Traveling Dog Lady: August 2012

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

"Paw It Forward" to Give Jobs to Individuals with Special Needs


“Paw It Forward” to Give Jobs to Individuals with Special Needs

The Barkers Dozen seeks crowdsourced funding to hire three special needs individuals.
Aug. 9, 2012 — CHICOPEE, Mass. — The Barkers Dozen, an organic and eco-friendly dog treat company based here, launched “Paw It Forward”, a 30-day campaign to raise $10,000 in crowdsourced funding, in efforts to give a steady paycheck and vital career skills to three special needs individuals.
If the goal is reached, the pet treat company will use the investment to hire three individuals through its partner, Aditus, Inc., an organization that provides community-based employment and other services to Intellectually Disabled Individuals.
Social responsibility and giving back to its community is central to The Barkers Dozen’s mission. It has partnered with Aditus to bake and package its treats since 2011, and currently, all treats made by The Barkers Dozen are handmade by Aditus participants.
“Seeing the joy on one employee’s face when he got to open his first bank account, or another’s excitement when she bought her favorite recliner to watch television, are experiences that I can’t even begin to explain,” said President/CEO and Founder of The Barkers Dozen, Shawn Sherry. “Now it’s up to everyone to help me make this happen for more individuals in our community who want to be out there working, if they could only be given a chance!”
With the new employees’ help, the company will also be able to create three new flavors of organic dog treats. After the Paw It Forward campaign closes, The Barkers Dozen will collaborate with Paw It Forward investors to determine the three future varieties.
In addition, those who make a pledge to support the Paw It Forward project will receive a gift based on their level of support – from 50% off any order, to a year of free organic dog treats from The Barkers Dozen.
The Barkers Dozen is managing the Paw It Forward project through, a social crowdsourcing website. The campaign runs through Sept. 9, 2012, and is accessible here:
Available in select pet boutiques, upscale retailers and grocery stores — as well as online through The Barkers Dozen Virtual Bakery and Online Store — the current lineup of organic pet treats includes: Barkers Family Chicken Treats, Barkers Carrot Treats, Barkers Dozen Barkscotti, Peanut Butter Cups, Peanut Butter Treats, Cookie Cakes and The Big Dipper. Also available are a variety of Sampler and Seasonal Gift Boxes, and custom-made cookie jars and gift baskets.
About The Barkers Dozen:
With the goal of providing Homemade Organic Pet Treats that everyone could afford, The Barkers Dozen was founded in 2009. In the midst of the 2008 pet food scare, company founders Shawn Sherry and Anthony Newman saw an opportunity to start an organic dog treat business where customers could feel safe and secure about what they fed to that loyal member of their family.
The Barkers Dozen treats use the highest-quality, human-grade organic ingredients and are made in a variety of shapes and sizes to satisfy any furry friend. The gourmet dog treats are made on demand and in small batches to ensure the freshest product possible for customers, without artificial preservatives. Feeling a responsibility to the world in which we all live, its packaging is renewable or recyclable.
In 2011, Sherry assumed sole ownership of The Barkers Dozen, following a year of historic growth. Later that year, continuing its belief in social responsibility, The Barkers Dozen began utilizing staff from the Aditus group, a non-profit which helps those with special needs to be able to enter the work force. In addition, The Barkers Dozen donates a portion of its profits from every sale to two animal shelters in its local market.
Press contact:Mehgan Recker

Friday, August 17, 2012

Black Cat Appreciation Day, August 17th

In honor of Black Cat Appreciation Day, here are just a few of the black cats we've known and loved.  Especially Mr. Kitty, our "favorite" if there can be such a thing.

Black cats are often overlooked in shelters and rescues (so are black dogs), and have been given a bad rap with all that "crossing your path" baloney.

Give a black cat a chance!  If you're thinking of adopting, don't skip over them at the shelter.  If you see a black cat cross YOUR path, maybe, just maybe it's a sign of good luck.

Here are our black beauties:

Mr. Kitty (ok, yeah, he was allowed on the table!)

Mr. Kitty, we loved you so, and still do

Love Kitty at Long View Farm

Love Kitty at Long View Farm 

The famous "Ratsky"  Princeton, Mass. On top of my Ford Galaxie 500 oh yeah

Slippers (aka Hendrix), Framingham, Mass.

Slippers on my childhood bed at my parents' house

Tux, the Electric Bullet, our latest blackie

Bullet poses for what will become the cover of my book MTAITW

A more recent pic of Tux/Bullet

Saturday, August 4, 2012

1944 WWII memorabilia for Vol 2 of "More Than Anything in the World"

Teaser/spoiler!  Here are some of the cool documents and keepsakes my parents kept from 1944.  These scans will be part of Volume 2 of their journal "More Than Anything In The World" which should be available soon on Amazon, B&N and for Kindle and Nook shortly thereafter.  The journal/memoir is being self-published by yours truly via's "createspace" self-publishing module.  Volume 2 will consist of letters written by my parents during 1944 and the beginning of 1945.

