Coastal Canine Fall 2020

Page 1


issue #48



Athlete / Adventurer

Erik Weihenmayer and his guide dog Zena

Helen Keller

her Life with and Love for Dogs


Andy Seliverstoff

little kids

& Big dogs


around the World

& More


Thank you for your support and confidence in us caring

for your pets during this difficult time. We are so proud to be a part of this amazing community. A community that works together and helps each other through the challenges that come our way.

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“I love their affectionate ways and the eloquent wag of their tails.” ~ Helen Keller We hope all of our readers are finding joy and comfort in spending time with their dogs during this challenging year. We have several inspirational stories to share that remind us the human spirit is strong, and our bond with our beloved canine companions can help see us through whatever life throws our way. When COVID-19 came into our reality, each of us had to adjust to a new normal. In the early weeks, there was much chaos and confusion. It was during that time that the Eilbeck family had to make the heart-wrenching decision to find a caregiver in the United States for their beloved dog, Pip, while they made their way back to their home in Australia without him. Read the story about how dogged determination and persistence paid off to reunite them with Pip. Even though he has reached the highest summits on all seven continents and kayaked the entire Grand Canyon, blind adventurer, Erik Weihenmayer, has still depended on his Guide Dogs to assist him in his daily life since he was a teenager. Dina Eastwood spoke with Erik and writes about the unbreakable bond he developed with each of his dogs over the years. We hope you will enjoy the photography of our featured artist Andy Seliverstoff as much as we do. This Russian photographer captures intimate and joyous images of children and their “ Big” dogs. We interviewed Andy recently, learn more about him beginning on page 32. A pioneer for the blind and deaf, Helen Keller never had a guide dog, but the canine companions in her life were equally as important to her. Read more about Helen’s love for dogs and how they helped her through her most difficult times. Belinda Jones writes about bestselling author, Theresa Rhyne, and the harrowing experience that led to writing her latest book, “Poppy in the Wild.” Also an article by Christine McFall, a woman who raised five puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind before the age of 18.


Scott and Carie Broecker

Publisher Editor/Photographer Graphic/Ad Design







Copy Editor/Writer Marketing Executive



Please direct letters to the editor to: 831-601-4253 Please direct advertising inquiries to: 831-539-4469 Subscriptions are $30 per year within the United States. To subscribe, please send check payable to Coastal Canine, P.O. Box 51846 Pacific Grove, CA 93950 or subscribe online at Join our online mailing list at Coastal Canine Issue #48, Fall 2020. Published quarterly (four issues per year). Copyright © 2020 Coastal Canine. All rights reserved. Coastal Canine is dedicated to the memory of Sunshine Broecker. Disclaimer: Coastal Canine is intended for entertainment purposes only. Please seek professional assistance from your veterinarian or qualified dog trainer before implementing any information acquired within these pages. Any resources mentioned are provided as a convenience to our readers, not as an endorsement.

Coastal Canine is printed on 30% recycled paper. All inks used contain a percentage of soy base. Our printer meets or exceeds all Federal Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA) Standards. Our printer is a certified member of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) The FSC sets high standards that ensure forestry is practiced in an environmentally responsible, socially beneficial and economically viable way.

Fall 2020 | | 7

cc | contents

Pipsqueak, A Journey Around the World - When 14 COVID-19 arrived in the United States and countries around the world


were beginning to have citizens Shelter-in-Place and borders began to close, little Pip became stranded half a world away from his home and family. Learn about the epic journey that finally reunites this little Dachshund with his family in Australia.

Athlete/Adventurer Erik Weihenmayer 20 Erik Weihenmayer is an accomplished athlete who has climbed all seven of the highest summits on each continent. Despite his amazing abilities, Erik has depended on his guide dogs ever since going blind as a teenager. Coastal Canine writer, Dina Eastwood, interviewed Erik recently to find out more about his life with guide dogs including his newest dog Zena.

Photographer Andy Seliverstoff - This outstanding 32 photographer from St. Petersburg, Russia focuses his lens exclusively on small children and their incredible relationships with their large breed dogs. Have a look at his beautiful photography and find out more about him in our recent interview.



Keller - Throughout her life, Helen Keller had dogs by 44 Hherelen side. Although she never used a guide dog, the love and companionship of her dogs helped her through and beyond her deepest frustrations and challenges.

Poppy in the Wild - Belinda Jones writes about Theresa 51 Rhyne’s newest book, “Poppy in the Wild” which details the trials and tribulations she went through after her foster dog became lost in 1500 acres of wilderness.



Growing up a Puppy Raiser – Christine McFall raised five puppies as a volunteer puppy raiser for Guide Dogs for the Blind. She tells about the dedication it takes to raise and train a puppy and the satisfaction of watching her puppies get paired with a blind person.

