Monday, November 21, 2011

Sweet 16

She may not get excited about long walks or car rides the way she once did, but she still dances for her food.

Rafa brought Thunder home when she was about three months old. It was Valentines Day 1995. He had been talking about this Chihuahua puppy that he'd met at a friend's house and I wasn't sure about a small dog - we had four cats and a larger dog at the time - I just thought another larger dog would go better with the family.

Finally Rafa won out and he brought the puppy home. He was over the moon for this little black and white baby with specked feet and nose, and a white tipped tail. We didn't know if she was a boy or girl then and somehow checking seemed to clarify things. We named "him" Thunder.

A day or two later we headed off to the vet for puppy shots and Diane at Dr. Raemaker's office looked at us kind of funny and said, "This is a girl and this is a border collie!" I'm sure she was also thinking, "rookies!"

That was 16 years ago and what a life we've all had together. Thunder's an official daddy's girl. Being a daddy's girl myself, I can testify to what a special feeling it is to have that classification. Love, heaped on in big doses, makes for a long happy life.

Thank you to Liz Lange for taking this precious picture of our girl Thunder after this past weekend's outing to the Wash n Wag.

Friday, November 11, 2011

New Dawn

After spending a couple of days at the local animal shelter helping with an influx of bunny rabbits rescued from God awful conditions with a crazy breeder, I’m exhausted.

The work is extremely rewarding, and it won’t be done for weeks, and it’s hard – physically and emotionally. I came home Wednesday evening and cried for hours.

The rabbits are in an overflow area at the shelter’s back end, in sort of an over-sized garage. It’s clean and it's suitable temporarily – in fact it’s a Hilton compared to where they came from – but there are so many rabbits.

The first day we saw to their basic needs, separated the males from the females and assessed them for injuries. It’s bending and reaching and squatting and lifting – it’s work! That was on Monday.

Wednesday I returned to clean their pen areas and help shuffle the buns to and from the vet exams. There was a time when I was alone, and I noticed a young woman coming and going from the garage.

About the fourth time she came in I saw she that she held a black bag and she carried it into a walk-in refrigerator and laid it on top of the others there. I suddenly felt a knot in my stomach.

The knot lasted the day and into the night, accompanied by shifting feelings of pain and anger, grief and rage – followed by blame. It was business as usual in a typical animal shelter, and animals die in shelters.

If you are reading this and you are a breeder or you buy animals from a breeder or support breeders in any way – please STOP. You are part of the problem. When you buy rather than adopt, you are perpetuating the cycle of pet homelessness. Maybe you didn’t know – it’s true.

My heart is still broken from the disposability of those cats and dogs, a minuscule sample of the larger population – turned into waste because of human selfishness, closed-mindedness, ignorance and irresponsibility. We don’t have to continue the cycle.

It’s hard to believe that we live in a world that needs so much love and yet we destroy the vessels of love so easily. I ask, no I beg for what it’s worth, please – spay and neuter your pets, and speak up! Educate others, be part of the solution – don’t be afraid - this is an opportunity!

For those of you who know me, this post isn’t as bubbly as the norm, but it is a message of hope. A new dawn emerges! As sure as there is a sun and a moon, we are are moving in the direction of compassion, it’s just that the pace is an intangible.

All you have to do is think back to the changes that have occurred over the past 50 to 100 years – it’s a perspective thing. The middle of change isn't easy, and some days trusting in the slow work of God seems inconceivable.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Two events bring pet lovers together for animals

Two weeks ago The Honorable Dalmatian teamed up with Lisa Pawlak and Lee Mosswood, hosting the online store’s 2011 Fall Show. In addition to their exciting animal-themed apparel, art and jewelry products, the owner unveiled a plethora of recycled jeans and fall fashions.

The weekend-long event featured music by singer/songwriter and local favorite Lisa Pawlak and Pottery by Lee. Guests oohed and awed over Lee’s unique and functional stoneware bowls, mugs and this crazy cool teapot!

