Rescue Me Wins DWAA Awards

We are very excited to announce that our book, Rescue Me was honored by the Dog Writers Association of America as the winner of the Maxwell Medallion in the Human-Dog Bond Books Category.

Rescue Me Tales Val Silver

The Dog Writers Association of America awards banquet was held on February 15, 2015 at the Hotel Pennsylvania in New York City. Fortunately, the event coincided with my winter vacation from school and I was able to attend. To make the evening even better, my sister Gerri and my father, Ralph (Sonny) Ambrosio, joined me for the banquet. Good thing, because there’s no way I would drive into the city. Thankfully, Dad is fearless and knows the city well, so we braved the cold, snow and traffic to get there.

Me and my dad.

Me and my dad.

After an enjoyable dinner, we waited anxiously and clapped happily as the winners of 46 categories were announced – winners of blogs, stories, articles, books…We were category 47.

And then it happened. My name and book were called. Yay, we won! I No sooner did I get back to my seat when I heard my name called again. Rescue Me won the ProPlan President’s Award for Best in Show among all the categories. Woo-hoo!

Val Silver's Rescue Me DWAA Awards

Val Silver’s Rescue Me DWAA Awards

The evening was full of other highlights as well. We had the great pleasure of meeting and talking with wonderful dog writers. We shared our table with Carol Bryant of Blog Paws and Fidose of Reality, Pet and Lifestyle Writer, Jen Reeder, and Master Blogger Flea Christenson. We had great fun cheering for each other.

Acting silly with Jen Reeder

Acting silly with Jen Reeder

To top the evening off, I was interviewed by Megan Blake for Pet Life Radio and The Dog Show.

Interview with Megan Blake

Interview with Megan Blake

Special thanks to the DWAA judges for choosing Rescue Me, and to you dear reader for supporting Rescue Me’s mission to raise awareness and funds to help homeless dogs. We couldn’t do it without you.

Check out all the DWAA nominees and category winners here.

Look inside Rescue Me.

Take Paws to Volunteer – Interview with Amy Burkert

About Amy: Amy Burkert runs the award-winning pet travel website,, which makes it easy for you to plan trips with your entire family- including your pets. Amy’s blog, Take Paws, is an encyclopedia of pet travel tips, pet friendly destination advice, and stories of the adventures she and her husband share while traveling full-time in their Winnebago with their dogs, Ty and Buster.

Amy Burkert

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Once a month, wherever in her travels her family may be, Amy spends a day volunteering at an animal shelter. She has dubbed this part of her adventure, “Take Paws to Volunteer”. She goes with helping hands and gifts from sponsors. By day’s end she comes away with a of wealth of wisdom about what contributes to the well-being of resident animals and best practices for helping animals get adopted.

In our interview, Amy shares about her experiences and what she has learned.

Tell us what inspired you to begin “Take Paws to Volunteer”?

The reason for starting the Take Paws to Volunteer program is pretty simple – I missed helping out at my local shelter! When Rod and I started traveling full-time in our motorhome five years ago, I found it difficult to meet the time commitment that most shelters ask of new volunteers, because we moved around a lot. Eventually I stopped pursuing it, and instead focused on writing my blog and building my social media audience. Last year I realized how deeply I missed volunteering, and it occurred to me that I could leverage the blog traffic and social media platforms I’d built to help the shelters. It’s been a win-win situation every since!

Take Paws to Volunteer

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Why is it important for you to volunteer at different shelters while you’re on the road?

There’s really nothing like the feeling you get from volunteering. I’ve been lucky enough to see animals I spent time with in the morning, go home with their new families in the afternoon. Just being there to experience that joy – you can’t help but be affected by that. And I think it’s a little bit addictive. I also have a soft spot for dogs who are shy or fearful, because both of my dogs are that way. Shelter staff and volunteers work hard to bring these dogs out of their shells, but it can be a slow process. Sometimes I’m the new face that can spend the time it takes to go slow, let the dog come to me, and learn that strangers aren’t so scary – in fact, they may come bearing treats! The hour I spend could be the last little boost a dog needs to approach a potential adopter, make a connection, and find a forever home. Whatever I can do to brighten an animal’s day while they’re waiting for the perfect family to find them is well worth my time.

