Tag Archives: dogs

Exclusive Book Cover Reveal!

Today, The Furever Home Friends is revealing the cover for their new book, Just Me, Wrigley! See the cover below!

Wrigley loves to dance. She can shake her tail all over the animal shelter. But for some people, Wrigley’s rhythm isn’t enough. Wrigley is a mutt; she doesn’t know what breed she is. While others come to the shelter looking for schnauzers, labs, and Dalmatians, Wrigley wonders when it will be her turn. Can Wrigley find the confidence to stay true to herself and dance her way into a forever home?

Like with all Furever Home Friends books, 10% of this book’s profits will benefit no-kill animal shelters!

Just Me, Wrigley is currently available for preorder on fureverhomefriends.com, and will officially release on Amazon on Saturday, August 11!

What do you think of the cover? Let me know in the comments below!


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Sterling, Best Dog Ever Book Review

Sterling, Best Dog Ever by Aidan Cassie follows the adventures of one very confused Dachshund.  Sterling hasn’t had very good luck in finding a forever home.  His owners seem to always lose interest, sending him back to the streets.

One night, Sterling notices a sign at the Butlery Cutlery Company.  Their utensils are being shipped to “all the best homes.”  He decides to hide in one of the boxes where he waits to be delivered to his perfect home.

The Gilberts are surprised to see the pup inside their box of forks.  Yet, Sterling has a plan.  He won’t just be any fork; he’s going to be the best fork ever!  But when his plan starts to unravel, will he find the courage to be what the family really needs?

I absolutely adore this book!  This is definitely one of my favorite picture books of all time.  Sterling’s character is beyond adorable.  He reminds me of my own dachshund, Hope.  Young and old alike will relate to his struggle of feeling like he needs to be something other than himself.

This story is full of emotion and heart.  I loved watching Sterling’s silly antics, yet my heart broke when he kept trying to be what he thought everyone wanted.  I definitely shed tears at the end.

The character of the little girl reminds me of myself.  I noticed that her bedroom wall is covered in dog posters and drawings.  She also has numerous stuffed dogs tucked away under her night stand.  I can totally relate to her passion for pooches (especially dachshunds).

I also love that this story sheds light on the importance of animal adoption.  As the proud pet parent to five rescue dogs, I know that many of them have a story similar to Sterling’s.  They were loved for a time, yet dumped when the owners became “bored” with them.  This book would be a great addition to the humane education curriculum at animal shelters and rescue groups across the country.

Cassie’s illustrations are truly stunning.  Sterling’s expressions are priceless.  I was in love with his character the moment I saw the book cover.  I also love the spotlight illustrations at the beginning of the book that show Sterling trying to imitate numerous items.  My favorite was the curling iron (my husband favored the jackhammer).

This book is a fantastic read for animal lovers of all ages.  Readers will cheer Sterling on in his quest to find his true purpose.  I hope to see more books featuring the best dog ever.


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Inhumane Humanity

My hands shook as I listened to a voice mail on my cell phone. I could not believe it. I had just received a call for an interview at my dream job!

If everything went well, I would be the newest member of the Missouri Humane Society as an Adoption Counselor. My husband and I visit their Macklindlocation at least once a month to give treats to the animals still searching for their forever homes. To think that I would get to be a part of such a wonderful group was mind blowing.

However, my joy soon diminished as I realized I had gotten an interview for their Chesterfield location. This would mean almost an hour drive every day. Plus, I would have to work on holidays as well as weekends. But my passion for animals is so great that I knew compromises would have to be made.

The doors opened and I stepped into the adoption center. Cute kitties pawed at me from behind their glass enclosures. Animal themed gifts filled the mini gift shop. It was official. I was in heaven!

I immediately hit it off with the manager. *Beth and I had the same passion for saving lives. I was then asked how I felt about euthanasia. “Well, I liken it to deer hunting,” I explained. “I do not participate or support it, but I understand why it is sometimes needed.” She said, “Great analogy! I don’t like hunting either.”

Before I knew it, I had received an offer for immediate employment. While overjoyed, there was still one issue that needed to be addressed: the pay. Accepting this job would mean a HUGE pay cut. My husband was less than thrilled, but wanted to support my dream. He knows that I am not meant for the cut throat office world. I have had my share of that abuse. And I truly do have a talent for working with animals. They seem to instantly trust me. I firmly believe that it is a gift from God.

