Also please read my page for safety tips, laws and resources “Dogs die falling off pickup trucks>”

      This is a Blow Paws Wordless Wednesday so please visit these other pet blogs. Some featuring cats  and other small or pocket pets who are going for a ride.

      Scary for the dog, scary for other drivers too.

      Why let a dog ride where a child cannot?
      Loose in a truck bed is deadly for dogs. It’s also against the law.

      This is a Blog Paws blog hop.

      Please visit the other pet blogs, thanks. Deborah

      The Nose Knows
      The Nose Knows
      Saving dogs on adoption at a time.
      Keep on Hopping

      Linked to:
      1. BlogPaws Wordless Wednesday
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      2. MyDogLikes
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      3. Basils Blog
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      4. Life With Lycan & Lexie
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      5. Pooch Smooches
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      6. Animal Shelter Volunteer Life
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      8. Truffles is Home
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      9. Tales And Tails
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      10. Have You Ever. . .
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      11. Love is being owned by a husky
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      12. Should Dogs Get Vaccines?
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      13. Pug Reviews Raw Boost Mixers
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      14. Tenacious Little Terrier
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      15. BZ Dogs
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      16. Dog Bloggers Rock – OMST
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      17. SUGARs New Home
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      18. Whatever
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      19. Raw Food Diets
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      20. ZoePhee
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      21. Athena and Marie
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      22. Summer
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      23. bailey unleashed
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      24. Piranha Finds The Way
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      25. Hawk aka BrownDog
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      26. I came, I saw, I started. . .
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      27. image-in-ing: LINKY
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      28. Bark Time – Sand Lover
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      29. Wag n Woof
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      30. S
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      31. Kitty Par-TAY
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      32. Spencer the Goldendoodle
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      33. The Daily Pip
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      34. Cole and the giant squirrel
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      35. Sleepy Sisterhood
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      36. Mom Is As Old As A Dinosaur
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      37. Greyhounds CAN Sit
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      38. The Life of Louie
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      39. Dollys Museum Visit
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      40. Dishonest Dog?
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      41. bichonpawz
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      42. Can a Cat Get a Little Help He
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      43. Missed Us?
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      44. Talking Dogs
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      45. They will remain in my heart.
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      46. Tails of Teach
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      47. American Canine
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      48. Wordless But Not Squirrel-less
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      49. Sand Spring Chessies
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      50. Poodle At Play
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      51. Sweet Purrfections
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      52. Lapdog Creations
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      53. Aussies in charge
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      54. Emmy the Pet Sitter
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      55. Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them
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      56. 8 Photos of Happiness
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      57. Playful Kitty- Lazy Summer Day
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      58. National Mutt Day
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      59. The Dogs of Greenhill Farm
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      60. Echo The Thinker, Christy Paw
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      61. Family Reunion
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      62. 8 Months Old
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      63. Style Pets
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      64. Wordless Wednesday
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      65. Speak Softly
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      66. Rubicon Days
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      67. Underneath The Shell
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      68. Inspire Greytness
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      69. Waterside Wandering
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      70. Wordless Wednesday-Cleo
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      71. CK: Wednesday Word—Selfies
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      73. Talent Hounds- 8 Pics of Happy
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      74. Craft for Shelters Results!!!
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      75. Forest Poodles
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      76. Terra Toby
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      77. Francescas Bath
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      78. So Fly
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      79. Boccis Beefs
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      80. His name IS Bruno!
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      81. The Island Cats
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      82. Coco in the morning
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      83. Its Chewy Time!
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      84. Flyball Video!
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      85. Barry Say Whaaaaa?

      Tags: blog hop, BlogPaws blog hop, networking, Wordless Wednesday

      Featured Image -- 8365

      A Hot Dog Isn’t Cool!


      Excellent list how to keep dogs cool

      Please share this with your readers and friends. A hot dog will never be cool. Don’t risk the life or lives of your pets. Cars and truck cabs turn into ovens, FAST. Thanks for hoping over and reading this post.
      Warmly, Deborah Taylor-French

      Summer can be deadly 4 dogs.
      ASPCA save dogs from heat

      Originally posted on ROXI ST. CLAIR:

      Time to get out with the family (and likely a family pet or two) and enjoy recreational activities. The purpose of this article is to serve as a reminder of summer dangers for pets, so that all of the fun isn’t spoiled by an unsuspected emergency or illness.

      NEVER leave your pet in the car during warm weather!!! Just a few minutes can be life-threatening, and costly!  In the heat, the inside of your car can reach over 120 degrees in just a matter of minutes even with the windows cracked open.  If you see a dog in a parked car on a hot day, try to locate the owner and let him or her know that the situation is urgent; otherwise, call 911.

      Signs of heat stroke include (but are not limited to): body temperatures of 104-110F degrees, excessive panting, dark or bright red tongue and gums, staggering, stupor…

      View original 350 more words

      Collar vs Harness

      Collar dangers?

      Collars and tags get caught on furniture, fencing and the collars of other dogs. Yes, pet lovers have reported pet deaths and super close calls. The Dog Food Advisor witnessed one of his dogs in a life or death struggle when a collar caught and began strangling his dog. Not that many pet lovers know that collars can endanger their pets breathing and swallowing. Certain dog breeds, like pugs, inherit inbred weaknesses of their nose and larynx. So do be very careful if you put a collar on a pet that already struggles with breathing. For facts and examples of collar dangers, read my page No More Death by Collar.

      Comfort is important!
      Our Sydney in his best harness

      To harness or not to harness?

      With so many new types of dog and cat harnesses available, I recommend talking to people who have a pet like yours. Some dogs and cats manage to stretch and wriggle out of harnesses and car seat-belts. It actually took us several  try to find two options for our Sydney. We really love the soft orange one. We believe it must be comfortable because he does not try to get out of it.

      Please microchip and license your pet so others
      can find & return

      In the age of microchips (often free at city shelters) you can put a harness with tags on your dog or cat, but add a microchip too.

      Microchip us, please.
      Please don’t let us get hung up on collars.

