Catch A Wave & You’re Sitting On Top Of The World.

Pig shows his cool form. Photography by Tina VaLant.

Pig shows his cool form. Photography by Tina VaLant.

Attention beach-loving dogs and their humans, the Hang 20 Surf Dog Classic will be Saturday, August 29, 8am-noon, at Carlin Park in Jupiter, Florida. Imagine four legged bikini-clad Bettys and plenty of canine surf action with tasty waves and cool rides.

Well-known canine surfers who are planning to compete will include: Mr. Barkley, a Golden Retriever, who is also a therapy dog. Surf Pig, a rescued Terrier-tripod (shown above) Yes, you read that correctly, he surfs 15. Waldo, a rescued Terrier mix who splits his time between Sebastian, Florida and Eleuthera, Bahamas. Our South Florida rover reporter/photographer Tina VaLant will be on-site to cover the event for The New Barker. The weather, as of now, calls for partly cloudy skies. Surf should be good.

Safety First for our Surf Dog Champs.

Safety First for our Surf Dog Champs.

Interesting In Teaching Your Dog To Surf: Advice to prep from the surfdogs: Get a surfboard and practice in a pool. Get comfortable. Sit, lay and stand on the board. Have your human gently push the board away, and slowly pull it back. This teaches balance and to use your back legs to steady the board, without the distraction of waves. When this all becomes easy, venture to the ocean on a calm day. Take it slow and work up to standing on the board and riding the waves.

Keep training sessions short and sweet. Always end on a good note. When it stops being fun that day––STOP. When you insist on doing something that your dog doesn’t enjoy you will break the feeling of trust between you and your dog. That can be irreparable. Safety first. Make sure your dog has a properly-fitted life vest, for ocean rides. Proceed slowly and pay attention that your dog isn’t becoming stressed. Bring plenty of fresh water and a bowl from home.

Hang Dog Surf Dog Classic will benefit Furry Friends Adoption & Clinic, a 501c3 not for profit organization located in Jupiter. Operations consist of a veterinary clinic, thrift store, adoption center, and ranch. Furry Friends provides an invaluable service to homeless animals to the northern Palm Beach/Martin county community. FurryFriendsAdoption.org 401 Maplewood Drive, Suite 10, Jupiter, FL 33548 561.747.5311.

Mr. Barkley

Passing Through The Eye Of The Storm Together.

Foreword: Yesterday, August 23, was the 10-year anniversary of #HurricaneKatrina. There have been many stories written about the devastation, survival and hope. We featured one of those stories, about Nikki Moon and her little Scottie, Madeline in The New Barker #dogmagazine. Written by Luellen Hoffman, it appeared, as written below, in the winter, 2010 issue of the magazine, five years after the storm. It is still one of our favorites. Special thanks to Luellen for bringing us this story. Special thanks to Nikki for sharing your story of strength. You help us remember to count our blessings.

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It was one of those rare moments, captured by CNN. Millions of people saw it playing out dramatically on television, watching live coverage of Hurricane Katrina as it smashed into the Gulf Coast and countless victims fought to survive the flood waters. Many of the locals (as we saw on television) had decided to wait it out. One of those waiting for the storm to pass was Nikki Nicholson, her dog Madeline, and several of her friends and neighbors.

In 2005, Nikki, an attractive fun-loving woman, left the convention industry in New Orleans and moved to Bay St. Louis, Mississippi with her eight-year-old Scottish Terrier Madeline. She had always dreamed of buying a large Southern home to run as a bed and breakfast and The Bay Town Inn, a historic home built in 1899, was the perfect fit. A grand home converted to an Inn during 1993, it had weathered many storms over the years, from 1965’s category four Hurricane Betsy, to Camille, the infamous category five hurricane whose 190 mph winds wreaked havoc on Aug 17, 1969. The Bay Town Inn stood strong throughout, suffering no damage. With this history on her side, Nikki felt certain she could safely ride out any storm nature threw at her.

