Traveling Dog Lady: 2011

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My article in Cape Women Online "Weather Dogs" by K.S. Mueller

Weather Dogs
A Visit to Fatima, Portugal
By K.S. Mueller

Part of our gig in the student travel industry is to organize, and often attend, the annual “Yuletide in (pick a city)” International Teacher Convention which is a perk offered to some of our employees, as long as we don’t mind taking a week away from our families between Christmas and New Year’s.  Since I don’t have any kids, and my mother was in relatively good health for many years, I would attend the Yuletide Convention every holiday season for many years.   Traveling in December takes a bit of getting used to.  The days, particularly in places like England and Germany, are very short in the winter.  The weather is gloomy.  Stores and museums are closed.  Pair that with jet-lag and the holiday rush and you have a decent recipe for seasonal depression.    Nevertheless, both prior to and after each convention, I would summon the courage to extend my trip and do some personal sightseeing. 
The year I turned 40, I sadly realized I was probably not going to have any kids.  To fill the void, I decided I needed another dog.  Hobie came into my life in May of 2000.  At just five months old at the time, I dubbed him Millennium Dog, since he was born in January.  I fell instantly and hopelessly in love with this dog – he was the child I never had. 
Begrudgingly, I still booked my annual Yuletide trip at the end of 2000, and left my two dogs, Timba who was 17 at the time, and the newly-crowned leader of our pack, Hobie, at home with a friend who was nice enough to house and pet-sit.  I left for Lisbon, Portugal on December 22, 2000, and quickly discovered that I, not my dogs, suffered from separation anxiety!  It was gonna be a long, lonely fourteen days.
The advent of the digital camera was upon us, and I had taken a moment to take one shot of Hobie as he snoozed on the bedroom floor before I whisked off to Logan Airport, knowing nary a word of Portuguese and basically nothing about the history of Portugal.   During the trip, I would consult that photo of Hobie too many times, to soothe my ever-growing heartache.
Our post-convention travels took us to two places that stand out in my mind.  The first is Obidos, a very small town halfway down the west coast of Portugal, and very reminiscent of the Cape Cod National Seashore.  The entire time leading up to our visit to Obidos, my friend and I kept repeating “Obidos!”  because it sounded like “Hobie Dobe!” my nickname for Hobie. 
The second memorable city was the very famous spiritual destination of Fatima.  Imagine, visiting Fatima just two days after Christmas.  It was incredible.  We witnessed dozens of people making pilgrimages to the Marian Shrine, many of them crawling on their knees as a symbol of their devotion.  The Marian Shrine is known for the Marian apparitions – when, in 1917, three peasant children claimed to have seen an apparition six times, and on July 13, 1917 the apparition divulged three secrets to the children.
While at Fatima, we visited several gift shops.  It’s important to mention here that when I first adopted Hobie he had a deformed left ear, which later miraculously righted itself.  In one of the gift shops at Fatima, just off the highway, I found a section of the store that contained cute little animal figurines that would change color when weather changed.  I remembered having something like that as a kid, it was a weathervane that would be pink if it was going to rain, or blue when the weather was fair, or some such thing.  I have always collected figurines of dogs, cats, and horses, and was feeling the separation from Hobie in particular that day, having then been away from him for about ten days, our longest separation ever.  Of course, he was probably home, snoozing, oblivious to my heartache.  And so, I thought, I’ll pick up a souvenir -- a doggie figurine that predicts the weather.  I carefully picked out one that looked almost exactly like Hobie.  The tour bus was waiting for us outside and my companions were getting antsy, so I hurried to the cashier.    When she picked up the Hobie figurine, it slipped out of her hand, and, as if in slow-mo, I saw it crashing onto the countertop, head-first.  I heard my own voice saying “Nooooooo!” in slow-speed.  I dove for the figurine, and saw to my horror that its left ear had broken off.  Dejected, I just looked at it, clutching the two broken pieces in my hands, the dog itself in one hand, and a tiny piece of “ear” in the other.  The cashier spoke no English.  I spoke no Portuguese.  Yet, somehow, we communicated.  She managed to offer, “Go get another one, to replace.”  I said, “I want THAT one!”  (I had spent ages picking out “the” dog that looked just like Hobie-Dobe.)  She somehow retorted with, “Keep this one, and take another one, too, and I will only charge you for one.”  I thought, that sounds like a good idea… by now the tour bus driver is honking his horn, hollering at us to get a move on.  I ran back to the shelves, which now seemed to carry thousands of little dog figurines!  Too many choices!  How would I ever find another one that looked just like Hobie?  No two were alike.  The handiwork was extraordinary.  I just grabbed one, any old one, and ran back to the register, paid the lady (was it Euros?), shouted to her an “obrigada!” and leapt onto the bus. 
Back in our hotel, I opened up my little bag with the two canine statues inside, and much to my shock, they were BLUE!  We figured out that they must be made out of weather-predicting  materials and chocked it up to that, rather than some religious epiphany.  We did later find out that there are lots of Our Lady of Fatima figurines sold in Fatima.  They’re made of weather-sensitive materials that are supposed to change color and predict the weather.  They come in many different figurines such as chickens, cats, goats, horses, etc.
When I returned home to Massachusetts, I put those two weather dogs on my bedroom bureau and more or less forgot all about them.  Every so often, I’d notice they’d change from pink, to blue, to white. 
Six months later, Timba passed away, and soon after, we adopted our hound-dog, Hector.  One day, I looked over at the two weather dogs on top of my dresser and realized they are the spitting images of Hobie and Hector. 
There are no coincidences.  It took me eleven years to write this essay about the weather dogs.  I finally wrote this on October 13, 2011, having done no prior research whatsoever.  The Fatima apparitions visited the three shepherd children monthly in 1917 from May through October, and always on the 13th of the month.  The last apparition occurred on October 13, 1917 exactly 94 years ago.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Iams Home for the Holidays Blog Hop