      Blog Paws Wordless Wednesday

      This is a blog hop. Please visit the other pet bloggers writing about pet safety! Plus thanks for caring and sharing, Deborah Taylor-French

      Wordless Wednesday
      Blog Paws Blog Hop

      Linked to:
      1. BlogPaws Wordless Wednesday
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      2. Pet Safety Quiz & Giveaway
      3. Forever Young, Truffles
      4. The Cat on My Head Good Day
      5. MyDogLikes: Vacation
      6. Life With Beagle
      7. Statuesque
      8. Underneath The Shell
      9. Pooch Smooches
      10. Tales And Tails
      11. Mourning the Loss of a Dog
      12. BZ Dogs
      13. Pawesome Cats
      14. SUGAR: Smile Cards
      15. It is a Snood
      16. Pet Hydration Giveaway
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      17. Athena and Marie
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      19. Back to the Beach
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      21. YourDesignerDog
      22. Chasing Dog Tales aka BrownDog
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      24. Tenacious Little Terrier
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      25. Love is being owned by a husky
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      26. Summer
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      29. Curiosity thrilled the cat
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      30. Bicontinental Dachshund
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      31. ZOOLATRY
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      32. bichonpawz
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      33. image-in-ing: LINKY
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      34. Wag n Woof
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      35. Golden Daily Scoop
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      36. Feeling Beachie – Lucy
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      37. Sometimes Cats Herd You
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      38. Kitty Par-TAY
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      39. My GBGV Life
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      40. The Daily Pip
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      41. Lessons From A Paralyzed Dog
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      42. Greyhounds CAN Sit
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      43. Hello Jedi!
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      44. the sky is falling!!
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      45. Celebrate the 5th of July
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      46. A Tail of Two Cardis
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      47. Life w/ Dogs & Cats: Scent
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      48. Sand Spring Chesapeakes
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      49. Tails of Teach
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      50. Translate that Bark
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      51. Onward and Upward – Surprise!
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      52. Charles
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      53. Soaking up the Sunshine
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      54. stop raining
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      55. The Life of Louie
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      56. Oz the Terrier
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      57. Sweet Purrfections
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      58. Helping hand. . .
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      59. Talking Dogs
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      60. TalesFromBackRd
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      61. Dolly at Dawn
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      62. Talent Hounds Dog for Dog
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      63. Its Dog or Nothing
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      64. Aussies in charge
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      65. Playful Kitty – Scary Story
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      66. Animal Shelters Are FULL Now
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      68. RED
      69. Two French Bulldogs
      70. Dorys Backyard
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      71. Random Felines
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      72. CK: Wednesday Word—Pants
      73. Earls World!
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      74. Dahlia loving dogs!
      75. A Little Schnauzer Fun:
      76. Tiffanys Diamond Dogs
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      77. Its Noodle
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      78. Paw Print –
      79. PUG SQUARED
      80. squish
      81. A Bowl of Noodles
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      82. Piranha Bananas Not So Fine
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      83. Craft for Shelters!
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      84. Poppys Dog Blog
      85. My Kid Has Paws
      86. Olive zones out
      87. No Dignity
      88. Pawsitively Pets Linked to:
      89. The Amazing Vermont Paddle Pup
      90. Bark & Swagger: Pet Safety!
      91. Lapdog Creations
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      92. Big Stretch – Christy Paws
      93. So Fly

      6 health problems in senior dogs

      "Dogs and cats age 5 to 7 times faster than humans and are considered to be elderly... from the age of about 7 years (on average about 50 human years of age).”

      6 senior dog health factors Vets must check

      Now that medical scientists know dental health in humans affects our hearts’ health, dog parents need to apply this finding to our dogs. Rotten teeth hurt. Rotten teeth may prevent a pet from eating and infections often block or mask to other wellness issues. Infections in older dogs, like in older people, can lead to serious, life threatening hospitalizations.

      On reading this useful list of what Vets should be checking for in our over the hill dogs, I thought of you, dear readers.

      1. When is the last time your dog had a wellness checkup?
      2. Do you brush your dog’s teeth everyday?
      3. Has your dog had his or her teeth cleaned?
      4. How long since your dog had a blood test?

      What about your old dog’s brain?

      Keep it kicking with new games and learning new behaviors

      Senior dogs depend on us.
      Senior dogs depend on us.

      Even my all time favorite dog magazine The Bark confirms my personal experience, “You can teach an old dog new tricks!”

      Just get your dog off the couch and start playing.

      Check out the fun and the good advice on The Bark “Teach Senior Dogs New Tricks to Stay Healthy” by Jeannette Cooperman.  To get a taste of this great article read this quote from the opening section “Check your assumptions.”

      “Another thing to remember is that you need to observe your dog closely, scrutinize your own assumptions about aging (some of us think getting old is the end of the world) and act accordingly. “The most crushing thing is this sense—I’m sure it’s not intentional—but it’s almost like the worth of the dog isn’t the same anymore,” Haug says. “People will stop giving heartworm prevention or shots; they say, ‘Oh well, he’s old, we’re just going to feed him until he dies.’” She pauses, then says quietly, “They deserve better than that.”

      “Ted Kerasote, author of the acclaimed memoir Merle’s Door, is a superb athlete; when his dog Merle couldn’t do the ski runs anymore, it broke Kerasote’s heart. Then it made him examine his own impulses. “The first thing to be clear about is whom you’re indulging. Very often, because we want to run or mountain bike, we delude ourselves into thinking, ‘The dog loves this,’ and we push the dog far beyond where he needs to go. The problem is, dogs age much more quickly than we do. Say you get a dog when you’re 30, you’re now 38 and in fine shape, and the dog is possibly geriatric.”

      Cu white ears back copy

      My thanks to the veterinarian writer at the link below for inspiring my post with his list of health factors most often seen in senior dogs. Go visit his Website, which has both a blog and an e-store.

      Geriatric Pet Health Services

      The Most Common Age Related Problems that Veterinarians See in Elderly Pets

      • Periodontal disease
      • Organ failure (i.e. heart and/or kidney failure)
      • Osteoarthritis (commonly referred to arthritis in humans)
      • Cancers
      • Blindness & deafness
      • Dementia

      Follow on Google Plus Dr. Renier Delport

      “Port Shepstone is situated on the mouth of the largest river on the south coast of KwaZulu-NatalSouth Africa, the Mzimkulu River(the great home of all rivers). 120 kilometres (75 mi) south of Durban, it is the administrative, educational and commercial centre for southern Natal.” Wikipedia Port Shepstone

      Thanks for reading, caring and sharing, Deborah Taylor-French

      4 health tips for dogs 7 years +

      Yikes, my dog’s getting older

      • Do you know what age veterinarians consider dogs seniors?
      • Do you know senior dogs need specific nutrition for their brains?
      • Do you know what you can do to reduce discomfort of aging muscles and bones?
      • Do you know how to help your dog before he becomes deaf?
      Breakthrough innovation in nutrition for dogs 7 and older

      “There are approximately 87 million dogs in the U.S. and an estimated 44 percent of them are 7 years old and older. And since dogs are considered senior by the time they reach age 7, that’s nearly 35 million senior dogs. But many dog owners who are closely attached to their pets may not be aware—or want to believe—that their furry loved one is considered senior at age 7. According to experts at Purina Pro Plan, a dog’s brain relies on energy from glucose to thrive; however, around 7 years old, the glucose metabolism in his brain begins to change, which can affect memory, learning, awareness or decision making.”

