Tuesday, December 30, 2014


As the clock winds down on 2014, it might be fun to take a last look back on a terrific year. In January, GIMME SHELTER snagged a coveted Indie B.R.A.G. Medallion for Nonfiction. That same month, Lou met philanthropist, dog advocate and Gimme Shelter fan Erika Brunson who floored us by purchasing books for the boys at nearby Camp Gonzales Juvenile Probation school. In March, Adrienne Berke bought copies for her English classes at Camp Miller. Thanks to our suddenly enhanced profile, Lou and Eugenie were invited to attend the Academic Bowl for incarcerated youth. Month's end found us sunning in the Desert as the guests of honor at the 12th Annual Avondale Country Club Pet Show in Palm Springs, courtesy of Joan and Kathleen Hopp. In April, Lou and I led the Simi Valley Bark for Life Cancer Walk and we did our first TV interview on the City of Calabasas 'Author's Night'. 
@ Simi Valley Bark For Life
Thanks to mom's efforts, this humble pit bull was tabbed 'Pet Of The Week, in the Surfside News. In May, Lou became a member of the Dog Writers Association of America. In July, Gimme Shelter received a great review from U.K. book maven Emma Powell, and Lou did a guest 'Read Aloud' at Camp Gonzales Summer Freedom School. August saw a sweet profile of Lou and the book in the Dog Writers newsletter, a spot on the World Wide Blog Tour, and the honor of emceeing Malibu Methodist Church's 'Dog Day of Summer blessing of the animals, where a certain thirsty pit bull emptied the holy water bowl. We were mystified by a surge in online sales until we learned that L.A. County Probation purchased copies of Gimme Shelter for all of the juvenile camp dormitory libraries. On a sad note, after a game battle against rising rents, our beloved Diesel Books closed its doors. In September, Eugenie and Lou abandoned me celebrate their anniversary in Bella Italia, where they met foreign pit bull lovers who follow me on Facebook! December brought down the curtain with a nice mention in the Fordham University Alumni Magazine, and word that Lou was nominated for a Dog Writers award for Best Online Magazine Story. But it wasn't all accolades and fun. When tests revealed that a lump on my chest was malignant and had to be removed, Eugenie and Lou freaked. The surgery left me sore and more than a little groggy but thanks to Dr. Dean, Dr. Lisa and the gang at Malibu Coast Animal Hospital I'm fully recovered and raring to see what 2015 has in store. HAPPY NEW YEAR!
recovering at home with 'Dad'

In a postscript to our last blog, we wanted to thank all of our friends and followers who forwarded our plea to help find homes for 3 sweet pit bull. Your efforts paid off when a doggy daddy stepped up to share his home with Dottie. Her rescuer and trainer, Mike, was thrilled. Now we just need to work our magic for Rex, Ranger and Lemon.
Dottie - a succes story

Wednesday, December 24, 2014


It's the time to year to think about what really matters, like family, good friends, and helping dogs in need like Rex, Ranger, and Lemon (see below), three terrific pit bulls that are all looking for someone to share their love. If you've been waiting for just the right dog, or know someone who is, reach out and make some Holiday magic. Finding the perfect dog isn't an exact science. Sometimes the 'perfect' dog turns out to be a less than perfect fit with their human counterparts. That happened to Lou & Eugenie with my predecessor, Reggie, and to L.A. Times columnist Steve Lopez with Hannah and Dominic. It took two tries and a lot of handwringing but eventually both dogs found their forever homes. Another way to help pups in peril is to buy a copy of GIMME SHELTER. You'll get our Holiday discount and you'll be spreading the word that pit bulls make great pets and we'll donate a portion of the sale to one of our awesome rescue partners.
Tanner & Lou with Santa
REX has been at the Santa Maria shelter since late 2013. He originally had a home but his family lost their house and he was adopted, got out, and never reclaimed. Connie Kruse, a longtime volunteer at the Santa Maria (Santa Barbara County) Shelter has been working with him for the past year and says the he is totally ready to find a forever home.  Rex is about 3 1/2 years, weighs between 55-60 lbs. He is potty trained and leash trained, gets along extremely well with other dogs but we're not sure about cats. He loves his toys so he'd be okay as an only dog as long as he gets some love and play time. He was a loved domestic pet who slept in the bed was used to help assess & train other shelter dogs' temperaments. If you are interested, or know someone who might be,  please contact CONNIE KRUSE, 805-878-801clkjmw@icloud.com