People from all over the country frequented the popular Bay Town Inn, and Madeline (Maddy to her friends) was always the first to greet guests at the front door. “The guests loved her, many claiming they returned just to see Maddy,” Nikki explained. Life was good for Nikki and her little black dog. But all that was about to change. Even though Nikki felt her B&B could withstand almost any storm, she says it became very clear, very quickly, that Katrina was more powerful than anything anyone had ever seen before. When it hit at 9:15 a.m., a rush of water…a huge 40-foot storm surge, tore her house apart. Nikki, Maddy and her friends, Doug Niolet and Kevin Guillory, ended up outside on the street. To find refuge from the violent wind and raging waters, Nikki and her two friends grabbed onto the only stable thing available—a tree. She watched helplessly as her home was completely destroyed, the roof ripped off and blown down the street. Unbeknownst to Nikki, she was live on CNN, the whole world watching her dangling in the air from a skinny oak tree, grasping her dog in one arm and two friends hanging onto the same tree, as the flood waters rushed below them. At first Nikki had tried to put Maddy in a plastic carry-all bag, but her pooch would have nothing of that. So she climbed the tree and one of her friends handed Maddy up to her. And there they hung, like human Christmas ornaments watching, along with the rest of the world, as the storm raged all around them. With little Maddy tucked up under one arm and pressed up against Nikki’s body, they dangled in the oak tree for four long, frightening hours.

Each huge wave that smashed into the tree threatened to rip Nikki and Maddy apart. But one thing was certain, they weren’t going to let go. They were either going to make it together or not at all, because Nikki and her friends were not going to give up and she was never going to let her Maddy go. Nikki said, “When I needed Maddy to stay still, she did. She knew enough to stay still and she had a sense that she couldn’t wiggle or I would have lost her.”

The Angel Tree. Nikki and her friends commissioned an artist to carve an angel into the tree that saved their lives.

The Angel Tree. Nikki and her friends commissioned an artist to carve an angel into the tree that saved their lives.

At 1:30 that Monday afternoon, the waters started to recede and one of the friends jumped into the three-foot deep murky water. One by one, they all jumped down from the tree and sloshed their way through the water and mud to reach a house across the street. The first floor was gone, but a still-intact stairway took them to what was left of the second floor, where they collapsed onto two beds. A nice older couple had lived there, wisely leaving before the storm. After a short rest, the three friends borrowed some of the couples’ dry clothes and walked three blocks to a friend’s empty, but mostly undamaged house. Finding the spare key, they let themselves in and finally felt dry and safe. Exhausted, but sheltered from the storm. Though it has been five years since Katrina, it is still difficult for Nikki to speak about her traumatic experience without tearing up. She said her brother was in London during the storm and saw her on CNN, as did her father who lives in St. Louis. They were both relieved to know she was alive because at that time, and for many days thereafter, there were no means of communication available to let her family know she was okay. CNN cameras had captured Nikki and her dog clinging to life on that tree.

CNN reporter Gary Tuckman wanted a follow-up interview. Tuckman had been raised with Scotties and wanted to see how Maddy was doing. When CNN ran the clip about Maddy, it caught the attention of Scottie lovers everywhere. Much to her surprise, that following Christmas Season, Nikki received many personal notes from Scottie owners all across the country. Maddy’s notoriety on television lead to an invitation from The Scottish Terrier Club of Greater Atlanta to visit Warm Springs, Georgia (home of Franklin D. Roosevelt) as special guests of the 2006 Scottish Terrier Convention. President Roosevelt’s fondness for his Scottish Terriers was renowned.

Nikki started to work full time again in April 2006 and it was around this time she began dating local business owner, John Moon. John had never seen Nikki before the storm, or on television during it. He had evacuated the city before Katrina hit, moved to St. Pete Beach, and was working with the American Red Cross in Tampa Bay to help others who were fleeing the carnage. One day while walking the white sand beach, he happened upon The Don CeSar Beach Resort and its Mediterranean beauty captivated him. Later, after he met Nikki, he took her there during Easter break in 2007 to share it with her. Nikki thought the beach and hotel were wonderful, and it was during this time that she fell in love with John. They decided to get married there, doing just that on November 20, 2010. As Nikki states with a romantic tone of happiness, “it just made sense to get married where we fell in love.” Today I guess you could say that after the storm, life presented them with a silver lining. “I found love and Maddy did too”. Nikki says with a smile, referring to John’s dog, a sandy colored cocker spaniel named Duke, who is 14 years old and a close companion to the now 13 year-old Maddy. Both dogs were in the wedding party and walked down the aisle with the bride and groom. Over the past five years, we have witnessed the courage and resolve of those who came through Katrina and rebuilt a new life. Nikki is one of those people and so is her dog Maddy. Nikki, and the puppy she loved more than life itself – passed through the eye of the storm together.

