Monday, May 27, 2013


Lots of you know from firsthand experience that dogs have wonderful spirits, terrific instincts and delicate, accurate emotional radar. Amazing as they are, when interacting with people and other animals, they rely on us, their human partners, to keep them out of harm's way and help them become canine 'good citizens'. As my wife, Eugenie, says, "We have to be their brains." Socializing and training are important for all dogs but especially for 'dominant breed' dogs (Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Mastiffs, Chow Chows, Jindos, Shar Peis, Dogo Argentino, Cane Corso, Presa Canario and any breed with a history of fighting) that too often find themselves unfairly targeted by the media and misguided legislators. Tanner was already a sweet, docile well-behaved dog but working with trainer Tony Rollins helped make him even more responsive and fun to be with. 
7-year-old Jasmine East relaxes with Tanner, our rescue Pit Bull, at last week's book signing
If your canine buddy exhibits unwanted behavior like barking, biting, carsickness, aggression towards other animals or humans, separation anxiety, or overly rough play, first check with your vet to make sure he or she isn’t sick. Once your vet rules out health problems, you might want to get help from a qualified trainer, behaviorist, or a veterinarian with behavioral training. Here are some tips about finding professional help from GIMME SHELTER.
      TRAINERS - Education, hands-on experience and methods can vary greatly from trainer to trainer. “Certified” trainers should be recognized by an independent body, not merely by a school or program they paid to attend. The Association of Professional Dog Trainers (ADPT) offers certification through the Certification Council for Profession Dog Trainers. The Professional Dog Trainer’s Council, www.ccpdt.org, offers a list of certified dog trainers. 
     BEHAVIORISTS - Certified Applied Animal Behaviorists (CAABs) and Associate Applied Animal Behaviorists (ACAABs) are professionals with supervised graduate training in animal behavior, biology and zoology at accredited universities.  As experts with both academic and hands-on knowledge, they can determine how and why your pet’s behavior is abnormal and help teach you how to alter the unwanted behavior. For a list of behaviorists, visit www.certifiedanimalbehaviorists.com
        VETERINARIANS WITH BEHAVIORAL TRAINING - Some CAABs are veterinarians who have completed a residency in animal behavior and earned certification from the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. 
     Before Committing to A Trainer or Training Facility ask your veterinarian and fellow dog owners for recommendations. Interview several trainers or facilities. In addition to comparing prices, inquire about their methods, training and experience. Many cities offer basic obedience classes through their Parks and Recreation Departments. If you are considering group training, ask to monitor a class before signing up. Check to see if the trainer works well with both people and dogs. Look for trainers who treat you and your dog with respect and who reward positive behavior, and avoid those who prefer aversion and intimidation. Cross off any trainer who refuses to provide references.
[Sources: Tony Rollins, Tony Rollins K-9 Academy, Rob Lerner CPDT-KSAASPCA, “Finding Professional Help”]

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Dogs serve as a daily reminder to live gratefully, and gracefully in the moment. Offer a bowl of kibble, table scraps, a romp at the beach, a visit to dog park, a new squeaky toy or just a few kind words and it's a safe bet that you'll be whacked with a whipping tail, or slurped across the mug with a sandpaper tongue. How often do we, their two-legged partners, match their joy or appreciation? I mention this in honor of Anthony Battista Greco, a friend who passed away last week after a long struggle with lung problems. 

If Tony were a  dog, he's have been one of those happy oversized breeds (my neighbor's Bernese Mountain Dog, Bruin comes to mind) that bowl you over with the force of their good nature. Tony was a talented musician, director, writer and entrepreneur and an amazing husband, father of four and devoted brother. If we get to choose our heaven, I see him playing piano with George Harrison (Tony loved the Beatles) hosting a raucous, never-ending party for all of the fabulous artists that have gone before him, and any fun-loving strangers, too.
This post is about saying 'Thanks, Grazie, Danke, Merci, Domo Arigato' and so we'd be remiss not to mention Bank of Books, our intrepid West Malibu booksellers who hosted a signing for me and Tanner last Saturday. It was a gorgeous day and we had a ball chatting with friends and strangers who stopped to buy Gimme Shelter and have us ink their copies. Volunteers Ellen Naumann, and Andy from the Agoura Hills Animal Care facility were there with information about the shelter's work helping dogs, cats and even rabbits in need. 'Skittles' the miracle dog was there, too. After a host of surgeries to fix a severe leg deformity (performed 'pro bono'c courtesy of Malibu Pet Companions) the brave little guy is 100%. Now all he need is someone to step up and give him a full-time home.