Where there’s music there is often dance, and the 2011 (and second annual) Fall Show was no exception. The “Official Ben Lomond Dog-Dancing Association” was born on the first day of the event, featuring Lee and her adorable dog Finnegan with Mari and
Lisa’s little dog Samba. Hoots and hollers could be heard by neighbors as the girls and their canine sidekicks pirouetted across the backyard. The moment happened to be caught on tape by volunteer, animal-advocate and all-around sweetheart Cathryn (shown here with Tricia raffling off goodies to raise money for local animals).

Fast forward to this past weekend and you arrive at Roaring Camp’s Happy Howl-O-Ween Harvest Fair, an event that will not likely be forgotten by any of its attendees. Animal lovers and tourists alike were treated to an assortment of adoptable pets (dogs, cats, rabbits and guinea pigs!), a festive atmosphere, costume contests and activities – all, in addition to train rides through the beautiful Santa Cruz Redwoods on a perfectly gorgeous day!

It’s not every day a pet owner can say they adopted their pet at the local train station, but it happened several times over at this past weekend’s event, wonderfully orchestrated by event coordinator extraordinaire Cathryn Boult-Lenono.

Some very lucky raffle winners went home with fancy knives donated by Saber in Aptos, and participating non-profits went home with some much-needed cash. The Honorable Dalmatian was front and center, and customers could not get enough of the Dog is Good apparel line carried by the store. Another hot seller this past weekend was bunny jewelry, hand-crafted by Lavender Rabbit.

If you are interested in attending one of The Honorable Dalmatian's upcoming events, and if you enjoy upbeat and current animal-related news, you simply must become a fan on Facebook or follow the store on Twitter! All products are available online at

If you can't wait for an upcoming show and you see something you'd like to purchase, be it our fabulous jewelry, Lee's pottery, or any clothing items, please contact

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Roaring Camp Happy Howloween Harvest Fair October 8 & 9

What do you get when you cross the old west with fun and pets, and toss in a little Halloween? Well, the Roaring Camp Happy Howloween Harvest Fair, of course! Nestled in the beautiful redwoods in the heart of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Roaring Camp is an enchanting location for a day of fun-filled excitement that benefits local animal rescues.

Bring your family – dogs are welcome!

From 10:30 am to 2:00 pm:

Halloween costume contests (1:15 Saturday)
Bobbing for weenies (1:15 Sunday)
$5 entry fee (benefits local animal rescues)

Adoptable animal pageant (noon)
Make a scarecrow

11:00 am, 12:30 pm and 2:00 pm:

Trains depart to Bear Mountain
Free pumpkin for Redwood Forest Steam Train ticketholders

Noon to 3:00 pm:

Roaring Camp’s famous Chuckwagon BBQ

Feel free to bring your own lunch ~ Roaring Camp has picnic space aplenty!

Happy Howloween Harvest Fair

Roaring Camp Railroads
Saturday & Sunday
October 8 & 9
5401 Graham Hill Road
Felton, CA 95018
(831) 335-4484

Map and Directions

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My friend Cherilyn

I’m devoting this post to my friend Cherliyn. While I’ve never met her in person, Cherilyn is as dear to me as any friend could be.

Cherliyn lives on the other coast. She designs jewelry and has worked in the music and art industries; all-in-all my friend Cherilyn is an exceptionally talented person.

It wasn't those facets of her life that attracted me to Cherliyn, however. Nope. It was our mutual love of animals.

Cherliyn’s fierce loyalty to animals in danger inspires me every day. She is a passionate voice for dogs, cats, horses and any other shelter pet she spots in a “code red” situation. What’s that you ask?

Code Red at an animal shelter means that an unwanted pet has been brought into an open-door shelter and unluckily finds him or her self in danger of being euthanized, gassed or killed by a heart stick. These terms are not thrown out to be cruel; they are simply the reality awaiting dogs, cats and other animals every day in our nation’s shelters.

A Facebook page called Together for Animals features Cherilyn’s round-the-clock posts of animals in need of immediate rescue, foster care or adoption. The page is followed by over 2200 dedicated animal lovers who also want to make a difference, and they do!

Cherilyn does this because she cares, and for absolutely no other reason. And that’s my friend Cherilyn.

On that note, I leave you with a song that Cherilyn and I both like a lot.