RANGER is a 2 years old male pit bull, 65 lbs., with a pretty rare fur color of brown, with blue brindle.  He escaped a bad environment when he was about 3 months old and was picked up wandering the streets by a vet tech. His foster family couldn't keep him but they taught him commands like sit, stay, and lay down. He loves walking on a leash and he'll never pull. He's even good off leash in a safe environment. He grew up with 18 other pits and 1 miniature pinscher, so he loves to be around other friendly dogs big or small. He's house trained and crate trained, has been neutered already, has all shots up to date, and a microchip. Contact MIKE @  951-807-8786  or email SVT4ME95@yahoo.com
LEMON -  is almost 3 yrs old,  spayed purebread pit bull, approx. 50 lbs., with medium to high energy. She is very cute, with a heart shaped spot on her side. She's very loving toward anyone she meets, and she is excellent with both adults and children. She socializes, plays and sleeps with a large group of other dogs, including pit bulls, that Mike is training for adoption.  She is excellent on and off leash and she knows her basic commands, sit, stay, down. Very eager to please,very playful, and would make a good running partner for someone. She is house trained and crate trained, micro-chipped and her shots are up to date. Contact MIKE @  951-807-8786  or email SVT4ME95@yahoo.com
                                                                            ~ ~ ~ ~
Before signing off, I want to compliment my mom, Eugenie, on the awesome story about her and her sculpture in last week's Malibu Surfside News. Scribe Ashleigh Fryer did a wonderful job of capturing just what moves this fabulous artist, who also happens to be a first-rate dog momma, too.

Thursday, December 11, 2014


Eugenie and I received a wonderful Christmas gift yesterday when Dr. Dean Graulich called to say that Tanner's tumor was a low-grade malignancy that shouldn't pose any future problems. Our brave boy has a gang of stitches on his chest but the bandages are gone and he's down to just an 80s-style midriff (midruff?) T-shirt to keep him from clawing open the stitches. We're glad to be done with his post-op meds but he's not as happy since we camouflaged each pill with a mound of ground beef.
'Buona Festa' to our 2 and 4-legged friends
(Tanner flew to Italy via photoshop)

If you're looking for a nice, inexpensive gift for that special animal lover in your life, take advantage of the GIMME SHELTER 20% holiday discount, now through January 1, 2015. Tanner thinks it's great idea and he's not alone; over three dozen Amazon readers have given us an average 5-star rating. If that doesn't move you, maybe this video from last years Diesel Bookstore event will serve to whet your appetite. 
If books aren't the answer, you might consider sculpture, specifically Eugenie's awesome stone carvings. She currently has work on display at the CANVAS women's store in Malibu, and at Studio Five08 in Santa Monica. You can view the latest sculptures and new at eugeniespirito.com.
'White Angel' @ Canvas

Friday, December 5, 2014


Because Tanner has so many fans, canine and human, we wanted you to know that he was recently diagnosed with a mast cell tumor that had to be removed. He had surgery today with Dr. Dean Graulich, from Malibu Coast Animal Hospital, who said he's doing great. He'll be home later this evening and then the big challenge will be to keep him calm enough to let the wound heal. That's where Eugenie comes in. She's a sweet dog mom but I can count on her to make our ferocious beast tow the line. She does that all the time with me. 
Tanner, aka 'Tanino' with his parents at Milan's Duomo
(℅ photoshop)
With Chanukah and Christmas bearing down on us, I thought I'd mention some amazing animal charities that deserve a helping hand, if you're in the giving mood. Among the hundreds of caring organizations committed to helping dogs, cats and other creatures, these are some of Tanner's favorites:  Karma RescueDowntown Dog RescueLinda Blair's Worldheart Foundation, Canine Adoption Rescue League (C.A.R.L.), No Kill L.A./Best Friends, and  Healthcare for Homeless Animals , formerly Malibu Pet Companions, the folks who give pro bono vet care to the animals at the L.A. County Agoura Hills Shelter, Tanner's home before he came to live with us. Write a check, donate food, buy a gift from their stores, volunteer, whatever you do, they'll thank you and you'll be glad you did.
You may have noticed that books (and not just GIMME SHELTER), turn up quite frequently on this blog. That's because pit bulls, and Tanner in particular, take great pleasure in the well-written word. Tanner asked me to tell you that our dear friend, Kathryn Galan (profiled in Malibu's Surfside News), will be at Malibu's Bank of Books tomorrow, Saturday, December 6, at noon, signing copies of her new Young Adult novel ON THE MOVE .  He strongly recommends that you drop in and some copies for the teens in your life, especially the skaters. Here's what Tanner had to say about this epic skate odyssey: Right from the get-go I was caught up in this fast-paced story of plucky SoCal skate boarders forced to use their skater skills and street smarts when war breaks out and China attacks the USA. The kids in question are a resilient bunch, a diverse, dirty half-dozen determined to be reunited with their scattered families yet taking time to enjoy the awesome skate parks and the adult-sized challenges they face along the way. While boarders will savor Flynn's impressive knowledge of their sport and culture, the main plot of kids coping with disaster will appeal to all teens and adults. The gang encounters some gnarly post-conflict hurdles but nothing too scary or depressing for even younger readers. Much YA fare targets the feelings and drama of those emotional teen years. While ON THE MOVE takes us inside the lives of the young heroes and heroines - yes, there are girls in the crew! - it also serves up weightier themes and subjects in an accessible, entertaining style. When I finished the book I had two regrets: that I don't skate, and that the sequel isn't out yet.