Coastal Canine Spring 2022

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“I’m not a dog-owner, to my dogs, I’m their mother” ~ Jennifer Wagner


appy Spring! We have some uplifting canine stories to take your minds off some of the challenges going on in the world right now. We hope these stories bring a smile to your face and remind you of the goodness of so many people and animals on the planet.

We start with the incredible story of Ruby. From shelter dog to hero dog to the subject of a Netflix movie—this pup deserves all the attention and adulation she’s receiving. Beloved musician Belinda Carlisle is the co-founder of the Animal People Alliance which is helping street dogs and at-risk people in India and Thailand. Find out about Belinda’s passion for dogs and how that led to her important work improving and saving their lives. The story of Shams and Ouka will make your heart soar just like they soar together in the French Alps. If ever there was a story of a man who needed a dog and a dog who needed a man, this is it. A match made in heaven! Continuing the adventure—Belinda Jones writes about legendary open-water swimmer Lynne Cox and the Italian water-rescue dogs and Morgan Eastwood’s article takes us to Abu Dhabi to visit Akira, a Shibu Ino who just might be the smartest dog in the world.


Copy Editor/Writer CINDIE FARLEY Marketing Executive MICHELLE HAYES

Please direct letters to the editor to: carie@ 831-601-4253 Please direct advertising inquiries to: michelle@ 831-539-4469 Subscriptions are $40 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

Along the way enjoy the images of our featured artist, local Capitola photographer Eva Sacher and learn more about her.

Coastal Canine Issue #54, Spring 2022. Published quarterly (four issues per year). Copyright © 2022 Coastal Canine. All rights reserved.

Our hearts go out to all the Ukrainian people suffering through this terrible war. And we send a special shout out to all those brave people rescuing and looking after the animals caught in the war zone.

Coastal Canine is dedicated to the memory of Sunshine Broecker.

Woofs! Scott and Carie 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.

Spring 2022 | | 7

cc | contents


Ruby: An Uncut Gem Ruby was a handful. She was


Saved by Ruby Ruby’s story continues—from


Belinda Carlisle: Saving India's Street Dogs


Shams & Ouka 2 Spirits on the Rise. Read how


The Dog Photography of Eva Sacher Eva is


Lynne Cox and the Italian Water-Rescue Dogs Writer Belinda Jones interviewed legendary open-


surrendered to the Rhode Island SPCA as a young puppy. Read about her nick-of-time rescue.

“unadoptable” shelter dog to a true hero. Read about Ruby’s amazing work with the Rhode Island State Police.


Belinda’s love of dogs led her to help found an organization with a unique model for helping tens of thousands of street dogs.

after finding each other, the spirits of two disheartened souls are forever raised to new heights while paragliding in the French Alps.

a talented photographer from Capitola, California, who specializes in dog photography. Her background in graphic design adds an aesthetic sensibility to both her studio and outdoor portraits. Learn more about her and have a look at some of her beautiful work.



water swimmer and New York Times best-selling author Lynne Cox about her new book Tales of Al. Her book combines two subjects near and dear to Lynne’s heart—dogs and swimming.

Akira: A Flash of Genius In her debut article for Coastal Canine, Morgan Eastwood writes about a very intelligent Shiba Inu living in Abu Dhabi. Morgan was able to experience Akira’s talents firsthand during an early-morning Zoom call with his guardian Monica.


On the Cover: Ouka found his dream family after two attempts with families that just weren’t active enough for his adventurous spirit. Read about the adventures of Ouka and his best friend and constant companion Shams on page 32.

8 | | Spring 2022


C OA S TA L CA N I N E M AGA Z I N E A D D I R E C T O R Y AGILITY California Canine.......................... 54 From the Heart............................. 61

ART Catherine Sullivan........................ 42

BOARDING Dawg Gone It............................... 17


Paws at Play................................ 61

DOG WALKING Paws and Prints............................. 4


Carmel Dog Shop......................... 64 Earthwise Pet............................... 60 Pet Pals.......................................... 2 The Raw Connection...................... 3

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


Peace of Mind Dog

A Herman Dog Therapist.............. 25 Animal Cancer Center................... 31

Dogs are People Too.................... 44

Cottage Veterinary Care............... 19

Loving Edie.................................. 59

Dentistry For Animals.................. 42


Monterey Peninsula Veterinary

Golden Pet Life............................... 5

Natural Veterinary Therapy........... 57


Ophthalmology for Animals......... 43

Dawg Gone It .............................. 17

Cypress Inn.................................. 23

FOWAS......................................... 60

Animal Hospital of Salinas........... 61



Suds ‘N Scissors.......................... 18

Cats are People Too..................... 44

Uricide......................................... 58


Emergency & Specialty Clinic .30

Pacific Grove Animal Hospital........ 6 Steinbeck Country Small Animal .18

Max’s Helping Paw....................... 60 Rescue..............................43, 62

PHOTOGRAPHY Eva Sacher................................... 42 Paws and Prints............................. 4


TRAINING California Canine.......................... 54 Del Monte Kennel Club................. 62 Divine K9...................................... 62 From The Heart Animal Behavior Counseling and Training.......... 61 Monterey Bay Dog Training Club.. 62 Pam Jackson................................ 62


Keller Williams, Rachelle Razzeca................................... 43 Keller Williams, Eddie Williams.................................. 57

Toro Park Animal Hospital............ 63


Veterinary Eye Care........................ 4

Abalontti....................................... 61

Monterey Bay Whale Watch......... 18


contact us at michelle@ or call (831) 539-4469


GOLDEN PET LIFE Growing up, Mark Schmitt was surrounded by dogs. His mom is a retired professional dog handler who has shown dogs for years. He got his first dog, a Ridgeback named Tabora, when he was eight and would refuse to go on timeout unless she was with him. His first job, as a preteen, was at a self-service dog wash. Mark’s wife, Nicole, didn’t have dogs in her life but grew up loving all animals. Both native Californians, the Aptos couple have been together since 2009. After working in various sales and automotive positions, Mark decided to step back in 2018 and consider a path that would be more meaningful and allow him to be of help to animals in some way. He remembered the various medications prescribed to

owners to help calm the dogs his mom had worked with. That inspired him to pursue building his own business, one that would provide healthier natural alternatives for dogs and other animals who were in pain or distress and contribute to their overall wellness.