I do not want to be selfish, but I am ready to do something meaningful with my life. Something that will utilize the skills and talents that God has given me. I no longer want to pretend to be something that I am not.

Taking a deep breath, I brought up the salary. Beth told me that she would see what she could do. Then she began to talk about another position that was still open. The Transport Coordinator would be responsible for going to area shelters and selecting the most adoptable animals to be brought back to the humane society. This person would also assist the Missouri Animal Cruelty Task Force in rescuing abused and neglected animals. And Beth thought I would be just perfect for the job!

She raced out of the room in search of her phone. She hoped that she would be able to reach her supervisor so that I could get hired on the spot for that (higher paying) position. I thought that the stars of my life were finally aligning. God did have a plan for me and it was going to be amazing!

Unfortunately, Beth was unable to locate her boss. I left with the understanding that the Adoption Counselor position was mine if I wanted it and that Beth would be contacting me when she heard from her boss.

I left feeling so excited. Beth had given me more compliments than any of my bosses (past and present) ever have. Everything felt so right.

The next morning, I received a call requesting an interview that very day in the afternoon. I readily accepted and watched the clock slowly tick away the minutes until my departure. My phone rang about two hours before the interview. It was *Michelle, Beth’s boss, wanting to conduct a pre-interview. She began by explaining the hours and how they would vary. Some overnight travel may be required. I was nodding my head, as if she could see me. Michelle then asked how I felt about euthanasia. I decided to stick with my hunting analogy since it was such a hit and accurately describes how I feel about the subject.

“You would be performing this,” Michelle stated.

My heart immediately dropped into my stomach. I felt like I was going to throw up. “I would be performing euthanasia?” I asked incredulously.

“Yes, that is a requirement for this job.”

I was completely horrified. I am known as the saver of animal lives, not the destroyer. No way in a million years could I ever kill an animal, no matter how much money was thrown at me.

“No, I could never do that,” I replied.

“Well, it is a requirement for this position,”Michelle commented. She then left a very pregnant pause as if I was going to change my mind.

“I’m sorry, but I could never do that,” I answered.

We thanked each other for our time and hung up. I was enraged. Beth had billed the Transport Coordinator position as one that would SAVE lives. She did not make a single mention of the fact that I would also be responsible for needlessly killing animals. I would have showed no interest in the job if I had known the full details.

This experience has greatly changed my opinion of the Missouri Humane Society and what they stand for. I found out that if they have a large influx of animals, those that have treatable illnesses, such as UTI’s, are euthanized to make space for their healthy, adoptable counterparts. While I understand that overcrowding is a real issue, what I cannot wrap my brain around is the fact that HSMO just received a multimillion dollar grant to build a new, larger facility. Doesn’t this mean that they will have more space for intakes? And they are blessed enough to have 3 locations, unlike most animal shelters and humane societies that are lucky to have just one.

With all of these spaces to house homeless animals, why are they insistent upon killing them? I own several fur babies that I know they would have deemed “unadoptable.”Hope, our double dapple Dachshund, was born without eyes and is completely deaf. She is the biggest inspiration in my life. Even with these“disabilities,” she lives her best life in which her tail is always wagging. Hope holds her head high as she prances from room to room. Had she fallen into the clutches of HSMO, she would have undoubtedly been killed simply because people cannot begin to fathom how any living creature could be happy living a life without sight or sound. Yet, she loves everyone that she meets. Hope will greet you with a wag of her tail and then cover you in the best weenie kisses ever.

Penny is our tripod Chiweenie wonder. She was born with a severe overbite and a deformed front paw. While Penny does hop around like a bunny, she does not allow anything to hold her back. She frequently scales our three foot pet gate and loves to race her furry siblings around in the backyard. Penny is a total love bug who enjoys meeting new people, dogs and cats. Her looks only enhance the awesomeness that is Penny.