On the Cover: Erik and Zena pause for a photo along Clear Creek Trail in his hometown of Golden, Colorado. Photo was taken in December 2019 shortly after Erik received Zena as his new guide dog, retiring Uri his previous guide dog, who continues to be a precious (non-working) family dog. Photo by Daniel Bedell

8 | | Fall 2020




FOWAS .......................................... 58


California Canine ........................... 49

A. Herman, Dog Therapist ................ 6

POMDR ......................................... 58

Carmel Dog Shop .......................... 64

From the Heart .............................. 60

Animal Cancer Center .................... 50

Living With Dogs ........................... 62

Animal Hospital at Mid Valley ....... 47

Pet Pals ............................................ 2

Animal Hospital of Salinas ............ 60

Lilly’s Advantage ........................... 26

The Raw Connection ........................ 5


Cottage Veterinary Care ................... 4

Catherine Sullivan Art ................... 23

Dentistry For Animals .................... 23 Monterey Peninsula Veterinary

BOOKS Cats are People Too ....................... 13 Dogs are People Too ...................... 13 Legend .......................................... 23 DAY CARE Dawg Gone It ................................ 53 Klaws, Paws, & Hooves .................... 6 Paws at Play .................................. 60 GROOMING Carmel Groomers ............................ 6

Earthwise Pet ................................ 60 PET FOOD

PET SITTING & BOARDING Carmel Valley Doggy Bed and

Vintage Nouveau .......................... 41 TRAINING

Breakfast .................................. 62

California Canine ........................... 49

Central Coast Petsitter ................... 61

Del Monte Kennel Club ................. 61

Dawg Gone It ................................ 53

Divine K9 ...................................... 61

Ophthalmology for Animals .......... 19

Diane Grindol ................................ 61

From The Heart Animal Behavior

Pacific & Santa Cruz Veterinary

Katy’s Walk, Stay, Play ................... 62

Counseling and Training .......... 60

Klaws, Paws, & Hooves .................... 6

Living With Dogs ........................... 62

Emergency & Specialty Clinic ... 30 Natural Veterinary Therapy ............ 57 Nichols Veterinary Care ................. 31

Specialists .................................. 3 Pet Specialists, Inc. ........................ 50 Steinbeck Country Small Animal ... 31

Monterey Bay Dog Training Club ... 62 REAL ESTATE

Pam Jackson ................................. 61

Keller Williams, Rachelle Razzeca ...................... 55

INNS Cypress Inn ................................... 39


Shampoo Chez .............................. 25


Abalonetti ..................................... 60

Suds ‘N Scissors ............................. 31

Birchbark Foundation .................... 30

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CARMEL DOG SHOP Cindy Montgomery feels like she’s been on her own path. One that she’s clearly traveled with lots of dogs—and has led her to the Carmel Dog Shop, which she opened on August 1, 2020. A native of Monterey, Cindy grew up with dogs and has never been without one. She married out of high school, traveling a lot because her husband was in the military. Dogs went right along with them. Homesick, Cindy returned to the Peninsula with her children in 2005. Over the years, she’s worked in various fields, from human resources to being a buyer for a laser devices firm. Before opening the Carmel Dog Shop, she had been the general manager at Diggidy Dog, and prior to that worked for the Raw Connection.

She’s been a “foster mom” to over a hundred dogs through Golden Gate Lab Rescue, as well as mom to many other rescues. She found her current dog, Stan, an “American Staffy,” on Facebook. No one would adopt him, and she just couldn’t turn her back on this “sweetest puppy.”

Cindy Montgomery Lincoln, SE of Ocean Avenue (next to the Cypress Inn) (831) 574-8169

Cindy’s partner, Stuart Allen, a longtime resident of Carmel, works behind the scenes at the Carmel Dog Shop. She credits his support and encouragement for making the shop a reality during this difficult time for small businesses. They offer toys, treats, and supplies of all sorts in a “dog party” setting. She feels so grateful to serve locals and wants to support local artisans as well. A dog person through and through, Cindy says, “Sometimes I have to remind myself to look up at the people and not just at the dogs!” Fall 2020 | | 9

10 | | Fall 2020

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PUPS AND PUPPUCCINOS Snap a photo of your co-pilots enjoying a delicious *Puppuccino *A Puppuccino is simply a small cup of whipped cream that is given out as a special treat with no charge from your nearby Starbucks. (Not recommended as a daily habit or for dogs with digestive and food allergy issues.) Email photo (at least 800 x 800 pixels) to Submission deadline is January 10, 2021

12 | | Fall 2020

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By Carie Broecker Zoe and Guy Eilbeck were living their dream. It started off as a one-year sailing trip through the Mediterranean for the whole family. The Eilbecks, along with their two boys, eight-year-old Cam and fouryear-old Max, left Australia in January 2016 on their 40-foot catamaran called No Plans Just Options.

rescue me | pipsqueak

They were having such an extraordinary adventure that their one-year trip turned into four and a half years. After two years sailing the Mediterranean, Cam and Max (and Guy too!) started asking for a pet. At first, Zoe thought it would be best to wait until they returned back home to get a dog or a cat. Then it dawned on her that since they would be with a pet 24/7 on the boat, now was an ideal time to add a furry family member to the crew. Being with them all the time would make for a happy dog and would give them lots of time for training. They acquired Pip, a four-month-old Dachshund, during a stop when they were in Messina, Sicily. Once full-grown, Pip weighed in at a whopping eight pounds. A Dachshund seemed like the best breed for a life at sea because her short legs gave her a low center of gravity, her short fur meant quick drying and no shedding, and Dachshunds don’t need a ton of exercise but are sturdy enough to go for long walks when needed.