And Nicole finally has a dog! A Beagle named Duchess, who knows she’s really a princess.

After researching CBD for animals, Mark and Nicole knew that it was the right direction for them, and in 2020 (right before the pandemic hit) they launched Golden Pet Life, “nuts and bolts” from their garage. They carefully sourced high-quality, lab-tested organic products to ensure that their own brand of oils and treats were from the purest hemp grown in the United States, non-GMO, and 100 percent natural. The business is still young but has already collaborated with a French Bull Dog rescue and is donating some sales proceeds periodically to the Search Dog Foundation. Helping to improve the quality of life for animals is what’s important to Mark and Nicole.

Golden Pet Life Mark and Nicole Schmitt

Spring 2022 | | 9


cc | community board

NEXT ISSUE: LANDMARK PHOTOS Planning on taking a road trip with your dogs this summer? Send us photos of your dogs posed by a landmark that shows where you are. Email photo (at least 800 x 800 pixels) to or text the photo with the words “community board” to 831-601-4253. Submission deadline is July 12, 2022. 12 | | Spring 2022


rescue me | ruby

By Carie Broecker In 2011, Ruby was surrendered to the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RISPCA) when she was just five months old. She looked like an Australian Shepherd/ Border Collie mix. Those are two breeds known for their intelligence, high energy, and need for a “job.”

14 | | Spring 2022

rescue me | ruby

What happens next for Ruby is the stuff of fairy tales—or in this day and age, a Netflix movie. Ruby did become a celebrated search and rescue dog. And her story truly came full circle, which is where the miracle comes in.

We don’t know where Ruby’s original guardians obtained her. A backyard breeder? A friend whose dog had puppies? Regardless of her origins, Ruby was destined for an extraordinary life and even 15 minutes (or more) of fame.

Pat helped her overcome her guarding of the food bowl, which is actually relatively easy to do. And Ruby went up for adoption. And was returned. Then up for adoption again. Returned again. And again and again.

Ruby was relinquished to the shelter for guarding her food bowl. She had nipped someone in the home when they reached for her bowl while eating. She was also described as a “pain in the neck.”

Ruby’s energy level was too high for the typical family. She was nonstop. She counter surfed. She bit her leash and played tug games instead of going for a walk. Her constant motion, rebellious nature, and propensity to get into whatever she set her mind to was counterproductive in every home she was in.

Patricia Inman, a professional dog trainer, had been volunteering at the shelter for over a year. She worked with the dogs a few times a week to make them more adoptable and to help stimulate their minds to help overcome the stresses of shelter life. When Pat met Ruby, she gathered that this dog was full of herself. She was strong-willed, extremely intelligent, high energy, and she needed a relationship with a person who could harness her energy and intelligence and give her structure and set limits. This dog had a ton of potential.

Ruby was at the shelter almost four months and she was no longer a puppy. She grew up at the shelter and was now an adolescent at nine months old. When the shelter director made the announcement that Ruby would be euthanized, Pat was distraught. The RISPCA had a low euthanasia rate. The small shelter was able to adopt out most of the dogs who came through their doors, but the director just didn’t think Ruby would ever find a family who could give her what she needed. Spring 2022 | | 15

rescue me | ruby

Meet a Newfoundland puppy who is as irresistible as she is elite

From decorated open-water swimmer and the best-selling author of Swimming to Antarctica and Grayson, Lynne Cox: The true story of two super athletes—one canine, one human— training together to realize their full potential

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Ruby: An Uncut Gem continued Pat advocated for her, as she had before, again and again. Pat truly believed Ruby would make a great working dog. Pat talked with RISPCA investigator Joseph Wazrycha, and he agreed.

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Wazrycha reached out to Matthew Zarrella, the head of the Rhode Island State Police K9 Unit, and let him know about Ruby. Zarrella happened to be looking for a K9 partner for Corporal Daniel O’Neil, their newest addition to the search and rescue team.


Zarrella met Ruby at the shelter, and she was accepted into the program. He took her home for the night and handed her over to Corporal O’Neil the next day. What happens next for Ruby is the stuff of fairy tales—or in this day and age, a Netflix movie. Ruby did become a celebrated search and rescue dog. And her story truly came full circle, which is where the miracle comes in. Read Ruby’s Dog of the Day story on page 20 for the full scoop.

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Spring 2022 | | 17





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Spring 2022 | | 19

dog of the day | ruby

20 | | Spring 2022

category | topic

By Carie Broecker Give a dog a second chance. They can truly change the world. All they need is love. ~Corporal Daniel O’Neil, Rhode Island State Police

How does a do-gooder from Rhode Island and a high-energy shelter dog who had been returned by multiple adopters end up as the heroes in a Netflix movie? As a child, Daniel O’Neil knew he wanted to do something to help people when he grew up. He has been with the Rhode Island State Police (RISP) since 2004.