Ellen, a respected dog trainer, had just started at Agoura in early 2009 when Tanner was brought in by a kindly woman who found him roaming on Las Posas Road in Camarillo. Eugenie and I always wanted to thank her for saving him and on Saturday we got the chance when Nancy stopped by to introduce herself. She remembered Tanner as a cowering stray, all head with an emaciated body.  She and Ellen were both thrilled so see him looking so healthy and happy.
Lou & Tanner w Agoura volunteer Andy & 'Dusty' (also a rescue dog)
Trainer & volunteer Ellen Naumann w 'Skittles' and Tanner
Lou, Eugenie and Tanner @ Bank of Books, 5-18-13

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Checked my Amazon page today and found a really great review from actor, author and rescue dog parent Harry Hamlin, who had this to say about GIMME SHELTER - I loved this book! I love dogs but you don't have to be a "dog person" to get the message hidden between the lines. This book opens a door to serenity and  a fresh appreciation of the precious gift of life. It's a fun read written by a thoughtful man who takes us on his own journey of self-discovery that turns out to be ours as well. Great job!

In addition to film, TV and stage roles too numerous to mention, Harry has penned a fascinating memoir entitled Full Frontal Nudity. When you buy Gimme Shelter, maybe get it, too.
Lou, Lisa Rinna, Eugenie, Harry Hamlin

Saturday, May 11, 2013


By now many people know that a pack of roaming Pit Bulls is being blamed for the mauling death of an Antelope Valley woman who was attacked while jogging. Like many such stories, this one focussed on the breed of dog involved, neglecting to describe the owners, and the conditions in which the dogs were being kept. As details emerge, there's talk that the dogs may have belonged to a drug dealer and were allowed to roam free, with no training or socialization. Like Rottweilers, Dobermans, and German Shepherds before them, Pits have been the 'dangerous dog' of the day, in large part because they appeal to creeps looking for a four-legged weapon to aid their mischief or boost their 'cred'. It's sad and tragic that an innocent woman paid the price. While the dogs in question will be found and pay the price, hopefully the local prosecutor will send a message and throw the book at the guilty owners.
On a lighter note, if you're looking for a fun time that will benefit animals in need, check out the MAD HATTER TEA PARTY to benefit Sky Valencia's St. Martin's Animal Foundation.

Saturday, May 4, 2013


Eugenie, Tanner and I spent a gorgeous, sunny afternoon at the La Brea Tar Pits where Best Friends is sponsoring their annual mega-adoption weekend, with 50+ rescue groups and 1,000 dogs and cats all looking for that special two-legged someone to give them a loving home. Of course, there were tons of handsome cuddly Pit Bulls, including two at a 'Kissing Booth'. Tanner was bashful, so I stepped in and puckered up for a good cause. 

We met all sorts of dedicated rescue folks, including: Angel City Pit Bulls, No Stray Left Behind, Adopt Me Rescue, One Dog Rescue, Operation Blankets of Love (one of my longtime 'give to's), Good Dog-Dog Talk Rescue, Westside German Shepherd Rescue, Rescue Works, Pug Nation Rescue of Los Angeles, Almost Home Animal Rescue, All Animals Big and Small, Sparky & the Gang Animal Rescue, New Leash on Life, Heart Bandits, The Red Nose Lucy Foundation, and Boston Buddies. If you or anyone you know is thinking of getting a rescue dog, head on down there tomorrow and I'm sure you'll find your forever buddy waiting. If not, spread the word and help make L.A. a 'no kill' city.
Eugenie and Tanner ignoring the Tar Pits Mammoths
The sad truth: in 2012 13,000 pets were killed in L.A.

We love Pitties!