In the end, only kindness matters.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Ahhhhh. A beautiful day in a perfectly inspirational place to live and breathe – that was today – at Art in the Garden in Santa Cruz. The first annual Art in the Garden started at 10:00 am Saturday, July 30 and continues through Sunday, July 31 at 5:00 pm.

Picture a lovely home, nestled in the mountains above the sea, with art of virtually every medium spread from front to back and out around a flower-framed swimming pool. Friendly and gracious host artists dotted the scenic yard with their wares and the sun kept the fog at bay under a light breeze.

Art! My personal favorites were, well the animal works of course! Marvin Plummer captures the souls of his subjects – what an artist he is and such a sweet guy too. His work can be seen around town, both inside and out.

And the ultra talented Janet Ferraro and her divine equines in pastels and oils. Her passion for the spirit of horses is unmistakable in every piece. I couldn’t resist buying a bright red tee boasting one of her horses “coming through.”

Delectable jams, unique jewelry, pretty glass and fabulous furniture, and so much more. Friends showed, like Janice and Kathy, Bud and Darlene. Bud suggested I try a cracker with hummus and Serendipity gingered white nectarine preserves spread all over it. It worked! In fact, I have a jar of that exact jam it worked so well.

The smell of anise and lavender and chai are sure to fill my head with dreams worth remembering – the Wild Thyme soaps I also couldn’t resist are spending the night in close proximity - and with that, I bid you good night.

Monday, June 20, 2011

There's a hero in all of us

I had the great pleasure of hearing Wayne Pacelle speak Friday night at one of my favorite bookstores, Capitola Book Cafe. Wayne is the president of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), one of a handful of organizations confronting animal cruelty on a large scale, nationwide and beyond. I wasn’t surprised at Wayne’s passion and dedication – I knew he was a champion for animals– but I didn’t know he was once just a boy who was crazy about animals. I didn’t know he was funny or that he was humble and easy to talk to. I didn’t know he wasn’t so different than you and me.

Friday night’s gathering was a book signing. Wayne Pacelle, in a book that’s beautiful cover features a tender exchange between a grateful child and a knowing dog, emphasizes the deep relationship human beings have with animals today and the surprising level of animal cruelty that still exists despite ours and their capacity to love. I’m just about to crack the cover of my signed copy of “The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them” and I’m sure I will be inspired all the more in my own quest to make a better world for animals. Wayne read a passage from a chapter devoted to the rescue of Hurricane Katrina animals and I immediately knew I would enjoy the writing style of this compassionate personality.

As Wayne Pacelle talked during the evening, I felt many feelings I’ve had about animals, animal rescue and animal cruelty validated. I also felt hope and pride. The choices I’ve made in my life reflect my values and being true to myself is the air that I breathe, it’s the life I lead, and I don’t do it selfishly. As God is my witness, I will make a difference for animals. There's a hero in all of us.

The local Santa Cruz SPCA received a grant in the amount of $5000 from Wayne Pacelle on Friday night. Lisa Carter, the SPCA's executive director and top animal welfare lobbyist, beamed alongside Wayne and also Jennifer Fearing, the HSUS's California Senior State Director. If you'd like to help animals locally, you can donate time, donate online or send a check to:

Santa Cruz SPCA
PO Box 3800
Santa Cruz, CA 95063

Monday, June 6, 2011

Animal Love

Looking back on days gone by – many days gone by – I remember a 2nd grader, a little girl, a member of the local Brownie troop. She was filled with anticipation and excitement, for she and the other little Brownies were off to visit the local animal shelter! And on that day, circa 1968, as she peered through the wire cages at the sweet furry faces within, something inside her was awakened.

What became of those pets, she wonders now; did they get adopted? Were they loved and cared for by someone?

Today, with the hard reality of shelters bursting at the seams with the same sweet furry faces who have no place to call home, and society’s failure to protect the majority from certain death, she weeps.

Hope is somewhere around the bend, for the army of animal lovers-turned-defenders grows by the day. This mere fact alone brings comfort; she is not alone.

On this day, however, she longs for that once-upon-a-time, for that untainted bliss of pure child-like animal love.