How does Paws to Volunteer benefit shelter animals?

The shelters get my time for the day – and I’m happy to help out with whatever tasks are most helpful. I also post pictures of the animals I spend time with on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, to help give them some extra exposure in hopes a potential adopter might see them. Finally, I publish a blog post about my visit to the shelter, highlighting the unique aspects of what they do, and list creative ways that people can help. It gives the shelter a nice look at their operation from an third party’s perspective.

How has this experience affected you personally?

This has been an even better experience than I imagined when it started. Not only have I gotten to spend time with some wonderful animals and give back to the communities we’ve visited over the past year, I’ve met some outstanding people! The staff and volunteers who work in animal shelters and rescues every day are a special breed. They’re generous, compassionate, thoughtful, and friendly. Just being around them helps foster those traits in me, and I’m a better person for it! People thank me for coming to volunteer, and I don’t think they realize how much they’re doing for me, just by allowing me to be there.

Take Paws to Volunteer

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What have you noticed has the most positive impact on quality of life for animals while they are in the shelter?

There are three things that have really struck me in how much they affect the quality of life for the animals. The first is organization. My most recent visit was to the Arizona Animal Welfare League & SPCA in Phoenix, Arizona. They have a system of tracking the animals that knocked my socks off! They keep notes on each animal – from when they were last walked, to training needs, to health issues, like they’ve been sneezing – and keep it all on a centrally located white board where all the staff and volunteers can see it. Everyone is encouraged to write their observations on the board, and any animal with a note has an indication on their kennel, so people can check the notes and watch for any changes in the animal. It’s a spectacular way to communicate across the wide variety of people interacting with the animals.

The second thing I’ve noticed is that the more volunteers a shelter has, the better it is for the animals. Having a wide variety of people means everyone has the opportunity to focus on doing the things they like. The Animals Rescue League of Iowa ( is a great example. A local group of runners started volunteering at the shelter – they come in and take some of the high-energy pups along on their morning jog. There are people who love connecting with people – so they work in the lobby as greeters. Other volunteers staff the on-site gift shop. There really is something enjoyable for everyone who wants help out.

What are some of the best practices you’ve seen for promoting adoption?

The most powerful thing I’ve seen to promote adoptions is getting great intake photographs. I had the opportunity to join the photography team at The SPCA for Monterey County and learned how they slashed the amount of time the animals spent in the shelter by taking “glamor shots” rather than “intake photos.” Many people start their search for an adoptable pet online, so making sure the animals look their best in their photos is a good way to help them get adopted more quickly. A month later I was lucky enough to help teach the philosophy at the Hesperia, California Animal Shelter.

Take Paws to Volunteer

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The other thing I’d say is that being creative in your promotions can make a huge difference. When I visited the Foothills Animal Shelter in Golden, Colorado they were in competition with 50 other shelters, striving to push their limits and save more lives than ever before. All told, more than 2,600 dogs and cats were saved in three months – an increase of more than 1,000 lives over the same period the previous year! They did it all though extremely creative promotions to catch the public’s interest and get them to come into the shelter.

What else would you like to share with our readers? (thoughts, encouragements, whatever related to rescue, volunteering, shelters…)

I used to think that I couldn’t volunteer at an animal shelter because it would be too sad … or I’d come home with all the animals. I’ve come to realize that I couldn’t have been more wrong. I look forward to every visit, have to drag myself out at the end of the day, and come away feeling uplifted. No matter what your skills, what you like to do, or where you live … there is a place for you to help someone or something. Do it – it will change your life.

Thank you Amy for sharing your adventure and wisdom with us. Read more about each of Amy’s Take Paws to Volunteer experiences here. 

Readers, please post your thoughts and questions for Amy in the comments below.

Pet Blogger Challenge 2105

Pet Blogger Challenge Jan. 10
Welcome fellow pet bloggers and readers. A big hello from me and Teddy.
Val Silver and Teddy

1. How long have you been blogging? For anyone stopping by for the first time, please give us a quick description of what your blog is about.