O’Neil’s desire to be of service to people is coupled with his love of dogs. His parents were passionate about animal rescue and passed that mindset on to him. In 2004, O’Neil saw a presentation given by Matthew Zarrella, who was in charge of building the K9 Unit at the Rhode Island State Police. Zarrella’s presentation lit a fire in O’Neil. He became solely focused on becoming a K9 handler. It was the best of both worlds – helping people and being with a dog 24/7.

O’Neil applied for the K9 program, and it wasn’t until four years later that he was finally accepted. Although he had been mainly focused on getting a patrol dog, during the interview process in 2011 he was asked if he would consider a search and rescue dog, and he said “Yes, I’ll take any dog!” Two months later O’Neil was in New Hampshire on vacation when he answered a call from his sergeant. “I’ve got your dog. Her name is Ruby. Can you pick her up right away? We have to get her out of the shelter or she’ll be euthanized.” Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RISPCA) volunteer Pat Inman, a dog trainer, had been working

Spring 2022 | | 21

dog of the day | ruby

with Ruby for four months trying to make her more adoptable. She was almost nine months old now

and had been returned five times. Pat kept working with her each time she came back to try to curb her undesirable behaviors. It became apparent

Ruby was not cut out to be a family dog. She was a working dog. Inman and RISPCA investigator

Joseph Wazrycha were instrumental in advocating

for Ruby and getting her accepted into the RISP K9 program. Her life had been spared.

starts Monday,” Zarrella said with a grin. O’Neil put Ruby in his truck. On the ride home she was jumping all over the cab and was nipping at him. This was going to be a challenge. The training process for search and rescue included 500 hours of training, Monday through Friday. The other dogs in the training class had been purchased and raised and trained from birth. Ruby was rough around the edges to say

Arrangements were made for Zarrella to pick her up

the least. O’Neil and Ruby had to double up on


arrived early and stayed late just to master basic

and keep her for one night and then hand her off to O’Neil and Zarrella met at the training center for

training efforts just to keep up with the class. They obedience.

the handoff. When O’Neil first met Ruby, he noticed

Over the next year Ruby excelled and ended up

at all. She was jumping, pulling in all directions,

locating subjects in the woods and cadaver training

on her back was standing straight up. “Training

buried under the ground.

right away that this puppy didn’t seem to be trained

graduating at the top of her class. She trained in

biting, barking at everything she saw, and the hair

to find bodies under water, above the surface, and

22 | | Spring 2022

dog of the day | ruby Two weeks after graduating, Ruby made her first

find. It was a somber find, but a success none the less. She located the body of a young boy whose boat had capsized. He had been missing for four days. The relief and closure that it brought to the family cannot be overstated.

Other notable successes throughout Ruby’s career include tracking an elderly man through the woods who was stuck up to his shoulders in mud. She

also helped put away a murderer for life when she

found the body of his victim buried eight feet down under a deck. Her find forced a confession and conviction.

gotten tired of the search, caught the scent of a

But it was in 2018, that Ruby made a remarkable

deer, and was off on a chase.

find in an incredible twist of fate. O’Neil got a call that a 17-year-old boy had been missing for 36

hours. It was over 90 degrees that day. O’Neil and

Ruby and one other K9 team searched all morning covering 400 acres. They were exhausted and feeling defeated.

She ran down a steep hill, ignoring his calls. He could see the white puff at the end of her tail in the distance. She was hot on the trail of something. He saw her take a quick right and then travel further down a ravine. Then she sat and looked up and caught O’Neil’s eye. And that is when he saw a

They identified two more areas to search. O’Neil

pair of boots. He made his way down to what he

the other way. Coming up on the sixth hour of

orifices filled with blood. He felt the boy’s neck.

started sniffing the air. Her nose was high. She

licking his face cleaning every orifice, and he took

and Ruby went one way; the other team went

feared was a deceased body. The face was bloody,

searching, Ruby’s tail suddenly went up. She

There was a pulse! He was alive. Ruby started

bolted away from O’Neil. His fear was that she had

in a gasp of air and started to come to.

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Spring 2022 | | 23

dog of the day | ruby

O’Neil radioed into command, but they were so far down the ravine the connection was spotty.

been found. Ruby stayed in the cruiser while O’Neil and the commander went to the door.

He tried giving their coordinates, but it was just static to the other end. “Speak Ruby, speak!” O’Neil gave Ruby the command for her to start barking. She barked until the rest of the search party found them and sent down a backboard to bring the victim up.

“We found your son. He has several lacerations, but he’s going to be all right.” The family cried tears of relief, but then asked something unexpected.

The Glocester detective gave O’Neil and Ruby a ride back to their cruiser and asked if he wanted to go with him to notify the family that their son had

“Do you know a dog named Ruby? I worked with her at the shelter and was told she was adopted by someone with the Rhode Island State Police.”

24 | | Spring 2022

“Did you use a search and rescue dog?” “Well yes, I used my dog.”

category | topic “Ma’am, Ruby is the one who found your son! Would you like to see her?” O’Neil led Pat Inman, the shelter volunteer who had advocated for Ruby’s life to be spared, to his cruiser and opened the door. Ruby ran and licked her face and squealed with delight to see her old friend. We never know what the results of our kind actions and advocacy will be. Do good, be good, love animals—and miracles can happen.


PLANNING TO RETIRE Thank you to all my clients. With gratitude for all of the wonderful 2- and 4- leggeds who have crossed my path.

