The main reason I am starting this column is not just to tell you about me and my dogs, and my dog world, but also to get to know you and your dogs. One of my many joys about owning a dog is getting to meet new dogs and dog lovers. So please, I strongly encourage you to join in the conversation, just as if we were meeting on a walking trail or at the local dog park.
While I am the editor of DogChannel.com and DOG FANCY magazine, I am just another dog lover to those I meet, and the first thing all dog people want to know is: What kind of dogs do you have?
I have two permanent dogs, Gordon, 4, and Munchkin, 12, both Cairn Terriers. When people ask what they are I just say “Toto dogs,” and they know right away. Thank goodness for Toto and “The Wizard of Oz.”
Munchkin, whose color has changed from light red as a puppy to nearly black, is a retired show champion: Ch. Redcoat’s Over the Rainbow. My Cairns, past and present, have helped me learn a great deal about proper breeding, grooming, handling and showing dogs. I volunteer as vice president with the Cairn Terrier Club of Southern California, helping put on puppy and dog shows, staffing “meet the breed” and pet fair booths.
For 14 years I have also been active in all facets of terrier rescue, for both purebred Cairns and mixed breeds. Seven years ago I also started volunteering with Greyhound rescue and volunteer at a local shelter each week. I work as a “Spoiler,” helping to socialize and teach basic obedience to these amazingly sweet dogs, so they can be placed in forever homes. My current rescue Greyhounds that I work with each week are A-List, Haven and Cuidado.
Two years ago a dog-walking friend pointed out that my younger terrier, Gordon, was especially mellow and loving. (He thinks every animal or person he meets is his friend, even cats!) So more than a year ago I trained him and gained certification with Therapy Dogs International. Each week I take him to visit Children’s Hospital of Orange County, where he brings unconditional love, impish joy and much comfort to ailing children. Then twice a week he visits adult patients at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, Calif.
Working with rescue dogs and doing therapy dog work is the most life-affirming experience I have ever had. No matter how concerned I might be about the state of the world or some everyday trouble, when I spend time at the shelter or visit hospital patients with Gordon I come away feeling so incredibly positive and upbeat.
I would love to hear why your dogs are special to you, so please leave comments and join in this conversation about our best friends in the animal world.