P ip w e n t e v e r y w h e re w it h t h e f a m ily a n d v is ite d m a n y p la c e s , in c lu d in g S p a in , t h e C a n a r y Is la n d s , M a r t in iq u e , G u a d e lo u p e , t h e D o m in ic a n R e p u b lic , a n d th e B a h a m as.

boat, but she also loved going ashore. She was always excited to explore the new smells and terrain at each port. Pip went everywhere with the family and visited many places, including Spain, the Canary Islands, Martinique, Guadeloupe, the Dominican Republic, and

Before bringing Pip into the family, Zoe and Guy researched how to bring a dog into Australia to make sure they could get her home. There would be a 10-day quarantine upon arrival. That sounded very doable. Pip was a smart puppy. Once onboard, she was peepad trained within 24 hours. She wasn’t nervous on the boat at all. The first night she found a place to curl up and sleep even though the conditions were a bit rough as they sailed through the night, offshore, to beat an oncoming storm. Of course, safety was a priority. Pip had her own life jacket. Whenever the two-legged crew wore their jackets, so did Pip. And she had a penned-in area in the cockpit, next to the helm, that they put her in during rough weather or long crossings. Pip loved the sailor's life. She loved being on the

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the Bahamas. Most places were dog friendly and since Pip was so tiny and quiet, they could easily and inconspicuously get her into art galleries, museums, and grocery stores comfortably in a school backpack of Max's, which was quite sturdy and had lots of room.

In June 2019, they had made their way to Florida and sailed up the Eastern Seaboard to Maine, visiting various ports including Baltimore, Washington, New York, and Boston, along the way.

made. They needed to get out of the area and home to Australia ASAP. But what about Pip? There wasn’t time to make arrangements to bring Pip with them. They were devastated.

In mid-March 2020, they were back in Key West, Florida, and were about to sail to Cuba when Guy hurt his back, which delayed their plans. And then came the news report about COVID-19. Every day, every hour, things seemed to change. They were watching what was happening back home in Australia and around the world, and they started getting nervous. An announcement was made that Key West would be closing to nonresidents on March 22nd. A decision was

They had a friend in North Carolina named Lynn Williams who offered to find a foster for Pip until they could come back for her, which they hoped would be in only a few weeks. Lynn subsequently found Ellen Steinberg, who became Pip's main caretaker in the months that followed. They also found a place in Hilton Head, South Carolina, to leave their catamaran. Once they docked in South Carolina, they would have 48 hours to board their flight to Australia. They drove to

16 | | Fall 2020

The Eilbeck’s devotion and commitment to their dear Pip is a beautiful example of how companion animals deserve to be treated—as members of the family.

the North Carolina border and handed Pip over to her new caretaker. The whole family was devastated not knowing when they would see her again. Once back in Australia, they had to quarantine for 14 days, but Zoe immediately started making calls to arrange for Pip’s return. With Australia on lockdown and no one with Pip to escort her home, her travel plans were proving to be tricky. Zoe was on the phone to the states at 4 a.m. almost every morning. Then Ellen was called away to Philadelphia unexpectedly, and they needed a new caregiver for Pip. Ellen’s friend Stacey stepped up and quickly fell in love

with Pip and was determined to help her get home. After several months, Zoe finally arranged all the health certificates, paperwork, and flights to get Pip home. Pip needed to get to Los Angeles to catch a plane to New Zealand. She would then fly from Auckland to Melbourne, and then on to Sydney. A pet transport company called Jet Pets LA would see to it that she made all her flights once she arrived in Los Angeles. She couldn’t fly cargo across the United States because it was too hot, but the director of a dog rescue in North Carolina called Melissa Young, a volunteer who wanted to do something good during this pandemic, and she volunteered to fly with Pip to LA.

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Once Pip finally boarded her flight to New Zealand, the Eilbecks and Pip fans from all over the globe watched her flight on an app as she made her way around the world to Auckland. She overnighted in Auckland with the help of Jet Pets, and was on a plane to Melbourne the next day. Once in Melbourne, she started her 10-day quarantine. The plan was for Zoe’s brother, who lives in Melbourne, to put Pip on a plane to Sydney after her quarantine. And then things changed again. COVID cases in Melbourne started going up so the entire city was locked down and all flights were canceled. Zoe’s brother took care of Pip, and Zoe once again took to the phones to figure out the last leg of Pip’s journey. It was frustrating that after months of planning and 10,000 miles of travel, Pip was so close, but still out of reach. Then began a round of “book and cancel.” Zoe attempted to get Pip on a cargo flight. She would book the flight, then she’d find out it was canceled. That happened several times until a local paper found out

18 | | Fall 2020

about Pip’s plight and did a story about her. That story inspired Virgin Australia Airlines to contact the Eilbecks with the incredible news that they would see to it that Pip made it home safely. Escorted off the plane by a Virgin Australia flight attendant, Pip was finally handed off to her loving family after being apart from them for 136 days. The reunion was filled with smiles, tears, relief, and lots of joyous squeals from Pip. The Eilbeck’s devotion and commitment to their dear Pip is a beautiful example of how companion animals deserve to be treated—as members of the family. Zoe said it was heartening to be the recipients of so much concern and support from strangers all over the world. During a pandemic when everyone’s world was turned upside down, people stepped up and showed their humanity to help get one precious soul back into the arms of her loving family.