All new clients will be remote (phone) meetings. Office time very limited as I prepare to close. 831-624-8000

Spring 2022 | | 25

Belinda Carlisle:

Saving India's Street Dogs

t might be as simple as removing an object— usually, a bone—that is lodged in a dog’s mouth, or as difficult as setting a compound fracture. Maybe it’s feeding puppies when a mama dog can’t nurse or treating an intense tick or maggot infestation. It doesn’t matter what is wrong with a street dog in Mumbai, India—the non-profit Animal People Alliance (APA) will try to fix it. And halfway around the world, superstar singer and APA co-founder Belinda Carlisle will be filled with gratitude. Carlisle is a dog lover who says it was a toss-up between being a veterinarian or a singer when she was growing up. Obviously, singing won, and millions of fans are grateful. Belinda is a founding member of the allfemale pop/rock group The Go-Go’s, who were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2021. But she has never been without a canine companion. “I have always been a dog person. I always had dogs growing up. We got our first pugs 33 years ago. We’ve had so many through the years.” Belinda’s adoration of dogs and her devotion to India collided in 2005 when she was inspired by an NGO (non-governmental association) in that wild and wonderful country. “I have been going to India for years. You see street dogs, cows, everything living on the street. India is pretty hardcore. I never thought about doing anything until I went to visit the first animal hospital and sanctuary in Udaipur

26 | | Spring 2022



By Dina Ruiz

The group also works alongside a fairy-like, super-volunteer named Sumoti who, at age 80, has fed street dogs for almost 60-years. “We have winged it as we’ve gone along, and now we’ve treated 20,000 animals,” Carlisle says with pride. started by two of my dear friends. I wanted to go see what they were doing…I wanted to be them when I grew up!” Busy touring with The Go-Go’s, focusing on her solo career, raising her son Duke (who was then a teenager,) and being heavily involved in other non-profit work made it so creating her own organization stewed on the back burner for years. (In fact, she toyed with the idea of opening a donkey sanctuary.) “I sat on it for about eight or nine years. I have a lot of friends in Kolkata who run NGOs. My partner (Paul Suit) in Animal People Alliance was working in Kolkata. I was living in Bangkok. He and other friends would come to stay with me to get a break from the hard work they were doing. Paul wanted to do an animal project in Kolkata because of the lack of animal welfare groups there. It was

2006. I called him after he left. I just said, ‘I’ll do it.’ We had no idea!” she says with a laugh. Intense bureaucracy, cultural differences, and the sheer amount of need were daunting during

Spring 2022 | | 27

those first years. Carlisle and crew had a

not micromanage them. What’s great is there’s

helping the animals, so they tried different

themselves.” The group also works alongside a

mission to also help the people who were

models in doing so. They employed victims

of human trafficking, and at-risk young men. Along the way, they also opened a shelter.

“When we had a shelter, they (the dogs) were taken out of their environment and what

they know and love. We decided to be an

organization that treats the dogs but allows

no ‘white savior’ thing. We want the team to do it fairy-like, super-volunteer named Sumoti who, at age 80, has fed street dogs for almost 60-years.

“We have winged it as we’ve gone along, and now we’ve treated 20,000 animals,” Carlisle says with pride. APA has recently made strides with the addition of an ambulance—just for the pups.

them to stay in their own environment. We

The work of the APA is saving lives in Northern

it’s the way to be most effective.” Carlisle

successful five years in that region, and the group

of restaurant owners who give them scraps.

neuter events. We go work with the hill tribes. We

but now I love it—they love living on the

with the monks. We try not to interrupt the culture

hadn’t seen that before. We thought, for us,

Thailand, as well. Carlisle says it’s been a very

says many street dogs live off the generosity

does run a shelter there. “We have giant spay and

“I used to look at them and say “It’s so sad,”

talk to them about how to treat animals. We work


too much. It’s a lot more gentle in Thailand. In India,

The APA staff is now settled, finely tuned,


and making a real mark on a metropolis

there’s more abuse and cruelty, Thailand not so

where government sources estimate there

Both APA groups survive off donations and grants.

people on the team, including a vet. We do

all non-profits—it’s Belinda and her charismatic

are 250,000 street dogs. “We have six

28 | | Spring 2022

When money is tight—a common problem for

category | topic where they served him filet mignon! Sometimes, still, I go Oh My God, I miss him so much!” Pierre’s mom says when life slows down, after her solo tour that will roll through California in the Fall, she’ll think about how to accomplish her next dream: Animal People Alliance, Mexico. And that donkey sanctuary.

star power to the rescue. "We have regular

fundraisers, including annual ones in London and Los Angeles. At the last one in L.A., we raised $93,000. If we run low on money, we will do meet-and-greets. We had a raffle

where you got to sing a duet with me at the

end of the night. We get really creative about how we raised our money.”

Fresh off a major tour with the Go-Go’s,

Belinda Carlisle is catching her breath in her new hometown of Mexico City, where she dreams of opening the newest branch of

APA. As she takes her daily morning walks in

nature, she reflects on how far APA has come. And there’s always time to reminisce about

her own pups. “You know how there’s always that ‘one dog?’ Mine was Pierre. Pierre was

my shadow and soulmate. He’d literally wait by the door for me for weeks while I was on tour. He was going to be used as bait in a Pit Bull fight. I got a call from a rescue saying, ‘We

have a one-eyed pug for you!’ He went from

the back of a truck to first-class on Air France,

Dina Ruiz is a longtime Peninsula resident who has worked in the media for more than 20 years. She has been an anchor at KSBW-TV 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 @dinaruiz.

Spring 2022 | | 29



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32 | | Spring 2022


The man: His name is Shams and he lives in the French Alps. He is an athlete and adventurer with an incredible desire to see the world. In 2018 he started a trans-global trek in his van. When he reached India in 2020, Covid 19 forced him to leave under emergency conditions. He had to leave his van there and fly back to Europe. While in Europe he began a relationship that ended in a painful breakup. “At the beginning of 2021, I started a deep depression,” he explained. “My heart was broken. I decided to go back to India to pick up my van but the motivation to travel was not there anymore.” It took Shams five months to get his van shipped back to Europe. All this time he was emotionally declining, ending in a depression so severe he found it hard to wake up. But many people were still following Shams and his amazing trip. He was not alone. “I would receive messages from Instagram friends,” he explained, “from people I didn’t really know, but they were following me. At the end of May, I received a message from some people who lived in a van with a dog. I had been thinking that maybe it was a good time to have a companion . . . a friend.”