I’ve been blogging about holistic health for several years (and still do on my website and in bellesprit magazine). For the last year have devoted this site to blogging about rescue and related topics. I changed the blog over as a support site for my book, Rescue Me. Now I am branching out and beginning to writing more about current issues and books related to dog rescue/adoption and animal advocacy.


2. Tell us one thing that you accomplished on your blog during 2014 that made you proud.

Getting the blog set up and running. I am most proud of the page that shows the donations we have made thanks to Rescue Me sales. Perhaps proud isn’t the right word because it is actually very humbling. The two articles I am most proud of dispel myths about certain breeds of dogs and shelter policies that justify killing dogs. Those two posts were near and dear to my heart. They are Should All Pit Bulls Die?” and “Winograd’s Redemption“.

3. What lessons have you learned this year – from other blogs, or through your own experience – that could help us all with our own blogs?

Write about what’s in your heart and write from your heart. As best you can, have your facts straight and speak the truth, even if it’s controversial.  Make it clear what is your opinion and what is fact. And have fun, enjoy the writing because it matters to you.

4. What have you found to be the most successful way to bring traffic to your blog, other than by writing great content?

I recently joined a blog chat group that helps each other by commenting on each other’s posts. I have also found that the above mentioned posts brought in traffic because they are topics people are interested in or feel passionate about.

5. What was your most popular blog post this year? Did it surprise you that it was your most popular?

Should All Pit Bulls Die? was my most popular post to date. I wasn’t surprised about this because there is a group I belong to addressing this situation. I posted about the article and that brought in the readers. What did surprise me was that the article did not elicit more comments and controversy. (Photo of Winnie, Pit Bull Mix adopted and much loved by Letha Hundley)

Winnie Rescue Me

6. Has your policy on product reviews and/or giveaways changed this year?

 I reviewed one book so far. Redemption was a book that I purchased and felt inspired and challenged by. I like that it was an unsolicited review so I didn’t feel any obligation to review or review favorably. I wrote the post because I loved the book and its message.  I have not done any product reviews or giveaways yet.

I intend to do more book reviews in the future if the books are related to rescue/dog adoption and animal advocacy. They would have to  be of value to readers and further the cause of animals.

7. What goals do you have for your blog in 2015?

I want to write more about animal advocacy and pet rescue and interview people who are active and knowledgeable about these topics. I would like to bring in more traffic and network more with other bloggers who are aligned with my mission.

8. What’s your best piece of advice for other bloggers?

Be an active networker. Share with other bloggers, comment on their sites, be generous with your wisdom, and be open to guest bloggers and guest blogging. The more we help each other, the better we all do. Collaboration is key, not competition.

9. If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one challenge you’re having with your blog, what would it be?

How to engage readers more and bring in more readers. Even though blogging is a hobby or vocation for me, and not a business, I believe I have an important message to share and would like to share my message with as many people as possible.

Thanks for visiting. Please comment below and let me know you were here. I look forward to hopping over to your blog and doing the same.


Should All Pit Bulls Die?

Outraged dog lovers and pit bull advocates reacted to recent remarks made by Dr. Laura Schlessinger about pit bulls. In a nut shell, she said that shelters are full of pit bulls and pit mixes no one wants, so they should all be put down. She felt it was wasteful for shelters to spend so much money on their food. That breeder churn them out and dump them. And if two pit bulls met on a street, they would probably fight. Listen to the segment here.

When I learned of this today, I decided to turn it into an opportunity to help misunderstood dogs who often get a bad rap. I hope this open letter to Dr. Laura helps her and others see these dogs and their plight in a new light.

Dear Dr. Laura,

I was happy to hear you recommending that people walk with their pets to meet people and feel less lonely. Pets make wonderful companions and enhance our lives in many ways.

Your comments about killing all pit bulls, however, left me feeling sad. Instead of reacting in anger, I am choosing to separate fact from fallacy and to use this as an opportunity for compassion and education. I hope you will read this letter. Even though I disagree with your opinions, I respect your right to them. I know many others share the same perceptions and beliefs. It is my hope that my responses to your words cause you to consider this problem in a new light.

