Monday, September 18, 2017

I'm a PAWlizer Prize Winner!!!!!!


Bliss, Seven and I will be taking a road trip to Carmel CA next month to pick up my PAWlizer Prize for a short story I wrote about my beloved Baldwin. What's the PAWlizer Prize you ask? It's America’s 1st annual prize for the Best Dogged LITTERature.

Here's my winning story:

Disciples Of God
by Susan Hartzler

Before she died, mom bought me a rescue dog, a living memorial of her eternal love for me. This wasn’t just any rescue dog. Baldwin turned out to be a Puli, part of the herding group, a high-octane ball of fluff.

After I brought him home I realized he needed a job. I learned Pulix are sheepherders from their native Hungary, marveled at pictures of them driving hundreds of sheep from one spot to the other, their dreadlocks flying. I immediately signed up for sheep herding lessons, agility classes, canine freestyle, obedience training and just about every dog sport I could find but my little black mop of a dog needed more. That’s when I discovered Therapy Dogs International.

Baldwin turned out to be an ace student in the classes we took to get certified. When we completed the training to become a therapy dog team, I couldn’t wait to see what we could do.

Groomed and dressed in his new doctor’s scrubs costume, Baldwin squealed when we entered the parking lot at County USC Medical Center. He wiggled in the back seat, ready to get to work. Before we even got out of the car something changed. I could tell Baldwin knew therapy work would become my sweet dog’s life mission. Now I knew too.

Baldwin’s first assignment? To visit a special little girl recovering in the playroom from a round of chemo earlier that day. She sat there alone, couldn’t be around any other kids because of vulnerability to germs. The seven-year-old looked gaunt and tired, her complexion pale, almost transparent. With a frame so thin from her treatments, her cheekbones stood out, her eyes sunk in.

When Maria saw Baldwin, she took a deep breath and laughed out loud at my Muppet dog which brought some color back into her face. Before I could stop him, Baldwin hopped on the couch next to her and stretched his entire body across her lap. Maria loved it. She rubbed under his chin, he sighed, put his head down then closed his eyes, his breath a steady cadence. Maria inhaled deeply with him, looked better, healthier with every breath.

Baldwin spent an hour in that playroom on that little girl’s lap. Maria stroked him the entire time. Her boney hands moved over him in perfect rhythm, like someone praying the rosary: Hail Mary Full of Grace.

I realized later I witnessed a miracle. This high-energy dog who ran agility courses herded sheep and played ball for hours lay still doing exactly what this little girl needed. I thanked God for showing me grace in action, combined with mercy, awe, gratitude and unconditional love all wrapped up in Baldwin, my little black rescue dog. At that moment, I understood life is a gift.




Thursday, September 14, 2017

Bliss Sniffed Out the Best Dog Friendly Beaches in California


Looking for a beach in California where you can legally take your dog for a walk, or better yet, set them free to roam around with other dogs? Bliss has done a lot of digging (pun intended) to find the best beaches for dogs and their people. Ready to let your canine friend frolic in the waves? Here's Bliss' list of the best dog-friendly beaches:

1)    Coronado Dog Beach
100 Ocean Boulevard, Coronado, CA  92118

Phone: (619) 522-7342
Coronado’s Dog Beach is leash-free all year and is a local favorite. The long stretch of sand from the busy street is a highlight for dogs that like to wander. The dog beach is open 24 hours a day and is marked by signs that run along Ocean Boulevard from Sunset Park on Ocean Drive to the border of the U.S. Naval Station. Parking is available along Ocean Boulevard. Although there are no public restrooms, there is a foot shower to rinse off fido’s paws on south of the entrance on Ocean Boulevard.

2)    Huntington Dog Beach
100 Goldenwest Street, Huntington Beach, CA 92648

      Phone: (714) 841-8644
Probably the most well-known of all the off-leash dog beaches in Southern California on this list, the Huntington Dog Beach is well known for its length, cleanliness and easy-going nature. The nonprofit group that runs the Huntington Dog Beach does a fantastic job of making this beach such a success. The Dog Beach is open 7 days a week, dawn until dark (parking lots are open 6am-10pm).

3)    Carmel Beach
Ocean Avenue and Scenic Road, Carmel, CA  93922
Carmel-by-the Sea was voted the #1 most dog-friendly town in America and you can see why when you visit this beautiful leash-free dog beach. Bon fires are permitted on the beach south of 10th Avenue. Public restrooms and a public telephone are available at the Ocean Avenue end of Carmel Beach. Open 6am to 10pm every day.