Iams Home 4 the Holidays, one of the world’s largest pet adoption programs, kicks off its annual adoption drive in partnership with Helen Woodward Animal Center. Their goal is to find homes for 1.5 million orphaned cats and dogs. Now in its 13th year, Iams’ Home 4 the Holidays, which runs up to January 3, 2012, has helped place 5.8 million pets in their forever homes.
This year, Iams and Helen Woodward Animal Center team up with more than 3,500 animal organizations worldwide to encourage pet adoption. In addition, Iams will donate 5 million meals to animals in need at adoption and rescue centers through its Bags 4 Bowls program.
We are asking bloggers to get involved by simply adding your blog to the Blog Hop below. It’s easy, fun and helps to feed animals in need.
Consumers can lend a hand by:
• Visiting the Iams Facebook page and clicking “Like.” For each “Like” comment or photo posted, Iams will donate meals.
• Becoming a fan of Iams’ Facebook page and creating a custom adoption announcement or holiday card to share the news of their new four legged family member or just send a season’s greeting to family and friends. For each card created and shared, Iams will donate meals.
• Purchasing specially-marked packages of Iams dog or cat food during the duration of the campaign. For every specially-marked package sold, Iams will donate one bowl of food to a participating Iams Home 4 The Holidays animal organization.
Joining the program this year are NASCAR driver Ryan Newman and his wife Krissie. The Newmans founded the Ryan Newman Foundation to educate and encourage people to spay or neuter their pets and to adopt animals from shelters and rescue centers. “As proud pet parents to five incredible animals, we are honored to join with Iams Home 4 the Holidays to find permanent homes to loving animals,” says, Ryan.
Iams Home 4 the Holidays strives to educate about the importance of adoption so every pet goes to a permanent, loving home. Those who adopt through the program will receive an Iams adoption kit loaded with important information about nutrition, training and proper care to ensure their relationship with the new animal starts off on the right paw.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Author weaves parents' love story with World War II history in collection of letters

Author weaves parents' love story with World War II history in collection of letters

K. S. Mueller's "More Than Anything in the World: Volume 1, 1942-1943" documents her parents' new marriage and the hardships of their separation due to the war through letters written between them during World War II

SPENCER, Mass. (MMD Newswire) August 1, 2011 - - After her mother passed away in 2010, Kathleen Mueller and her brother found more than a thousand letters which their parents had written to one another while their father was away at war from 1942 to 1945. In "More Than Anything in the World: Volume 1, 1942-1943" (ISBN 1456547976), K.S. Mueller provides a personal and detailed glimpse into America during the 1940s and World War II.

