THIS IS RILEY. HE’S MY SISTER’S DOG. He’s old, gentle, kind, a wonder.

“He probably lived his whole life outside,” the rescuer who pulled him from an inland shelter says, “there are signs – his ears, his nails, his teeth.”

He landed in the right place though, where his new routine is miles away from his old routine, if there even was one. Now it’s an early morning walk, a delicious breakfast, lots of naps on a comfortable clean dog bed or on the cool wood floor. Inside ~ where everyone who comes by greets him – first; pets him – forever; talks to him – endlessly.

He’s got a lamb, a hedgehog, a rabbit, a duck ~ his new treasures. And he has a ball. It’s a soft plastic ball because his teeth are fragile, but still, a ball. He’s obsessed with it and plays fetch ten times a day or more. It’s his passion and his greatest joy. The anticipation, looking at the ball held high, the rush to get it, the find, the retrieve, and the gift he drops at your feet. This darling senior dog must be told to take a break, lie down in the cool grass. Rest.

I think Riley’s making up for all the years he never got to play.

Lesson learned, Riley.

Thanks, sweet boy.

Posted in adoptable dogs and cats, adventures in dog land, canine companions, canine rescue, dog adoption, dog health, dog land, dog rescue, dog training, dogs, healer, Hirtz, Jackie Hirtz, new dog, read to your pets, save a dog, Second Chances, senior dog, Shelter dogs, Therapy Dogs, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Black and Blue ~ from J to C

I thought she was listening when I told her about a baby bird that fell

Into my yard on Thursday morning. How I put it in a small box with soft socks,

And dripped sugar water into its yellow beak that opened wide when I said,

“Here, baby.”

“But where’s the mother bird?” she said.

Close by, protective, watching, nurturing, loving. I told her.

“Hmmm,” she said.

It’s hard to be the kind loving caring one when you’re

Black and blue on the inside and each time you speak even

In the nicest way the words are sorted through like a coroner

Slicing open a fresh heart, looking for the defect that made it stop beating,

Finding the flaw and pronouncing the cause of death

With pride. Only this death –

Killing of a soul – has been a long time coming

Like a coroner making a thousand cuts over time instead of one

Big cracking open of the rib cage and cutting into the heart

Although that would be bad enough.

Any loving caring person – me, you, because we’re human

And have big big hearts (ask anyone who knows us) will bleed

Like we bleed. No coagulation. No time to process pain. Little invisible rivers run

From us, sometimes in drips sometimes raging and really not invisible enough.

I see them. I know you do too.

Stopping any bleeding is temporary and it feels good –

Empowering, like my brain knows how much better than this I am and how

I’m above all that crazy-making negative mess but that feeling –

One I think will last forever, never does and it’s back down the well

Falling fast until I grab a rope made of words (from you mostly) that lift me out.

And sometimes I catch you on your way down. Stop.

There is no one but that one who lives smack in the middle

Of concentric gray circles that matter more than gratefulness for everything good

That was and is because nothing is good anymore and maybe it wasn’t ever.

Not good enough anyway. Like us.

What about us?

What about everyone else?

What about a baby bird I saved for three days from predator crows?

She says, “What bird?”

I say, “Exactly.”



June 6, 2016                                                              Jackie Hirtz

Posted in Hirtz, Jackie Hirtz, poems, poetry, stories, story poem | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

“She’s saved a lot of lives…

I just never thought she’d save mine,” Anne Wills.

“A Baltimore-area woman and her oncologist believe her search-and-rescue dog “sniffed out” and detected her lung cancer early enough to possibly save her life.

Her 9-year-old shepherd-Lab mix, Heidi, has helped save several people’s lives and find over 2,000 missing pets during her work as a search-and-rescue dog for over seven years, Anne Wills told ABC News today.”

Heidi the search and rescue dog sniffed out cancer in her person.  Be amazed. Watch the story here.

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“Dear Marcy and Jackie” What about reading to Bowzer?

“Dear Marcy and Jackie” What about reading to Bowzer?. #readtoyourpets and @Tweenorama on Twitter


Posted in Lola Zola and the Lemonade Crush, read, read to your pets, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Therapy Dogs Give Comfort at the Mudslide

March 28, 2014 at 2:30 PM

Therapy dogs give comfort, raise spirits in aftermath of March 22 mudslide ~ by Hal Bernton and Steve Miletich

After the horrible mudslide that hit Darrington, Washington on March 22, volunteers brought their therapy dogs to help provide comfort to the community.

“As many as five of these dogs have been on scene this week. The dogs have worked with response teams on both the Darrington and Arlington sides of the slide.

Some searchers have time with the dogs as they struggle to cope with what they find at the mudslide site. The stress lines on their faces ease just a bit and they smile briefly.” ~ The Seattle Times, March 28, 2014


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Le Petit Fire Dog!

L.A.F.D. Station #19's Leo Byrne and Ella Rose

L.A.F.D. Station #19’s Leo Byrne and Ella Rose

All the little kids in the neighborhood call Ella Rose a “fire dog.” The children assume she’s a tiny Dalmatian, the breed of dog that typically hangs with firefighters, lives at the station and gets to ride in the truck. Ella Rose would love to be an honorary team member. Until then, she’s happy to sit on the back of the fire engine with firefighter Leo Byrne, from L.A.F.D. Station #19 (a great station, by the way!).

Posted in adventures in dog land, fire dog, fire station, healer, Hirtz, L.A.F.D., Station 19 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How a Single Photo Can Save a Shelter Dog’s Life

From sad to glad, gorgeous, cute, sweet, and best of all… adoptable!