1- You are right in saying many pit bull type dogs are in shelters. According to the ASPCA, they account for 20% of shelter populations nationwide, not 95%. One-third of shelters do not allow pit and pit mix adoptions. The dogs, regardless of their disposition, must be rescued or killed, often within days. Estimates are that shelters kill one million pit bulls yearly and that over 90% never make it out alive.

2- It is true that unscrupulous pit bull breeders churn out too many dogs. To make it worse, they purposely breed dogs to be aggressive, especially with other dogs. However, not all their dogs acquire that trait. You may remember that that several of Michael Vick’s fighting dogs were rehabilitated and became therapy dogs or live with children. Bait dogs are often submissive and gentle. Responsible breeders produce loving, gentle, loyal pit bulls who make wonderful family members and good citizens. You may be surprised to learn that 86.4% of 804 Pit Bulls tested by the ATTS had a good temperament. This is a higher percentage than every dog breed on the list except for the Labrador Retriever.

3- Far too many pit bulls are dumped. For that matter, far too many dogs of all kinds are dumped, approximately 8 million a year. Sometimes people have to give up their pitties and other blacklisted breeds because their communities or housing areas ban them. Sometimes people fall on hard times or get dogs they can’t handle. Sometimes, they can’t be bothered with the dog. Often, the dog did nothing to deserve getting dumped.

4- Do people want pit bulls as pets? Yes. Many people have pitties and adore them. We have a high percentage in our community shelters. It may take a few months, but eventually most of them get adopted. I know in some areas it is more difficult. This beauty is Winnie, a pit bull/greyhound mix adopted and much loved by Letha Hundley. Their story is in our book, Rescue Me. Winnie Rescue Me 5- Should adoptable pitties be killed because there are too many of them, they stay too long, and eat too much food? Should we shun all pit bulls because a number of them have been made bad by humans? It seems to me the humans creating this problem should be dealt with, not their innocent dog victims.

You may find these rhetorical questions offensive, but I ask them to make a point. Should homeless children no one wants be killed because they take up space and eat too much food? Would it be appropriate for people to cross the street to get away from an individual because a high percentage of people from his race or religion commit crimes? Should we ban all of those people from our communities? Most of us would say, “Of course not.” We know decisions like that are based on ignorance, prejudice and fear.

But that’s different you say. Is it really? We humans like to think we are special and so different than animals. We are not. MRI scans show that dog brains light up in the same region as human brains when they see someone they love. They have preferences. They think, problem solve, and have emotions. They feel pain.

Dr. Laura, I know that you, like me, grew up in a time when we were taught that animals don’t feel or think. We were taught to refer to them as “it” even if we knew their sex. We were taught humans are superior to animals even though they are clearly superior to us in some ways. Instead of valuing them as fellow creations with whom we share the earth, we were taught animals exist for our use. This is all lies. We think that because we can, we have the right to use, abuse and decide which animals have the right to live or die. We forget that God who made us all gave humans the responsibility to be stewards of the earth. He expects us who are made in his likeness to care for all of creation as He would. Dominion is not license to destroy, it is a call to the highest responsibility.

“Whoever is righteous has regard for the life of his beast, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel.” Proverbs 12:10

“For every beast of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know all the birds of the hills, and all that moves in the field is mine.” Psalm 50:10-11 ”

Martin Luther King said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

I believe the world would be a much better place if we took those words to heart. Every person deserves to be treated as an individual. Each deserves to be considered and treated as innocent until proven guilty. Dogs and other animals deserve the same. Do you agree that is the moral thing to do?

If so, I am asking you to make it right, not by issuing an “apology” for causing distress (you and I both know that really isn’t an apology), but by sharing the facts with your readers and listeners. Admit where you were wrong, even if you thought you had your facts straight. Use it as a lesson. Encourage them to discern truth from fallacy, to judge by the content of one’s character, and to act responsibly toward all creatures, human and animal. We will all be better for it.


Val Silver



Readers, if you have facts or opinions to share, please do so in the comments below. Inflammatory remarks will not be published.


Ghost Dogs and Spirits

Ghost Dogs and Spirits – a true Halloween Story

When I rented a furnished home for a few months, the last thing I expected to see were ghost dogs and spirits. But it happened to me.