Recently married, Sergeant Frank J. Mueller leaves his young wife for military training in the United States. While he is still stationed in the country, he is away from everything he knows and loves as he faces both mentally and physically challenging training. His letters depict life for thousands of soldiers who had to leave their homes and families to join the military during World War II.

In addition to the letters, Mueller includes World War II memorabilia and historical information to show the hardships and sacrifices made by "the greatest generation." She contrasts life in the 1940s, when individuals would sometimes wait hours to make a phone call, with life in today's age of instant gratification.

"I think that this work can relate to events happening currently," Mueller says. "Nearly seven decades later, the country is at war in Afghanistan. Loved ones are still separated due to the war, but we now have email and the internet for communication."

In Mueller's publication of the actual letters written in her parents' own words, she hopes to display the sacrifices and courageous efforts of World War II soldiers and their families through her parents' correspondence. This first edition in a three-part series focuses on her father's time in training while he was stationed in the United States. The next two volumes will cover Sgt. Mueller's deployment to Europe and the events he experienced throughout World War II. The author hopes that readers will develop an appreciation for soldiers like her father who risked their lives and futures for the freedoms we enjoy today--and, in the middle of it all, enjoy a poignant love story between two young Americans.

"More Than Anything in the World: Volume 1, 1942-1943" is available for sale online at and other channels.

About the Author:
K. S. Mueller writes short non-fiction essays about dogs, cats and other topics, aside from her "real job" as a travel executive in Massachusetts. She found a box of more than 1,000 letters written by her parents during World War II in 2010, and decided to publish these letters in a three-volume set that covers the three years her father, Sgt. Frank J. Mueller, was stationed in various locations worldwide with the United States Army.

K. S. Mueller


Phone: (508) 450-9552




The views and opinions expressed in this press release do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of CreateSpace or its affiliates.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Check out my web sites!

I have three web sites.  The first one consists of my essays about dogs, cats and other topics.  It's

The second one is my pride and joy:  the collection of my parents' WWII letters!  Visit me there at

And finally, my tales of woe living (and still working full-time) in the grip of fibromyalgia!.  That's viewable at

You can follow me on Facebook, just look for K.S. Mueller

And on Twitter, I'm k2k9.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

From A Westminster Story: Teddy

The dog show world caught the attention of the masses in 2000 with the viral popularity of the comedic film, “Best in Show.” But the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show has actually been a tradition for more than 130 years. In fact, it is the second-longest running sporting event in the United States behind only the Kentucky Derby. Hundreds of thousands of dogs have marched through the show ring to display the finest of pedigree and breeding throughout the show’s long history, and Teddy the Beagle is one of those many.
Teddy joined Richard Hilton and Diana Lipari’s family in May 2007. Diana, the President of the Southern California Beagle Club, had grown up with Beagles and wanted to bring another one into her life when her 14 and a half-year-old Beagle, Lionel B. Barrymore, passed away. Upon selecting a reputable breeder, Diana decided to take on her first show quality Beagle and chose Teddy from the litter. “Teddy is a natural show dog with a lot of charisma,” said Diana. “He comes from a long line of great dogs who had that extra something.” Read more at!

From Ask the Vet: Remedies for Skin & Coat Issues

I adopted a nine-year-old Westie last year that has had skin outbreaks continually! Vet visit after vet visit and a change of his food. Nothing seems to be a cure for this little guy and I am about to give up! This outbreak is so bad that he has lost most of his hair now! What kind of food does he need? I use oatmeal shampoo on him as the ones from the vet seem to break him out even more. Please help! 
The fact that you have already tried several hypoallergenic diets with no improvement suggests that food hypersensitivity is not the cause of your Westie’s allergies or that there may be concurrent pruritic dermatoses in addition to food hypersensitivity. Other common causes of allergies in dogs are canine atopy and flea bite hypersensitivity and these should be ruled out since diet changes are not helping. West Highland Terriers have a known tendency towards canine atopy.  Read more at!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

8-year-old Bull Mastiff needs a new home

Gus is a 150-lb, neutered male, Bull Mastiff. AKC certified, likes other dogs, not sure about cats. Needs home without small children. Very well-trained, and a real sweet love-bug. Please contact me directly for more info -   Gus is 8 years old. Needs a little companionship. He is smart and obedient, low-to-medium energy. Very loveable and quiet..