The dog: His name is Ouka (pronounced OW ka). Ouka is a purebred Samoyed who comes from a long line of dogs from northern Siberia. Samoyeds have thick, white, double-layer coats and were originally bred to pull sleds and herd reindeer. When Ouka was a pup, he was a rambunctious ball of beautiful white fur just waiting to be loved by the right humans.

Spring 2022 | | 33

Unfortunately, Ouka’s puppyhood and youngster years were more challenging than his first and second families could handle. They were unable to give him enough training, exercise, outdoor time, and freedom to run. His spirits were low. Why wasn’t there someone who could understand him? Play chase? Run through meadows? Hike the hills with him?

The man and the dog: “I always said that if someday I had a dog, it would be a Samoyed. And then I saw those online people with the dog. They said they would help me find one. I wasn’t ready, I was going back to France the next day and thinking about selling the van in the fall or winter. But I knew it would take a long time to find a Samoyed—they’re pretty rare, so I said Ok.”

34 | | Spring 2022

At the end of May, I received a message from some people who lived in a van with a dog. I had been thinking that maybe it was a good time to have a companion . . . a friend.”

Just one hour later, Shams’ phone buzzed. It was the people he had just talked to. They showed him a picture of Ouka. “We found a Samoyed for you!” Not believing it was true, Shams responded, “What? Really?” Worried, he sent a message explaining his situation to the man who had the dog. “I was afraid he would think I was this hippy kind of guy, but instead, he said I was just the person Ouka needed: someone who could give him a lot of outdoor time and plenty of exercise. So I told him yes, no problem, I would go and visit Ouka in a couple of weeks when I got back to Europe.” When Shams met Ouka, he was overjoyed. They spent the whole day together, but Shams was confused. “Ok, what’s the trick?” he asked. “He’s super nice. Why didn’t the families want him?” The man explained that they were not a match; Ouka needed someone like Shams.

Spring 2022 | | 35

36 | | Spring 2022

“We fly in the French Alps. Where Ouka and I go there is an official place to take off and land. The highest altitude we have gone was 2,800 meters. We’ve gone about ten flights.

Shams slept on it just one night. It was the middle of June and he needed to get his van back from Belgium. Could they hold Ouka for him? No problem—Ouka would wait for him. In July, Shams and Ouka became a team.

Spirits on the Rise: “I think Ouka needed me as much as I needed him. He was not happy. I was not either. But when I got Ouka, I had to wake up and take him outside and then he would want to go for a hike, and then . . . ” And then, Shams began paragliding again. He was an avid pilot and after adopting Ouka, he got back in the harness. At some point, Ouka “told” his master he wanted to fly with him. I asked Shams how he knew Ouka wanted to go. “He cannot say if he wants to go by speaking, but he is very expressive. It is very obvious what he wants. When I say Décollage (it means take-off), he runs and gets between my legs, and it means he wants to go. I knew it was possible to fly with a dog; many pilots have flown with dogs before. But you have to check to see if the dog is ok with it. Or if he acts scared. But Ouka never showed any sign of fear. A French friend of mine made harnesses for dogs for this. I tested them on Ouka . . . he was super relaxed and let me put them on.”

Spring 2022 | | 37

Shams explained that to fly with a dog, “You have to be a very good pilot first of all. If you’re not able to do it on your own, you shouldn’t try it with the dog. Then see if the dog is going to like it. If he is afraid of heights or acts like he doesn’t want to go, he shouldn’t do it.” As far as teaching the dog how to fly? He laughs and says, “It’s easier with a dog than people because people don’t listen to you.” I asked where and how high they fly and to describe the experience. “We fly in the French Alps. Where Ouka and I go, there is an official place to take off and land. The highest altitude we have gone was 2,800 meters. We’ve gone on about ten flights. Ouka always loves to watch what’s happening no matter where we are. That’s what happens when we’re in the air. I see that he’s just looking

38 | | Spring 2022

Spring 2022 | | 39

“I'm super happy to share our story. I had been more of a cat person. I didn't know that a dog can create such a bond. I was surprised.”

40 | | Spring 2022

© Isabelle Groc

around and I think that he is just enjoying the moment. He is very calm. In the air there is no noise, it’s not moving that much, nothing stressful. Ouka is totally relaxed.”

And the landing? “When we land, the impact is approximately the same as when he is jumping from the car. I am absorbing the impact so we are like landing at the same time. And after the landing he just runs around me, he is so happy. After we fly, one of our favorite times is at sunset and we just sit on the ground and we look around.” Can you picture them? A man and his dog at sunset, the French Alps their backdrop, the skies they’ve just flown through fading into night? It’s a beautiful picture and it’s a beautiful story. Shams had told me earlier, “I’m super happy to share our story. I had been more of a cat person. I didn’t know that a dog can create such a bond. I was surprised. We keep each other emotionally happy and physically fit as well.” Their spirits are definitely on the rise. And my favorite quote from Shams: “It’s just about having fun with your dog!” @ouka.sam

Spring 2022 | | 41

Peace of Mind Dog Rescue is a resource and advocate for senior dogs and senior people on California’s Central Coast.

& acrylic artist all my proceeds donated to

catherinesullivan watercolor


order greeting cards, 100’s of products thru:

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Book a photo session for your dog!