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ERIK WEIHENMAYER and his life with Guide Dogs

By Dina Eastwood Zena, the German Shepherd, is tender and affectionate. Uri, also a German Shepherd, is steady and awesome. Both are expert leaders. Their guardian, Erik Weihenmayer is “all of the above,” possessing these characteristics and more. Add to that list fearless, inspirational, and, oh yeah, blind. You may remember Weihenmayer from the cover of Time magazine when, in 2001 at the age of 33, he became the first blind mountaineer to summit Mount Everest. Soon thereafter, he joined an elite group of climbers—only a few hundred in the world—who’ve conquered all Seven Summits.

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“Through it all, this incredible human has relied on one thing: his guide dogs. If you want to map out a blind person’s life, their dogs represent the seasons of their life.” youngest person in Connecticut to get a guide dog, a German Shepherd named Wizard. Wizard was a staple in the school corridors, as well as on busses, trains, and planes when Weihenmayer travelled to events as a decorated high school wrestler. “My dog

Weihenmayer has kayaked the entirety of the Grand Canyon (277 miles) and written several best sellers. He plays guitar and travels the world as a keynote speaker. He is at the helm of the No Barriers nonprofit group and hosts a podcast. Through it all, this incredible human has relied heavily on one thing: his guide dogs. “If you want to map out a blind person’s life, look at their dogs. Their dogs represent the seasons of their life.” Weihenmayer, 53 in November, has had more “seasons” than most. As a toddler, he began going blind from a retinal condition. He lost all of his sight by the age of 14 and was reluctant to get a guide dog during high school, preferring to use a cane. After losing his mother to a tragic car accident, the “cando” teenager changed his mind. At 16, he became the 22 | | Fall 2020

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“When I think about my guide dog walking me through all these stressful situations in life, it’s incredible. Being someone’s guide dog is equated to having the highest intensity job on earth for a human. It’s hard work and, thank God, the dogs love it.”

24 | | Fall 2020

would sit at the corner of the wrestling room and be in the gym on the side of the mat while I wrestled. I qualified for the National Championships and we traveled to Iowa. I was in a match and forgot to tie up my dog. I was about to get pinned, and Wizard, sensing I was being attacked, ran out on the mat, nipping at my opponent’s heels,” he says with a chuckle, although he recalls the opposing coach not thinking it was funny. Wizard was at Erik’s side when he

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got his first fake ID in Times Square, and helped win over the ladies in college. “I called him the girl magnet. I’d walk into a bar. They know you’re not an ax murderer if you have a dog with you. I’d think the girls were petting the dog to get to me, but they were talking to me to get to the dog,” he recounts. Weihenmayer graduated from Boston College

He and his Shepherds share a psychological bond, a physical one, and an almost spiritual one, and he can't imagine life without them.

and became a school teacher in Arizona. During that time his next guide dog, Seigo, helped him court his wife, fellow teacher Ellen Reeve, whom he married in 1997. “When we were dating, Ellen

as quickly anymore. They can’t do long flights

would play with Seigo off duty. One time, I was

anymore because they can’t hold their bladders.” He

walking into a teachers’ meeting, and I was late.

loves them just the same.

Seigo would usually find an empty chair, but this time, he went and laid his head on Ellen’s lap. The

The Fidelco Guide Dog Foundation has trained all

other teachers had suspicions we were dating, but

of Weihenmayer’s dogs. It’s an organization that he

that solidified it!” So, as Seigo ushered in a new

cannot praise enough. “Fidelco has changed tons of

“season” for Weihenmayer, his next three dogs—

lives. It’s a crazy, beautiful thing. We take so many

Willa, Uri, and Zena, continued at his side for

things for granted in this world, but they [Fidelco]

each new joy and challenge. “They were with me when I took my classes. With me in my classrooms when I taught. As I started climbing, they walked, ran, hiked, and flew with me. The dogs have been to Europe with me several times. My dogs have been with me at Emma’s birth.” Emma is Weihenmayer’s 20-year-old “dog-fanatic” daughter who has rehabilitated around 100 fosters. She’s currently a vet tech and plans to be a veterinarian one day. He also has a son, Arjun, an 18-yearold recent high school senior. The Weihenmayer


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home also includes Zaidy, an adopted pup who had suffered abuse, and former guide dog Uri, who’s riding out the years as a retiree. Weihenmayer’s former working dogs become family pets because

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the bond is so strong he couldn’t fathom parting


with them. “At a certain point, they slow down.