      Off-leash dog on a California Trail
      Off-leash dog on a California Trail

      Best health tips for your senior dog

      All seven year old dogs fall into the category of seniors in canine medicine.

      Now your own human doctor may have recommend that you add flax oil, salmon oil or coconut oil to your diet. Due to brain research findings  these health protecting fats, when added to a balanced diet, help people maintain brain function. Older dogs can (and need) to be taught new tricks, review canine good citizen have proven to improve human seniors behaviors, plus help them play an active role in family life.

      As for dogs, research shows similar results, which is good news for our senior dogs.

      “Scientists at Nestlé Purina have been studying aging in pets for nearly 30 years, researching ways to help our beloved pets live longer, happier lives. A focus of this research has been on medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs)—nutrients derived from vegetable (botanical) oils—such as coconut oil, that provide an additional energy source for the brain in dogs age 7 and older. One such study published in 2010 confirmed improvements in alertness and mental sharpness when senior dogs were fed diets that included MCTs.” “Breakthrough innovation in nutrition for dogs 7 and older” The Community Voice

       Look to best nutrition ideas from recent research findings to keep your dog healthy.

      I am not recommending Purina dog food of any type. I do not blog for Purina nor do I buy their food. I add supplements to my dog’s food and adjust his diet depending on his needs. We’ve been lucky that Sydney is basically a healthy dog. We keep up on his annual immunizations and wellness Vet checks. He has tended toward gaining weight, thus the new nickname “Pork Chop” and the use of fresh snap peas as treats.

      I love Marc. Marc take me home!
      Cone-head Sydney panting

      Glucosamine products have been studied and used for the healing of skin wounds, stomach ailments, and joint problems. Their use in the relief and healing of the symptoms of joint disease is currently their biggest use. Glucosamine and chondroitin have been successfully used in humans, horses, dogs, and cats. This article deals only with glucosamine and chondroitin and their therapeutic use for osteoarthritis in the dog and cat.” 

      “Glucosamine and chondroitin are normal substances found in the body of living animals. They are at their highest concentration in cartilage. Unfortunately, through degradation during digestion and processing, almost all of the glucosamine in an animal’s diet is unavailable for use. The body, therefore, synthesizes most of its own glucosamine through a biochemical reaction utilizing glucose. In normal healthy animals the body is able to synthesize enough glucosamine to keep the existing cartilage healthy, but when the animal ages or there is damage to joint cartilage it cannot produce enough to keep up with the body’s needs. This is where a supplemental form of glucosamine is needed.”

      Pet “Glucosamine & Chondroitin for Hip Dysplasia & Arthritis in Dogs

      4 health tips for dogs seven years+

      1. Add flax oil or 1/4 to 3/4 teaspoon of coconut oil to your dog’s breakfast.
      2. Add a daily dose of glucosamine and chondroitin. (Consult a veterinarian on recommended amount per dog body weight.)
      3. Teach your dog hand signals for canine good citizen behavioral cues.
      4. Buy a vibrating collar to teach your deaf dog when to come to you. 

      Do visit and share Deaf Dog Education Action Fund post “Training Your Dog With A Vibrating Collar”

      Thanks for reading & sharing Dog Leader Mysteries 

      Electronics stolen from animal shelter

      “Whenever anything truly bad made headline news and I would ask my mother about it,  she always said, 
      'Look to the helpers. You will find helpers when you look.’” 
      Mr. Rogers

      Burglary Rohnert Park Animal Shelter

      A Friday night in mid-June, burglars entered through an open window, grabbed a laptop computer, a portable printer, a projector and a flat screen T.V. The flat screen is used to teach volunteers and kids animal camp. Next, the thieves put the animal shelter’s stolen items in a truck owned by the shelter. “Burglary and theft always feels like a violation and it’s all the more maddening when it affects helpless animals,” Mickey Zeldes, RPA Shelter Supervisor.

      Are you a helper? Will you help?

      “The Animal Shelter League had been making preparations to launch a fundraiser to build small group rooms for the hundreds of kittens they take in each year and that must live in cages with little breaks for social play.”

      Yes, we agree.
      Don’t Shop, ADOPT

      “The frustration and sadness of seeing the shelter ransacked was doubly heartbreaking…now with the break-in, the limited funds must be used to replace stolen items.” The truck was found abandoned nearby. Kayla Webster, The Community Voice, June 19, 2015. Anyone wishing to be a helper and donate can do so at the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter. Thank you for caring, giving and sharing for homeless pets.

      The loss of the business and educational equipment should not keep friends, volunteers and community from improving the welfare of kittens they take in each year. Please donate on their Website Rohnert Park Animal Shelter or by mail or visiting the shelter at 301 J. Rogers Lane, Rohnert Park, CA 94928.

      Kid bake sale $$$  4 pets
      Animal shelter helpers!

      Looking for a photo credit for the one above. On Facebook RPAS wrote that these Kidz and Critters Campers took action to help replace the stolen items by holding a bake sale that  raised $381.00 for the animal shelter.

      Shelter Supervisor Micky Zeldes writes a bi-monthly column on shelter pets in The Community Voice and also writes blog posts on the shelters Website. I think she does a wonderful job of advocating for all types of pets. She also continues, along with volunteers, educating volunteers and children at the shelter’s summer Critter Camp.

      One Hundred Years of Kindness

      There is a fascinating overview of a hundred years of celebrating BKTAW at the website.  It highlights the celebrities that have been chairpersons for this event over the years including Shirley Temple (1936), Betty White (1971), John Wayne (1973), Doris Day (1975), Clint Eastwood (1982), and Richard Dreyfuss (1991) among others.  Many of these stars have continued on in animal welfare for their entire careers.  It also includes some of the achievements this movement has garnered over the years. Interesting to see how far we’ve come and what issues are still the same after all these years.”

      Mickey Zeldes 100 years of kindness

      Please visit the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter Facebook Page

      Please take action!
      Actions show who U R













      Thanks for caring and sharing, Deborah Taylor-French

      Featured Image -- 8193

      Recommended Reading: Authors on


      Read 4 the fun of it!

      With summer ahead, do you have a good book or two to read? I’m still looking for a few new writers. So I share with you, my readers a few authors that features today. Several of these  in-terms of short fiction or novels. I like finding writers who makes sentences sing, leap off the page or spin me into a richly detailed and compelling story.

      looks like Sydney, yes?
      Hey, can I say hello to your dog?