Over the Moon. Wedding at the Don Cesar with their dogs in attendance.

Over the Moon. Wedding at the Don Cesar with their dogs in attendance.

Afterword: Nikki and John moved forward to rebuild Bay Town Inn Bed and Breakfast with sweat equity, grant money, love, and determination. Sadly, John passed away in June, 2012. The completely renovated Inn re-opened in September, 2013.

Today: Nikki and Miley, her Cairn Terrier and Stella. Both greet guests at the Inn.

Today: Nikki and Miley, her Cairn Terrier and Stella. Both dogs greet guests at the Inn.

Bay Town Inn is dog friendly. We look forward to visiting you soon, Nikki, Miley and Stella.

Stella enjoying her beach.

Stella enjoying her beach.

Featured Image -- 3509

And They Call It Puppy Love.

Anna Cooke:

Thank you, Rachel. Have you ever seen the play, Sylvia?

Originally posted on THE NEW BARKER:

An interview with Kari Goetz, who is preparing to play a talking dog – the lead character in the A.R. Gurney play, Sylvia. By Anna Cooke for The New Barker dog magazine.

Actress, Kari Goetz. Photograph by Crawford Long. Actress, Kari Goetz. Photograph by Crawford Long.

Kari Goetz and her husband Crawford Long may just have one of the best love stories ever. It’s kind of a Harry Meets Sally/You’ve Got Mail scenario. After their first meeting at a YMCA Youth Camp in North Carolina as teenagers, the two would spend the next 20 years staying in touch via letters, then email, instant messages, texts and the occasional phone call.

“We grew up with each other,” said Kari, “just not together.”

She pursued an acting career in Los Angeles for five years, going to nerve-wracking auditions. He went on to law school at the University of South Carolina.

Every year, Crawford always sent Kari a New Year’s Eve greeting…

View original 1,998 more words

GAME OF BONES - Kari, her son Porter, Eleanor and Abigail dressed as characters from their favorite show, Game Of Thrones. Photograph by Crawford Long.

And They Call It Puppy Love.

An interview with Kari Goetz, who is preparing to play a talking dog – the lead character in the A.R. Gurney play, Sylvia. By Anna Cooke for The New Barker dog magazine.

Actress, Kari Goetz. Photograph by Crawford Long.

Actress, Kari Goetz. Photograph by Crawford Long.

Kari Goetz and her husband Crawford Long may just have one of the best love stories ever. It’s kind of a Harry Meets Sally/You’ve Got Mail scenario. After their first meeting at a YMCA Youth Camp in North Carolina as teenagers, the two would spend the next 20 years staying in touch via letters, then email, instant messages, texts and the occasional phone call.

“We grew up with each other,” said Kari, “just not together.”

She pursued an acting career in Los Angeles for five years, going to nerve-wracking auditions. He went on to law school at the University of South Carolina.

Every year, Crawford always sent Kari a New Year’s Eve greeting at midnight. New Year’s Eve 2012, precisely at midnight, Crawford sent Kari his regular greeting, with one new question: Will this be the year we see each other?

Plans were made to finally see each other, face-to-face, after 20 years.

“I’ve never been so nervous in my life,” said Crawford.

“Worse case of stage fright in my life,” added Kari.

Their reunion began with a hug, then a kiss, immediately followed by a year of constant travel between her home in Seminole Heights (Florida) and his in Atlanta. By now, Kari was director of marketing at Tampa International Airport, and getting ready for the 2012 Stageworks production of Sylvia, the A.R. Gurney play. Kari would be playing the lead part of Sylvia, a talking dog. It was the very first time that Crawford had seen Kari perform on stage.

Once Crawford saw Kari’s Sylvia, he was smitten – enamored, in fact. So much so that his friends started calling him Bowser, one of the imaginary dogs that Sylvia “lusts” after in the dog park.

In real life, the two would marry and eventually have a baby, Porter, their son. Fast forward to today, three years later, and Kari will be back on stage, once again playing Sylvia, as Tampa’s Stageworks presents an encore production, August 6 through 30.