One sunny fall morning I looked up from my bowl of oatmeal and was taken quite by surprise to see a column of hazy white in front of the door to the indoor porch. What surprised me even more was the nonchalance I felt upon seeing her, as just the thought of seeing a ghost sends me into instant fear.  As I gazed upon my visitor to figure out who or what it was, I noticed there was no discernible human form per se, but the energetic sense felt female and benign. She remained there, unmoving, until I broke my gaze. She appeared a week or so later in the same spot. I looked up from my dinner and there she was. My curiosity was piqued, but I told not a soul.  All I knew was that this lakeside home was renovated from an old cottage.

A second, less mysterious apparition appearing in that house was a small, dark haired, terrier-like dog who walked by me as I was lying in bed with the light on. He entered the room, took several steps, and vanished. This also happened twice. Just as with the ‘white lady’, I doubted that I had actually seen a ghost dog and kept my visions to myself.

The confirmation of the white lady’s presence came when a friend was visiting. She had no such doubts about spirits or her ability to see them, and blurted out, “You know, you have a spirit in this house.” I looked up from the living room floor to see her pointing at the door the dining area.  “I know”, I replied matter-of-factly, “I’ve seen her twice already in the same spot.”

The little dog’s identity was confirmed when I noticed a little photo of him on the dresser. When I asked my landlord about it she said, “Oh, yes, that was my dog Gizmo.” I did not share about seeing him walking past the bed. The next several months passed without incident.  Were my spirit visitors still in the house?  Were they staying hidden once they knew they were seen? I’ll never know. When I moved out I took the secret of my spirit visitors with me. That was the last time I can honestly say I’ve seen a ghost.

A few words from Teddy:

Teddy Yoda500Teddy wishes you a happy Halloween and asked me to remind you that there are many scared dogs in shelters and rescues waiting for you to take them home as real, live companions who will love you forever. Please adopt, don’t shop and spay/neuter your pets.

Keep the Tail Wagging

Winograd’s Redemption and No-Kill

redemptionMy interest in reading Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation and the No Kill Revolution in America by Nathan J. Winograd (Jun 16, 2009) was fueled not only by my commitment to helping homeless dogs (and cats), but by the flurry of charged reviews and comments it generated–for or against, some with great emotion, frustration, and defensiveness.  I knew the author must have hit a nerve to elicit such responses, and I wanted to find out what that nerve was. It turns out there are two – his position on pet overpopulation and his indictment against shelters and national associations (think ASPCA, PETA, and the Humane Society), which in our shared opinion should be devoted to preventing animal cruelty and saving as many lives as possible. Instead, they have a long history of laying blame on the public while promoting mass killings as the way to control homeless pet populations. As badly as dogs suffer with this mindset and policy, feral cats fare worse.

As Winograd states, much of this book is about history, beginning with Henry Berg’s founding of the ASPCA in 1866 and his commitment to stopping the cruel treatment of city work horses and other animals, to the atrocious policies and conditions of so-called “shelters”, to the challenges and successes of the No-Kill movement (through 2005).  This history is laced with the good, the bad, and the ugly of animal control, legislation, and sheltering, which unfortunately even today is still more often than not bent on killing than saving animals.

If I were to boil down my most important take away from of Redemption, it would be that instead of laying blame and setting up a punitive system (which doesn’t work) against the public as a primary strategy for opting out of lifesaving in favor of killing, shelters have a responsibility to do right by the animals they take in as their first priority. This means implementing a multi-pronged approach of providing good care, fair, reliable behavior testing, rehabilitation if needed, and a commitment to making adoption an appealing option to the public by way of education, a foster home network, cooperation with rescue groups, good customer service, clean facilities, spay/neuter before adoption, and liberal adoption hours. Only animals that are hopelessly ill or vicious are euthanized (about 10% of incoming animals) and all others, most of whom are young, healthy and friendly, are candidates for adoption. As for unadoptable feral cats, trap-neuter-release and vaccinate. Allow people to feed and care for them instead of legislating against them.