      Summer reading ahead

      Often I re-read a favorite novel like Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood or Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory MacGuire

      Gregory MacGuire
      Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

      Who are you reading and why? Do you have any new favorite writers? Are you deep in a book and don’t want to come out. Please share in your comments.

      Thanks, Deborah Taylor-French

      Originally posted on News:

      Looking for summer reading suggestions? Or perhaps winter reading suggestions, should your hemisphere be the Southern one? Look no further than these three authors who — like you — make their online home at

      Claire Fuller

      Claire Fuller‘s debut novel, Our Endless Numbered Days, has been called “impossible to put down” by Amy Gentry at the Chicago Tribune.

      PreviewClaire began writing at age 40, after co-leading a marketing agency for many years. The book has been shortlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize, which is awarded annually to a first novel written in English and published in the United Kingdom.

      Claire is a prolific blogger who likes to share her flash fiction and offer writing advice. Why not pick up a copy of Our Endless Numbered Days and then see if your location is on Claire’s upcoming events list?

      Here’s a synopsis

      View original 427 more words

      The Face Foundation: Benefits of Spay and Neuter for Dogs and Cats

      This reblog applies also 2 pet rabbits

      Do you love lists? I do. These lists will convince you of the health and welfare benefits to of spay and neuter for our pets. In many counties and cities in the USA free or low-cost shelter or Vet clinics are available. Don’t let cost block you from helping your pets stay healthy. This organization FACE Foundation saves dogs and cats lives by paying for spay and neuter costs when pet parents cannot pay for them. What a good service to spread the word for!

      Reasons to spay & neuter dogs & cats
      Be smart spay or neuter!
      Infographic 4 pet health

      When you spay and neuter your pets you are doing your part in helping to decrease the huge number of unwanted puppies and kittens that end up in animal shelters each year. Fixing your pet also has many health and behavior benefits for male and female dogs and cats. Here is a run-down of the benefits of spay and neuter.

      Please spay or neuter us!
      kittens & cats live longer and healthier lives when spayed or neutered.
      Female Spaying
      1. Stops heat cycles
      2. Reduces desire to roam
      3. Reduces or eliminates risk of mammary gland tumors and ovarian/uterine cancer (especially when done before first heat)
      Male Neutering
      • Reduces spraying and marking
      • Reduces desire to roaming
      • Reduces or eliminates risk of testicular cancer and prostate disease
      • Decreases aggression
      Spay or neuter & take me home
      Lost puppy on a street
      Spay and Neuter by the Numbers
      1. Altering increases the lifespan of dogs an average of 1-3 years
      2. Altering cats increases their lifespan by 3-5 years
      3. 80% of dogs hit by cars are unaltered males looking for mates
      4. 90% of cats hit by cars are unaltered males or females
      5. For every human born, 15 dogs and 45 cats are born
      6. 55% of dogs and 47% of cats surrendered to shelters are unaltered

      Thanks Face Foundation on WordPress for giving me permission to reblog this post.

      About Page for FACE Foundation:

      “Established in 2006, The Foundation for Animal Care and Education (FACE) is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) public charity, whose mission is to enhance and preserve the quality of life of animals by providing access to necessary medical care and education. Based on established criteria, FACE provides financial grants to animal owners who are unable to partially or fully cover the cost of their pet’s emergency or critical care.

      As many people today experience increasing economic challenges, their pets are suffering too. The number of people who cannot afford critical medical care for their sick or injured pet is growing at an alarming rate.

      In what is being labeled as ‘economic euthanasia,’ these beloved companions are being euthanized because their owners cannot afford the often unexpected cost of treatment needed to save their lives. The FACE Foundation was created to address this tragedy. What started out as a beautiful vision to stop the surrender and euthanasia of beloved family pets, has become a supportive center where families in crisis can get a helping hand to save their pets’ lives.”

      “FACE relies solely on donations to continue its mission of providing access to life saving veterinary care and to enhance and preserve the quality of life for these loving pets.”

      Readers, please visit their blog.

      They also have success stories on their Web site  FACE Foundation

      Please share their mission with pet lovers in California.

      Gratefully, Deborah Taylor-French

      This entry was first posted under Cats, Dogs, Education and tagged animal care, Animal Education, Animal Welfare, cats, dogs, Education, health, medical care, Pets, saving lives, spay/neuter, veterinary care by FACE Foundation.

      Dogs and Kids: Stop pretending that dogs don’t bite


      Dear Reader,

      The importance of this topic cannot be stressed enough. Dogs’ lives depend on our understanding of their hardwired survival needs. A dog who bites other dogs or people often loses his or her life, regardless of the human misbehavior involved or the situation the dog was forced into. I  hope you will visit and read the full blog on its home site, No Dog About It.

      We have a family story on this topic of dogs biting children. Saving dogs’ lives means saving children’s lives and their faces, too. I know because a neighbors’ dog bit our five-year-old on the face and sent us all to the ER for hours. If the bite had been a few inches to either side, our daughter’s eye or nose could have been damaged beyond repair. I promise to write up this event for you next week.

      Thanks for looking in on Dog Leader Mysteries,


      Thank you for your thoughtful comments, personal stories and for helping to educate others on social media or on your blogs. I love comments. Please discuss your own experiences on this topic as I plan to add to and write more on the often unseen dangers when children and dogs mix or live together.

      I love comments. Please discuss your own experiences on these safety issues.

      Learning (in short sessions) to wear a muzzle
      Muzzle training for a dog who liked to bite

      Originally posted on No Dog About It Blog:

      Jasper's new friend. He threw his stick for him until he could barely chase it anymore.On Wednesday night, I took the dogs to the dog park (like I usually do). Jasper spent his time chasing after sticks, Daisy explored the woods and Cupcake sniffed to her heart’s desire. We even walked with some friends (Tom and his dogs Ruby and Max), and said hello to a few others. It was fun evening

      It was towards the end of our walk that we first heard them. Children. Little ones. We could also hear their dog barking, and the owner calling it over and over again, with absolutely no success. Trouble was coming. I could just feel it. I called Daisy, Jasper and Cupcake to me and we headed out of the woods and across the field to the far end of the park.

      I admit I am always little wary of anyone bringing kids to the park. You just never know what can happen. I watched from across…

      View original 826 more words


      Save $$$ + worry with annual exams  

       Annual exam for our Sydney

      Body Language Sydney leans on Marc
      Dogs show us how they feel

      No doubt about it. Sydney was not happy at this moment. In fact for the week before his annual exam, he looked so sad, after pulling out more of his hair on his rump and licking himself until he bled. We knew our dog suffered from hot spots. We had treated them successfully with a natural product I wrote about in “Heal dog hot spots.”