There is a no-kill movement on the rise. Its motivation is to stop the needless killing of shelter pets due to overpopulation. How can this be done? Well, like with any other societal overhaul, not without red tape, money and controversy. Read more on the no-kill topic at any of the following websites. Perhaps there is something you’d like to do:

No Kill Advocacy Center

Best Friends Animal Society

No Kill Now

Did you know that Santa Cruz SPCA is a no-kill animal shelter and that Santa Cruz’s Animal Shelter Relief Rescue saves and fosters animals from overcrowded shelters? Project Purr is all about saving the lives of our community’s cats and The Rabbit Haven rescues and fosters rabbits in our area. These non-profit agencies are some of our very own “crusaders,” and this little awakened Brownie understands the pledge they’re committed to, and she salutes them!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Woof to Woof is Saturday June 4th – Good times!

Happiness will be barked and tails will be joy-wagged.

The 7th annual Woof to Woof is Saturday June 4th and you don’t want to miss it. The Skypark soccer fields are a beautiful venue for fun under the sun and located right next door to the Scotts Valley Dog Park for your canine convenience.

This year’s Woof to Woof will feature fun and games for the dogs, food, music and shopping for you, plus a raffle, silent auction and perhaps even a suntan.

FREE parking and FREE admission - even a grumpy old dog can woof about that!

The Woof to Woof is presented by the Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, a non-profit agency that assists individuals who are blind or experience visual impairment gain independence to live a full, productive and enjoyable life.

Bring your dog and your festive spirit and we’ll see you at the Woof to Woof – where good times are sure to be had by all!

Woof to Woof
361 Kings Village Road
Scotts Valley, CA 95066
(831) 458-9766

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Spring Dog Festival this Sunday at Soquel High School

Bring one bring all - your dogs that is! The 10th annual Spring Dog Festival FETCH A WAVE, hosted by Coastal Dog Owner’s Group, is this Sunday, May 15th at Soquel High School.

That’s right! It’s time to break out the Hawaiian shirts and hats (scarves for the dogs), drape yourselves in puka shells, and join the fun.

This year’s surf-themed festival features agility and lure courses, Frisbee and ball-tossing events, beauty and kissing contests – there’s even doggy stretching, called “Doga” of course! Plan your day around the schedule of events or come for the whole day.

Besides all the fun for your dogs, you and your friends and family will enjoy the many vendors, food, giveaways, rescue groups, raffles and community fun under the (part) sun.

So, polish up the Woody, strap your surfboards on top and cruise on over to Soquel High School this Sunday to fetch a wave! It’s where your dogs want to be! Okay, you really don’t need a surfboard or a Woody, or even a Hawaiian shirt.

General admission is $5 (free admission for children under 10 years old)

Admission for one with dog is $10 (entry plus five tickets for the raffle, contests or tryouts).

You can buy tickets online or at the gate. The Coastal Dog Owner’s Group (CDOG) donates to various dog-related causes in Santa Cruz through their Angel Fund.

Sunday, May 15th ~ 9:00 am to 3:00 pm
Soquel High School
401 Old San Jose Rd
Soquel, CA 95073

Check out the FETCH A WAVE Facebook page!


Monday, May 9, 2011

Saturn Café hosts The Rabbit Haven and friends this Wednesday, May 11th

This Wednesday, why not go out for a meal at the Saturn Café? Their delicious vegetarian menu with lots of vegan options and out-of-this-world atmosphere are awaiting your appetite! And this Wednesday The Rabbit Haven will benefit from your meal purchase if you simply print and bring in their special flyer.

If you are lucky, you might even get to meet some of the lovely haven volunteers who foster our community’s rabbit population, educate the masses and operate the bunny adoption shows at Pet Pals twice a month. They will be meeting and greeting (and eating!) at the restaurant between 6:00 pm and 9:00 pm.

So, bring a date or pack up the family, and come to the Saturn Café this Wednesday, and don’t forget the special flyer!

Saturn Café
Wednesday, May 11th ~ 11:00 am until 3:00 am (the following morning)
145 Laurel Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
(831) 429-8505

The Berkeley branch of the Saturn Cafe is hosting their version of this event, called Party with the Stars, to benefit the House Rabbit Society in Richmond on the same night.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Albus & Hagrid – what life is like one year later

It’s been a year since the decision was made to welcome bunnies into our home, proving that we never really know where our lives will lead. My mom, who I was so close to, had passed away just four months before, and Albus & Hagrid became my transport to someplace new, unchartered as it were. The black-and-white bonded brothers kept me busy (and still do), and of course learning all about house bunny life.