Kari has been acting since she was eight years old. She hasn’t been on stage since the last production of Sylvia ran in 2012. “It’s the longest run of me not being on stage ever,” she said. As the cast prepared for the grueling tech rehearsal, or what actors refer to as the 10 out of 12, Kari took a few moments out of her busy schedule to talk with us about theatre, family, work and dogs.

TNB: How does it feel to be back on stage after a three year break?

Kari: I did a lot of wagging on stage as Sylvia three years ago. I am able to wag my butt without any movement going on above my butt. At the time, Crawford noticed that whenever I was happy, offstage, I would start wagging. This is highly inappropriate in many circumstances, of course. We’ve been back in rehearsals, and the other day at work someone brought me some good news while I was standing by my desk. Suddenly, I realized I was wagging my butt. ‘Oh no,’ I thought, ‘it’s back. Sylvia has taken over my body again.”

TNB: How do you find time to juggle an intense career as Director of Marketing for Tampa International Airport, wife, mom and actress?

Kari: I have always had a day job while working as an actress, auditioning for parts, so I’m used to juggling. It takes a lot of balancing. TIA has been super supportive. Also, when I agreed to do Sylvia again this time around, I insisted on an understudy being completely present. Roxxi Jaxx is a University of Tampa student and an amazing actress, so good in the part. And, yes, that’s her real name.

As a first-time parent, I’m always in rehearsal. I’ve always thought that being a wife was the best role ever. Of course, being a mom’s not so bad either. (In the Stageworks program for Sylvia, Kari includes in her bio that, “I married a Bowzer and we now have a puppy.”)

TNB: You have dogs. Do you incorporate any of their personalities or mannerisms into your Sylvia character?

Kari: When I did Sylvia last, I had geriatric dogs. Sadly, they are no longer with us. Now I have two younger dogs and have brought some of their traits into Sylvia’s character, as well as two dogs my family had while I was growing up. Luke was my childhood dog, an Irish Wolfhound. He had very interesting ways of getting your attention. I put a lot of Luke into Sylvia. Jethro, another family dog, was very loyal. I bring that aspect of him into Sylvia’s character.

The two dogs we have now, Abigail and Eleanor, are terrier mixes and they’re both nuts. When Sylvia acts up on stage, it is definitely Abigail and Eleanor. Abigail has a habit of bringing things to you that you don’t need, like snooping around inside my purse and bringing me my wallet. You cannot walk Eleanor without her wrapping her leash around your entire body. In the play, Greg uses a retractable leash with Sylvia. As a dog owner, I hate retractable leashes, so we really dork it up on stage, how awful those things are, and I completely wrap Greg up in the leash.

I found Eleanor under a truck outside the Straz Theatre a few years ago. She looks like a Chinese Crested with some Rat Terrier and Chihuahua. We adopted Abigail from the Humane Society of Tampa Bay. We had just lost our oldest dog whom I’d had for 15 years. I went through a short mourning period, but quickly realized, someone else needs a home, so we immediately set out to adopt another dog. She looks like a Corgi with some Pit Bull in her. She is a low rider with wirehair and gold eyes. Her behavior is all terrier, but the way she is with my kid, I absolutely know she has Pit in her. She is my nanny dog, such a good girl with Porter.

GAME OF BONES - Kari, her son Porter, Eleanor and Abigail dressed as characters from their favorite show, Game Of Thrones. Photograph by Crawford Long.

GAME OF BONES – Kari, her son Porter, Eleanor and Abigail dressed as characters from their favorite show, Game Of Thrones. Photograph by Crawford Long.

TNB:What are you bringing to the character in this production that is new from the last time you played Sylvia?

Kari: It’s the exact same cast from three years ago. We’re all very comfortable with each other and the play this time around, so we’ve discovered some subtle ways to bring new things into the play. I’ve always been a really physical comedian. I messed my body up in Sylvia last go around, so this time, I’m more aware of what my body should and shouldn’t do from an injury standpoint. I advocated for a harness this time, versus a regular collar. It was a happy day when my new harness arrived in wardrobe. Realizing the damage that can be done with a collar from my own personal experience as Sylvia, both of my dogs now wear harnesses.

I had Porter, my son, after the last production of Sylvia. He was a C section, so now I can completely and physically relate to Sylvia in the scene just after she has been spayed. When she says, “Oh my aching gut,” I get it.