Take a look at this wonderful idea… a guideline for shelters to follow when taking photos of pets up for adoption. See the before and after photos and read about the process… simple, easy, one two three click!

And then take a look at the organization and people behind the project One Picture Save a Life.

Kudos and puppy kisses to One Picture Saves a Life.

2010 a 099

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Closed for a Great Reason!

Why is was this animal shelter closed on Christmas?

Hint: You’ll like the answer.

Find out why here.

Posted in canine rescue, cats, dog adoption, dog rescue, dogs, Hirtz, Jackie Hirtz, kittens, Nathan J. Winograd, no kill shelters, save a dog, shelter cats, Shelter dogs, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy Update on Jeffrey and Jermaine, brother puppies…

“Over the past week, an adorable photo of two dogs cuddling with each other went viral online, as the story of the siblings — one of whom was blind and the other who appointed himself his brother’s helper — touched hearts around the world.” ~                                           Lilit Marcus

Posted in adventures in dog land, Brothers, canine companions, canine rescue, dog adoption, dog health, dogs, healer, Hirtz, save a dog, Shelter dogs | Leave a comment

A Most Amazing Dog Tale of True Love

“It was immediately apparent that Jeffrey was leaning on Jermaine and that Jermaine was making every effort to stay with his brother.”

According to Little, the two brothers are inseparable.

“They’re always pretty much touching each other,” Little said…

Posted in adventures in dog land, Brothers, dog rescue, dogs, healer, save a dog | Leave a comment

Poet Mary Oliver Publishes ‘Dog Songs’

cimg0333.jpg““Dog Songs,” out from Penguin Press on Tuesday, is a sweet golden retriever of a book that curls up with the reader, with 35 poems and one essay about the dogs who have shared Ms. Oliver’s days.” ~ by Dana Jennings  ~  October 6, 2013 Books Section of the New York Times

Posted in "Dog Songs", adventures in dog land, canine companions, dog books, dog land, dog rescue, dogs, healer, Mary Oliver, poems, poetry, stories | Leave a comment

Wow! LAX Has Therapy Dogs Now

“Someone was there for them when they needed help, and now these rescue dogs walking through the terminals at LAX — offering a few minutes of stress relief to anyone who needs it — are returning the favor…” By Dennis McCarthy, The Daily Breeze

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No Kill Animal Shelters, Impossible! Think Again!


Nathan J. Winograd is my hero. He has proven that No Kill Animal Shelters are possible in every city. Take a look at his keynote speech at the No Kill Conference 2013 at the George Washington School of Law in Washington D.C.

Posted in adventures in dog land, cats, dog health, dog rescue, dogs, Hirtz, Jackie Hirtz, Nathan J. Winograd, no kill shelters, save a dog | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

130 Dogs Need Rescuing Again in California Right Now!

Some people have no conscience when it comes to “saving” dogs. In this case it seems like the “saving” was saving as in hoarding. A pseudo-dog rescue organization was run by hoarders for years. The dogs were neglected in many ways. So sad. Let’s not allow this to ever happen again. Read the story and, if you work with or know of a legitimate, ethical animal rescue organization, please help!

Posted in dog land, dog rescue, dogs, help thesee dogs, hoarding dogs, Jackie Hirtz, new dog, save a dog | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Being dog obsessed is…

…a good thing! Take it from Dean Koontz who writes so beautifully about his dog Trixie and other dogs. Brilliant writers are usually avid readers. Here are five dog books that Dean Koontz recommends. (Of course I recommend Mr. Koontz’s dog book A Big Little Life — a memoir of a joyful dog named Trixie.)

Photo: Lily and Raizel, friends and therapy dogs.

Lily & Raizel

Posted in adventures in dog land, Dean Koontz, dog books, dog land, dogs, Hirtz, Jackie Hirtz, stories, writing process | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Great Dog is a Gift

“We got another dog right away. That wasn’t the plan. But back in March…” — Meghan Daum, The Los Angeles Times.  A must read for dog lovers and others.

Posted in dogs, new dog | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Poet Memory — William Stafford

Well, this post is not about dogs (or is it?). It’s about the influence poet William Stafford had on me years ago when he visited my American Literature class at the University of Colorado. Mr. Stafford was a gentle soul who stood before the class radiating strength in the quietest of ways. He spoke about the writing process, his life of writing poems, his daily routine.

Mr. Stafford’s lecture was on revision, breaking the word in two so we could see its meaning clearly. Re Vision. Literally, to see again. I’ve never forgotten those words, especially when it’s time to revise my work. They are helpful intangible jewels that sit in an imaginary tiny treasure chest on my writer’s desk (or somewhere in my brain), part of my own cheering squad, pushing me forward to see again.

During the visit, Mr. Stafford read a poem to us. I remember him telling us that he had driven over mountain roads from his home to the Boulder campus and that he’d driven at night (had he?) and then he slipped into the poem like a selkie into the sea and spoke in poetry… this poem “Traveling Through the Dark”


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Co-Raising a Future Service Puppy! Great idea!



Photo Credit: ©Canine Companions for Independence®

Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) counts on a community of dedicated volunteers to raise CCI puppies and help prepare them to become service dogs.

“C0-raising a puppy is a great way to volunteer while still having some flexibility with schedules and commitment. It’s also a great option if you are new to puppy raising.”  —  CCI Puppy Stories

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Remembering Lily the Therapy Dog

Lily and Jack

Posted in dogs, Los Angeles school, teacher, therapeutic, Therapy Dogs | Leave a comment

“Dear Marcy and Jackie” What about reading to Bowzer?



“Dear Marcy and Jackie” What about reading to Bowzer?. #readtoyourpets @Tweenorama on Twitter

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