4)    Arroyo Burro Beach (Hendry’s Beach)
2981 Cliff Drive, Santa Barbara, CA 9310

      (805) 687-3714
If you plan on being in the Santa Barbara area, you have to check out the local favorite Arroyo Burro Beach aka “Hendry’s Beach.” Currently an off-leash dog friendly beach, Arroyo Burro Beach begins east of the slough at Arroyo Burro “Hendry’s Beach” and stretches to the steps at Mesa Lane. The off-leash dog beach is located on the left from the Arroyo Burro parking lot and even offers a dog rinsing station. Local restaurants are dog friendly, too.

5)    Cayucos State Beach
      25 Ocean Front Ave
      Cayucos, CA, US, 93430
      Phone: (805) 781-5930 
Cayucos is a charming little beach town located along the central coast and rich in history. Bliss’ favorite part? The entire town of Cayucos is dog-friendly, and the beach is leash-free all up and down it! Cayucos State Beach offers the perfect combination of mild weather, tide pools, a small-town charm and free spirit that never seems to go away. 
6)   Rosie’s Dog Beach
1 Argonne Ave, Long Beach, CA, US 90803

      Phone: (562) 570-3100
Rosie’s Dog Beach in Long Beach is currently the only legal off-leash dog beach in L.A. County. This 3-acre park is located on the waterfront between Roycroft and Argonne Avenues, a few blocks east of the Belmont Pier and Olympic pool. Rosie’s Dog Beach is open daily from 6am-8pm. Ample parking is available along Ocean Boulevard and free parking is available at the beachfront lot at the end of Granada Avenue daily after 5:00 p.m.

7)    Ocean Beach Dog Beach aka “The Original Dog Beach”
West Point Loma Boulevard and Voltaire Street

      San Diego, CA 92107
Perhaps the most popular canine hotspot in San Diego is “The Original Dog Beach” located at the northern end of Ocean Beach. The Original Dog Beach in San Diego, CA is nationally famous and one of the first official leash-free beaches in the United States. Dogs can roam this popular canine hotspot off leash at any time of the day.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Bliss Says Don't Miss These 6 Dog Events Happening in September

When you want to really spoil your dog, or just meet other dog owners as crazy about their pets as you, there’s no better place to go than a dog event. Bliss recommends you and your pet attend any of the dog shows, agility competitions, costume parades, festivals or fundraisers near you and meet hundreds, maybe even thousands, of dog lovers. Here are some good ones in around Southern California:
1. Comedy Unleashed, Irvine Animal Care Center FundraiserSeptember 19-  Support animals in need while enjoying a night of dinner and laughs with comedian Debi Gutierrez. Proceeds benefit the Irvine Animal Care Center. Ages 18 and older. Tickets are $35 and include dinner. Tuesday, doors open at 5:30 p.m., show begins at 7:30 p.m. Irvine Improv, 527 Spectrum Center Drive.
2. Shoestring City Ranch Spaghetti Dinner and Raffle in LakewoodSeptember 23 - Join the Shoestring City Ranch for the annual Spaghetti Fundraiser Dinner. Includes spaghetti dinner, dessert, raffle ticket and admission to petting zoo. $10 per person or $40 for a family of four or more. Saturday, 4:30-7:30 p.m. Lakewood Equestrian Center, 11369 Carson St., Lakewood. (562) 301-5046.
3. Surf City Surf DogSeptember 22-24 - Enjoy “3-Days of Doggone Fun” at the Annual Unleashed by Unleashed Surf City Surf Dog. The Opening Ceremonies on Friday night include Yappy Hour and a Costume Contest. Saturday features a SUP with your pop hosted by Pirate Coast Paddle Company. Sunday is the world-famous Surf Dog Competition at Huntington Beach Dog Beach for 8 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
4. Annual Pet Parade and Chili Cook Off in Laguna BeachSeptember 24 - Join the 21st Annual Laguna Pet Parade and Chili Cook-off. Enjoy various pet contests and kids entertainment. Sunday, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. pet registration, 11 a.m. Adults, $5; kids, free. Tivoli Too!, 777 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach. 
5. Tail of Two Cities Gala in San ClementeSeptember 24: - Save the date for Pet Project Foundation’s event of the year – the Tail of Two Cities Gala. Grab a pawtner for a 3-course dinner, fabulous live and silent auctions and a host of other fun activities. Prizes will be awarded for best-dressed cowboy and cowgirl. All event proceeds benefit the lost, abandoned and wanted animals at the San Clemente-Dana Point Animal Shelter. Sunday, 5:30 p.m. $135; tickets available online. Bella Collina Town & Golf Club. 200 Avenida La Pata, San Clemente. (408) 859-3706. 
6. Paint Your Paws Off with the Animal Assistance League of OCSeptember 27 - Create and take home your own masterpiece with the Animal Assistance League of OC. Includes wine, appetizers, a vacation raffle, and more. $45. Wednesday, 6-9 p.m. El Torito in Westminster, 15042 Goldenwest St., Westminster.
For a list of dog events worldwide, visit Bring Fido. Woof!