      But we had not diagnosed the skin infection on his tummy. Luckily, our veterinarian, Dr. Steve Diehl, DVM, MS at Montecito Veterinary Center listens well, discusses options and does a full exam. That exam Sydney received a cortizone shot, had heart worm blood testing and got his nails trimmed. Our Sydney had been a conehead guy for about a week before, so our dog was more than ready to leave after those procedures. Marc wanted to know more about how to  give good care because our dog had a yeast or allergic skin infection.

      So glad we have a an excellent veterinarian! We took home two kinds of pills to give four times a day with meat or cheese. Sydney’s outcome looks good with an addition of a medicated allergy shampoo.

      For those of you who live in the San Francisco’s North Bay or Sonoma County, California, I am quoting our Vet’s bio on MCV Website because even on the page, he is an impressive medical expert. Go see him, we highly recommend Steven Diehl, DVM, MS.

      “As a teenager, Dr. Diehl recalls his parents taking him to visit Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael. He was enthralled with the work these dogs performed and, given his interest in biology and science, thought the best job in the world would be to take care of these dogs as a veterinarian.

      Dr. Diehl was trained at the University of California, Davis, where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science, a Masters Degree in Animal Physiology, and finally a doctorate in Veterinary Medicine in 1992. After completing his education, Dr. Diehl spent 6 years at a large small animal emergency and specialty practice in Santa Rosa, and fell in love with Sonoma County. Dr. Diehl served as National Veterinarian for the non-profit assistance dog agency, Canine Companions for Independence (CCI), working from the national headquarters in Santa Rosa. After working as a regional Senior Technical Services Veterinarian at Bayer Animal Health, he returned to private practice and, since 2010, has treated pets at Montecito Veterinary Center (MVC).

      Dr. Diehl practices general medicine and surgery, mostly on dogs and cats, and especially enjoys the challenge of discovering the underlying cause of a pet’s medical problem. His clients appreciate his compassionate and thoughtful style. He feels very fortunate to be a practicing veterinarian in Sonoma County and especially appreciates and admires the professionalism and dedication of the staff at MVC.”

      The importance of finding a great Vet

      We looked for a new Vet and found both a face to face favorite also matched our Yelp results for Santa Rosa.  Please research veterinarian clinics before your pets need health care. We have found it pays to stay up on annual exams and shots. After raising five dogs, all living in great health and enjoying long lives, I believe regular health checkups plus good food, filtered water and exercise keeps dogs well.

      Cone-head, panting to cool down in the exam room

      Having to take a very sick pet to a strange Vet clinic after hours felt double scary! Only once did that happened to our family. Sydney eat some passerby’s “weed” wrapped in a sweet swisher and two hours later we were shaking as hard as he was at a strange 24-hour clinic! If you wish to read about how ingesting marijuana made our dog sick for a week and  that top Vets do urine tests for toxicity include THC in their standard panels. Some Vets find that weekly they average six or more dogs sick from accidentally eating marijuana. Yes, you read that correct.

      Six or more dogs per week test positive for marijuana toxicity at a single Vet clinic!

       Please read my post from 2013 Marijuana made our dog sick

      Please leave comments and share.

      Thanks for reading. Deborah Taylor-French

      Puppy Nylabone Bone Recall

      Puppies need to chew so give them something safe.
      Puppies need to chew so give them something safe.
      Keep your dog healthy

      Please buy your dog food and your dog products from a local pet store or a farm supply. Ask if the business owners or managers if they subscribe to daily updates on potentially harmful foods, treats and supplements. Ask if they track all lists of recalled pet products everyday they are open.

      Use a trustworthy pet food store

      A caring and knowledgeable store will pull all recall items each morning then ship them back to the sellers before the pet shop opens their doors to the public. They don’t want your dog getting sick from anything they sell. Naturally, they want to keep your business and have you refer friends and others to shop with them. A  self monitor their products to keep from selling toxic products.

      The old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is certainly valuable in many ways to dog lovers. Be picky when it comes to buying and giving products to your dog for eating or chewing.

      We shop at Western Farm because they assure us that they check all product recalls and pull them off the shelf to be returned to each company that produced any and all pet product recalls.

      Do not buy this!
      Recalled Nylabone puppy chews 2015
      Salmonella tainted Neptune, NJ Nylabones

      “April 22, 2015 — Nylabone Products of Neptune, NJ is recalling one lot of its Puppy Starter Kit dog chews because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.” The Dog Food Advisor

      “The recalled Puppy Starter Kit consists of one lot of dog chews that were distributed nationwide, to Canada and through one domestic online mail order facility. The recalled product comes in a 1.69 ounce package marked with Lot #21935 and UPC 0-18214-81291-3 and with an expiration date of 3/22/18.”

      A few responses on Dog Food Advisor

      “Be so careful with chew bones, especially if your dog’s a fast eater. I lost a wonderful friend due to a blocked intestine. It was a large chunk of a “digestible” chew bone.”

      “I just bought these for my puppy not to long ago. And he chewed up the dark bone and ate it! Next thing I know… He was throwing up the next 24hrs- 7 times! Took him to vet and thy diagnosed him with an intestinal infection….. Wonder if it was because of the nylabone!”

      “Same with my dog! Vomiting and peeing blood! He has a urinary tract infection they said. Same symptoms of salmonella. Call nylabone!! They should foot your vet bills!”

      Read more on the Dog Food Advisor

       Action, return & complaint

      “Consumers who have purchased the affected product should discontinue use of the chews and may return the unused portion to the place of purchase for a full refund.

      Those with questions may contact the company at 877-273-7527, Monday through Friday from 8 am – 5 pm Central time. After hours and weekend calls are covered by a third-party poison control center.

      U.S. citizens can report complaints about FDA-regulated pet food products by calling the consumer complaint coordinator in your area. Or go to
      Canadians can report any health or safety incidents related to the use of this product by filling out the Consumer Product Incident Report Form.” The Dog Food Advisor

      “Consumers who have purchased 1.69 oz. packages of the Puppy Starter Kit from affected Lot 21935, UPC 0-18214-81291-3, Expiration date of 3/22/18, should discontinue use of the product and may return the unused portion to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact the company at 1-877-273-7527, Monday through Friday from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm Central time (after hours/weekends covered by third-party poison control center).” “Safety Recall”

      Visit The Dog Food Advisor

      Get free dog food recall alerts sent to you by email. Subscribe to The Dog Food Advisor’s recall notification list now.

      5 tricks for dogs or pet rats

      5 tricks pet rats do, your dog can learn

      Today, I feel like playing hooky from writing. Working on a new “Before” chapter for my Dog Leader Mysteries book, I have arrived at the challenge of revising. I wrote the first draft on Tuesday and want to keep my momentum going. But oh, the fun of finding a wonderful pet video.

      Our girl trained a pet rat

      My niece posted this darling fun example of positive clicker training with pet rats. Our kid had four different pet rats over about a five year span of time. Her favorite rat, Silky, learned to run across her electronic keyboard then jump on her head. Great entertainment and interaction for a seven year old who had suffered a broken arm. Within a day or two, she demonstrated cueing Silky when to run up her cast and perch on her shoulder. Of course, she trained her rat to run down from her head or shoulder, over the broken arm cast and jump off too.

      Alex + Silky her pet rat
      Alex & Silky, the smartest rat she ever had.
      See what positive training can do?

      I will never know why people use force or intimidation to train pets, when positive training works so well. Yes, I have used clicker training with my dog and rabbit. Yes, both responded super fast and eagerly to clicker training. We reinforced basic and important safety behaviors like.

      1. Come when called
      2. Wait
      3. Jump objects
      4. Shake hands
      5. Fetch a ball or toy
      Portrait of Alex + Silky
      Smiling girl with pet rat

      Please share this post for positive and cruelty free training of pets.

      Thank you for reading, Deborah Taylor-French

      5 Facts: Rabbits vs Whole Foods Market

      Rabbits vs. Whole Foods Market

      “Whole Foods Market buys their bunny meat from a bunny killing conglomerate in the Midwest called Iowa Rabbit. These are actual images from one of the farms that supplies baby bunnies to Iowa Rabbit. Does this look HUMANE to you? The bunnies are fed water through a dirty drip system. They have NO hay and are on dirty wire cages. These bunnies want to live. PLEASE ask Whole Foods to stop selling bunny meat. Go into the store, speak with the manager, do all you can to be a voice for these bunnies. THEY NEED YOU.” Facebook Rabbit Advocacy Network  

      1. Rabbits live like egg laying chickens with no room to move.
      2. Rabbits eat, sleep and suffer in  filthy cages.
      3. Rabbits drink dirty water, fed through tubes.
      4. Rabbits are raised inside ag-gag states at factory farms.
      5. Rabbits, eight-weeks-old, get sent to slaughter houses & killed.
      Please help rabbits
      Yoshi at more than 8 weeks old

      “Customers choose Whole Foods because of the ethical, health-conscious, charitable image it has portrayed itself to be. So how can it be that they are butchering our beloved bunnies? Last summer, Whole Foods laid out plans for a pilot campaign that would introduce bunny meat into several stores, and since then it has expanded into the following regions: Northern California, North Atlantic, Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, South, Pacific Northwest, Midwest, and the Washington, DC metro area. Whole Foods is being supplied by DeBruin Brothers, who purchase rabbits from breeders in Iowa and Missouri….” The Bunny Alliance “Whole Foods Cruelty”

      Warning this may hurt. How meat pigs suffer in Ag-gag farm states

      Mother Jones “Yet again undercover video documents savage abuse at factory pig farm

      The Humane Society of the United State Einon,”… on the contrary—we are a big tent organization that welcomes vegetarians and meat eaters alike. Our recommendation is to follow the three R’s when it comes to eating with a conscience. We promote reducing the consumption of meat and other animal-based foods; refining the diet by eating products only from animals who have been raised, transported, and slaughtered in a system of humane, sustainable agriculture that does not abuse the animals. We support and celebrate traditional farmers and ranchers who have humane standards– for the sake of animals, the land, and local communities. We would love for you to read about our rural development and outreach program, and also our state agriculture councils…” 

      Read this interesting note on how to raise meat animals without cruelty and with humane methods. My area in Northern California has many family and bio sustainable methods where animals receive respect, kindness, clean water, clean living quarters and a diet free of cast off animals.…/rural-development….

      Please take action for the forgotten suffering of meat animals by stopping Whole Foods selling another category of meat animals. The bunnies get shipped to a slaughter house at only eight weeks old.

      Please take action and sign this petition. Share this post with friends and animal lovers. Thanks so much!

      CARE2 Petition: Whole Foods stop selling rabbit meat 

      On small farms when people raise meat rabbits, they know how to prevent breaking the rabbits’ bones, messing up their digestive systems with the wrong foods and keeping their teeth from growing too long.

      Find and read about an international movement to stop farm animal cruelty. Compassion in World Farming (on Facebook)

      To close on a happy note, some bunnies like our Tuxedo get families patient enough to earn their trust. When a bunny loves you, he or she loves you all the way. You may notice that in this photograph from my mobile phone, Tuxedo stands on a chair, stretched out under our table cover to nibble yummy fresh oregano from our garden. Life with a house rabbit never gets old. He keeps us happy. Tuxedo keeps our kid like sense of surprise alive and hoping.

      CU Tux nibbles

      For my top blog readers, C-Dog & Company and Learning from Dogs, we send you greetings from Tuxedo land.

      Tux + tent



      3 things dogs hate

      Dogs hate three things

      Living with people for thousands of years, dogs have changed. They have learned much about people, in general and in specific.. Of course genetically, dogs as a species continue to change and be changed by human neglect or human intention.

      Science continues to study dogs. All over the world, canine and brain researchers keep learning new things about dogs all the time.

      • Dogs have a high pain tolerance, so don’t test it.
      • Dogs have a sense of fairness, did you know that?
      • Dogs have super sensitive hearing.

      Do not do these 3 things to your dog

      1. Never use a choke collar.
      2. Never give other pets treats without giving your dog treats too.
      3. Never yell at your dog.

      Number 1: The delicate breathing system and swallowing, which include drinking and eating, receive permanent  damage from choke and prong collars. See my No More Death by Collar

      Number 2: The research proves animals have a sense of fairness and that dogs can count, at least enough to know unfair giving of rewards.

      Number 3: The top trainers, canine behaviorists and research show that yelling will make your dog afraid of you.

      Lee Duncan and Rin Tin Tin
      Lee Duncan and Rin Tin Tin












      Thanks for reading Dog Leader Mysteries. 

      Deborah Taylor-French

      Please add to my list. Leave a comment for me because I’m sure dogs hate more than these three things.

      Lost a pet? 4 tips to search Facebook

       Search Facebook to find a lost pet

      Here is an idea I did not think up. Using a hashtag to search Facebook for a lost pet. Yes. A hashtag tags any post makes it searchable by others.

      Hashtag Tips

      1. Begin with the number sign # then add a top key word or words (run together like a web address or link) such as #lostdog and where you lost your pet such as this hashtag #SonomaCountyLostPets.
      2. You can then update or comment using up to three hashtage per entry.
      3. Include a photograph of your pet.
      4. Add a description and any medical needs

      A new writer friend, Brigid Wasson, shared this information on Facebook. If you live in Sonoma County, this could get your pet back quickly. Also if you live in a different California County, contact your county animal control and see if they have a Facebook Page and a way to connect with you on social media.

      Of course if you have lost or found a specific breed of dog, cat or rabbit in a location you can label, add those as hashtags too.

      Waiting is hard to do.
      Waiting is hard to do.


      Lost a pet? Found a pet? Inserting the hashtag #SonomaCountyLostPets into your lost/found Facebook posts will connect them with all other posts so tagged. Click in the link in this post to check it out. Remember if you want more than your friends to see these posts you’ll need to mark them “Public.”” Brigid Wasson, Director of Animal Services at County of Sonoma.

      Found a lost pet? Hashtags can help you too.

       Deborah Taylor-French

      Join us. Help animals.
      Blog the Change for Animals

       Thanks for caring and for helping lost pets find their way home.


      Dog driving you nuts? 6 things to try

      Got dog troubles?

      Whether the dog in question happens to be your first rescue dog, first puppy not responding to house training or your fifth dog that loves to hear himself bark, you are not alone. We know. Why? Think of the thousands of dog lovers who have felt overwhelmed at one point or another. We have been there, a few times (or more).

      Some dog lovers ask other dog parents for advice. Others consult books, dog trainers, canine behavior experts and veterinarians. The feeling of being driven nuts can bring up the fear of living out of control. Perhaps, you feel a little scared faced with a new dog’s difficult behavior or canine health problem?

      You want me to do slide down, right now?
      You want me to do slide down, now?

      Six tips for your sanity

      to retain one’s reason in unreasonable times

      1. Describe the problem.
      2. Write the problem down.
      3. How bad is this problem? Rate the problem on a scale of 1 to 10. Make 10 the most difficult or distressing.
      4. Name parts of the problem and details such as the time the problem began, describe the situation(s) where it happens, ask as many rational questions as you can.
      5. Come to your senses. Take time to observe, listen, note the cycle of behaviors or signs that signal another round of stomach trouble. Make this a lucid interval. Be curious about every observable clue.
      6. Make every effort to not respond in a manner, which might be making things worse.

      Stress trumps sanity

      Synonyms for sanity; a soundness of mind; sobriety, lucidity.

      We need to think clearly before we take actions to help our pets.

      Of course, these steps may all seem common sense. With hindsight, we have not always responded with these logical and sane questions. Stress in the form of our own or a family member’s illness clouded our logic. When time to think over our dog’s problem may have been lacking, working a high stress job or running a business was all-absorbing (if not physically and mentally exhausting) we had to reach out to others.

      Yes, we have experienced how stress shrinks thinking abilities. One rather embarrassing story, that we have not shared before, goes like this.

      Ideas about ideal dog behavior wrecks logic

      While both running our own businesses, we moved from southern California to northern California. Due to living in an apartment, we had not had a dog in many years. So I felt an urgent need to find our perfect dog. Perfect is not a word I often use. Maybe “dreamed of dog” fits better? After visiting the Petaluma branch of the Sonoma County Library and we discussed the type of personality we wanted in a dog. Both very fit, we wanted to hike and to run on the beach with our dog. Planning our family to include children, our very top priority meant a dog that demonstrated patience with children with a calm temperament. Plus being educated we hoped our dream dog would come to us both smart and motivated to learn.

      Soon, we began contacting dog experts in our area for local keeshond breeders and rescues. We wanted a female dog. Without attachment to getting a puppy, we made an attempt to contact a Marin County keeshond rescue. That effort proved unsuccessful. We visited three breeders who fit an ethical breeding profile, each raised beautiful, loving and calm dogs. Each never let a puppy or dog end up in an animal shelter.

      Got milk?
      Hi, I’m Dawn, a keeshond dog with my very own girl.

      Ethical breeder defined

      Please read more about ethical breeders and their lifetime buy back contract at “Photo Friday: California Dreaming.” Then we heard of a one-year-old female that had been returned to breeder.

      Dream dog trouble?

      Of course we fell head over heels and signed the contract. We thought we had done all our homework. Ha!#@? A few more questions, would have saved us worry, time and money.

      Mixed advice gave mixed results. Dawn, our first dog, a one year old spayed female had two problems in the first 24 hours. She refused to go potty. She happily went for walks, sniffed grass, drank water, but NO GO. Her first morning with us, she limped displaying a lame front paw. Off to the Vet we went.

      I have run out of time. Tune in next Tuesday for the conclusion of our first 24 hours with our dream dog, Dawn.

      Deborah Taylor-French

      Neuroscience key to animal happiness

      “…research in neuroscience has been showing that emotions drive behavior, and my thirty-five years of experience working with animals have shown me that this is true. Emotions come first. You have to go back to the brain to understand animal welfare.”

      Animals Make Us Human : Creating the best life  for  Animals

      by Temple Grandin & Catherine Johnson

      Water dogs having a blast in Spring Lake Park
      Water dogs having a blast in Spring Lake Park

      By Deborah Taylor-French

      Those of us who live and/or work with animals know…

      animals have emotions.

      Temple Grandin has made the understanding, care and handling of farm animals her life’s work. I refer to her book Animals Make Us Human because not only has she studied farm animals, but she also loves and lives with pets. In her books, especial this one, she insists that we must understand how animals brains work, how they see, hear and smell every sensory detail in their surroundings.

      Animals emotions drive their behavior.

      To make a better life for our pets, for domestic and wild animals we must understand the main emotions that drive behavior. This will help us to turn on their positive emotions and avoid turning on FEAR, RAGE and GRIEF.

      Example: Rabbits and horses are prey animals.

      • Never chase either rabbits or horses.
      • Teach your pet rabbit or horse come to you.
      • Always reward them for recognizing their name and coming when called.
      • When you chase a prey animal, you make him or her fearful of you!

      Emotions are the gifts of our ancestors. We have them and so do other animals. We must never forget this. When it comes to animal welfare we can always do better. Most of the time “good welfare” is not “good enough.”

      The Emotional Lives of Animals by Marc Bekoff.

      Dogs Depend on us for freedom from fear and safety

      • Never tied up your dog unless it is in your company in a human training session.
      • A dog needs to feel he call flee to safety.
      • Be sensitive to your dog’s fear signals and show him you will protect and calm him.
      • Increase your dogs positive emotions by interesting, but not overstimulating activities.
      • Always stop training before your dog gets tired.

      Dogs are the only animals that live with us inside of their flight zone.

      Dogs depend on us for positive and playful lives

      When you help increase an animal’s curiosity, you turn on his or her positive emotions of SEEKING and PLAY.

      Example: Dogs love to play.

      • Find a time and place when both you and your dog seem relaxed.
      • Invite your dog to play by doing a play bow or picking up his favorite toy.
      • Use an excited and happy tone of voice to call your dog.
      • Run away.
      • When your dog chases you, stop.
      • Wait for your dog to run then chase.
      • Always stop before your dog seems fearful or overexcited.

      Dogs love this game, which dog lovers know dogs play every chance they get.

      Temple Grandin Website and Book Orders

      Blog the Change for Animals
      Blog the Change for Animals

      Thank you for reading.

      Please share for the sake of all animals, because as

      Temple Grandin says,

      “Animals make us human.”

      Please visit and share Blog for the Change for Animals – this October 15, 2013

      Animals defy our tendency to define their lives and their limits.

      For further information on brain research, emotions in animals and the primary-process emotional-affective networks of mammalian brains read US National Library of Medicine  National Institutes of Health on the work of Jaak Panksepp, Ph.D. Affective neuroscience of the emotional BrainMind: evolutionary perspectives and implications for understanding depression


      4 tips for National Dog Day

      Silly or not this day comes with actionable suggestions to help dogs in the U.S.A. You do not need to have a dog to help dogs!


      This dogs loves people, not other dogs
      Central Park, NY
       Pashi greeted us gently and his person said, “Pashi loves people. We could spent all day in Central Park, greeting perso after person. But she does not like other dogs!”

      1. Understand & educate others that all dogs are not alike.
      2. Write letters, emails and call your state and U.S. Representatives, asking them to ban puppy mills.
      3. Offer to walk a neighbor’s or loved one’s dog that does get two walks a day because a dog’s sense of smell & need for roaming, often go neglected. For a heatlthy dog, go for long snuffling walks.
      4. Adopt a dog from an animal shelter or rescue. If you cannot have a dog, volunteer or donate to your local animal shelter.

      Thanks for reading Dog Leader Mysteries. 

      Deborah Taylor/French

      So long, the mystery was missing

      • What is the mystery here?

      I admit it. I have held back Dog Leader Mystery fiction. One of my new readers asked me in an email, “What’s the mystery in Dog Leader Mysteries?”


      Yes, I’m afraid so. 

      Having written at least a million words in my first nine drafts of book one, I should stop being so secretive about my characters and setting, right?

      So here goes, now that I have published over 500 posts on this blog, testing what brings new readers and keeps them I promise to keep pPosting a thread of Dog Leader Mysteries fiction, posting no less than once a week. 

      Okay, Paul, Debra and other frequent commenters, I am asking you to complain if I miss a week. This way I will know to make it up iti you with two posts the following week! 😜😜

      First paragraph in an ACT I chapter 

      Nevada pressed her knuckle to her lips. Something’s wrong and Dad won’t tell me the truth. But I can’t accuse him of lying because he changes the subject when I ask about the investigation. 

      She bent over and whispered in her dog’s ear. “You’ll help me. It’s not my fault I’m only twelve.”

      She stood up after snapping a leash on the harness of her black and silver Keeshond dog. 

      “Dad, we’re going for a walk before it gets dark.” 

      But to be honest with myself, I can’t wait another minute for news. Luckily, the very best town news guy is just three minutes away. Once outside we leave at a run, setting both my dog and me, panting.

      Thanks for reading and sharing, Deborah

      Do you dig it?

      Can you dig this?

      A rare & welcome sight

      I dig it. Never saw anything like it.

      Love this invitation to rest with my dog. I want to add something like this to our front garden, plus a few books to read too.

      Come sit & rest your feet!
      Dog walkers bench

      A dog walkers’ haven

      What a welcome sight! I delighted at rounding a corner to see this addition to a neighborhood a ways from us. I like walking my dog there because of the broad trees and tall fences give us cool shady lanes on warm mornings and afternoons.

      I dig green stuff!
      Sydney digs it.

      Sydney not only loves walking and rolling in the grass, he loves eating it too. All our dogs have loved chewing on grass. Maybe it’s doggie chewing gum? He also loves to pick and eat sweet peas off the vine, strawberries and raspberries.

      An ear full of compost?

      Six weeks ago Sydney worked his ear to the ground and came up with an earful of dirt. The black gold compost we spread around our roses, evergreens and vegetables. Well, what makes our garden grow, is no good for dogs. Sydney packed his ear so full, we had to take him to a Vet to get it out. More later on that Vet visit, when I get over the fact that a little dog without the use of human hands, pack about 1/4 up of dirt in one ear. Marc says, “There were potatoes growing. He’d started a whole garden in his ear.”

      This is a Blog Paws blog hop so please visit and see the cute garden pets today.

      Wordless Wednesday
      Blog Paws Blog Hop

      Dogs + flowers?

      Wordless Wednesday?

      Readers know, I’m rarely at a loss for words. But today? Just smell the roses with me.

      Hey, come on.
      Sydney loves to hike.
      smell the roses
      Brass Band, our floribunda,in the sunset side of our garden.
      This flowers R 4 the birds.
      We love summer!

      Hop around and visit all the pet blogs on Blog Paws Wordless Wednesday.

      Wordless Wednesday
      Blog Paws Blog Hop

      No throwback puppy!

      A blast from the past
      Syd the kid

      Sydney, A.K.A. Sid Vicious, the smartest dog I ever trained.

      From a puppy sold by a backyard breeder, our pup had two families before he got surrendered at the Petaluma Animal Shelter. Never house trained, Sydney knew “sit” and little else. He had bitten groomers, veterinarians and the shelter staff. Because he waited three weeks at the animal shelter for an experienced dog family. Having raised five adopted dogs, each homeless at the age of one year like Sydney, I qualified.

      4 tips for a successful pet adoption
      1. Know what type of dog is best for you and your family (yes, size matters).
      2. Take the time to search local shelters and dog rescues.
      3. Visit the dog several times before adopting.
      4. Sign up for a training class or private lesson the first week!
      Qualified for a whole world of trouble.
      I've met my match in mom.
      Baby Sydney at 1 year
      After eleven years, what a successful pet adoption!

      Please read my page “Adopt Don’t Shop, Save a Life of a Dog or a Child.”