They retire themselves. They can’t walk up stairs

26 | | Fall 2020

will give you a dog. They ask for a donation if you’re able to make one. But if you’re a blind person with a need, it’s yours for free.” Each dog costs upwards of $45,000 to train over a two-year time span. “It’s pretty awesome. You have to train behavior into the dog—for them to notice a tree branch that might be in front of your head. An empty chair, an escalator, a door, an elevator. A dog doesn’t have a natural fear of cars at first. Their brains can’t match the idea that this huge metal thing equals death. So, once we’re well into our training, I will say ‘forward’ and the trainer will move toward us in a van. I pull the dog

Two-year-old Zena took over Weihenmayer’s long strong leash in 2020. He says that as a German Shepherd, she is the perfect breed for this intense job (as most of his other dogs have been). “They


a new four-legged family member is christened.


back and say, ‘no, no’.” Eventually, it all sinks in, and

Fall 2020 | | 27

category | topic are highly intelligent. They love to work. Zena is

Weihenmayer notes that guide dogs hate making

literally shaking with excitement when she sees

mistakes, and says that on the rare occasions they do,

the leash, ready to work. If you are walking on a

it’s almost always because of human error. He and

path, and you turned left one time, the Shepherd

his Shepherds share a psychological bond, a physical

will turn their nose over there the next time. So,

one, and an almost spiritual one, and he can’t imagine

maybe I want to go straight today. But with their incredible mapping routes, they remember that I’d gone left. I can walk on autopilot. I did have one dog, Willa, who was kind of mischievous. I’d be in some deep topic in my head, not paying much attention to where I was heading—and end up in

life without them. “When I think about my guide dog walking me through all these stressful situations in life, it’s incredible. Being someone’s guide dog is equated to having the highest intensity job on earth for a human. It’s hard work and, thank God, the dogs love it.”

a park she wanted to visit.” (He adds that Willa,

To learn more about the Fidelco Guide Dog

who died relatively young of cancer, hated it when

Foundation or to make a donation, visit:

the family would leave the house, and they’d come

To learn more about Erik Weihenmayer and his No

she’d pulled from the hamper.)

Barriers nonprofit, visit:


home to a teepee of dirty socks and underwear

28 | | Fall 2020

Dina Eastwood is a longtime Peninsula resident who has worked in the media for more than 20 years. She has been an anchor at KSBWTV and featured on the TV shows “Candid Camera” and “Mrs. Eastwood and Company.” She is currently getting a master’s degree in creative writing at San Jose State University. Her Instagram handle is @dinaeastwood.

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BirchBark Foundation has continued to serve as a unique and critical thread in the safety net of our communities. Our ongoing work ensures: • precious lives are saved • vulnerable familes remain stable and connected • our veterinary partners are given choice and support In March, we created our Tree of Hope Campaign to address a 40% increase in medical funding, and loss of our ability to hold planned events. With the ongoing generosity of our supporters, our goal is within reach! We are proud to participate in MC Gives! again this year. With the help of these matching funds, we are confident we will continue to meet the growing need of our communities, and HOPE will always be protected.

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30 | | Fall 2020

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Fall 2020 | | 31


Andy Seliverstoff

little kids and Big Dogs By Scott Broecker


ndy Seliverstoff is a one-of-a-kind photographer who specializes in capturing the special relationship between kids and dogs. Knowing that with time and age kids can lose their natural spontaneity, the children in Andy’s photographs tend to be between the ages of two and five years old.

His only requirements of the children are that they must love their dog, pay no attention to the photographer, and to be natural. His main goal

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isn't just to create beautiful pictures but to

Andy has had a fondness for big dogs since

capture the interaction between the children

he was a child. When he was asked to

and the dogs. This unscripted play allows

photograph his good friend's two-year-old

Andy to photograph funny and unexpected

daughter, they showed up with their dog as

moments and bring truthful images to his

well, a gigantic Great Dane named Sean.


Blown away by the relationship between

What further separates Andy’s photography is that these children are paired up with the biggest of big dogs, including Russian Wolfhounds, Mastiffs, Saint Bernards, and his favorite breed, Great Danes. “Most of my

the dog and child, Andy included him in the photoshoot. He was so moved by the resulting photos and the ensuing social media comments, his Little Kids and their Big Dogs book project had begun.

model dogs are outstanding representatives

Although he has no formal art training, Andy

of their breeds, some are the winners of many

has always had a passion for art history

international dog shows”.

and feels that painting has had a certain

34 | | Fall 2020

influence over his photographic works. He

this dog have never met before, then several

notes that “All visual art is built on contrasts.

joint walks are arranged so they can get to

And this technique of dimensional contrast

know each other and form a bond. For Andy

is often used in my work. I do not know of

this is a must before such a photoshoot is

any other photographer who systematically


photographs babies with dogs several times larger in size and weight.”

Preferring outdoor settings and natural light,

Most of the children are photographed with

around his home of St. Petersburg, Russia,

their dogs. On the occasion when the guardian

the greenest of Russia's major cities, where

of the dog doesn’t have a child of the right age

Andy takes advantage of the area's over 200

to photograph with the dog model, the dog’s

parks and gardens.

guardian can invite a child from their friends or relatives to join them for filming. If the child and

most of Andy’s photoshoots take place in and

His photographs feature the dogs and

Fall 2020 | | 35

kids out exploring and discovering, and having simple fun together. Whether they are celebrating a crisp autumn day playing with falling leaves, running across fresh snow, striding alongside each other on the beach,

we often recognize in our dogs are, among other things, what makes us feel so close to them. And it is this aspect I try to express in my photography.”

dancing, bounding in the air, splashing, or

Each photoshoot lasts around 2 hours, which

high-fiving, or even if they are just hugging or

according to Andy is the absolute limit for both

gazing at one another, his photographs always

the child and dog.

have a whimsical, fairytale quality to them.