Sunday, February 27, 2011

EO Products Dog Model Contest and Product Giveaway

This contest ends March 8th, so get on the ball !!

To help promote their new line of natural and organic pet products, EO is hosting a Dog Model Contest from Feb. 22 through March 8. Five winning dogs will be selected to receive a full set of EO’s pet care products (value $27.95). Winning dogs will also have their images used to help promote the pet care line on EO’s website, Facebook page, newsletter and possibly product labels.
To enter, pet owners must fill out a registration form on EO’s website and upload a photo of their pet to EO’s Facebook page (owners can be in the photos too).  
Winners will be asked to send back a photo of their pet with EO’s shampoo for promotion on the EO website. And videos of the winning dogs being shampooed with EO would be an added bonus (personally, I'd love to see those videos!)
EO Pet Care products are free of parabens, polysorbate, disodium EDTA, phosphates, animal bi-products, synthetic fragrances and sulfates. The bottles are made from 100 percent post-consumer recycled plastic.
Visit EO’s Dog Model Contest registration page for more information. 

Friday, February 18, 2011

Three Back-to-Back Hours of BLUE-COLLAR DOGS on Nat Geo WILD (Mon Feb 21)

Don't miss Monday's broadcast of Blue Collar Dogs on Nat Geo Wild!!  This Nat Geo Wild special follows four-legged specialists hard at work in a number of different fields from medicine, to border patrol, proving to be indespensible to their human colleagues and those who benefit from their work. Check out the links below for a preview, and set your DVRs !!

Blue-Collar Dogs: Canine MD
Premieres Monday, February 21 at 8PM ET/PT on Nat Geo WILD
Many doctors, scientists and therapists are harnessing dogs’ extraordinary work capabilities to enhance and even save human lives.  The medical field has expanded use of dogs from assisting the hard of hearing and the physically challenged to predicting blood sugar crashes, detecting oncoming seizures and sniffing out disease.  With olfactory senses generally 100,000 times more powerful than a human’s, dogs are now being trained to detect epilepsy, diabetes and even cancer with a single sniff.

Blue-Collar Dogs: Border Hounds
Premieres Monday, February 21 at 9PM ET/PT on Nat Geo WILD
All across the nation, dogs are hard at work helping U.S. Customs and Border Protection stand guard over land borders, deserts and urban ports of entry.  Using their extraordinary noses, these dogs can outperform man or machine in detecting smuggled narcotics or concealed humans, and even locating victims stranded in the desert. Follow a K-9 team from recruitment through graduation to learn about the methods and science behind training a dog team, and how handlers use natural elements in the field, such as the wind, to their advantage.

Blue-Collar Dogs: New York Police
Premieres Monday, February 21 at 10PM ET/PT on Nat Geo WILD
The New York Police Department’s K-9 squad is one of the nation’s most exclusive police units.  For decades, dogs have been first responders to crime scenes and terrorist attacks, and have even traveled to help in the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti.  Go on patrol with NYPD’s K-9 Bomb Squad, Emergency Service Unit and Transit Units and watch as the dogs hunt for bodies through collapsed piles of wood and cement, patrol the bowels of NYC’s subway system, sweep major tourist attractions for bombs and guard the streets of the city’s toughest neighborhoods.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

My interview on

Ambassador Profile: Kathleen Mueller
At Cesar Millan, Inc. our goal is to make the world a better place, one dog at a time. The Ambassadors group was created to harness the power of the pack in order to make a greater difference in our world. Cesar Millan Ambassadors is a volunteer organization that helps spread the word about Cesar Millan events and products on the internet and in their community; assist in events, such as Dog Whisperer auditions or fundraisers for the Millan Foundation, that are held in their area; and share their participation and outreach in their community with other pack leaders. Together, we work to build a greater awareness of our dogs’ needs and create a positive “ripple effect” in the dog community.
For more information on the Ambassador Program and to apply, click here.
CMI: How did you first learn about Cesar Millan?
KM: About five years ago, I started visiting an on-leash, dog-friendly beach on Cape Cod near my home. I've had dogs my whole life, and at this time I had my two mixed-breed males, Hobie a Lab/Shepherd, and Hector a "Heinz 57" mix (we think he's Coonhound/Lab/Border Collie/and some large breed because of his height). My dogs and I had a reputation for walking long distances and often picking up loose neighborhood dogs, unintentionally, while we walked. I would often have a huge pack of dogs by the time we got home, and would return them to their homes by automobile or sometimes on foot. But, I had not done a very good job of training Hector, the younger of my two, to greet other dogs politely. As a result, when we started frequenting the beach, which requires leashes, I would get pulled down on the ground and "dragged" by my two dogs as I held on for dear life because "there's a leash law."
On one particular spring morning, something like this happened and my wrist got slightly injured, but the more insulting injury was the reaction of the other dog owners at the beach. They threatened me and said "Don't come around here anymore!" I was devastated. My dogs didn't hurt anyone (except me!); they were just overly-excited in their greeting behavior. Not one person asked if I was all right -- they just shunned me from the group.
That morning, after I calmed down a little bit, I turned on the TV to watch "Regis and Kelly". Their guest that day was a person I had never heard of: "Dog Whisperer" Cesar Millan. As I watched Cesar help the various guest dog-owners, including one of the show's crew, I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I was blown away watching the TV that morning, having just had this awful experience at the beach, and I started watching "Dog Whisperer" on National Geographic Channel that week, and have never stopped.
CMI: What is it about his techniques and philosophies that interest you?
KM: Based on my own experience with Timba, I knew, and agreed 100%, with Cesar's philosophy of "exercise, discipline and affection in that order." I have always been a person who walked my dog very long distances, daily. People would point at me and my dog(s) because it was such a rarity to see someone in my community actually walking a dog -- I live in a farming community way out in the countryside of Massachusetts, there are not a lot of sidewalks out here!
Cesar's leadership technique is also something that came naturally to me, and something I was already doing. In the old days, people would say it was "showing the dog who is boss". That seems a little too aggressive to me, but if you tone it down and you compare it to being a supervisor, teacher or parent, it makes a lot of sense. You are the dog's parent, teacher, supervisor and finally friend. The dog will not respect you if you do not lead -- he will challenge you for that leadership position. I knew this from my experience, and was happy to know that Cesar used this simple philosophy as part of his techniques. As a person who has supervised many humans in my career, I discovered that I naturally have the personality of a leader.
Another important point is not to treat your dog like a human. Dogs are wired differently than us, and I think that's what gets a lot of inexperienced dog owners into trouble -- they expect that the same techniques that work for their human children will work for their dog, and that just isn't the case. If humans simply did not expect dogs to be humans, they would appreciate normal dog behavior and it could solve a lot of problems in dog/human relations.
CMI: How did you hear about the ambassadors program and what made you apply to be part of the program?
KM: After I had been watching Dog Whisperer for a while, I noticed a little pop-up on the TV screen in the lower right corner announcing that viewers could join the discussion online on Nat Geo's web site. Back in those days, hundreds of people would login to the discussion board on Nat Geo's Dog Whisperer page and beg Cesar for help with their dogs. It sort of happened spontaneously, but a few of us just started responding "on Cesar's behalf" so to speak, indicating to the person that Cesar was not available to respond to their individual questions, but we would certainly try to help. There were about six or 12 of us initially who did this. The Nat Geo forum started to become somewhat unmanageable, and C.J. Anderson set up a Yahoo! group and moved the discussion there. About a year later, maybe less, I was asked by C.J. if I would like to be a part of the new program she was working on with Cesar Millan, Inc. --that was the Ambassador program, and I, of course, said yes.
