Thursday, October 04, 2007


by Luna Brooks Russell

So here's St. Francis ... if you want to learn more about him, click here ... but all I really need to know about him is that he was an animal lover and that's good enough for me. October 4th is his Feast Day but we celebrated early at All Saints Church ... last Sunday. And I got to go to church on a SUNDAY!

Not like when my mom takes me to church during the week because she has to and I have to lie still and be quiet and not bug anybody. Nope. THIS Sunday they have a special service outside just for US ... with a special outdoor altar and everything!

My mom Susan had to work in the big church like usual but she came over to pet me when we got there ... I'm a little embarrassed here because I guess I got my muddy paws on the white thing she wears to work in. Oh well ... I was sorry ... really. But I was just glad to see her!

I was glad to see the other dogs, too ... it was great not being the only dog on campus.

And there were cute kids, too ... this one wasn't even as big as some of the dogs that came! (Mom said he was a cutie patootie!)

Oh ... and there were some cats. Gotta give equal time, I know, but frankly I get enough of "leave the kitty ALONE!" at home to want to mess with them when I'm in the outside world. It's a pick your ditch kind of thing for me!
And THEN here came one of my best friends from the dog park ... Honey ... with her boy, Seth.
Even better, Seth's mom held Honey's leash and I got ...

... UNDIVIDED ATTENTION! (I don't know what St. Francis thought of Nirvana but this is my idea of it!)

But pretty soon it was time for the service to start so I settled down with my mom ...

And everybody stood up ...

... and SANG!!! (I liked that part ... especially "the birds and beasts", though I'd have added "dogs and cats" just make sure.. although that would have left out the hampsters and the hermit crabs..... so I guess they knew what they were doing !)
But I have to be honest, my attention kind of wandered ...
... and my attention was drawn to the fact that I wasn't the ONLY one not paying attention.

MOST of the people were paying attention, however, and Wilma did a great job ... look at 'em all ... kids, dogs, cats and grownups all doing church outside. Cool, huh? (I bet we're having more fun than all those dressed up people inside the big church!)

THEN we got to the part when they "sprinkled" us ... here's Wilma hurling around the holy water ... (the dogs liked this part better than the cats, I can tell you that!)

... and speaking of cats, here's Christina trying to bless a cat who was making hissing noises I've never even HEARD before (and I've been hissed by a cat or two in my time!) I hope she got hazardous duty pay for this one!

And then it was bread and wine part ... that's like the blessing for the people. "The holy food of new and unending life" they call it. "Strength for the journey."
Unfortunately for Honey, she didn't quite "get" the difference between holy bread and regular bread ... so she got tied up in the back for awhile. She was a good sport about it though ... and next year she'll know better!

Before long it was time to say goodbye to everybody and head home. (My mom was too busy GETTING me blessed to get a PICTURE of me getting blessed in case you're wondering. But I was and I'm sure I'm a better dog for it!) Here I am, saying "See ya at the dog park!" to Seth and Honey.

And then it was home-again, home-again, jiggity jig ... here I am passing the peace with Harve who decided to sit this year out ...

And then I hit the fountain for a nice drink of cool water before heading back to my usual napping spot for my Sunday afternoon nap.
So here's my favorite part of the whole day. My mom ... who was so worried that I sit still and behave and be a good dog and make a good impression ... she was so distracted getting leashes and cameras and pictures and stuff that she managed to wear two different shoes to church ...

DUH! But she was a good sport about. And next year she'll know better.

So Happy St. Francis Day, everybody! Hope if you're an animal you get a blessing and if you're a people you ARE a blessing and that everybody keeps in mind the great prayer attributed to St. Francis ... who didn't just hang out with animals ... he worked for peace.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Luna & Harvey: Congrats to Rupert

We know our Moms think we're the greatest dogs on the planet, but their friend Catherine, who works on the tv show, The Dog Whisperer (which rejected Harvey.....long story), has a dog named Rupert who is a children's therapist. We hope you'll enjoy reading Rupert's amazing story.
Rupert, who celebrated his 8th birthday at the end of September, works with his caretaker providing happy distractions for hospitalized and disabled men, women, and children as a part of Love On 4 Paws, an animal assisted therapy organization. The canine volunteers help to combat loneliness, promote self-confidence, and improve the quality of life for the sick, developmentally delayed, or otherwise handicapped.

Adopted from a Southern California animal rescue at 9 weeks old, Rupert first donned the green vest of the LO4P volunteers 4 years ago, after a co-worker suggested that with his mild temperament, he would make a top-notch therapy dog. The man was not wrong. Though he never saw graduation from obedience school, Rupert’s mellow disposition allowed him to breeze through the rigorous screening process that all therapy dogs must pass through in order to qualify for the job. He has been known to sleep through the rush and the din of a Code Blue in the Intensive Care Unit. He is a registered volunteer at 3 different city hospitals, and has worked with hundreds of ill or infirmed children. He is, in the words of his caretaker, “all business” when he’s on duty – loving and gentle, with the patience of a saint. For the older patients, he is a quiet companion and confidant, and with the younger patients, he is a living plaything; a dress-up dolly, a rocking horse, and a living, breathing teddy bear. At physical therapy, he catches the stuffed animals that the children throw to improve their hand eye coordination. And he weathers the constant love and attention like a pro.