Often Andy needs to plan far ahead: “When

It is important to Andy to understand the

asked to take part with a 3-month-old baby.

personality of each child as well as each dog

In such cases…you have to ask them to wait

before a photo session begins. He notes that,

another 2-3 years for the baby to grow up a

"The personality and the character is unique


for every individual dog. The human aspects

36 | | Fall 2020

The personality and the character is unique for every individual dog. The human aspects we often recognize in our dogs are, among other things, what makes us feel so close to them. And it is this aspect I try to express in my photography.

With his own child already an adult, Andy has

Great Dane named Norman. Norman is an

already featured his 2-year-old grandson and

exceptional dog, who according to Andy has

namesake twice in his Big Dog photographic

grown up quite fast – and big, too. He now

project. Since little Andy’s dog is a Yorkie,

measures 101 centimeters, or almost 40

he was photographed once with a friend's

inches tall, five inches taller than the standard

larger breed of dog (an Azawakh) and again

for Great Danes, disqualifying him from

with Andy’s own three-year-old harlequin

participating in dog shows.

Fall 2020 | | 37

38 | | Fall 2020

Most of my model dogs are outstanding representatives of their breeds, some are the winners of many international dog shows.

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Andy says, “In the end, I hope the photos convey this important message: Love for dogs and children makes people kinder.”

Asked if he has a favorite photo, Andy

the record for the number of models for one

replies, “It is difficult to single out one


survey from hundreds. Each one is unique. But perhaps it is worth noting the one with the most numerous number of models. It was just recently. In the very center of the city, in a small park, a photoshoot took place with a 6-year-old girl and her FIVE flat-coated Retrievers. In my shooting it was

40 | | Fall 2020

Andy’s Little Kids and their Big Dogs project has been published in three volumes, all available on and other major e-retailers, as well as on the website They have been popular with both kids and adults.

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Having recently completed another book project, Andy excitedly pronounces, “In the next month, my publisher will publish the Little Kids Big Dogs encyclopedia, which takes a look at the familiar and some not-sofamiliar breeds in my photographs, and gives their history and background – very much a book for grown-ups.” Asked what his main inspiration is Andy replies, “To make people smile. In the end, I hope the photos convey this important message: Love for dogs and children makes people kinder.”

Fall 2020 | | 43


Helen Keller Dogs Her Love for and Life with

By Caryn St. Germain Helen Keller, with the help of her devoted teacher Annie Sullivan, is well known for overcoming the incredible challenges of being both deaf and blind. What many may not know is that her canine companions—at least fourteen of them—also played a significant role in Ms. Keller’s epic journey over the course of her lifetime. A remarkable child, Helen was an early learner. Tragically, she was struck down before turning two by what was believed to be scarlet fever or meningitis, causing the complete loss of her hearing and sight. Still, the young Helen was able to develop limited communication, learning more than 60 signs by the age of seven. However, the deep frustration of not being able to speak drove Helen into daily disruptive tantrums. “The need of some Fall 2020 | | 45

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means of communication became so urgent that these outbursts occurred daily, sometimes hourly,” Ms. Keller later wrote in her autobiography. Although she had loved dogs from the time that she was born, her devotion to them only deepened over time. According to Keller Johnson-Thompson, Helen Keller’s great-grandniece, with whom we had the pleasure of speaking to recently, dogs “calmed her tantrums and provided a source of comfort when she felt isolated from others,” forging a bond in that both dog and girl shared a primarily "energetic” mode of communication with other humans and each other. 46 | | Fall 2020

At the age of eight, Helen’s canine companion was the family dog, Jumbo. Although she could not see his chocolate coloring or alert brown eyes, she could feel the ruddy curl of his Chesapeake Bay Retriever coat, his strong chest and warmth as he leaned into her, and his firm, serious muzzle as he stood by her with a heightened sense of awareness. In her memoirs she described him as very strong and faithful. Though she could not see the toothy grins or the playful gestures of her happy canine companions, she nonetheless adeptly captured their essence when she wrote, “I love their affectionate ways and the eloquent wag of their tails.” Ms. Keller also wrote that if she suddenly had vision, “I should like to look into

always keep close beside me,” she wrote.

“I love their affectionate ways and the eloquent wag of their tails.”

