I lost my dog Sturm to cancer in 1978. Since then I have lost 2 more dogs to cancer ... Linga and Annie. And countless human family and friends.

I lost my dog Sturm to cancer in 1978. Since then I have lost 2 more dogs to cancer … Linga and Annie. And countless human family and friends.

As many of you know, I have been working with 2 Million Dogs 2 Miles, Inc. for as long as it’s been around. I am on the Board and serve as the secretary, I do several of their blogs, the occasional newsletter, and have supported their efforts (OUR efforts) to find the causes and ways to prevent canine and human cancers through research, education, and awareness. This year I am participating in the Memphis Puppy Up! Walk and even have a donations page. Any donation you can contribute will be welcomed. Even if you haven’t got a dime, please spread the word about 2 Million Dogs and our efforts to eradicate cancer.

Cancer is big business. An industry in itself. But we’re not about that. We’re about finding the causes of cancer, looking for ways to prevent cancer, and educating people about the growing incidence of cancers in companion animals. We want cancer to be a thing of the past, and have participated in research with The Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT through our Cancer Can’t Keep a Good Dog Down calendar fundraiser, and have worked with Princeton as well in their studies of canine mammary tumors.

I hope you’ll take time to check out my donation’s page and contribute of you can.

More about 2 Million Dogs can be read on our web page and you can read about our ongoing mission below.

Our mission is this:

2 Million Dogs Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit organization, and our ongoing commitment is discovering the common links between canine and human cancers and the causes of these cancers through comparative oncology research. Our organization is accomplishing that mission in the following ways:

Education and Awareness
The field of comparative oncology is relatively new and 2 Million Dogs continues to educate people about its tremendous potential through a global campaign of strategic partnerships, seminars, speaking engagements, social media, events, broadcasts, and other forms of media.

Empowerment and Mobilization
Through our The Puppy Up! Walks, we are building the largest pet and people cancer community in the world; from business people to artists to scientists and humanitarians, we are forging partnerships with individuals and institutions with the singular purpose of ridding the world of one of its deadliest diseases.

Investment in Research
2 Million Dogs scientific objectives are: Broadening our understanding of the links between human and companion animal cancer, creating a cross institutional collaborative platform, developing new approaches to research, and funding translational cancer studies that benefit both pets and people.

Molly Bear painted by Karen Goosic

This beautiful painting of Molly Bear was done by artist Karen Goosic. (c) by the artist.

The people at Animal Guardian Network have put together a wonderful tribute video to our friend Molly Bear. Please visit it here, and please consider contributing to The Animal Guardian Network or an animal welfare organization of your choice. Even a small donation goes a long way.

If you have been reading along, you know I have been following Molly Bear, in the care of the Animal Guardian Network, for some time. Their last post indicated Molly was getting ready for a new journey. When I checked their Facebook page today, I read this post from Carrie Singer, President of the Animal Guardian Network:

Memories of Molly Bear.

Memories of Molly Bear.

OUR GIRL HAS GONE

(Saturday, March 30, 2013)  I sat with our Molly this morning like I did every morning with a plate of chicken. But today was different because she looked back at me with different eyes. Eyes that said, “I’m ready but I can’t begin this journey on my own”. As I felt my heart being ripped from my body I knew the day I dreaded had come.

I walked outside to catch my breath and separate the messages from my head and the ones from my heart. As I looked up I noticed how overcast the sky was. It seemed like the clouds had been lowered to carry her away.

I so desperately wanted Molly to be able to leave on her own. I wanted it to be on her terms. What I didn’t consider or expect was for it to be on her terms I would need to help her.

I made two calls, one to the vet’s office and one to Petra.

This afternoon in her courtyard, on her favorite bed surrounded by all the beautiful gifts she has received, with wind chimes gently blowing Molly Bear was assisted in her final transition. We held her closely as she drifted away. She left us as gently and as bravely as she came to us.

As I wrapped her up in a soft blanket while kissing her head I breathed in her wonderful smell. I hoped some how if I breathed deep enough I would be able to save her sweet smell forever.