Every day, animals just like Hope and Penny are“put to sleep” because they are deemed unworthy of being adopted. How can HSMOplay God? I cannot ever imagine being forced to choose which animals to save and which to kill. It is reminiscent of Sophie’s Choice on a much larger scale. Marc Barone is currently working on an epic project entitled “An Act of Dog” in which he is painting portraits of all of the dogs that have been euthanized across the country for no other reason than a lack of space.

I am then reminded of HSMO’s Second Chances telethon. This annual TV special presentation depicts HSMO as being the guardians of animals and their well-being, all while asking for monetary donations in order to continue providing “protection” for animals in need. What they do not tell viewers is that they are not a no-kill shelter. They are an all access shelter, which means that they will not discriminate against an animal due to age or health issues. I was told this during my interview. The same interview in which I was told that if there was an abundance of animals, those with treatable illnesses would be euthanized first. What a hypocritical organization!

If they truly want to be humane (as in their very name sake), they should try to HELP as many animals as they can. Just like humans, not all animals are born with the same chance at a wonderful life. I had believed that it was the mission of every humane society and rescue group to give these poor creatures a second chance at living the life they truly deserve.

While my dreams of combining my love of animals with a job are sufficiently dashed, I also find that I am feeling somewhat relieved. Knowing how duplicitous HSMO is, I would not want to be employed at their establishment only to watch countless numbers of animals senselessly lose their lives.


*names have been changed

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Wonderfully Weird

Something happened today that I was not expecting.  A person at my place of employment (who shall remain nameless) stated:  “You’re a little weird, Lauren T.”


In retrospect, I have been called far worse.  But, this surprising revelation really stung.  Somehow I found the strength to say, “How?”


This person appeared to be at a loss for words.  I suppose he/she thought that I would just laugh it off or walk away with my tail between my legs (figuratively, of course).  All I wanted was an answer.


“Well,” he/she stammered.  “You post pictures of dogs with no eyes.”


I have no problems being judged as the “crazy dog lady.”  To me, each dog is special, much like a human child.  I have no regrets about adopting any of my fur babies.  In fact, most of them would have been euthanized if their respective rescue groups hadn’t given them a second chance.


The particular pooch that this person is speaking of is Hope.  She is a double Dapple Dachshund that was born without eyes and is deaf.  However, she does not let these “disabilities” prevent her from living her best life.  She loves to meet new people and dogs.  We are still working on getting her to like the cat.


My husband and I find Hope to be one of the most inspiring dogs that we have ever met.  In just two days, Hope was navigating our house as if she has lived here all of her life.  She even climbs onto chairs by using her front paws to pull her body through the opening between the back and seat cushions.  And even when she runs head first into things, she simply shakes it off and keeps going with her head held high and a smile on her face.


The same is true of our three-legged dog, Penny.  She uses her “stump” to hold onto toys and to “pin down” her brother, Cole, when they play together.  And don’t forget that she is able to scale our four foot pet gate.  Penny also loves everything and everybody. 


Just because some of my dogs are not what many people would call “normal” does not mean that they are not worthy of being loved.  Can you imagine the parent of a human child with a disability not loving him or her?  Of course not!  Why should it be any different with fur parents?


While we are on the subject, my husband and I have CHOSEN to be pet parents.  We do not desire to have any human children.  And, quite honestly, we do not owe anyone an explanation as to why.  In addition, I believe that Matt and I take better care of our fur babies than many parents do of their own children.  Our “kids” are the most spoiled on the planet!


The person then managed to squeak out another reason for my “weirdness.”  My rubber bracelets.  Everyday, without fail, I ALWAYS wear 5 rubber bracelets on my left arm.  I call this my “cause arm.”


Each bracelet represents a specific cause that is important to me.  Allow me to explain.  The green bracelet is for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  I wear it to support my 91 year old Grandmother who was diagnosed with Mantel Cell Lymphoma two years ago.  The red bracelet is for the American Diabetes Association.  I wear it to support my Dad who was diagnosed with Type II Diabetes almost two years ago.  The purple bracelet is for the Pancreatic Cancer Network.  I wear this bracelet in honor of a friend of the family who passed away a year ago due to this horrible disease.