Euthanasia is ...killing someone who is very sick or injured in order to prevent any more suffering. ~Merriam Webster Dictionary

Euthanasia – the painless killing of a patient suffering from an incurable and painful disease. Mercy killing

The most heated discussion among reviewers and people commenting was caused by Winograd’s stand that pet overpopulation is a myth.  One would think that with 4-5 million dogs and cats killed in shelters every year (down from almost 18 million in the 1980s), and facilities inundated with more animals than they can handle, that overpopulation surely is a problem. Not so. Winograd maintains that while overpopulation in shelters may be problematic at times, the use of foster homes and space in facilities is often not maximized, which contributes to the problem. Seeking convenience and maintaining the status quo trumps change and life. He claims there are more than enough homes available for adoptable dogs and cats. The US Humane Society backs up this claim. So where are these people? They are getting their pets from pet stores (think puppy mills), breeders, friends, anywhere but shelters. Why? Because of the misperception that homeless animals are damaged goods and facilities are often perceived as dirty, unfriendly killing places where the public is not really welcome.


 Today in 2014, in northern NY where I live, I thankfully see a somewhat different picture than Winograd paints.  I say somewhat, because our SPCA has a disturbing policy of not taking dogs over 5 years old or animals that are sick, even with easily treated conditions.  On the more positive side, they have a foster program, support TNR, and  have liberal adoption hours. They maintain a satellite site at PETCO (cat adoptions are way up because of that), a committed staff, lots of volunteers, a play area and dog park, and they spay/neuter/vaccinate before adoption. Our dog pound (renamed  dog shelter), where dogs once had seven days to live if not adopted, now has a 90 day policy. I know for a fact that the staff goes above and beyond to keep them alive longer. Several  residents, many of them pit bull breeds, live there over six months before the happy adoption announcements are posted.  Unfortunately, they do not allow volunteers, but they do welcome donators, including me with my gifts of cushions for the seniors and bones and toys for all.

 I wish I could say this shift toward No Kill and decency were widespread nationwide, but I know it is not. Winograd’s point and indictment of many facilities still stands valid. Although the tide is surely turning since Redemption was published and before, mostly due to public pressure, we as a nation have a lot of work to do. Since writing Rescue Me, and becoming more connected with rescuers, I see daily post after post pleading for the lives of dogs in shelters, many with 72 hour policies or less.  I read of dogs being injured while their cages are pressure washed, sick and injured animals receiving little to no treatment, animals living in deplorable conditions, and shelters with a no-adoption policy (REALLY?!!). I read of corruption and animals killed cruelly and too soon, sometimes to spite advocates.  I see videos of animals being neglected and abused in places where they should find refuge.That’s what the word shelter means, but in some places, it is nothing more than a word that covers up what they really are – horrible places where their number one mission is disposing of animals, including healthy, friendly adoptable ones, primarily by murdering them.

Recently, this unfortunate realization personally hit home with me. A plea went out by Julia Buie, one of Rescue Me’s contributors, for vetting and transport funds for several dogs. I donated the $95 needed to gain freedom for a young coonhound named Wesley, only to learn that he was killed shortly before his rescuers arrived.  It may have been a mix-up, but for Wesley it was still death. How sad to be in such a hurry to kill. And what’s even sadder is that some staff members have been brainwashed to believe they are doing a good deed for the dogs and society by killing. How sad.

The truth is, No-Kill is achievable with committed shelter leadership and a well-functioning network in place. When the organizations do their part, and the public does theirs, very few animals will ever have to die for no good reason.  Isn’t that what you would want for you and yours? Should it be any different for them?

Do you want to know how to bring No-Kill to your shelter? Download the No Kill Advocacy Center’s FREE No Kill Advocate’s Toolkit, 13 step by step guides to help you reform your local shelter.

Redemption: The Myth of Pet Overpopulation and the No Kill Revolution in America

If you found this post valuable, please LIKE and SHARE. Please add to the conversation by sharing your comments below. Thanks!

Rescue Me Wins 2014 Readers Favorite Award

Val Silver and Team Rescue are very happy to announce that Rescue Me won the 2014 Reader’s Favorite Book Award – Silver Medal in the Nonfiction Animals category. Val will be attending the awards in November and more photos will follow.


Read the review here.

