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Posts tagged ‘maine’

Walking and Reading: 6|13|14

It's lupine time in Maine.

It’s lupine time in Maine. Not too shabby.


For the Humans:

I just discovered Evernote  (I know, I’m kinda late to the party). It is flat out rocking my world.

One of my oldest friends, photographer Ryan McGinley, just gave a fabulous commencement speech at Parsons. If you’re an artist, you’ll want to watch it. If you’re not, watch it anyway.

“Don’t compete. Find what’s uniquely yours. Identify what that thing is and do it.” – Ryan


For the Dogs:

It’s that time of year here in Maine: bug bites, rashes, and other dog boo boos abound. Bad Rap’s classic post has some good advice. 

Dogs Out Loud reminds us to catch our dogs doing something good. Amen to that.

Did you know dogs used to (literally) rule? Meet the Dog Kings.


For the Laugh:

Finally, I have a pro wrestling persona (I bet a few of you can relate)!


And Offline:

I just listened to the audio version of Into Thin Air, which had me running to Netflix to watch the IMAX Everest movie. And I’m currently laughing my way through Sister, Mother, Husband, Dog  by Delia Ephron. What about you?



Why We Rescue: Maddie On Things Visits Maine

Earlier this year I got to meet photographer Theron Humphrey when he passed through Maine as part of his “Why We Rescue” book tour. He was in town to promote his book, Maddie on Things and, as he does on each of his stops, he visited with a local family who share their lives with rescued pets. We got picked to represent Maine. Woot!

If you haven’t met Theron and Maddie before, they’re the team behind all those amazing photos of the gorgeous Coonhound standing on everything from banisters to basketball hoops. You can see her in all her Zen-like glory here.

(Oh, and no, I didn’t meet Maddie. She was doing yoga or fly fishing or something while we did our photo shoot).


So the thing is: I’m a total hermit and, despite being a loudmouth, I’m actually kind of shy (giving a speech to a crowd is no problem, but one-on-one interviews make me want to pass out), so sharing these photos makes me feel kinda funny! But if you want to lurk into my life a little, here are few of the photos from our shoot:

jessica dolce

This is me looking cool. For once. Don’t worry, it won’t happen again any time soon.


Jessica Dolce

Birdie can stand on things too Maddie. Like this deck. Don’t be jealous.


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Boogie + Ball = a love affair for the ages



Brian (aka Mr. Dog Walker) just causally hanging out mid-stream. You know, it’s how we do.


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This is my wee cat Gizmo. She’s got a tiny butt.


jessica dolce

Remember I told you that I have a weird entrance to my house? Here it is. We put our remote doorbell on the sliding glass door (otherwise visitors have to enter the enclosed “porch” to ring the real bell).

You can see the rest here and listen to me give a nervous interview about my pets. Caution: If you are still (somehow) under the impression that I am not huge dork, this will blow your mind.

I highly recommend flipping through the other states and families. There are so many lovely photos and stories from kind-hearted, intelligent people who chose to open their homes to shelter and rescue pets. We’re all part of a growing club that knows how lucky we are to be sharing our lives with “recycled” pets.

If you’re one of the five people left on planet Earth that still thinks shelter and rescue pets are damaged goods and you have to be some kind of saint to give one of these broken animals a home, you are wrong. Really wrong and really missing out on the fun! They’re the ones doing us the favor when they let us adopt them, not the other way a round, ya dig?

Get in on the greatness and adopt. Then maybe you’ll have a famous photographer show up at your house and take dozens of beautiful photos of your life too.

OK, now go listen to me be a nerd.


Meet My Cat Sitter: He’s a Good Boy

Mr. Dog Walker and I are off for our summer vacation! We’re taking Boogie and Birdie with us, but we’re leaving our cats at home. Have I ever mentioned that we have three stooges?

Well we do. Gus, Gizmo, and Penelope (pronounced Peenaloupe, like cantaloupe) round out our crew. They don’t travel well, so the stooges hold down the fort with the help of our cat sitter:

tuna the pit bull

Santa and Tuna seriously want you to have a Merry Christmas

No, not Santa. That would be crazy.

Our cat sitter is the other dude: Tuna. Every summer Tuna comes to stay at our house and keeps our cats company. We let Tuna bring his mom with him (my friend Karen) so that he doesn’t have to leave her home alone all week while he’s at our house.

Tuna is also a tour guide.

Tuna and Us

Tuna takes photos with tourists (for five bucks).

He recently took me and the husband to all of the lighthouses in our area. Tour guide Tuna is excellent at his job. We highly recommend him if you’re ever in Maine and need someone to show you around.

When I asked Tuna what he wanted the world to know about him, he answered modestly, “Please tell them that I’m a good boy.” This is true. Tuna is a good boy. I love this kid.

Well, I’m hitting the road soon and won’t have the internet for a spell, so forgive me if some of your comments don’t get approved in the next week. Please tell me how handsome Tuna is anyway, ok?

And with that, I’ll leave you all with 2013’s hit song of the summer (all the kids are rocking out to it while they cruise the strip): I’m a Dog.