It was my honor, my duty and my heartbreak to be her guardian of passage. It is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Now I am left with a huge hole in my heart. The absence of her spirit and her presence has left an indescribably painful void.

My eternal gratitude to all the incredible human beings that have shared Molly’s journey and loved her every bit as deeply as I. As painful as it was to write these words I knew I must. After all, you are all her family.

Rest in Peace, Molly Bear. Thank you, Carrie Singer and all the generous people who have made Molly’s life that much better.

Please remember, while Molly Bear has gone, The Animal Guardian Network and other organizations like them need our support. There are so many other dogs like Molly Bear who need rescuing, and loving care. Please support the animal rescue and welfare groups of your choice.

Postscript: I received this note on my Facebook page when my dear friend, Deby, read of Molly’s passing. I didn’t want her thoughts to get lost in the stream of Facebook, and have her permission to reprint her comments here.

For reasons not clear to me, Molly Bear’s passing has devastated me. I grew so attached to her. I guess I wanted her to live forever, so her spirit would show us that love IS the answer. But even if love can heal a broken heart, it cannot heal the wounded mortal body, and hers was too frail to continue. Has she gone to a better place? I hope. But what is tearing at me is that there are so many more animals, and humans, who suffer at the hands of other humans, and it seems like the cycle cannot be broken. I can’t continue to pick up the pieces of broken lives–animal and human–without believing that somehow, someday, we will get ahead of this and that people will learn to love all other living beings, and respect them. Somehow, though, somehow Molly Bear, with her sweet eyes and her gentle look makes me think that that day will never come, and that we will always be killers, cruel and heartless. That we would be so to an animal who would only give us love, never hurt us, is so wrong and so terrible, I don’t know what to do with it. Except mourn for the loss of the human soul.

(For more on Molly Bear, please see the precious entry.)

For some time now I have been following the story of Molly Bear on Facebook. She has had a dreadfully difficult time for most of her life and was rescued by some amazing people with The Animal Guardian Network. I fell in love with her beautiful, ancient face the minute I set eyes on her. She reminded me a bit of my own Ancient Annie, who spent the last few brief months of her life with us.

Now we receive word that Molly Bear’s health is declining. She has not passed yet, but it seems only a short time before she begins her new journey. Below is the message posted on Facebook about this courageous dog.

OMolly BearUR MOLLY BEAR (please share)

Things for our sweet girl Molly have not been going so well. I am afraid to write much less think the words. Our girl is slowly slipping away. Each day I feel her struggle with where she is. She is not here completely and she is not gone completely. She has always occupied a place somewhere in between. Molly fought harder to live than anything I have ever seen. Her work was not done here. She had lives to touch and a message of hope to spread. She speaks for those with no voice who need so little to give so much.

All but 5 months of her life were stolen from her. And in those 5 short months she did more than many do in a lifetime. She has forever changed my life and I know the lives of many others.

When you are a rescuer who sees what we see you try very hard to insulate yourself; a person can only survive so many broken hearts. But this was not to be the case with Molly. Just as she fought to live, her spirit would not be denied all of my heart.

Please keep Molly Bear in your thoughts. And if you are on Facebook, why not stop by the Animal Guardian Network, “like” them, and thank them for all the work they do, on behalf of all the dogs like Molly Bear.

 

(Animal Guardian Network is a 501(c)(3) charity providing a lifeline to those in need. Animal Guardian Network’s mission: to rescue, safeguard, heal, rehabilitate, adopt and advocate for animals in need; alleviate their suffering; provide disadvantaged pet guardians dignified assistance and aftercare services; educate people about proper animal care; inspire compassion and respect for all animals.)

Molly sun-napping. Check out her tail.

Molly sun-napping. Check out her tail.

There is an organization called Animal Guardian Network, an animal shelter out of Cave Creek, Arizona, and they have a page on Facebook (who doesn’t these days) where they post photos of the animals they care for. They are a 501c3 non-profit and their mission statement reads, in part: “to rescue, safeguard, heal, rehabilitate, adopt and advocate for animals in need; alleviate their suffering; provide disadvantaged pet guardians dignified assistance and aftercare services; educate people about proper animal care; inspire compassion and respect for all animals.”