My mom volunteered for as long as I can remember, with the historical society of Scotts Valley, then delivering meals on wheels until she stopped driving, and finally as a caller for Dominican Hospital. Who knew that what started with a little extra love when I was so sad would turn up being such a special connection to my mom?

Within months of adopting Albus & Hagrid I began hanging around the bunny adoption shows at Pet Pals and soon became a volunteer helping with show support, eventually becoming a foster mom. There is simply no way to describe the reward – the satisfying filled-up feeling – that comes from giving freely of yourself to a cause that’s bigger than you.

Seeing families go home with soft furry new members - kids and adults alike seem to love the bunny experience - is beyond cool. We usually see the adopters again when they come back for free nail trims, to do matchmaking with another bunny, or just to say hello. There aren’t as many bunny people as there are dog and cat and horse people, so we tend to make up “the rabbit people” community. Did you know bunnies use litter boxes? I didn’t either. There’s a lot I didn’t know about bunny rabbits. My mother’s death rocketed me into another dimension.

The Rabbit Haven is always looking for foster families. They take in surrendered rabbits; they rescue rabbits from bad situations, even off of bunny death row (aka overcrowded shelters). If you’d like to learn about house bunnies and what’s involved with rabbit care, come to one the shows! If you’re not local, ask the closet animal shelter what organization does rabbit rescue in your area – they’ll know.

The Rabbit Haven puts on two adoption shows a month in Santa Cruz and one in Sunnyvale, always on Saturdays. The schedule is easy to find on the home page of their website. Feel free to contact me anytime and I’ll be happy to tell you about what being a bunny mom is like.

One more thing, since Easter is here, please don't ever buy anyone a rabbit (or a chick) for a gift. It's a terrible idea. Stuffed animals and chocolate bunnies are a much better idea. Here's a little video on the topic:

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Horses and Angels

When you’re young, nothing scares you. You learn to do scary stuff – climb trees, ride bikes – without much of a care in the world. Something happens when you get older. Self-consciousness, ego and fear slip into that space left open while you’re busy pursuing life's responsibilities. Suddenly you’re an adult and you realize you never learned how to do that one thing you always wanted to – ride a horse.

Or at least that’s the case for a young woman I know.

She’s a free spirit and full of life, but this secret haunts her. She wants so desperately to get up on the sleek back of a proud horse and let the wind blow through her hair as it lopes along a coast road. She imagines the freedom this ride will mean in so many ways of her life. The direction, as it opens up before her, and the power in each choice.

An angel waits to be there – on the day she chooses to take this risk – to carry her through the experience, gently and safely. Even in her solid faith, she’s frozen. The time is not yet.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Make the Bay Area Pet Expo one of your destinations

The excitement is building, the countdown is on (7 days, 12 hours, 55 minutes and 41 seconds) - it’s almost time for the Bay Area Pet Expo! This is not a little event. There will be 250 exhibitors from rescue groups to chic boutique and everything in between.

With free admission, an entertainment stage with live demonstrations all day, an agility course, mega adoption event, and Splash Dogs pool event – what could possibly be more fun?

The Bay Area Pet Expo
Santa Clara County Fairgrounds
Saturday, February 26, 2011
10:00 am to 6:00 pm

The Honorable Dalmatian will be teaming up with Waggin Tails Doggie Treats in Booth #234. They’ll be right next to the Santa Cruz SPCA in a central area just around the corner from the agility course. Other Santa Cruz area outfits include Pregnant Mare Rescue of Aptos and Luckydogs Bakery from Watsonville.

Bring your pet and come join us all for a day of fun and festivities.

Be there or be bored.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Bring a furry valentine home this weekend

Punxsutawney Phil has signaled an early spring, there’s plenty of sun expected and love is in the air – do you feel it? Whether you love dogs, cats or bunnies: you are sure to find a valentine at an adoption event in Santa Cruz or around your town this weekend.