As a responsible, committed artist, you do not do anything on stage to upstage your fellow actors. That is especially important to realize as the actress playing Sylvia. The audience watches and reacts to every move Sylvia makes. The last time I had to tone her down so as not to pull the focus away from the other actors, especially when that moment on stage is about their characters. I try to blend into the set during those scenes.

TNB: What is your favorite line you deliver in the play?

Kari: It’s a two part line. Three years ago, while doing the play, it was the only line that I had to be very careful delivering because it would give me the giggles. Greg is telling Sylvia that she is going to live with another family, and she is not happy. When he tells her that one of the three children is a baby, Sylvia responds:

‘I hate babies. Their mouths taste good, but they’re always stepping on your tail.’

I also have a lot of fun with the audience participation. There is a scene where Sylvia walks into the audience and sits on someone’s lap. It’s never planned. Honestly, I don’t know on whose lap I’m going to end up when I walk out there. During the last production of Sylvia, word got out and audience members started bringing treats to lure me to their laps. Cookies mostly. One guy brought me a glass of wine which I brought back on stage and worked into the play.

TNB: Did you hear that Matthew Broderick will play Greg in the upcoming Broadway premiere of Sylvia? Annaleigh Ashford will play Sylvia. The show officially opens on October 27.

Kari: Yes, and I am definitely going to see it. It’s kind of a weird family reunion of sorts since Sarah Jessica Parker played the original Sylvia in the very first production of the play. It never made it to Broadway. It makes me wonder if Sarah Jessica will growl at Matthew Broderick, her husband, with his Broadway opportunity and a chance to win another Tony, which she has never won. It makes me wonder, why, after all of these years, is there such an interest in the play, Sylvia?

For years, Sylvia was my worst kept secret. The script by A.R. Gurney is fantastic. My friends and family knew how much I always wanted to play the part and lobbied for it for years, to anyone who listened. Everyone just shook their heads no. ‘C’mon, it’s a play about a talking dog. No, we’re going to do something with a more profound subject, like war.’

I remember walking around in Publix when I received word that Stageworks was going to do the play. I was over the moon when I learned I would play the part of Sylvia. My dream had finally come true three years ago. And I’m so lucky to be able to play her again with such a great cast and crew.

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Sylvia, by A.R. Gurney – Synopsis:

The play originally made its Off-Broadway debut in 1995 with Sarah Jessica Parker as Sylvia, and Blythe Danner and Charles Kimbrough as wife and husband, Kate and Greg. The middle-aged, upper-middle class couple are empty nesters in New York City. Kate is in a happy place with her life, but Greg is having a bit of a mid-life crisis. When Greg finds Sylvia, a stray in the park, he likes her and decides to bring her home. Kate reacts very negatively towards Sylvia and wants her gone. They agree to keep the dog for just a few days until they can decide whether or not she can stay longer. Over the next few days, Greg spends more and more time with Sylvia and less time at his job. They go on long walks together; discuss life and things like astronomy. The tension increases between the couple, with Greg becoming completely obsessed with Sylvia. Kate fears their marriage is falling apart. She and Sylvia are now at odds with one another, each committed to seeing the other defeated.

Greg and Kate visit a therapist, Leslie, who is ambiguously male and female depending on her patients’ state of mind. Eventually, Kate is asked to teach abroad, in London and tells Greg that there is a six-month quarantine for dogs coming into the country. Reluctantly he succumbs and gives the news to Sylvia that he must give her away, to a family who live on a farm. They have a heated and tender moment. Then, Kate and Sylvia say goodbye. Something happens, however, and Kate has a change of heart.

Reviews of the Off-Broadway show included this from Vincent Canby of The New York Times: “Dramatic literature is stuffed with memorable love scenes. But none is as immediately delicious and dizzy as the one that begins the redeeming love affair in A.R. Gurney’s new comedy, Sylvia. A delightful fantasy, but also a psychologically persuasive look at one man’s mid-life crisis.”

Adult content, language.

Sylvia, by A.R. Gurney

August 6 through 30, 2015

Stageworks Theatre, 1120 East Kennedy Boulevard, Tampa

813.374.2416

Sylvia with an Air Animal bag, ready to go.

Sylvia with an Air Animal bag,ready to go.