42 | | Spring 2022

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“Insightful, funny, beautifully drawn cartoons about man's best friend, our wonderful dogs. Dave's book is a real joy.” ~ Patrick McDonnel MUTTS cartoonist

44 | | Spring 2022

DORIS DAY’S 100TH BIRTHDAY April 3, 2022, marked what would have been Doris Day’s 100th birthday. As tradition her Carmel birthday celebration was a fundraiser for animals. The legendary actress/singer and animal advocate was a long-time Carmel resident.

This year’s event, held at De Tierra Vineyards, featured an appearance by former Lassie star Jon Provost (aka Timmy). Jon and his wife, writer Laurie Jacobson, along with their rescued Poodle mix Nino took in the afternoon on the patio graciously speaking with fans. Jon signed autographs and posed for photos with humans as well as some of the Collies on hand, many of whom were from NorCal Collie Rescue. Proceeds from the event will benefit The Doris Day Animal Foundation, a charity that supports animal welfare programs nationwide. In addition to the live event, DDAF is asking animal lovers everywhere to donate and celebrate Doris’s legacy. The Foundation currently needs support more than ever as they partner in assisting families and animals who have endured horrific conditions or lost homes during the ongoing Ukrainian invasion crisis. DDAF hopes to raise $100,000 through the #DorisDay100 Challenge and will match public donations up to this $100,000 goal. DDAF's match will specifically assist families with animals affected by Russia's invasion of Ukraine. To help families and animals, please consider making a donation in honor of Doris. Spring 2022 | | 45

46 | | Spring 2022

apitola dog photographer Eva Sacher traces

means being surrounded by dogs all the time.” One

her love for animals back to her childhood

of Eva’s many projects started while living in the City

in Germany. She fondly recalls, “I grew up

is called “dogs on a box. ” “I came up with the idea

on a farm in a small village with all kinds

to photograph dogs at some of my favorite places in

of animals. Since I can remember, there were always

San Francisco. And because every dog is a star, I let

dogs in my life.” With names like Sascha, Leila,

them pose on a special wooden box.” With the help of

Gorki, Carlos, and Pepe, Eva considered her dogs—

some kind words and dog treats, she photographed

and all animals—her best friends.

an assortment of dogs on their own personal stage at

Eva got her art education at the Academy of Art & Design in the city of Kiel and graduated after

and Crissy Field with a Golden Gate Bridge backdrop.

completing the five-year program with a degree in

In 2019 when Covid hit, things got difficult with so

Graphic Design and Typography. While attending

many people hiding in lockdown. That’s when Eva and

the University, Eva also developed her love for

her husband decided to make the move to Capitola.

photography. “I started photo classes with Professor

Eva calls it the best decision ever. “We love it here! The

Dirk Reinartz. He was such a kind person, very

people and dogs are super easygoing and welcoming.

respected, and a great teacher. He always challenged

We live in a small beach house and I have a garage that

us. His credo was ‘It’s not all about a nice photo but

I can use as a studio for my shootings.”

about the story behind.’ Back then I spent a lot of nights in the darkroom.” PH O T O S B Y E VA SA C H ER

locations that included Alamo Square, Stern Grove,

Inside her studio, Eva keeps her setup simple, she says. “When you are photographing pets, you have to be

After moving to San Francisco in 2014 with her

very flexible and often have to switch positions. The

husband, Eva followed her passion and dream

furry models are moving a lot and change poses in a

and started her photography business. And it's no

heartbeat.” Making use of her graphic design skills

wonder why Eva chose dogs to be her main subject.

Eva loves to create atmosphere through lighting, color,

“The dogs inspire me, and being a dog photographer

and using different backgrounds. The studio setup she

Spring 2022 | | 47

cc | eva sacher

My goal is that the photo sessions are fun and creative for the dogs and the people. If the dog is relaxed, it’s easy to capture their essence and personality.” uses is also portable, giving her clients the option of using their homes for the photoshoot. For outdoor sessions, she will photograph the dogs at their favorite park, beach, or trail. For the past four years, Eva has hosted a Halloween photoshoot for costumed dogs. Last year her circusthemed photo session was a big hit with many of her neighborhood dogs and their parents showing up to join the fun. Making sure that each of her subjects feels comfortable, Eva lets the dogs sniff around

the studio while she talks to and gets to know the owner. She says, “When the dog settles down and watches us, I know they are ready.” Photo sessions generally last 30 to 45 minutes, and Eva notes that beyond that most dogs will become exhausted and lose focus. “My goal is that the photo sessions are fun and creative for the dogs and the people. If the dog is relaxed, it’s easy to capture their essence and personality.” Preparing for each photoshoot beforehand, Eva asks her client for a photo of the dog and a short description of their character. Upon getting the information she will make notes and draw several sketches to help get her ideas together for the shoot. “One client told me, for example, that her dog loves to cuddle with his stuffed animals. He is carrying them around the house and uses them as a pillow. So I photographed the dog surrounded by all his favorite stuffed animals.” For another photograph Eva has him lying down with his head angled in a slight profile, showing off his graying muzzle against the blue backdrop, and she adds a

48 | | Spring 2022

Spring 2022 | | 49

cc | eva sacher

When the dog settles down and watches us, I know they are ready.”

50 | | Spring 2022

distinguishing touch. “His name is The Captain

Eva uses a mascot she designed named Fern to

and guess what, I couldn’t resist taking a photo

announce events for her website and Instagram.

with a yacht hat.”

One of those upcoming events is the Open

Aside from dogs, Eva has photographed all kinds of animals. Her subjects have included her rescue kitty named Mao, her family’s longhaired Galloway cows and bulls; and most recently, a beautiful red Macaw posed in front of a black background and a bit of jungle foliage.

