Sunday, March 29, 2015


The sun is shining, and the mockingbirds are warbling but it's a sad day for me and my parents. We awoke to news that our friend, the amazing dog trainer and Malibu fixture, Tony Rollins, had passed away due to complications from diabetes. A popular cable network likes to boast, 'Characters Welcome'. Well, Tony was a character with character, a loving, patient guy who overcame his tough Brooklyn childhood and some early scrapes with the law to build a devoted following working with dogs, and their equally unruly, neurotic humans, at Bluffs Park obedience classes. Fans of GIMME SHELTER might recall how he 'coaxed' me into following the rules and helped bring my relationship with mom and dad to a new level of trust and commitment. In time some new trainer will come along and fill the vacancy left by our friend. But for us, Tony will always be 'the man' and the Bluffs his place. RIP Tony. 
Tony Rollins
In Hamlet, Shakespeare writes "When sorrows come, they come not single spies but in battalions." That was the case today. We no sooner heard about Tony when Lou received an email saying that my longtime pal, and all-round fabulous dog, Ceba, had moved on to the big dog park in the sky. Ceba was a tiny Shih Tzu but he had the heart of a lion, the rollicking good nature of an Irish bartender, and a sweet loving souL that no dog, or human, could resist. I met him when I first came to live with Lou & Eugenie. I love dogs, and I didn't think twice about lunging to greet Ceba. But Lou and Ceba's dad, Doug, saw it a tad differently ; "Watching Tanner drag me across the road, Doug was wary of greeting the new stud. Ceba wasn’t. He held his ground and sniffed Tanner from stem-to-stern. Having made his point, he hoisted his tail and led us down the sidewalk, pimp-rolling like a 4-legged gangsta, posse in tow. Whenever Ceba stopped to mark the bushes, Tanner followed suit. It was their version of social networking, where dogs friend each other by peeing on walls instead of writing on them." (from GIMME SHELTER) For the past few months, Ceba, Doug and Jean have been living in San Jose so I didn't get to say a proper 'goodbye'. I guess I'll take a quiet moment and toast him with a few extra treats - Lou always had a goodie for the little guy - and then go out and mark some bushes in his honor. 
Lou says 'never end on a negative' and I'm going to follow his advice and urge all of our friends and followers to help us do just that and find a home for REX, an amazing pit bull who's been marking time in the Santa Maria animal shelter for nearly 16 months! We've posted about him before and two potential adopters stepped up, only to run into snags with landlords that refused to let them shelter a pit bull. I know what it's like to live behind bars and, while it's better than scuffling along on the street, it's no substitute for a loving family. So…let's get back to work, spread the word, and get this boy a home. Now. 
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 know anyone who would love to share their life with this bundle of love, please contact CONNIE KRUSE, 805-878-801,  clkjmw@icloud.com. If not, please pass this to your contacts and/or post on your social media.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


Facing a liver transplant and feeling suicidal, 28-year-old former alcoholic Zach Skow credits his dogs with helping him find sobriety and turn his life around. As payback, Skow founded a charity - Marley's Mutts Dog Rescue - to help save unwanted dogs. (Parade Magazine, February 8, 2015). 
Zack Skow and his dogs
We all know about Seeing Eye Dogs, but Dogs For The Deaf? Founded in 1977 by longtime Hollywood animal trainer Roy G. Kabat, DFD takes dogs from Western shelters and trains them to act as 'ears' for humans with deafness, hearing loss or autism. Since it's inception, DFD has placed 3,000 rescue dogs in homes across the nation. 
Tanner and 'Mom' in San Luis Obispo
I was getting ready to teach my weekly Okinawan karate class last week when a dojo brother congratulated me on a Malibu Times Magazine piece about GIMME SHELTER. It was news to me but, sure enough, MTM had included the book as part of their local writers roundup (page. 23). After almost two years, I'm still amazed, and grateful, for all the kind attention the book has garnered. 

I met Joe Simone and Linda Bianco during my freshman year at Iona College in New Rochelle, NY. Through our love of literature, movies, Italian food and each other, we became fast friends and spent the next four years hanging out in The City, cramming Shakespeare and doing what college kids did in the Woodstock era. (I won't speak for them but I DID NOT inhale…at least not much) After graduation, Joe married the fair Linda and they spent the next 35+years living and working in NYC or nearby Westchester County. But all that's about to change. My diehard New Yawker pals are pulling up stakes and heading to, gasp, San Antonio to be near son Justin and his wife, Nicole. Although I don't get back East often these days, it will be strange when I do and they're not there to share a plate of sushi or a glass of pinot grigio. Guess I'll have to don my boots and a Stetson, trade the Prius for a pickup and mosey on down to Texas pay my pardners a visit in their new digs.