Volume 1 is already available on, B&N and for Kindle and Nook if you haven't read it yet.

Where Volume 1 was romantic and heart-rending, Volume 2 deals more with WWII and some very cool stuff happens such as my parents getting the chance to live together in San Antonio, Texas after many months of separation. Unbeknownst to them at the time, my dad would be deployed to Europe at the very end of 1944, so those months in San Antonio turned out to be precious time spent together which would be followed by over a year of separation.

My father was fortunate to not be in a combat position; he worked in an intelligence outfit instead and was a stenographer and typist.  The outfit moves through England, France, Belgium, and finally Germany, where they ended up staying for several months after the war ended.  In fact, they were the only outfit to have that assignment in Germany, much to my parents' disappointment -- everyone else got to go home, except for the 15th Army.

On the way to France from England, the ship carrying the men was torpedoed, and sank.  Everyone on the ship survived except for a couple of men.  I have had the fantastic experience of "meeting" one of my father's comrades (now 89 years old) who was one of the very last soldiers to jump ship as the hull disappeared beneath the waters of the English Channel.  This guy searched for my dad for nearly 70 years, and finally "found him" (me) thanks to the internet.  We've struck up a great pen-pal relationship and have enjoyed getting to know each other and reminiscing about my dad and other things.  How cool is that?  We have not talked by phone because he lost over 60% of his hearing when the ship was torpedoed and has a very hard time talking on the phone.  Which is all right with me, because I am "so not a phone person".  It works out great for both of us!

I am beyond grateful to my mother for never throwing anything away!  Here are some scans of  some treasured memorabilia from 1944 that will be viewable in Volume 2 of MTAITW:

Hula girl stationery used by my mother's cousin Bob who was stationed in Hawaii

Dependency benefits form

Birth announcement of one of my cousins

V-mail from my father announcing his mailing address to be used while he is overseas

Announcement of death of my great aunt, Elsie Walsh

Western Union telegram announcing the passing of Elsie Walsh.  
Sent to my parents while they were in San Antonio, Texas

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The first of August

August 1st has special meaning in our little five-mile world.  We opened the doors of Passports, the student travel company on August 1st, 1992 -- 20 years ago today.  It is still hard to believe, I was only 32 years old at the time and now I'm in my 50s.  What?!  I had Timba the dog, who went to work with me every day, long before "Take Your Dog To Work Day", the internet, and Dog Whisperer.  Hobie and Hector were not even a twinkle in their daddy's eyes yet, and I never would have guessed what significance DOGS would have in my future.

Headquarters of Passports Educational Travel

We had 6 cats at the time, having just left Long View with however many feline friends (out of the 20+ who lived there) we could stuff into a large crate in the back of my Subaru station wagon (which believe me, is NOT easy).  My three cats Love Kitty, Filkin and Charlie made the trek all the way BACK to our rented house in Spencer, along with three Long View cats: our beloved Mr. Kitty, Louise (who was a feral cat and should never have come with us!), and dear, sweet Maggie. We now own that house, but don't live in it anymore.  So much has changed... things I never dreamed of have happened, some good, some not so good.  Life.



Mr. Kitty

Love Kitty (black), and her daughter, Filkin (tabby)

Charlie the cat (tabby) and Mr. Kitty (black)

Timba and Charlie the cat

The anniversary continues! Three years ago today, I brought home two cats (by this time we had been living two years with NO cats, the last of the above-mentioned, Maggie, had died in the summer of 2007).  On August 1, 2009, I brought home Cali (aka Lady Kitty) and Tux (aka Bullet).  They are not from the same litter, but both were motherless, abandoned kittens that a friend raised but could not keep.  A third kitten, Newman (aka Hairball) would come three weeks later after a flea infestation was brought under control -- he also was from a separate mother.  So, three kittens joined our family, all at once, basically, and guess what?  There were no problems at all.  Everyone got along just fine.

Cali and Tux, in their crate, August 1, 2009

Newman, with a close shave, August 26, 2009

We find ourselves here, on the 20th anniversary of Passports, and the third anniversary of the cats joining our pack, contemplating adopting a third dog.  This would be something we've never done before.  Cooper (that's his name) is Charlie Brown's brother and littermate.  Cooper's leg has something wrong with it, and may need to be either operated on, or amputated.  We await that news today, on this important anniversary. It will not make any difference if he has 3 legs, or 4 -- that will not enter into our decision to adopt.  I must admit, I'm already getting a tad attached to the little bugger.

Cooper, on top of his litter mates... Charlie Brown is to his immediate left just beside his head.

Cooper, July 29, 2012 -- with 4 legs