The yellow bracelet is for canine cancer.  I lost my very first dog, a Border Collie named Spots, to cancer.  The final bracelet represents my support of “special” dogs.  The “Everything Rosie” bracelet was created to celebrate the very short life of Rosie, a special Chihuahua that was the product of backyard breeding.  The message on the bracelet is “Always Adopt.”  I agree wholeheartedly with this campaign.  (Check out www.everythingrosie.com to order your own bracelet and support the cause.)


I choose to wear these bracelets everyday because they are a part of who I am and what I stand for.  The people and animals that these causes represent mean the world to me.  I am proud to show my love and support.


I have known for quite some time that I am “not like everyone else.”  I have never had a drop of alcohol in my entire life (except for communion).   I haven’t ever tried drugs, smoked a cigarette or committed a crime of any kind, not even a speeding ticket.  I also do not believe in using profanity. It just diminishes the speaker’s intelligence.


I am proud of the fact that I am “different.”  I love knowing that there is only one person in the world like me.  And I am not afraid to own it.  In a world filled with copycats, I am an original. 



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Liberating Life

A few days ago, I was sitting on the couch and I realized something.  I am truly blessed.  And I love my life.

While years past have been rocky, 2014 is off to a great start.  I recently received a promotion at work.  I will finally be a full time employee again!  And as excited as I am about the job itself, I am ecstatic that I will now be able to help better support my family.

 But, I have also noticed how other people seem to want to invalidate my life.  When happily speaking with a former co-worker of mine about how this new job will greatly help my family, she sort of laughed.  I believe it is because my husband and I have six dogs and a cat. 

For some reason, many people do not see this as a “family.”  Unfortunately, stereotypical ideals seem to be firmly in place.  To qualify as a “real” family to most of the world you need to have human children.  And if you don’t, but have an abundance of fur kids, people assume that you are unable to have children and are “filling the void.” 

Nothing could be further from the truth.  My husband and I are perfectly capable of having children.  We are choosing not to.  I could go into the long list of reasons why kids just aren’t for us, however, that’s the beautiful thing.  I don’t have to.  Our decision doesn’t need to be validated by anyone.  This is our marriage, our life and our family.

Unlike many of my friends, I am also quite content with what I have.  I love my 2009 Chevy Cobalt (that was just paid off last year!).  And I have no intention of selling it to “upgrade” to a Lexis or any other ridiculously priced car.  A vehicle does not (and should not) define who you are.  It is merely a tool to get you from point A to point B comfortably and safely.

Too many people are caught up in the “keeping up with the Jones'” syndrome.  My friend *Betty is one such person.  She is never happy with what she has (and she has a lot).  If someone remodels their house, she begins making plans to redo her own.  If someone has new jewelry on, she makes a trip to the mall that weekend.

It is quite a sad thing to watch.  She is surrounded by so much love and support and security.  Yet, that seems to not be enough for her.  And she has no qualms about telling others how to “upgrade” either.  Whenever she comes over to our house, she always makes at least one comment about something she would change.

But you know what?  I wouldn’t change a single thing.  Matt and I are so very fortunate that we are even able to afford a house.  Many of my friends are still living in apartments and some (gulp!) are still at home with their parents.  And while I understand that the house needs a few adjustments (new windows and a new sink), I have no desire to move to a different one.  We have made this house our home and that’s all that matters.

And then there are those who are constantly trying to climb the social ladder. You know, the people that seem to have 10 million Facebook friends, 2 million twitter followers, etc.  To be quite honest, my husband and I have one person that we truly consider our friend. 

That’s right, just one.  Yes, I have tons of “friends” on Facebook, twitter and numerous connections on LinkedIn.  But, none of these people really even know me.  Sure, we may have gone to high school together, but, do they know my hopes, dreams, fears and passions? 

This one person has been the bestest friend that we could have ever asked for.  He came racing over to the house one day on his way to work (making him late) so that he could help me unclog our toilet while my husband was at work.  He has seen me without my make-up on.  And I trust him implicitly.

My point is, it truly is not the quantity, but the quality of your friendships that matter.  I can count on one hand the number of Facebook “friends” that would have helped me with my toilet that day.  I’ll give you a hint:  it’s less than one.

In conclusion, your life has a purpose and meaning.  And you do not need to seek anyone’s approval for living the way that best suits you.  Be proud of who you are and take ownership of your life.

*Name changed


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Vote for Penny 2!!