As she made her way through her gardens later in life, several dogs could always be seen at her side. These included a Great Dane named Helga, a German Shepherd, Collies, a Scottie, and even a Dachshund named Sunshine. Our thanks to Keller Johnson-Thompson, who is the vice president of education at

the loyal, trusting eyes of my dogs . . .whose warm, tender, and playful friendships are so comforting to me.” In fact, Thompson says, "Anne Sullivan used the adoration and affection that she [Helen] felt in her heart about her dogs and how she took care of them to teach Ms. Keller what love meant.” One of Ms. Keller’s most famous dogs was a Boston Bull Terrier named Sir Thomas, more commonly known as “Phiz.” Phiz was given to Ms. Keller by her classmates at Radcliffe College, where he reportedly accompanied her to lectures and would wait patiently until class was over to return home with her. Although Helen had many dogs throughout her lifetime, she never used any of them as guide dogs, as many blind people do today. But Ms. Keller’s dogs were certainly her protectors. “My dog friends seem to understand my limitations, and


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the Helen Keller Foundation for Research and Education, based out of Hellen Keller’s birth home in Tuscumbia, Alabama. As such, Johnson-Thompson brings character education to about 150 schools a year in almost all of the 50 states, including Alaska. Her great-grandaunt’s lifelong relationships

48 | | Fall 2020

with dogs are a “big part of the program,” she says. Throughout her life, dogs brought Ms. Keller joy, companionship, and acceptance. Johnson-Thompson is keeping Helen Keller’s legacy alive through the character education program—a legacy of acceptance and treating others equally regardless of

Ms. Keller also wrote that if she suddenly had vision,

“I should like to look into the loyal, trusting eyes of my dogs . . .whose warm, tender, and playful friendships are so comforting to me.” their abilities, race, gender, skin color, or religion. Teaching compassion for all living things, as well as responsible pet care and ownership and the boundless love and devotion that one may receive in return, are also an important part of that curriculum and Helen Keller’s legacy.

Readers, I invite you to close your eyes, put in some ear plugs or grab some noise-canceling headphones. Hold your pet close. Hug him or her. Now “listen” with your whole heart and being. How much more can you feel your pet’s love and devotion? How much more can your pet feel yours? How much more at peace. . .

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When not at work, Dr. Rackear enjoys hiking, tending to her orchids, singing and playing guitar, and cuddling with her German Shepherd, Blitz. We are excited to welcome Dr. Debra Rackear to Pet Specialists of Monterey starting this October. She is available on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday for appointments and same day referrals. This will compliment Dr. Jonathan Fradkin’s Monday, Tuesday and Thursday schedule providing a robust 6 day a week Internal Medicine service.

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the Story of Finding


By Belinda Jones It takes a certain kind of person to sit out in the California wilderness at 4 a.m. in bleak weather and pitch blackness with nothing but a rotisserie chicken and old socks for company, hoping against hope that you won’t attract coyotes or mountain lions, just a terrified, traumatized Beagle only recently rescued from the dogmeat trade in China.

Fall 2020 | | 51

“Thankfully the owner had five rescue dogs of his own so he was sympathetic to my mission, even if it did feel a little surreal camping out in his garden!”

It’s an even more unusual person who can write about

Beagle paw prints in my book. We bonded over being

the book to your heart like a dear friend—but then

signing in a pet store in San Luis Obispo (where my

that experience and have you laughing and clutching there’s a reason why Teresa Rhyne is a #1 New York Times best-selling author! Even when detailing her own cancer battle as well as that of her beloved

Beagle Seamus in The Dog Lived (And So Will I), her wry, dry humor sets the tone.

I first met this striking 5’10” lawyer and animal

advocate six years ago at a bookshop event in La

dog-loving authors and went on to do a joint book dress was an exact match for the table cloth but I

got to borrow a Beagle for my lap so that made it all

better). Last year in Santa Barbara I was lucky enough to meet the pretty, petite, “lemon” Beagle at the

center of Teresa’s new memoir Poppy in the Wild: A

Lost Dog, Fifteen Hundred Acres of Wilderness, and the Dogged Determination that Brought Her Home.

Jolla, celebrating the release of her second memoir,

Poppy was snugged under the table by Teresa’s feet

line to meet Teresa and get Daphne and Percival’s

of the time jaw agape as Teresa recounted the heart-

The Dogs Were Rescued (And So Was I). I waited in

52 | | Fall 2020

during most of our vegan lunch, while I spent most

Teresa J. Rhyne with Poppy. Chris Kern with Percival (on left) and Roe (on right).

Going to Monterey? Bring the Dog!

stopping story of her then foster dog bolting from a potential adopter in a thunderstorm, and the surprising tactics it took to be reunited with her. Even being able to reach down and pet Poppy’s dainty head, I was on tenterhooks, and I felt that sense of suspense again as I read this remarkable book, brimful of often counterintuitive ways to find your lost dog. “As someone who has had dogs her whole life, and read about dogs and written about dogs and rescued, transported and fostered dogs, I thought I knew a fair amount about them. But it turns out I knew nothing about finding a lost dog,” she laughs. “First and foremost, you have to think from the dog’s point of view—of course I wanted to round up the troops and swoop in and save her, but in Poppy’s fragile state we would be perceived as predators stalking her, driving her deeper into hiding. We had to wait for her to come to us.” These insights came from dog-finding experts Mike Noon and Babs Fry, who guided Teresa through steps that would enable her—and myriad volunteers—to track Poppy’s pattern of movement from a series of sightings. One of their strategies was the solo stakeout with the chicken and old socks, designed to entice Poppy into a humane trap with alluring scents. Teresa even spent one night on the back lawn of a private house where Poppy had been spotted. “Thankfully the owner had five rescue dogs of his own

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“First and foremost, you have to think from the dog’s point of view—of course I wanted to round up the troops and swoop in and save her, but in Poppy’s fragile state we would be perceived as predators stalking her, driving her deeper into hiding. We had to wait for her to come to us.”