Studios for Santa Cruz County, taking place during the first three weekends of October. Eva is looking forward to participating, with her event topic titled: Stick Around. She thanks you and hopes that some of our readers and their dogs will join her for a visit.

During a visit to Germany in 2019, she took the

Eva offers three different studio and location

opportunity to photograph all of the dogs of her

portrait packages. Please visit her website and

mother’s friends, who all get together daily for

her Instagram to get pricing and see more of

long walks in the woods. The 36 dog portraits

her beautiful images.

combined with photos of her mom's life were put into a book designed by Eva titled Character Types. dog.photography_eva

Spring 2022 | | 51

Lynne Cox

& The Italian Water Rescue Dogs



ext time someone poses the classic question “Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?”, may I recommend Lynne Cox? Not only would this recordsetting open-water swimmer and New York Times best-selling author make a compelling guest (with tales to tell in the melodic voice of an NPR host), she would also do a sublime job of writing about the experience! In her latest memoir, Tales of Al: The Water Rescue Dog, Lynne treats us to mouthwatering descriptions of Italian trattoria dishes (you can almost smell warm focaccia bread wafting fresh rosemary and salt) paired with dog stories so vividly told, you feel as if you are in the water with her as she teaches a fearful child

52 | | Spring 2022

to doggy paddle with two Labradors, or experiences the exuberant rush of bodysurfing with a trio of extra-large California canines! Of course, the true focus of this book is Al, a golden-eyed, brown-furred Newfoundland, or Terranova, as her breed is known on Italian soil. Lynne’s voyage of discovery began with a chance viewing of a video clip showing a Newfie performing a dramatic water rescue on Lake Iseo near Milan. She watched in awe as the dog leaned out from the helicopter, barking and stomping her front paws as she spied the person in distress. Her handlers released her, and she powered through the waves created by the whirling blades to offer her harness handle to the victim, dragging him 400 meters to the shore.


community safer, and I thought that was just so selfless and exceptional.”

“I had never seen a dog so courageous,” Lynne marvels. “I had never seen anything so unusual. I was amazed, fascinated, intrigued!” While someone else might simply share or like the video, Lynne booked a flight to Milan to visit the Scuola Italiana Cani Salvataggio (Italian School of Rescue Dogs) and meet with its founder and president, Ferruccio Pilenga. I ask if she had been to Italy before. “Yes, after I swam across the Bering Strait I was invited to appear on Italian television. The Vatican heard about my visit and I got to meet with Pope John Paul, an avid swimmer. He told me how much he loved the lakes of Northern Italy, so I decided I wanted to go, traveling with an opera singer friend who sang an aria as I swam the lake!”

She particularly enjoyed the breed-specific insights offered by Al’s owner Donatella Pasquale: “If you give a Retriever a command, the dog can’t wait to respond. If you give a direction to a Border Collie, before you finish speaking, he has already completed the task. A Newfoundland hears your order, knows perfectly what you want, thinks if he or she wants to carry it out and then does it!” Lynne recounts. “This completely changes in the water, where the Newfoundland transforms itself from a big and clumsy land animal to an agile and impetuous swimmer.” As well as observing the trials and challenges leading up Al’s Guardia Costiera (coast guard) test in Genoa, Lynne weaves in tales of other notable Newfies, including Lord Byron’s Boatswain (“All the virtues of man without his vices”) and Seaman, loyal friend to

You see what I mean about Lynne being the dream dinner guest? Lynne’s mission was originally driven by curiosity, with no plans to write a book. “I just wanted to understand how the dogs were learning these lifesaving skills,” she explains. “As an athlete, much of my life has been spent learning from coaches and training, and I had so many questions about the process, all of which were answered in a positive way! What I found was that people were spending time investing in their dogs to do something to make their Spring 2022 | | 53

Meriwether Lewis (of Lewis and Clark). And while Lynne may have quite the pedigree when it comes to writing—her original memoir, Swimming to Antarctica, made a big splash on the bestseller list—this was a success story over 20 years in the making. In between setting assorted swimming records (including breaking the men’s and women’s world records for swimming the English Channel at age 15!), Lynne honed the manuscript, repeatedly resisting a relative’s offer to pass it to famed novelist Anne Rice, author of Interview with the Vampire. Finally, Lynne succumbed—Anne loved it and Knopf published it! She followed this with Grayson, about a personal encounter with a baby gray whale lost in the Pacific Ocean, which has been translated into 22 languages. Tales of Al is book number seven, with timely messages about patience, community, and bringing out the best in each other, all written in mesmerizing detail, as if

more!” Lynne concludes with a smile. “I love dogs, I

the immersive, meditative state Lynne falls into while

love swimming, and I love people who love dogs and

swimming also translates to the keyboard.


“I’ve never been so excited about writing a book as this! I would wake up at three in the morning and write

Definitely something we Coastal Caniners can relate to!

for three or four hours, and then go workout swimming

Tales of Al: The Water Rescue Dog is out May 24, 2022,

and then come back and still want to write some

published by Knopf.