Special thanks to Air Animal, major sponsor for Stageworks, making this production of Sylvia possible. Beneficiaries of the production include Humane Society of Tampa Bay, SPCA Florida and Frankie’s Friends. 

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Hair Of The Dog?

One thing we know for sure, dog lovers are a hearty lot, ready to share in their camaraderie and love of dogs. Whether it’s hosting dog-themed parties for friends or fundraising for an animal advocacy cause, it’s a given – the festivities almost always involve food and drink. Many adult beverages are named after a dog breed or are dog-inspired. We thought it would be fun to feature some of them alongside their recipes in our spring issue.

Our staging area was the award-winning ulele, located in historic Tampa Heights. It’s the newest restaurant from the Gonzmart family’s Columbia Restaurant Group and features native-inspired foods and spirits. The backdrop, vibe and colors made for some gorgeous photography.

While working with ulele Mixologist Chuck Cooper and ulele Head Brewmaster Timothy A. Shackton, we discovered their profound love of dogs. Both men were eager to share stories of how, when and why they adopted their dogs. It became obvious that this was too good to be true, and that we would be returning for a second, more dog-centric photo shoot.

But first – the drink recipes for your summer imbibing.

Colorado Bulldog 11/2 ounces Tito’s Vodka 11/2 ounces Kahlua 1 ounce cream or condensed milk Dark cola soda Combine vodka, Kahlua and cream in tin. Shake. Strain over fresh ice into a collins or pilsner glass. Top with fresh cola. Garnish with three chocolate chips and serve with a tall straw. Serves one. Shown with a shot of ulele espresso.

Colorado Bulldog. Photograph by Laura Allen Studios for The New Barker.

Colorado Bulldog. Photograph by Laura Allen Studios for The New Barker.

Pomeranian 11/2 ounces white rum (Don Q) 1/2 ounce pomegranate liqueur (Pama) 1/2 ounce triple sec 1/2 ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice 1/4 ounce fresh squeezed grapefruit juice Combine rum, liqueur, triple sec and juices in tin. Shake. Strain over fresh ice into an old fashioned glass. Garnish with lemon wheel and cocktail straw. Serves one.

Salty Chihuahua Wet the rim of an old fashioned glass with lime juice, then dip in crushed pink peppercorn and salt. 11/2 tequila (Patron Anejo) 1/2 ounce grapefruit liqueur (Pamplemousse) 5 to 6 ounces fresh squeezed grapefruit juice Combine tequila, liqueur and juice in tin. Shake. Strain over fresh ice into the peppercorn and salt rimmed old fashioned glass. Garnish with grapefruit wheel. Serves one.

Mixologist Chuck Cooper pours a Pomeranian (left) and a Salty Chihuahua.

Mixologist Chuck Cooper pours a Pomeranian (left) and a Salty Chihuahua.

Hair of the Dog 2 ounces vodka (Cane Fireant) 1 ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice 1 ounce sangrita 1 ounce fresh egg white 1 slice of jalapeño or Thai chili pepper Combine all ingredients in tin. Shake. Strain over fresh ice into an old fashioned glass. Garnish with lemon and chili. Serve with a tall straw. Serves one.

"Learning about spirits enhances my need to know. It Intrigues me and made me realize I'm a history buff. After work, I go home and read books about booze, then create new drinks." Mixologist, Chuck Cooper, pouring a Hair Of The Dog.

“Learning about spirits enhances my need to know. It intrigues me and made me realize I’m a history buff. After work, I go home and read books about booze, then create new drinks.” Mixologist, Chuck Cooper, pouring a Hair Of The Dog.

Bloodhound 1 ounce Gin (Nolet’s) 1/3 ounce dry vermouth 1/3 ounce sweet vermouth 1/4 strawberry puree Combine all ingredients in tin with crushed ice. Shake. Strain into coupe glass. Garnish with a slice of strawberry. Serves one.

The beautiful Bloodhound.

The beautiful Bloodhound.

Dog’s Nose 11/2 ounce Absolut Vanilla Vodka 14 ounces Buckhorn Black Nutmeg or cinnamon Add vodka to a 16 ounce chilled pilsner glass. Pour beer over vodka to fill glass. Dust with the freshly grated nutmeg or cinnamon. Serves one.