Thank you, Readers Favorite, for choosing Rescue Me as an award winner, and all of you for your continued support in our mission to help homeless dogs and advocate for animals.

Teddy’s Good Life

Update on Teddy

Teddy’s story was originally shared in Rescue Me. He had made a lot of progress, and it has been so wonderful watching him continue to blossom into his true and maturing self.

Teddy’s good life didn’t start out that way. Actually, Teddy started life very sadly and quietly in our house and did a fair amount of hiding under the bed. That, combined with the awful condition he arrived at the SPCA, suggested a prior not-so-good life. When he played, which wasn’t often, he never uttered a sound. One day, after several months with us, he surprised us with tentative little r-r-r sounds during a game of tug-o-war. We were delighted!

Now, Teddy has so much fun playing, that even when amusing himself with a stick in the yard, he runs and prances while making making his adorable, happy growly sounds.

It warms my heart to watch him having so much fun, enjoying himself with head and tail held high, especially when I remember how he was at first. Teddy is a joy, and his joy of life can’t help but enhance ours. Just last month he has started laying against me at night when we’re sleeping, instead of putting distance between us. (Sometimes I’m not so sure that’s a good thing, but usually I love it!) We are so happy this boy found his way to our home as a foster to forever.

Rescue Me Teddy

Read Teddy’s story – “From Foster to Forever” – in Rescue Me.

Do you have a happy ending story about your rescue dog? We’d love to hear it. Please share in the comments below.

Mom and Dog Memorial

Dear Readers,

I thought you might enjoy this note I received from Reverend Riki Renfro, a member of my Holistic Mindbody Healing website who purchased the kindle version of  Rescue Me.  In this note, Riki shares a delightful story of Mom Lelah and her pomeranian Polly, and the fitting Mom and Dog Memorial given them. And how cute is that photo! :)

 Hi Val,

Sorry it took me so long to get back to you; it’s been a busy summer.  I finally had time to complete the book and enjoyed every bit of it.

One of the things on our long list of “to do’s” was to complete my mother’s memorial service.  Based on her pre-death instructions, we took her ashes to a local lake where my brother died seven years ago.  My father’s ashes were also put into the lake a few years ago. 

Since her little Pomeranian, Polly, died a week after Mom died, we mixed their ashes together and put them into the water together after sharing stories and memories of the two of them.  Polly was with Mom her last 16 years and was unquestionably the love of her life. To be honest, I was probably the favorite (and youngest) of Mom’s three children, but Polly quickly surpassed my standing as “favorite kid”. 

Mom was 96 when she died and I know it was having the love of this little puff-ball that contributed to her longevity and gave her a purpose for waking up every morning.  Mom also attributed her longevity to the nightly martini she had.  Polly didn’t care for gin, but she loved the green olives more than any doggy treat.  Mom would put 5 green olives into her drink: one she ate, the other four were Polly’s.  As we dispersed the ashes we also poured a fifth of Mom’s favorite gin into the water for her and a bottle of green olives for Polly.   It certainly was not your conventional funeral service, but was definitely a fitting and meaningful ceremony for all of us. 

There definitely is a reason why DOG spelled backwards is GOD.  Thank you for a lovely book.  I’ll look forward to more in the future.

Rescue Me Review

Polly with her blanket crocheted by Mom Lelah

Rev. Riki Renfro
Peaceworks Universal Life Church
Shared with permission.


Rescue Me in Rescue Me Magazine

We are so delighted and honored to be featured in the July/August 2014 issue of Rescue Me Magazine. And look who’s on the cover – my favorite cat man, Jackson Galaxy, of “My Cat From Hell” with his rescue cat Barry (to the left-not visible in this shot) and his beautiful Chow-Shepherd mix, Mooshka.

Get your autographed copy of Rescue Me here.  Also available on Amazon for kindle and in paperback.

Good Reads Rescue Me

Rescue Me is a new magazine – only in it’s third edition. Like us, Rescue Me magazine is dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of homeless animals, and support causes, organizations and people who promote pet rescue, adoption, and the human-animal bond.  Besides all the interesting articles, tips, and shout-outs to rescuers in the magazine, half of your subscription fee goes to the non-profit of your choice. Check out their website and get your subscription here: