Wednesday, October 26, 2016

"Rolling in the creep"


    My earliest  trick-or-treat memory was when at the age of three my Mom dressed me up as mini- Santa Claus including makeshift beard stretched from cotton balls attached with Scotch tape and a big jelly belly of rolled up winter scarves. In full action mode, pillowcase slung over my back, we were off on an incredible spooky adventure.  With my two older sisters in tow, we trekked miles through our neighborhood and beyond gathering our massive bounty of sweet treat treasures. Upon returning home we dumped our overflowing goody bags scattering their contents on our groovy green shag carpet. Admiring its luscious beauty we longed to roll around in our candy crush as if we were the greedy Three Little Pigs in a luxurious chocolate mud bath. Our own personal pots of child's gold. Eyes wide as the moon, we stared salivating over the mouth watering deliciousness of every variety of snack bar, Sweet Tarts, Smarties, Pixie Sticks, gross Necco Wafers, caramels, candy necklaces, wax bottles of  drinkable goo and the occasional sad box of raisins or plastic encased popcorn ball. No rocks.

     The day after Halloween, stuffing my face with Snickers bars and Jolly Ranchers, I manically rode my tricycle on our front porch for thirty minutes like the little boy from The Shining, "Redrum! Redrum!"  My energy level measured  Breaking Bad, "meth addict" on the uncontrollable kid scale. This was soon followed by collapsing into a long sugar induced slumber while watching Sesame Street. C-is for cookie, C- is for coma. Candy wrappers littered our living room like the  driveway of a  Dixie trailer park. Next thing I remember was slowly waking up with sticky orange drool running down my chin. My stomach felt like it had been gut checked by Ronda Rousey and I had a Tootsie Roll lollipop suspended in my ponytail. So once a year let your mischievous monsters and ghostly goblins imagine they inherited Willy Wonka's factory and let it rain M&M's and Skittles. The memories are sure to haunt them forever.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

" Clear and present danger."

       More than likely every media outlet and newspaper at home and abroad will recount dangerous
statements made by Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump during the third and final debate live from Las Vegas, Nevada, Wednesday night.  (Refer to the (AP )Associated Press video above.)
      Why should Trump's comments alarm and horrify all Americans?  Trump defiantly implying he would not accept the results of an American election if he loses November 8th is rejecting the peaceful transition of power which has been a pinnacle of our democracy for over 200 years. Trump has repeatedly complained that the general election "system is rigged" against him often citing the "liberal "media or voter fraud in polling places across the country. It is imperative that Democrats, Republicans and Independents come together to stand against toxic rhetoric eroding our democratic processes. It will now be the absolute responsibility of the GOP to reaffirm for every US citizen that we are a country based on laws accepting the results of free and fair elections. The current Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, Mitch Mc Conelle and all Republican representatives who supported and endorsed Trump must be held accountable for the divisive words and actions of a candidate who is a blatantly unqualified  conspiracy theorist seeking to undermine American institutions at every opportunity. The legitimacy of our elections is a crowning symbol of American democracy for the world. Trump is a disgrace to educated people.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

"Dreamers and storytellers, and innovators and visionaries."


               President Barack Obama eloquently stated in the above quote "the arts and humanities, in many ways, are reflective of our national soul."  The history of America is one of "dreamers, storytellers, and innovators and visionaries".  We are a country of creative poets, musicians, film makers, dancers, painters, writers, photographers and although much of our expression is a reflection of our own unique perception we can choose to reveal truth and beauty in the world rather than unleashing hatred and ugliness. When we use our imaginations and feed our minds with creativity we nourish our humanity. Our self-expression through the arts empowers all of us to form our strongest bonds and tear down the most forbidding walls.

         The National Endowment for the Arts or NEA  opens doors and breaks down barriers in American communities with opportunities to participate in a variety of arts programs. Please check the website for grants information, research and publications.

  2016 marks the 50th Anniversary of the NEA.  Read President Obama's official declaration of October as National Arts and Humanities Month-

Sunday, October 2, 2016

"It takes strength to be gentle and kind."

"Sometimes change is too much to bear, but most of the time change is the only thing saving your life."- Unknown

       October has been designated national  Adopt-A-Shelter-Dog Month. Why is adopting from a rescue or shelter so critical right now? The facts are heartbreaking. Approximately 2.7 million perfectly healthy animals are euthanized in this country every year. Companion animals like dogs and cats are killed when there isn't enough room to house them in shelters. Most dogs are surrendered  or disturbingly dumped at shelters by previous owners for reasons such as aging, medical expenses or grooming costs, families having children, relocation's or re-trainable behavioral issues. A surprising 25% of dogs surrendered to shelters are purebred. Many rescues are so full of unwanted animals, dogs and cats placed in a shelter have as little as one week to be adopted before they're killed. Despite the success of spaying and neutering programs in the past ten years homeless animals outnumber homeless people 5 to 1. This statistic is tragic for both homeless families and homeless animals. How do we consider this acceptable in one of the most prosperous nations in the world?
     Each year it has been a personal mission to share as much information as possible on my website regarding the prevention of animal abuse, ending puppy mills, animal campaigns, shelters as well as the sheer richness and pleasure dogs bring to our lives. From personal experience and avid research, as rescue, police, military, therapy and family companions these incredible animals are intelligent, capable,  protective, trusting and unrivaled in loyal, loving relationships with human beings. Dogs provide physical and mental health benefits beyond  what current scientific methods can statistically measure as new research steadily emerges. What can we do in October and 365 days a year to help these beautiful animals?

         *    Decide if adopting a dog is right for you. Do your research. Dogs require time, affection, exercise and grooming attention but like any thing we love they are worth the effort. Check with your local shelter today. Once you adopt make sure an animal is spayed or neutered. Begin your search here:

         *    If you're unable to adopt do whatever you can to help animals in shelters such as donate supplies or volunteer your time. Call your local shelters and ask them what they need most. Feed shelter animals simply by answering fun questions at

         *    Remember if you're looking for a purebred dog such as a Golden Retriever or Beagle 25% of dogs in shelters are purebred. Find a breed specific rescue in your area. Please- don't buy puppies from pet stores or pet shops online. Puppies bought and sold in stores and online are more likely raised in illegal puppy mills.

         *    Support spaying and neutering programs in your city and state. Population control is critical to preventing overcrowded shelters and senselessly killing healthy animals later. Read more about spay/neuter benefits here : ASPCA

          *   Use your own resources to help animals in need such as posting information on your Facebook, blog or Twitter page. Urge communities to offer programs which spay and neuter animals for reduced price or free. Population control is key.

        *  Teach children the importance of compassion and care for all animals. Dogs rely on our love and kindness for their survival. Please, do whatever you can to help even if you're unable to bring a new canine companion into your home this month.

     *  Please, take time to thank those brave enough to work in clinics, shelters and rescue organizations  each day. Most of us can't even imagine the amount of courage it takes to desperately try and negotiate temporary foster or permanent homes before an animals time runs out. Please, think of those doing a job most of us could never bear to do but know must be done.