Inside the Ulele Spring Brewery (left to right): Rusty Red, Pirate's Barrel Lager, Buckhorn Black Lager for Dog's Nose.

Inside the Ulele Spring Brewery (left to right): Rusty Red, Pirate’s Barrel Lager, Buckhorn Black Lager for Dog’s Nose.

The colloquialism, hair of the dog originally referred to a method of treatment after being bitten by a rabid dog. In the Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (1898), Ebenezer Cobham Brewer wrote, “In Scotland, it was a popular belief that a few hairs of the dog that bit you applied to the wound would prevent evil consequences. Applied to drinks, it means, if overnight you have indulged too freely, take a glass of the same wine within 24 hours to soothe the nerves.”

The Money Shot, in one take, at the front entry of ulele. Wow. From left to right: Guinevere, Hope, Abby, Bella, Levi, Miss Roux, Peter. Photograph by award-winning photographer, Laura Allen.

The Money Shot, in one take, at the front entry of ulele. Wow. From left to right: Guinevere, Hope, Abby, Bella, Levi, Miss Roux, Peter. Photograph by award-winning photographer, Laura Allen.

Two Gentle Giants. One Imposing Message.

For nearly two decades, Sergeant First Class Joe Swoboda served his country with distinction. But during three deployments to Iraq between 2003 and 2005, he saw and did things that changed him forever. He now has Post Traumatic Stress Disease (PTSD) as a result of those wartime experiences. The repeated detonation of bombs resulted in his traumatic brain injury (TBI).

“What I experienced in Iraq, day in and day out, made it nearly impossible for me to return to normal life as a civilian,” said Swoboda. In desperation, he reached out to K9s For Warriors, a Ponte Vedra organization that pairs service dogs with veterans diagnosed with PTSD and TBI.

“It changed my life. Having Lilly as my service dog is like having a ‘Battle Buddy’ by my side, all the time,” said Joe. “Along with the love and support of my family, I feel whole again.”

Giving Warriors And Shelter Dogs A New Leash On Life. Ninety-five percent of the canines used in the K9s For Warriors program are former rescue/shelter dogs or owner surrenders. K9s For Warriors carefully selects dogs for their program from animal shelters across the country and professionally trains them at their facility. Each dog is matched with a warrior to live, learn and bond together for three weeks in the company of up to four other warrior-dog teams. There is no charge to the veteran. Each warrior-dog team is a partnership, which means not only do dogs care for their warriors, but warriors must provide proper care for their dogs. And, it’s working.

K9s For Warriors is the only service dog organization for post-9/11 veterans that requires them to live and train on site with their service dog before going home. As a result, the program has a 96 percent success rate and, within six months of graduation, 92 percent of warrior graduates have reduced or eliminated their prescription medication. This year, K9s For Warriors launched “Stop 22,” a campaign aimed at raising awareness of and action to end the epidemic of veteran suicides. It is estimated that 22 veterans commit suicide every day. [1]

“We’re losing 8,000 of America’s military heroes each year due to suicide, which is heart-breaking and unacceptable,” said Shari Duval, president, K9s For Warriors. Let’s put that into perspective, if that’s even possible. 22 veterans a day are committing suicide. In two days and nine hours, that number climbs to 53 — the equivalent of an entire NFL football team. Over the period of two months, two weeks, three days and two hours, the number rises to 1696 veterans who lose their lives to suicide — the total number of players in the NFL.

Lilly, a Labrador Mastiff mix, was pulled from a high-kill shelter and trained to become a service dog by K9s For Warriors. She was paired with Joe two years ago, almost as soon as he arrived on campus. Now, Joe travels the country with Lilly, to talk to veterans about K9s for Warriors and to help bring awareness to the public about the Stop 22 Campaign. We talked with Joe at this year’s Global Pet Expo in Orlando just prior to the K9 Advantix II presentation, announcing its support of the program for the second year in a row. “I had a guy call me last month. He was desperate, and felt he had no other option but to kill himself,” said Joe. “The guy was married and had four kids. And he was ready to end it all. We talked and I told him I knew what he was going through. I was there. I told him about K9s for Warriors and how they changed my life; how Lilly has changed my life.”

“I tell veterans that you can still have a life after combat. It will be a different life, but it can be a good life,” Joe told us. “Seek help. Call K9s for Warriors. Get a dog and prepare to live,” he added.

