Friday, March 28, 2014


Thanks in no small part to this pit bull, Lou and Eugenie were invited to attend the 2014 Academic Bowl for incarcerated youth this past Thursday, March 20. The event was held at the Autry National Center in Griffith Park and featured the 4 top teams from the county wide competition. After a Jeopardy-style quiz, a debate on funding for arts education, and a power point presentation on the need to add 'Art' to the current emphasis on S.T.E.M. (science, technology, engineering & math), the girls from Road To Success Academy at Camp Scott emerged victorious. All of the teams were very poised and well prepared and everyone enjoyed watching them revel in a positive spotlight. 
Lou (3rd left) Erika Brunson, Principal Zan Mason & the Camp Gonzales School staff
A few days later, Lou and Eugenie accompanied our book angel, Erika Brunson, to Camp Gonzales here in Malibu where she donated 100 copies of GIMME SHELTER to the juvenile court school for use in the upcoming summer 'Freedom School'. Zan Mason, the Santa Monica Mountains district principal, and the Gonzales staff gave everyone a warm welcome and offered some terrific suggestions how the book could work to bolster the learning theme of 'Discovery'. My favorite idea was Erika's suggestion that 'the dog' (me!) be allowed to come to Camp when Lou speaks to the students about the writing process. We'll keep you posted as things develop.  Right now, we're off to Palm Springs for the Avondale Country Club Charity Pet show where Lou, Eugenie and 'the dog' are the guests of honor. We're hoping our efforts help bring in lots of cash for this year's charity, The Pet Rescue Center. Pictures to follow.
'The Dog' having his morning yogurt

Sunday, March 9, 2014


Just a few weeks back, we were thrilled, and honored when GIMME SHELTER was awarded the B.R.A.G. Medallion for Non-fiction. Paula and the indieBRAG folks gave us glowing reviews on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Goodreads, the internet's largest book lovers group, along with shout-outs on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. What more could we want? How about an awesome author interview with Stephanie Moore Hopkins on her writers blog, Layered Pages. Thanks to her probing questions, Lou comes across like a real writer, who wrote a great book about a riveting subject - me!
When you have a second, give it a look.
Tanner on what used to be Lou's side of the bed
If you like great books with dog heroes (and who doesn't?), check out G.A. Whitmore's new volume, A Place To Call Home, the moving story of a rescue dog named Toby, who suffers the slings and arrows of outrageous doggie fortune before finding his happy ending.
As I mentioned a few posts ago, Lou and I have been invited as special guests to the 12th Annual Avondale Charity Pet Show in Palm Desert, CA on March 30 from 4:00 - 6:00. Thanks to sweet Joan Hopp, it's now a family affair because Eugenie will be showing her sculptures while Lou hawks copies of Gimme Shelter. As always, a percentage of every sale will go to charity, in this case The Pet Rescue Center. Before signing off I wanted to alert our local SoCal friends to some other very cool upcoming dog events. First, on Saturday, April 5 at 10:30, Lou, Eugenie and I will be leading the pack at the American Cancer Society's  Simi Valley 'BARK FOR LIFE' Fundraiser at Lemon Park. So if you live nearby, slap the leash on your best friend and join us for a good time and a good cause. Then, on April 27, my amazing vet Dr. Lisa and her colleagues at the Malibu Coast Animal Hospital will be joining forces with the angels at Heathcare for Homeless Animals (formerly Malibu Pet Companions) to host WOOFSTOCK, a combination block party and fundraiser featuring great music, fun events and celebrity hosts. I've already told Lou that we WILL be there, so book it, Dan-o! 
No explanation needed

Monday, March 3, 2014


For some strange reason (his spotty Oscar picks?) Tanner asked me to pinch hit (write) for him today. He watched the Academy Awards with us and we all thought it was one of those years where, in the absence of a consensus juggernaut like Avatar,  a lot of good, deserving films split the pie. We were glad to see Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity and 12 Years A Slave get some props, and not surprised that Academy snubbed American Hustle (a gang of good actors clearly 'acting' in a choppy script) and Wolf Of Wall Street (an overly long paean to greed and selfishness masquerading as a cautionary tale).
With the movies behind us, we can get back to talking about our other favorites, dogs and books. In yesterday's Parade Magazine, Peter Zheutlin delivered a moving portrait of Greg Mahle, a former restaurant owner who now runs a transport service, Rescue Road Trips, that makes bi-monthly trips from Ohio to the Deep South, to rescue 'death row' dogs from high-kill shelter and deliver them to their new the Northeast, where they're taken in by loving families. If you'd like to contribute to the cause, go to rescueroadtrips.com
Thanks to our dear friend, accomplished artist and animal lover Sharon Brooks for turning us on to LOOKING FOR 527 by Susanne Belcher & Christine Baleshta. This slim volume pack a powerful wallop as a writer and artist join forces to illuminate the moving life, and tragic loss of one of the Yellowstone wolves. The authors avoid political diatribes, preferring to let their simple, loving observations of the park and its wolves make the case for reinstating U.S. Fish and Wildlife Endangered Species protection for these majestic creatures. To underscore the good wolves do, this fascinating video details the many ways in which the much maligned predators positively affect the entire ecosystem, and even the physical geography of that American gem, Yellowstone Park.
Tanner with his 'younger' woman, Kona
It seems that receiving the B.R.A.G. Medallion for Nonfiction has ushered in a host of honors for Tanner and GIMME SHELTER. First, we've been invited as 'honored guests' to this year's Academic Bowl, a scholastic competition for incarcerated youth, some of whom I know from my work at the local probation camp schools. And later this month, we've been invited to attend the Avondale Country Club's 12 Annual Charity Pet Show in Palm Desert. While it's always great to hang with other animal lovers, this year's proceeds will go to The Pet Rescue Center. Since March 13, 1998, founder Christine Madruga and her colleagues have placed over 6,033 dogs and 7,050 cats into loving homes.