Now, I have to tell you about their girl Molly Bear. Molly Bear was taken in by Animal Guardian Network in October 2012. The first post about her can be read here, but for those of you who shun Facebook it reads, “This poor TEN YEAR OLD Shiba was picked up by Animal Control and taken to the county shelter. She is unable to walk and her little head tilts to the left from a possible trauma. Can you just imagine the terror and confusion this poor dog must be going through? We can not allow her to simply slip away, unknown and anonymously suffering to an unthinkable end. She is going to our vet hospital for immediate care and diagnostics.”

These are the kind of people who work at AGN. This is the kind of work they do.

OK, back to my new love, Molly Bear. Like most of us who are long in the tooth, she has her ups and downs. She loves her naps in the sun, and her special meals. Some days she feels poorly. Some days she feels pretty darned good for 10. But all in all, she is doing remarkably well. I don’t really know what it is about her that caused me to fall so hard for her. Maybe it’s our common love for sun-naps. Maybe it’s her beautiful face. Maybe it’s because she reminds me a lot of our foundling, Annie. It doesn’t matter. She’s just a sweetheart and I want her to live well and forever. Of course, she won’t live forever — but it looks like she will live well.  It’s just nice to know she has found people who care for her, and respect her age and dignity. And spoil her rotten. OK, they put some pretty odd sweaters on her, but she’s old and gets cold. I get it.

So, just take a look at her and tell me you can resist her. Of course you can’t.

The folks who maintain the Animal Guardian Network Facebook page send out updates on Molly Bear and all the dogs they care for. THAT’S how they get you. Just simple updates on how she’s doing. Today she conquered a stair. Yup. From being unable to walk in October to now taking the initiative to climb a stair. Of course, it was dinner time.

I haven’t told my Pack I have another dog in my life. Well, actually I have a number of on-line puppy-loves. But Molly Bear is one of my favorites. I hope I’ll be getting those Molly Bear Updates for a long time to come. Here’s a video they call “Dinner with Molly.” Just a simple video of some hand lovingly feeding pieces of chicken to an old dog. Those of us who have enjoyed the company of old dogs can relate. The simple act of an old dog still savoring a meal can mean everything. It means another day in their company.

Go check out their pages and fall in love for yourself. There are many beautiful faces. And please share the work they do.

Fully engorged ixodes deer tick that dropped off a pet cat after taking a blood meal

A deer tick. Nasty.

Just what we need, right? Another threat to the animal and human populations.

There’s supposedly a new “deer tick-borne disease in humans, with the viral-like illness sharing similarities both with Lyme disease and relapsing fever infections.” The article published on January 17th by Reuters and written by Zach Howard details a new disease carried by deer ticks.

The article, published in Huff Post Health News goes on to detail the symptoms and potential treatments of the disease. You can find the whole article here.

The article explains how to treat the new disease, but really doesn’t discuss prevention. So, I’m going to discuss that, just from a personal experience perspective.

When I was a kid we lived on the grounds of the Gowanda Psychiatric Hospital in the Gowanda/Collins, New York area. That’s about 45 minutes south of Buffalo, in case you’re interested. Not that that’s important, because the hospital isn’t there anymore. It’s now a prison. (Yes, I catch the irony. The whole town does — now.)

Anyway, there was a grass (in the mint family) that grew wild all over the grounds. It was called pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium). For all I know it could still be there, growing wild. It had a delicious smell, especially after it was newly mown. Eventually it found itself covering almost all of the grounds. What I didn’t know at the time was that it’s a natural flea and tick repellant. What I did know was that my German Shepherd, Sturm, never had one single flea in his entire life. Not one. In 12 years. And ticks? Maybe one or two a season. Not like here in Tennessee where, on a five minute walk to the mail box, one is covered from head to toe with the disgusting little buggers. Ticks and Tennessee — made for each other.

Pennyroyal02

Fragrant pennyroyal.

