Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Eugenie, Tanner and I were in Santa Barbara this past February, when we met a lovely woman named Jo Hartman, who volunteers at the Central Coast SPCA. Here's a link to a story in the Santa Maria Times about her and her  late rescue St. Bernard, Dover. Her work with him goes to show how love and patience can change a throw-away dog into a life saver. Way to go, Jo.
Jo Hartman and 'Dover'

Saturday, April 27, 2013


Just like romance, that first book signing carries a special charge. That was true for Tanner, Eugenie and me at Diesel, A Bookstore the other night, where we had our fist author 'event'. The SRO crowd of 50+ people included so many dear friends and family that I would need a separate post to thank them all. Instead, I'll give a communal shout out - Grazie Mille! We sold every copy of GIMME SHELTER (If you weren't there and want a copy don't worry, they'll be restocking or you can buy from Amazon or from us at www.buygimmeshelter.com). According to reports, I gave a terrific reading/Q & A, and we were thrilled to present our first donation of the Gimme Shelter Campaign to Malibu Pet Companions, a local non-profit that provides heroic, free vet care for the animals at the Agoura Hills (L.A. County) Animal Shelter, where Tanner once stayed. A special thanks to MPC Board chief and volunteer extraordinaire, Robin Kahrs, and Dr. Lisa Newall from Malibu Coast Animal Hospital, Tanner's doc, and one of the amazing veterinarians who donate their time and love to help the dogs and cats. If you're feeling generous, maybe stop by the Malibu Pet Companions site and contribute. 
Tanner before his Coming Out party
Lou signs 'Gimme Shelter' for a fan

Eugenie and Lou with Tanner's trainer, Tony Rollins

Dog park pals Wendy & Karen
Robin Kahrs president Malibu Pet Companions
&  Dr. Lisa Newall of Malibu Coast Animal Hospital

Eugenie and Tanner with Lynn Aime, of Disel Books, Malibu

Tanner greets friend and shelter volunteer Rob Lerner

Saturday, April 20, 2013


Saturday, April 13, was Tanner's four-year anniversary with us and we wanted to share it with you. It feels like only yesterday that we brought him home from the Agoura Hills (L.A. County) shelter, an underweight, over-anxious creature that panicked at the slightest noise or movement.  from GIMME SHELTER: "Watching him bounce along on our walks, it’s hard to recall the skittish rescue dog that used to slink behind me, head hung low, bracing for the danger that loomed at every turn; the malnourished stray that ate in fits and starts, stopping constantly to check for unseen assailants. Now he gobbles down his food without a glance. Then he runs to fetch his toys, kicking off each day with affection and exercise instead of threats and abuse. He has grown buff from all that exercise, packing on ten pounds of rippling muscle. He prances proudly, eager to demonstrate his tricks for anyone willing to fork over a treat, or two. Sorry, Tony. He used to pull and strain to greet other dogs. Now he sits patiently (okay, not all that patiently, especially with puppies), until we signal that it’s okay to play, which he does with a gusto and good nature that never cease to amaze me. The homeless dog that slept on the street or, when he was lucky, on a tattered shelter pad, now bunks down in one of three comfy beds, nestled in plush blankets. 
Tanner, 4 years later

Thursday, April 18, 2013


We've had all sorts of gracious feedback from friends and neighbors on the Malibu Surfside News feature but I wanted to mention two responses that stand out. One was a note from reader Diane Malecha, a longtime rescue worker, who has fostered many, many Pit Bulls until they could find permanent loving homes. She wrote to thank me for writing GIMME SHELTER and helping raise awareness of animals in need. We're flattered but it's we who thank her and her fellow rescuer, Sherman, of Sherman's Place pet grooming in Malibu, for their extraordinary efforts. Without people like them, we'd have never had Tanner.
Burton & Malibu, two of 8 Pit pups fostered by Diane Malecha
The other amazing response was from a woman who read the story and called the paper to say that she was the good Samaritan who found Tanner wandering on Las Posas Road in Camarillo and later brought him to the Agoura Hills Shelter. We left our number with the paper and asked them to forward it to her so we could personally thank her for saving our boy. We'd also like to ask her a pressing question: How the heck did she get him into the car? As readers and anyone who's met Tanner knows, he's no fan of motorized transport.  from Gimme Shelter "Tanner's an incredibly athletic dog--he can maneuver like Messi, run like Usain Bolt, and jump like Blake Griffin--yet he approached the rear seat like an octogenarian tackling Mt. Everest. On a good day, it took a minute for him to make the climb. On a bad day, you could read Moby Dick before he reached the summit."
Wally & Zoolie, foster Pits that found a forever home thanks in part to Diane. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013


Some scientific types say that dogs and other animals don't experience human emotions. Well...when Kona, Tanner's 'girlfriend' saw the Malibu Surfside News story she gushed with pride and flopped down on the paper (the picture wasn't posed). and growled a warning to any doggie sirens looking to poach her boy, telling them 'back off, or else'.
Tanner's girlfriend, Kona, checking out the Surfside News
Speaking of animals and whether they can feel like we do, if you're interested in where the current research is pointing, take a look at 'The Mystery of Animal Grief' by Jeffrey Kluger, Time Magazine, April 15, 2013.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