CMI: What do you do as an ambassador?
KM: Due to my busy schedule, it is not always easy for me to do a lot in person, so I've remained doing what I did in the beginning as an Ambassador: communicating about Cesar's philosophies online. This means, responding to questions on the Yahoo! Dog Whisperer Fans group, which still exists today with a membership of several thousand; writing to bloggers who criticize Cesar's methods; assisting with internet outreach to promote Cesar's live appearances; reading Cesar's books and posting reviews about his books on sites that sell the book, such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble; and, mostly, networking on Facebook and Twitter with the hundreds (perhaps thousands?) of "dog people" I've met through this journey.
In 2009, I was lead Ambassador for Cesar's live appearance in Boston, and I arranged for several ambassadors to assist Cesar backstage and during the performance. I also promoted the show for several months beforehand by handing out fliers and sending email blasts to various dog-related organizations in the area. Being an ambassador requires teamwork, and the dynamics of doing things online vs. in person is extraordinarily challenging -- not only do you have the personalities like you would in any group of people, but there are time zone differences and lags in response, technical difficulties and a whole host of other challenges. It sure isn't boring!
CMI: What do you want people to know about Cesar and the Ambassadors?
KM: First and foremost is the important fact that not all dogs need Cesar's help -- only those who are unbalanced need rehabilitation using Cesar's Way. There is a continuing misunderstanding that Cesar is a "dog trainer," and people will often criticize his "training" methods. Cesar is not a dog trainer; he rehabilitates dogs that have often been given up on by frustrated, inexperienced owners. I want people to know about the countless dogs' lives that have been saved by Cesar. I want people to know that Pit Bulls and other powerful breeds are born as good dogs, it's the humans who raise them that make them turn out "bad." Cesar Millan's Ambassadors, in conjunction with the Millan Foundation, set forth to educate the public about these facts, and many others including the importance of spaying/neutering our pets; adopting from shelters or rescues; refraining from purchasing dogs from pet stores (puppy mills) or back-yard breeders; and just a general education on the most humane way to raise and train a dog. Cesar says it best when he says as long as the "training" method does not harm the dog, then use it -- there is no "one right way" to raise and train your dog.
CMI: When you’re not volunteering as an ambassador, what do you do?
KM: In real life, I'm vice president of U.S. operations at Passports, the student travel company based here in central Massachusetts. I currently live with my sweetheart, Gil, our two dogs Hobie and Hector, and three cats Newman, Tux and Cali.
I write dog and cat stories, and am currently working on a biographical account of my parents' early marriage which includes preserving and archiving what may be perhaps the largest collection of love letters written during World War II -- written by my parents. It's a fascinating project, and one I'm very proud of. Additionally, I live with chronic pain everyday due to fibromyalgia, and I run an online support group for women living in the same situation. I try to stay busy and active, because it helps, and I try to impress that strategy on others and help them by sharing my experiences.
CMI: Anything else you’d like to add?
KM: In my travel career, I've visited many countries, and I always marvel at the way other societies treat their dogs in comparison to we in the United States. In France, dogs are welcomed in restaurants, and lie at the feet of their owners while they dine on French cuisine! In the Caribbean, dogs still run loose, unfortunately, and spaying and neutering is a relatively new concept, but despite the somewhat adverse conditions, the dogs are balanced! I have observed Caribbean dogs knowing the boundaries of their homestead, and not venturing past a certain invisible line -- no fences, no leashes, just rules, boundaries and limitations. In each of these instances, the dogs are led by a strong but calm individual, they do a lot of walking and migrating, and the dogs seem remarkably happier than many dogs in our country.

It is my wish that we in the U.S. would all learn to take a calm, relaxed approach to dog ownership -- everything does not fit into a perfect little box, and I think we would have fewer unbalanced dogs if dog owners would try to understand dog behavior and not humanize their canine companions, and follow the exercise, discipline, affection recipe. In other words, help your dog be a dog. Above all, enjoy your time with your pets! Their time with us is short, and they teach us many lessons.

My interview on