If you can get pennyroyal to grow in your yard (it’s not particularly heat tolerant, so it may not work for some of you in the South), you are well on your way to seeing your puppers flea and tick free. Not 100% of the ticks, I’m afraid, but your dogs will only have maybe one or two a year, if that. Dogs love to roll in the fragrant grass, so not only do they have less of a chance of picking up these nasty disease-born pests, but they will smell delicious themselves. You will thank me for it.

You can learn more about the plant here and here and of course on Wikipedia here. “Even though pennyroyal oil is extremely poisonous, people have relied on the fresh and dried herb for centuries. Early settlers in colonial Virginia used dried pennyroyal to eradicate pests.” Yup. Good old Wikipedia. How would we live without it?

And here is another helpful site on what’s good and bad for repelling ticks and other nasty critters that bug your pups and you.

Of course, you probably don’t want to go out in a field of pennyroyal and roll around with your dogs (although it might just be fun, and you too would smell delicious). But getting pennyroyal to take root in your yard or field will help keep the bugs off your pups, and by extension, you. And you won’t have to douse your animals in toxic sprays or dips or feed them toxic chemicals that do more harm than good.

In looking for healthy ways of protecting our pets, I stumbled across this site. It’s the NY State Department of Health ‘Health Advisory on Tick and Insect repellents.’ Also an informative read.

If you can get it to grow, try the pennyroyal. It’s a plant that sends out runners (which explains how it migrated throughout the hospital grounds), and it likes damper soils. Not soggy, but not arid either. See what happens. You might have to order the seeds or plants on-line, but one year we actually found starter plants at Lowes.

Did you know that pennyroyal is used by some professional dog groomers as a natural  herbal flea dip? Well, now you know. And good for them.

Give it a try. It gets a four paw stamp of approval from Sturmie.

By now you know I frequent Facebook. Far too much. But I find a lot of interesting things there.

Tonight this scrolled across my screen. I am copying it here verbatim because this says it all … for ALL the dogs who need homes. Who abandons an old dog? Or a puppy? Or any animal for that matter?

I don’t know who really wrote this, but s/he has felt what this old dog feels. Maybe you can help this dog or know someone who can. Maybe this isn’t the dog for you but another one waits a day or a week away. Or maybe this is just like your dog — someone you rescued. You heard their heart and saved their life. If you did, thank you.

MaybelleOh please, oh please..don’t scroll by me. I have a name and it is Maybelle. I know you probably already have or planned to look right past me. I see what you see. I also feel what you feel. I am gray in the face, my soul is broken and by heart is crumbling. I hurt like you hurt. My pain however has been for years upon years. I know people say that I am too old and to write me off, give up and “let’s help another” but I beg you not give up on me. There must be a purpose for me. I am living on concrete floors and surrounded by loud noises and caged up like a criminal-this can’t be what is the end of my life. I feel like it never began. I have spent my whole life begging for only 1 thing..for someone to just want ME. Why did God put me here? I am not the fluffy white dog or the cute little toy dog but I am here and I am ME. So my puppy days turned into my teenage years and my teenage years have turned into adult years and now I am a senior and still I wait. I know you have feelings too so I know you must know what it would feel like if love was never given to you. If you were abandoned and left to die as a elderly person with no one there to care for you, hold your hand, hug your heart or even just look at you as if you ever mattered. Imagine yourself. Imagine your mom. Imagine your dad or your grandmom. You can die of a broken heart but you can survive on hope. I need you to give me hope. I need a place to finally call my home. I just need you to open your heart and help the one who needs to beat the odds. The one who has been asking for longer than anyone else. I need just one person who would hold me tight when it is my time to cross over to rainbow bridge. The one person who would not let me die alone. I know that is a tall order. I know that tears would be shed but you would have given so much to the one who waited so long. Give my life a purpose. My time to cross over may be months, it may be years but whatever it would be, you would have given me the only thing I waited a lifetime for..you. I am hanging on for another day just to see what comes my way. Thank you for hearing the prayers of the old. love, Maybelle the coonhound.