54 | | Fall 2020


so he was sympathetic to my mission, even if it did feel a little surreal camping out in his garden!” I wonder how she coped with all the days of intense worry, not to mention surviving on just two hours sleep a night. “I would let myself have a ten-minute breakdown and vent to [boyfriend] Chris, and then he would say, ‘And now we go out again?’ And the answer was always yes.” Teresa acknowledges how lucky she is to have such a supportive, goodhumored partner, who also offers some of the drollest lines in the book. “Chris sees all my flaws and chooses to overlook them, rather like I do with Beagles!” And it’s definitely Beagles plural. Poppy is Teresa’s ninth rescue, one of three in their Central Coast home, and is “one of the happiest dogs I ever met. I’m naturally more of a pessimist, but her ‘smeared lipstick’ smile pulls me her way!”



Everything is now rosy in Poppy’s world, but it must have been a tough decision for Teresa to relive such anxiety. I wonder at what point she knew she would put pen to paper.


“Well I remember saying over and over to Mike Noon, ‘You should write a book!’ He offered so much wisdom and the results were undeniable. Eventually he said, ‘Listen lady, I don’t write books, I find dogs.’ And then it dawned on me—I write books! I could help get this information out there!”

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Teresa has even put together a comprehensive appendix in the book. “Doggone Helpful Tips for when your Dog is Gone” makes this is an essential read for any dog guardian, because you never know when these tools and insights could help save a canine life. And while Teresa learned the hard, cold, sleep-deprived way, you can cuddle up with a pumpkin spice latte or Paso Robles cabernet as you venture in to the wild with Poppy. Poppy in The Wild is out now from Pegasus Books, price $25.95. For more information visit For more info about the Beagle Freedom Project, go to

Belinda Jones is a dog-besotted British magazine journalist and bestselling author of eleven romantic comedy novels and a feeelgood road trip memoir titled Bodie on the Road - Travels With My Rescue Pup in the Dogged Pursuit of Happiness (Skyhorse Publishing). Her Instagram handle is @bodieeontheroad Fall 2020 | | 55



By Christine McFall hen I was growing up,

I joined 4-H and got involved with Guide Dogs for the Blind as a puppy raiser. It was my job not only to care for the puppy, but to house-train her and train her in the basics of life. She had to learn her name and the simple obedience commands necessary for all dogs. It was boot camp for a puppy! 56 | | Fall 2020

The puppy would come to live with me as early as eight weeks of age and was returned to Guide Dogs for the Blind at about fifteen months old. During the puppy’s year with a puppy raiser, the puppy learns obedience, manners, and how to interact with people. The puppy also has to learn how to deal with things he or she might encounter as a guide dog. For example, I would take my puppies to grocery stores, teach them how to navigate stairs, and teach them to ignore cats and other animals. I would meet with other puppy raisers once a

week to work on obedience and socialization. All the puppies would have a grand time together.

the pups are grouped by age and you are sure to run into their litter mates and speak to their trainers.

Aside from our weekly meetings, we also had field days where the puppy raisers would demonstrate the results of their training. The puppies would have to navigate a challenging course, which might include a stairway, and meet a person in costume who would approach the puppy to gauge their reaction.

A great deal of credit for raising these dogs should also be given to 4-H mothers, who would care for the puppies during the daytime hours when their student puppy raisers were in school.

Also, of course, as a raiser I had to comfort the puppy if she got scared and give her plenty of love.

It used to be that puppy raisers had to be under 18, which was the age limit for 4-H members. However, that is no longer true. Now there are also adult puppy raisers.

The hardest thing of all, however, was returning the puppy to Guide Dogs for the Blind, and this never got any easier. I did it five times, and it was as hard the last time as the first. I cried for a week!

Guide Dogs for the Blind, located in San Rafael, California, empowers lives by creating exceptional partnerships between people, dogs, and communities. For more information visit

However, one of the best things about being a puppy raiser occurs about six months after the dog is returned to Guide Dogs for the Blind, where they receive their rigorous training for their job as a guide dog. If the puppy graduates successfully and is placed with a blind person, I would receive a letter inviting me to come and present the dog to the new guardian. Not all dogs made it, but for those who did, I was given the chance to meet the blind person who would benefit from all the months of training. It is inevitable that some dogs will fail the final sixmonth training period. Some fail for health reasons. Others are frightened by loud noises. And some never get used to riding in cars. Out of the five puppies I raised, I had the privilege to present two of them to their new person. I also had the privilege to be present when they were later brought back to Guide Dogs as part of a selective breeding program. One fun aspect of raising these dogs is that all the pups in each litter have names that start with the same letter of the alphabet. One of my puppies was a German Shepherd named Erica, and her sisters were Edith and Edna. That makes it fun on field days, when

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