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

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Professor Akira: A Flash of Genius


category | topic

By Morgan Eastwood


kira is a seven-year-old Shiba Inu from Abu Dhabi and could very well be the world’s first canine professor. Every day for the past six years, he has been practicing mathematics, differentiating colors, and picking out his favorite animals and objects. Akira and his mom, Monica Malik, developed Professor Akira Flashcards, a dog-training system specialized for your companions. Akira is proof that just like the need for regular physical exercise, a mental workout can also be vital for your dog’s everyday routine, and also works to enhance the bond between dogs and their owners. Brought over to the UAE from Japan, Akira embodies the characteristics that make the breed so beloved in

his home country. “He’s different from any other dog I’ve ever had,” says Monica about Akira. “He’s very self-willed, self-opinionated, and confident with what he wants. He’s not a people pleaser.” Monica believes that those traits stem from Shiba Inus being a more “primitive” breed, or genetically closer to the wolf. And though his breed may have something to do with his impressive memory and comprehension, the flashcards certainly seem to have enriched those things. It may seem like a magic act, but Akira truly has learned the meaning behind his flashcards by practicing almost every day for six years. After he turned one year old, he grasped the concept of numbers, which Monica taught him by displaying yellow tennis balls inside a clear food Spring 2022 | | 55

bored with repeating the same ones— he needed a new challenge. That’s when Monica developed Professor Akira Flashcards specifically for dogs.

container. She would hold up two different numbered flashcards, say the number aloud, and then trace the shape of it. “Tap card” became the verbal cue to let Akira know it was time to give his answer. From there, they moved on to addition, which Akira naturally excelled at. If Monica asks him what seven plus three is, he amazingly knows it's ten. Akira understands dozens of flashcards, and can even answer yes and no questions. Monica will hold up two cards: one with a checkmark on it, meaning YES, and one with a large X, to signal NO. She then holds a third card up that depicts something from Akira’s everyday life, such as a red bird. She will ask, “Akira, is this a bird?” and Akira will gesture YES. She’ll then take it a step further by asking, “is the bird red?” Again, he’ll say YES with a paw tap. A final question will be asked to make sure he’s really paying attention, like, “is the bird blue?” Akira places his paw accurately upon the other flashcard, meaning NO. Akira gets a healthy chicken treat and a high-five from his mom after every correct answer. “It's become a part of our routine that we both look forward to every day.” Monica, a top economist in Abu Dhabi, got the idea for the flashcards after using similar ones with her young nephews. She began to wonder if she could get the same results with Akira, and after a while, gave it a shot using the toddler flashcards. Of course, Akira couldn’t say his response, but maybe he could tap it. The learning process started off slowly with numbers and addition, but became easier as they moved on to animals, objects, and colors. “Because he knows what a ball is, and what a leash is, he learned the concept [quickly].” Once Akira mastered the flashcards made for children, it became apparent he was 56 | | Spring 2022

As a puppy, Akira did the average behavior training. Monica says that he was an inquisitive dog from the start, but needed a lot more than walks. “No matter how much we played, he had this endless amount of energy.” The flashcards became Monica’s way of finding a release for Akira without constant physical activity. “What I’d find is that we’d do ten minutes of [flashcard] exercises . . . and he’d use up his mental energy a lot.” Monica highlights the extraordinary bonding experience the flashcards have been for her and Akira. “It’s the time that you’re sitting together, regularly, focused on each other and communicating with each other. I feel it’s more intense when I’m doing the flashcards rather than playing ball with him.” Monica supplements the flashcard training by being as verbal with Akira as she can. “When we go for a walk, I’m speaking to Akira the whole time . . . we count birds, we count cars, we discuss colors of flowers, everything like that.” When he’s not a math whiz, wildlife specialist, or color expert, Akira leads a normal life. He walks in the morning and evening, naps throughout the day, and plays with sister Miko, a German Shepard mix,

cc | for the dogs who Monica and her husband found wandering the streets of Abu Dhabi. But just like most siblings, Akira and Miko have a love-hate relationship. When Monica asks Akira if he is a good dog, he will respond by tapping the YES flashcard, but when she asks Akira if Miko is a good dog, his paw reaches for the NO card every time. “I didn’t train him to do that!” Monica says with a laugh. Akira and Monica will keep expanding their flashcard empire— Monica is tinkering with new things to add, such as subtraction. She’s created a new flashcard prototype with red and green colored apples, which an American university has taken interest in to study, as it was previously believed that dogs could not see red and green. “It will be interesting to see if other dogs can see the same colors.” Monica believes the success of reading and understanding flashcards is on a dog-to-dog basis, and not necessarily about the breed. “I think you have to try it and see if it’s something you feel your dog would be interested in.” We care for the physical well-being of our animals with the food they eat, medicine they take, and exercise they get. But sometimes we forget just how intelligent they are. Monica believes, “it’s not [about] getting it right, or for your dog to know everything. It’s about that time spent together, and the time you’re focusing on the fact that they are clever and need puzzles . . . I think this is something you can use in everyday life.” To learn more about Akira and get your own set of Professor Akira Flashcards at $21.64 USD, visit

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58 | | Spring 2022

From the author of

The Honey Bus “Meredith May movingly captures the bravery in loving another living being, and why love is always worth it because it teaches us so much.” —Steven Rowley, bestselling author of

Lily and the Octopus

“A truly rewarding story of a very sensitive pup and her loving humans evolving together messily, honestly and beautifully.” —Julie Barton, New York Times bestselling author of

Dog Medicine: How My Dog Saved Me From Myself

Available wherever books are sold. Follow us @HTPBooks

cc | the final word

Low cost spay and neuter clinic for cats, dogs, and rabbits. The non-profit group Friends of the Watsonville Animal Shelter donates all the supplies and equipment needed for the surgeries!

DO YOU KNOW someone with an ill or injured pet who cannot take them to see a veterinarian because of financial hardship?

We'll do our best to help them get to the vet.

provides financial rescue for Monterey County pets in a medical crisis.


Max's has awarded nearly $600,000 to help hundreds of local pets in need of veterinary care.





Max's Helping Paws is a 501c3 Tax ID 81-2990529 831.704.6473

60 | | Spring 2022

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DONATE ADOPT VOLUNTEER Peace of Mind Dog Rescue is a resource and advocate for senior dogs and senior people on California’s Central Coast.

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