Pit Bulls and Puppies: Ken Foster and Traer Scott in Maine

Mainers we’ve got some special guests coming to town that you don’t want to miss!

This Saturday, May 11th, authors Ken Foster and Traer Scott will be holding a book signing at Fetch* in Portland from 1-3pm.

Be there.

Ken will be signing his most amazing book I’m a Good Dog: Pit Bulls, America’s Most Beautiful (and Misunderstood) Pet. Who should read this book? Anyone who loves pit bulls or knows someone who lives with one or is curious about the hype and even people that really don’t like them.

If you love pit bulls, this book will lift you up. If you are confused or afraid of them, it will help you to see them differently. You’ll begin to understand why so many people choose to share their lives with pit bulls and why we love them deeply.

It’s the kind of book that animal shelter workers and advocates have been giving to all their friends and family members for the past five months saying, “Please read this. This is why I do what I do!”

No matter who reads it, I double dog dare you not to close the book with a giant grin on your face.

So, yeah, I’m kind of psyched that Ken’s in town.

I'm a good dog

Ken also wrote my favorite dog book of all time, the award-winning memoir The Dogs Who Found Me. Oh, and he’s the founder of the Sula Foundation which promotes responsible pit bull ownership. He lives in New Orleans with his dogs and makes the rocking pit bull t-shirts (my fave is the Saints tee).

That’s the pit bulls, now here are the puppies:

Traer will be signing her latest book is Newborn Puppies: Dogs In Their First Three Weeks. It’s an up-close  look at various breeds and mixes of puppies all between 1-21 days old. Squee!!

newborn puppies

Traer is an award winning photographer and the author of several books on dogs including the bestseller Shelter Dogs. Full disclosure: I once burst into sad, but hopeful tears in the middle of Borders while reading Shelter Dogs. Traer’s photos are gorgeous and profoundly moving. Her photographs have been featured in National Geographic, Life, People, O, and many other publications. She lives in Rhode Island with her husband, daughter and pit bull (oops, we’re back to pit bulls!).

So stop by the event at Fetch this weekend and pick up two books that will make your heart happy. And if your mom is a dog lover, may I suggest both books make excellent last minute Mother’s Day gifts? Have these two sign their books to your momma!

I’ll be there, hanging out like the book nerd/dog geek groupie that I am.

And if you need one more reason to stop by, I hear there is a certain silver fox named Sargent that will be stopping by the store as part of his search to find the family of his dreams.

Here are the ‘tails:

Portland Maine

Fetch* 195 Commercial Street

Saturday May 11th


Oh and if you’re in the Boston area, you can catch Ken and Traer the following day, May 12th, at Fish and Bone with Lilly the Hero Pit Bull!

And double oh! If you’re not lucky enough to be in Northern New England this weekend, just buy the books online and have yourself a happy-fest read-a-thon when they arrive in at your house.

* Fetch has been renamed “The Fish & Bone”. Same store, same location, same ownership, new name! 

Maine: Take a Stand Against Discrimination and Support L.D. 1192

I live in Maine and right now we have the chance to put an end to insurance discrimination based on a dog’s breed or breed mix. Will you help?

I’m asking all of my Maine dog-loving friends to take a moment to reach out and voice your support for this bill. If you own a pit bull, Doberman, German Shepherd, Rottie, Mastiff, Great Dane, Chow, Akita, or any other dog that’s been denied coverage, now’s your chance to stand up for the fair treatment of your dogs.

If you do not own a dog that’s been targeted, I hope that you will stand up for our families. We’re your friends and neighbors and we’re being unfairly discriminated against. Stand up for the dogs that are in our shelter system simply because their families couldn’t find an insurance company that would treat them fairly. There are so many dogs in our shelters that are safe, loved family dogs, but are homeless because families are forced to surrender them due to housing discrimination (largely due to insurance discrimination). Stand up for every dog that has been unfairly discriminated against because of the way they look, NOT based on their actual behavior or the behavior of their owners.

I’ve written about insurance discrimination before. It’s a serious issue for many responsible, dog-owning families.

Maine has the opportunity to become on the most fair, progressive states in the country when it comes to animals – help us get there!

Please support L.D. 1192- An Act Prohibiting Property Insurance Discrimination Based on Breed of Dog

This bill prohibits the refusal to issue or the cancellation or nonrenewal of a property insurance policy or an increase in the premium for the policy solely on the basis of a policyholder’s ownership of a certain breed of dog. The restrictions do not apply if a dog has been designated as a dangerous dog in accordance with state law.

Please support this bill by attending the public hearing on Thursday, April 25, 2013 1:00 PM, Cross Building, Room 220 

If you cannot attend – please submit written testimony to the committee members:

Mailing Address: Committee on Insurance and Financial Services
c/o Legislative Information
100 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333

Here’s what I wrote to each committee member (copy it, if you’d like!):

Dear ____

I’m writing to ask that you support L.D. 1192 in order to prevent insurance companies from discriminating against dog owners. Insurance discrimination creates undue hardship on responsible dog owners, such as myself, and on our animal shelter system which must bear the burden of caring for dogs that are safe, loved, and wanted by their families, but cannot remain in their homes due to discriminatory insurance practices.