Locally, Petsmart on River Street is hosting Animal Shelter Relief’s Valentines Adopt-A-Thon. It runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 1:00 to 4:00. The theme is “Homeless Pets Need Love Too!”

Santa Cruz County Animal Services on 7th Avenue has Meet Your Match from 11:00 to 3:00 on Saturday. Could your valentine be waiting for you at the shelter?

Also on Saturday, The Rabbit Haven is holding their Bunny Adoption Show at Pet Pals on Soquel Drive from 11:00 to 5:00. The days line-up will feature many soft and cuddly bunnies looking for love.

Don’t miss out when you can bring a furry valentine home this weekend!

Valentines Adopt-A-Thon
PetSmart / (831) 429-2780
490 River Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Fri, Sat & Sun, 2/11/11 to 2/13/11 from 1:00 to 4:00

Meet Your Match
Santa Cruz County Animal Services
2200 7th Avenue
Santa Cruz, CA 95062
(831) 454-7303
Saturday, 2/12/11 from 11:00 to 3:00

Bunny Adoption Show
Pet Pals
3660 Soquel Drive
Soquel, CA 95073
(831) 464-8775
Saturday, 2/12/11 from 11:00 to 5:00

Monday, January 31, 2011

25 Ways to No More Homeless Pets

These 25 tips are from a Best Friends Animal Society bookmark. Since this qualifies as something you read, I'm passing along the bookmark, "e-style." Please pass these tips along and let's keep working together to end pet overpopulation.

1. Adopt from a shelter or rescue.

2. Volunteer at your local shelter.

3. License, I.D. and microchip your pet.

4. Spay or neuter pets before they are 3 months old.

5. Let officials know that you support animal-friendly laws.

6. Become a Best Friend member at

7. Donate pet food to your local food pantry.

8. Consider your family's lifestyle when choosing a pet.

9. Get pet insurance to help cover the costs of veterinary care.

10. Train and socialize your dog throughout his life.

11. Join or start a Trap-Neuter-Return program for community cats.

12. When moving, plan ahead to find a residence that allows pets.

13. Provide a landlord with a "good pet" resume with references and photos.

14. Develop and post a pet-friendly rental listing for your area.

15. Volunteer for or start a short-term pet fostering program for families in temporary need.

16. Use an air purifier and create a "no pet zone" to control allergic reactions.

17. Prepare your pet for the smells and sounds of a baby when you're expecting.

18. Teach youngsters how to treat animals they know and those they don't.

19. Request that the curriculum in your local schools include humane education.

20. Visit the Pet Care Library on the Best Friends Web site for resources.

21. Hold a fund-raiser for your local shelter or rescue.

22. Start an off-leash dog park.

23. Help look for a missing pet.

24. Foster a lost or homeless animal.

25. Join the Best Friends Network and get involved in your community and beyond:

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Get the California Pet Lover’s License Plate now and start saving lives

We first learned about the California Pet Lover's License Plate when Santa Cruz’s Animal Shelter Relief Rescue shared their brochure with us, adding that support for the new California plate was mandatory. Since then, we’ve passed out brochures for the license plate at shows, mailed them to customers with their purchases, and talked about the new plate. So let’s talk about it:

The talented and generous Pierce Brosnan designed the artwork for the plate, which raises money for California spay/neuter programs and also educates drivers by simply stating “Spay & Neuter Saves Lives.” Proceeds from purchasing the plate fund low-cost and even free altering surgeries for California animals.

It is very important that the California Department of Motor Vehicles receive 7500 pre-orders so that production can begin, and animals can start benefiting from the license plates. As of this writing, 2154 of the new plates have been pre-ordered.

Please, think about the good your purchase will do and pre-order the California Pet Lover's License Plate right now.

Sponsored by the California Veterinary Medical Board, the California spay/neuter plate will reduce homeless pets and save lives. For more information, visit where you can find the answers to any questions you have and learn about the inspiration behind the design.

Perhaps someday there will be no more homeless pets. For now, we do what we can and we hope that means seeing you on the road soon sporting your new California Pet Lover's License Plate.

Thank you,

The Honorable Dalmatian
~for the love of animals~