Okay, bloggers, here is the update on the St. Louis Metro Pet Photo Contest.  They were having issues with their voting app.  Here is what you need to do to vote for Penny:

1. Head to the Stlmetropet Facebook page.
2. “Like” the page.
3.  Find Penny’s picture and click “Like.”

Voting ends December 1st!  Please show your love to Penny and vote, vote, vote!  Don’t forget to share with your friends as well.  Thank you for your support!

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Solitary Sidelines

My husband thinks that I’m crazy.  Why, you ask?  He believes that I do too much.  He is always telling me that I need to relax.  But, there is just so much life to experience!  I cannot imagine sitting on the couch watching TV when I can be making a change in the world.

I trained one of my Chihuahuas to become a certified Therapy Dog with Therapy Dogs International.  We just recently became members of the Memorial Hospital Auxiliary where we visit the patients in the Care Center on Saturdays.  I have written a children’s book about our special three-legged dog, Penny, that is currently being viewed for representation.  As a member of the Freeburg E.S.D.A. (Emergency Services and Disaster Agency), I am assisting my Dad (the Coordinator) in preparing brochures and a PowerPoint presentation for our upcoming Open House.  I have also taken it upon myself to begin a campaign to have a dog park built in town.

And then, there are the charity walks.  I am the team captain of Memaw’s Mantel Mashers for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s annual Light the Night event.  I am the team captain of Leonard’s Legion for the Pancreatic Cancer Network’s PurpleStride walk.  I am the team captain of Gene’s Gladiators for the American Diabetes Association’s Step Out Walk.  Then, there are about 5 dog-centered events that I am also manning.

Not to mention the fact that I work out every day and take care of our 6 dogs and 1 kitten.  Am I bragging?  Absolutely not.  I am just that passionate about all of these causes.

While I can certainly understand that many people simply do not have the time to be involved in everything that I just mentioned above, I do not understand why people are unwilling to try something new.  *Betty is one such person.  I have tried inviting her to events for years.  But, she always manages to find a reason not to go.  I encouraged her to come with me and my husband to the Canine Carnival.  She declined claiming that it “wasn’t safe” for her dogs.  Really?  If I am willing to take my fur babies somewhere, you KNOW that it’s a safe place.

I have encouraged her to work out and even offered to have her come to my house so that she wouldn’t have to be embarrassed at a gym.  Again, excuses prevailed.  Her knees hurt, she was tired, she doesn’t like to sweat.  Bottom line:  She doesn’t want to work.  Believe me, I do not sit at work and count down the hours until my sweat session.  But, I know that in order to be healthy, it is a necessary evil.

Then, Betty said the most peculiar thing to me.  She is actually the person who got me involved in the PurpleStride walk.  One of her friend’s husband was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and invited her to come to the walk.  I, in turn, was invited and loved it!  So, when the even rolled around the following year, I called Betty up to ask if she was planning on going.  To my surprise, she was angry because the friend had not personally invited her to attend.  She refused to go to the walk.  Matt and I went, however, and saw the friend who gave us a huge hug and thanked us for coming out and showing our support.  Betty missed out all because she was wanting an invitation.

I wonder how many people out there act the same way.  Sitting on the sidelines, waiting to be invited to participate in life.  You know what?  You don’t need an invitation!

You have the ability to do whatever it is that inspires you.  When you feel passionate about something, go for it!  Believe me, I was definitely nervous the first time I signed up to be a team captain.  And I used to be so shy at events like the Canine Carnival.  But, like Jillian Michaels says, once I got out of my comfort zone (a.k.a. my box), I found that a whole new part of my soul was awakened.

I have been a part of touching moments that I will remember for the rest of my life.  I have made connections with people who are just as enthusiastic about charities and dogs as I am.  Plus, I generally feel stronger, happier and friendlier all from expanding my horizons.

While trying something new can be scary, it is definitely worth the risk.  You will not gain anything from staying inside your “box,” going to the same places and doing the same things over and over.  And you don’t have to do anything huge.  Start with something small, like going somewhere different for dinner.  Attend one charity walk with your friend and see where it takes you.

So, consider this your personal invitation to participate in the greatest event ever:  your life!


*name changed

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