Research proves that dog behavior cannot accurately be predicted based on breed alone. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) exhaustive review of dog bite studies conducted in North America and elsewhere has concluded that separate regulation of “pit bull” dogs [or other breeds labeled “dangerous”] is not a basis for dog bite prevention. “Serious bites occur due to a range of factors,” conclude these authors.


Please tell insurance companies that making sweeping restrictions and cancellations based only on a dog’s breed – rather than assessing an individual dog’s risk factor – is not a welcome business practice in the great state of Maine. Every dog must be evaluated for coverage based on their individual behavior and their owner’s behavior.

Please pass LD 1192 and support the fair treatment of all Maine families.

Thank you for your time,


Here are the email addresses:,,,,,,,,,,,,

Boogie and I thank you for standing up for us and families like ours!


Junk in the Front: Dog Coats that Fit

It’s FREEZING in Maine this week. The only people walking around these days are the dog walkers and the postal carriers. Half the dogs I walk are disgusted by this weather and demand to be taken inside right away, the other half are oblivious to the cold, no matter how many times I tell them that I can’t feel my legs anymore.

Since it’s 5 degrees out, I figured this might be a good time to talk dog coats. If you have dogs that are shaped like triangles, like I do, it can be hard to find coats that fit them. Both of my dogs are very broad in the chest but have narrow waists and I had to try a million coats before I found ones that were big enough up front, without being super long and huge all over.

In Birdie’s case, she’s got so much junk in the front that she has a tendency to bust her coats open at the chest. So she starts off fine, but then she takes one breath and the front strap explodes open. Next thing you know, she’s running around with her coat “unzipped”, trailing from around her waist, like some sort of streaker. It’s embarrassing.

So, if you have a top-heavy public exhibitionist of your own, there are a few brands that I’ve found worked well for my dogs. Of course, they might not fit your pups. That’s the thing about dog coats: usually your dogs have to try a few until they find the right one. And there’s no universal sizing system. If you’re in the market for a coat, I recommend visiting a pet store that offers a range of brands to try on. If your dog can’t handle doing a fashion show in a pet store, buy a bunch to take home and then return the ones that didn’t fit (let the store know what you’re up to and find out if they have a good return policy first!). Same goes with ordering online: buy a couple of sizes/styles and return what doesn’t work.

Here are the coats that I like for my dogs (for reference, Boogie is 50 pounds with a very narrow waist and Birdie is 40 pounds and shaped like a hot potato.)

Chilly Dog Sweaters: I know a lot of dogs with big chests that really rock these affordable sweaters. In fact, they’re a wardrobe staple among those of us with bull dogs (any kind of bull). They almost always run long, covering their tushies a bit, but the sweaters stretch and fit their chests really nicely. Plus they have adorable designs, like this monkey. The sweaters run small: so usually you need to go up a size larger than normal for the right fit. I think Boogie is an XL or XXL.

notes from a dog walker: boogie

Teckelklub Trench Coats: This was the first coat I found that could contain Birdie’s bust line with ease. No Velcro busting to be found with this baby. Both of my dogs have the fleece-lined Trench style coats. On really cold days, Boogie will wear his Chilly Dog sweater underneath and this coat on top. But most of the time, the coat alone does the trick for him when he’s out making sweet love to his big red ball in the snow. Boogie is a size 6, Birdie is a size 5 in this coat.

notes from a dog walker: cuz and coat

Apache River Dog Coats: The next time I have to buy a coat for a dog, this is what I’m going to get. I used to work in a pet store that sold Apache River and on the coldest days these simple coats would fly off the shelves. Made by folks who also make horse blankets, these fully lined fleece coats are very warm and they fit dogs so well. I highly recommend them for any shaped dog. Like sweaters, they slip over the head, so there’s no Velcro strap across their chest to bust open. And the extra coverage up front is good for cold climates where every exposed inch counts.  There’s a ton of stretch in these snug coats (think Spanx for dogs), so what fits in the front, will also fit in the waist. Plus, they make x-long versions for wiener dogs. What up! apache river coats
There are tons of other options out there: Ruff Wear, LL Bean, RC Pets…but if you’re looking for coats that fit dogs with junk up front, those are my top 3 picks. Oh, and here’s one more, just for fun:

notes from a dog walker: coat

We won this cheap-ish dog coat in a raffle years ago. It fits Birdie perfectly and she’s taking a nap in it right now. She told me the faux sheepskin shearling coat makes her feel rugged – like a rancher or a cowboy.  Hey, as long as Birdie isn’t flashing anyone, it works for me.

Do you have an odd ball dog that doesn’t fit into regular stuff? Tell me about your favorite coats and sweaters in the comments section!

2014 update: My friends at Fit For a Pit carry an amazing collection of dog coats and clothes that fit pit bulls and other chesty dogs. I love their products so much that, yes, this is an affiliate link.