Tanner just landed his first press mention and he's very excited to be featured in his hometown paper, the Malibu Surfside News. Thanks to Suzanne, Bill and the publisher, Anne, for helping focus attention on GIMME SHELTER and the books central issues - helping rescue dogs and curbing the anger epidemic.
Tanner taking time to smell the roses (pansies)

Monday, April 8, 2013


In my haste to spread the word about Maryland's misguided law (nothing gets a 'recovering' angry guy worked up like picking on Pitties), I forgot to include some statistics from GIMME SHELTER about the odds of being killed by a Pit Bull. While the numbers are a few years old, they illustrate how the media's obsession with these 'killer' dogs is perversely overblown. I'm including them now to give you a sense of perspective.
Eugenie and Tanner

According to CDC studies, about 10 persons die each year as a result of dog attacks. Of that number, Pit Bulls are responsible for approximately 28% or 2.8 deaths

 In 2008, the Consumer Products Safety Commission reported 7 deaths from fireworks. Based on that number, you are two times more likely to die from a fireworks mishap than from a Pit Bull attack.

- Approximately 10 people a year die from snakebites, three times the number killed by Pit Bulls.

- From 1990-2003, 756 Americans (an average of 58/year) died from lightning strikes. That means you are more than 20 times more likely to be killed by lightening than by a Pit Bull.

- CDC statistics show that every day 10 people die from drowning, the second leading cause of non-intentional death for people ages 1-14. A person is 1,300 times more likely to drown than to be killed by a Pit Bull.

- Every year in the U.S., more than 1,700 children (roughly 5 each day) are killed by their parents or guardians, either through abuse or neglect. A child is more than 600 times more likely to be killed by their caretaker than by a Pit Bull.

 For every Pit Bull that kills, there are MILLIONS that DON'T!

Resources-  Centers for Disease Control Consumer Products Safety Commission National Lightening Safety Institute U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Sunday, April 7, 2013


Wasn't sure what to write about this week when a online petition came in that I just I had to share it with our friends. It's asking the Maryland Appleate Court to overturn a ridiculous piece of legislation passed by the morons in the Maryland Legislature in 2012:
Tracey v. Solesky, No. 53, September Term 2012, Opinion by Cathell, J.
Upon a plaintiff’s sufficient proof that a dog involved in an attack is a pit bull or a pit bull cross, and that the owner, or other person(s) who has the right to control the pit bull’s presence on the subject premises (including a landlord who has a right to prohibit such dogs on leased premises) knows, or has reason to know, that the dog is a pit bull or cross-bred pit bull, that person is liable for the damages caused to a plaintiff who is attacked by the dog on or from the owner’s or lessor’s premises. In that case a plaintiff has established a prima facie case of negligence. When an attack involves pit bulls, it is no longer necessary to prove that the particular pit bull or pit bulls are dangerous.
In practical terms, the law means that in any incident involving a Pit Bull, the dog's owner or a or a landlord who rents to the owner of a Pit Bull would automatically be guilty of owning or harboring a 'dangerous' dog, thereby exposing those people to legal liability. Labeling Pits as inherently dangerous makes their adoption much more difficult, leading to more euthanized dogs.   If this strikes you as wrong-headed and unjust (Imagine a law that said, owing to the nature of the Mafia, all Italians are inherently criminal) sign the petition asking the Maryland Supreme Court to overturn the misguided, bigoted law.
'Inherently Dangerous' Tanner about to claim another victim
On a lighter note, if you enjoy watching canine athletes strut their, check out this video of  Tre-T, a Russian parkour super Pit Bull who treats the city like one huge urban dog park. Like Tanner, Tre-T's an American Staffordshire Terrier, but just a tad more energetic.
Tre-T literally bouncing off the walls

Monday, April 1, 2013


Tanner, Eugenie and I are thrilled to announce the start of the Gimme Shelter Campaign to help rescue animals. We had already committed 10% of the book's profits to animal rescue causes when our friend and fellow writer, Dan Cohen, suggested we offer interested organizations discount codes so that their members could save on the book and earn donations for their groups. It took a few weeks to work out the tech kinks but now it's a reality. By pointing their members and supporters to our online store, www.buygimmeshelter.com, and using the unique codes that we supply, they earn $1.00 for every book sold through their groups. In the coming weeks, we'll be announcing some of our 'partners'. Right now, if you know any organizations that could use a helping hand, have them get in touch with us to learn how they can join the Gimme Shelter Campaign.
Now that Genesis Awards are behind us, we'd like to thank the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) for letting us contribute to the cause by offering e-copies of GIMME SHELTER to the celebrity presenters. Hope they enjoy the book as much as we appreciate all the hard work the HSUS does raising awareness of animal issues. For a look at photos of the star-studded gala, check them out on Facebook.
Lastly, my sister and mad dog lover Honey pinned me a photo of the most decorated war dog in the history of the United States. Wanna guess the breed? That's right, a Pit Bull named Stubby.