[1] U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Mental Health Services, Suicide Prevention Program, Suicide Data Report 2012, va.gov/opa/docs/Suicide-Data-Report-2012-final.pdf. Accessed 1/30/15.

Well Done…Is Better Than Well Said.

As a young couple, Anthony and Monisha had all but one thing in common. He grew up with a profound love for dogs. She had been raised to fear them. But, once he introduced her to his own family pet, a Jack Russell Terrier named Bagel, how could she resist? “Bagel welcomed me into the wonderful world of dogs by worming is way gently into my heart. Once a dog worms his way into your heart, it changes you,” said Monisha.

Besides – Anthony was Monisha’s soul mate, whom she loved and trusted implicitly. Level-headed and with their sights set on becoming doctors, they were meant to be married, and she was destined to  love dogs.

After their pre-dog wedding, they settled into a Central Florida home. Over a period of time, he gently convinced her to consider bringing a dog into their family-fold, sooner than later. They agreed that this was not a decision to be taken lightly, so together they visited the Sanford location of the SPCA of Central Florida every week. For one reason or another, the couple could not agree on which dog to adopt. They remained positive and committed to the cause, convinced that soon, their patience would pay off.

On the eighth week, the couple walked past another countless number of homeless dogs in the shelter, each one with a compelling back story. The secret desire to just take each one home was outweighed by the mitigating factor that it’s simply impossible to save all of them.

And then, one dog timidly met each of their gazes. Frightened, but appearing to know this might be his last chance at redemption, he powered up his best irresistible traits and caught the attention of Monisha and Anthony.

They named him Franklin, after Benjamin Franklin, whose statue rests on a bench at the University of Pennsylvania. Now married 19 years, Monisha remembers, “Anthony and I lunched near that statue almost daily during our 10 years of medical school in Philadelphia.”

Happy Franklin

Happy Franklin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A two-year-old English Foxhound, Franklin had been found wandering the woods in rural Florida, wearing a hunting collar. Sometimes, when a dog bred for hunting is no longer able to do his job, he is dumped in rural areas, or left behind in the woods to fend for himself. Obviously, not every dog ends up as fortunate as Franklin.

Even though Franklin may have displayed some shyness, what attracted the couple to the dog was his stoic attitude. “He was confined to a kennel with another dog who had pooped all over the place. Franklin was clearly not happy with his roommate and was staying as far away from him as he could. When we took him out to the play yard, he ran around and seemed genuinely happy to play with us. But when we returned him to the kennel, he resumed his ‘I’m so disgusted by you’ attitude toward his roommate. He even gave Anthony a surly look. We knew then we had to bring him home,” said Monisha.

Franklin's Upright Tail.

Franklin’s Upright Tail.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once home, Franklin didn’t wag his tail. In fact, Monisha and Anthony just thought his tail was one that would remain in a permanent down mode. It wasn’t a tail set between his back legs, which could indicate that he was scared. No, it was just a tail that remained downward, with no motion whatsoever. He felt safe in one room of their home — the laundry room. Those first few weeks, he would always return to his safe room after going outside for walks or eating his meal.

Three weeks to the day after Franklin came home with Monisha and Anthony, the couple was sitting in their living room. “We heard this pitter patter of paws and looked at one another,” said Monisha. Franklin had wandered out of his safe room, looked at the couple and raised his tail. “It’s as if he knew this was really his permanent home, and he was showing us,” said Monisha.

franklin_B

Forever Franklin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Franklin’s Friends, based in Maitland, Florida, raises money through a variety of events as well as through direct donor solicitation. The organization accepts and reviews applications from local animal charities for their fundraising dollars all year. While they strive to support what they believe are the three pillars of animal welfare: Rescue/Shelter, Spay/Neuter and Community Education, they do restrict their funds to 501(c)(3) organizations or government agencies that have the highest standards of veterinary care. The application asks what kind of screening tests are done on intake, what vaccines are administered, how kennels are sanitized, parasite control measures, testing and treatment for heartworm and heartworm prevention protocols. For more information, visit Franklin’s Friends website and follow them on the Franklin’s Friends Facebook page.

To read the full story and view more photos, visit The New Barker digital series and go to page 30 of the magazine (winter 2014/15).

“Well Done Is Better Than Well Said.” – a quote by Benjamin Franklin.