Maybelle is in a cage in boarding. She needs a foster ASAP. She is completely housebroken and such an easy keeper. Must go with no other pets or kids bc she doesn’t liked to be jumped on. She does love to snuggle and rest by your feet if given a chance. Angels will pay for all her vetting. (Atlanta area)- email foster@angelsrescue.org Nicole

This is from Angles Among Us on Facebook. You can find and like their page here.

There are hundreds of rescue and shelter organizations on Facebook, networking, trying to find homes for animals like Maybelle. If you’re on Facebook, at least share these pleas. If you’re not, feel free to cut and paste this into your email and send it out to someone who might want one of these beautiful animals.

Thank you.

I think most writers are avid readers. We like telling stories and sharing facts, and we like being immersed in the Universes of other people as well — especially the Universes of other writers.

I have been following Jon Katz’s Bedlam Farm Journal now ever since I stumbled across it some time ago. I can relate to it on so many levels. He loves and appreciates his animals, as do I mine. He has a practical yet philosophical attitude about life and death and everything in between (seen and unseen) , and I think I have too. He has had some struggles with fear and anxiety, and so do I. (Maybe that is a common trait among most writers?)

Anyway, when I read his writings I find myself connecting with him on many things. One of his latest musings, called “Farm Art,” made me think of my best friend Doug and his farm, and all the stuff that’s strewn about. And then I thought of my own little 10 acres of land and thought, “Yup, I have ‘junk and detritus’ scattered here and there too.” (Much to my wife’s chagrin.) While Jon’s is not a ‘working farm,’ and neither is mine, the impressions his simple prose evokes capture just about any farm you’ll drive by these days.

I would be remiss if I didn’t recommend this great collection of short pieces, delivered to your in-box almost daily. Check out his piece called Farm Art: Zero Degrees to get a taste of his work. There’s a subscribe button on the title page on Bedlamfarm.com. You can also find him on Facebook. And, of course, he has many books on Amazon.

What does all this have to do with dogs? Just wait. He has wonderful dog stories scattered throughout, with all his other observations on life. I think you’ll enjoy how he regards the world.

 

I love my dog pet IDI come across some of the most interesting, useful, moving, and inspiring things in my cruising the pages of Facebook, especially when it comes to dogs. There are rescues, and shelters, and dog food recall alerts, and funny videos, and advice exchanged, and even the occasional product that looks like it really has merit. I think this “Pet ID For Me” is something that people will find very useful. I discovered it through the group “I Love My Dog” and thought I’d pass it along to you. They’re currently even having a special on selected products. They carry pet ID tags, key chains, and ID cards. Someone pretty smart cooked this up. I wish it had been me.

So check them out: Pet ID For Me. There’s a coupon code there too, so cash in on that. I’ll be ordering one each for my 4 dogs.

Let me know what you think. And tell them you read about it here, on Write About Dogs.

(P.S. I want that German Shepherd puppy.)

Beautiful Lexi in New Mexico, getting used to her new wheels. Thanks, Jerry West.

Beautiful Lexi in New Mexico, getting used to her new wheels. Thanks, Jerry West.

My boy Boris may soon be a candidate for one of Jerry’s wheelchairs and I never knew how to measure him. For those of you who need this information for your own pupper, here’s the link Jerry posted on how to measure your dog for a wheel chair.

He’s even got a number of videos on the site to help you figure out how to measure correctly.

This man is a genius and a saint all rolled into one. There should be more people like Jerry West out there. The world would certainly be a kinder place.

Thanks, Jerry, for the work you do.

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about.me

Erich C. G. Trapp

Erich C. G. Trapp

Writer

My background is in Rhetoric and composition, with a smattering of semiotics, a taste for Foucault and Jeremy Bentham's Panopticon, and a fascination with America's narcissism.

I currently serve on the Board of Directors of 2 Million Dogs, write their blogs, do the occasional newsletter, and coordinate the yearly calendar.

Previously I taught the unknowable to the unwilling -- college English, in Tennessee and Texas.

I also write the blogs 2 Million Dogs -- The Blog, Brain Bait, The Panoptic Culture, and Being Batshit.

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